In the Newhall School District, more than a quarter—or 27.5 percent—of its 6,706 students are English Learners, making it the district with the most English Learner students in the Santa Clarita Valley.
On the fall release of the California School Dashboard, this student group performed in the yellow indicator, or the middle indicator level, for overall performance.
However, the district did increase its English Learner progress toward English proficiency to 73.8 percent this year, up from 72.7 percent in 2016.
To continue this trend and to improve overall English Learner progress, the district implemented new intervention strategies, programs and curriculums and increased professional development at school sites.
This spring, Newhall district teachers and staff will receive more training and support through a contract with the Center of Educational Leadership, which is expected to be reviewed and approved by the district’s Governing Board Tuesday.
Through the workshops, leaders and teachers will build a shared vision for effective English language development, instruction and content knowledge around reading and reading development.
“We’re a firm believer in professional development in all levels,” Governing Board President Philip Ellis said. “The program will increase the teachers’ skills and is designed to improve the performance of our English Learners.”
Newhall district officials expect that the professional development will result in a 10 percent overall increase in the district literacy scores for the English Language Learner group, which is currently underperforming when compared to their native English-speaking peer, according to the agenda item.
The professional development follows the University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership’s theory of action that student learning improves when quality of teaching improves, and that quality of teaching improves when leaders understand their role in improving teacher practice and promoting high-quality instruction.
This partnership is also expected to help teachers implement English Language Development instruction in small groups under the district’s curriculum, help leaders provide feedback and support for teachers as they are implementing new practices, and assist ELA coaches on how to design and facilitate professional learning around English language development in literacy.
Fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) students at Pico Canyon Elementary School will participate in a workshop titled “Voices of Tolerance.”
The PAC K-12 Arts Education Outreach Program is conjunction with the Los Angeles Opera and will be held at Pico Canyon across 10 days from Feb.12 through May 5.
Through the choir residency, students will foster their love of music and learn about social justice and cooperative actions tied to their curriculum.
During the workshop, fourth grade students will focus on the California immigrant movement while fifth grade and sixth grade students will focus on American History.
The workshop replaces the previously scheduled “Flutes Across America” program.
In October 2017 federal agencies began investigating a music specialist who visited school districts through a similar program called “Flutes Across the World.”
The music specialist allegedly placed bodily fluids on “flute like instruments” at as many as 23 school districts throughout Southern California, including the Saugus Union School District and the Castaic Union School District.
The Newhall School District was not said to be impacted by the program or by the ongoing investigation, but district officials are now replacing the “Flutes Across America” program with the “Voices of Tolerance” program.
Additional Agenda Items
- Accept gift from Google, Inc. valued at $3,500 for Foundational Professional Development on the use of Chromebooks
- Approve of a Memorandum of understanding with the Santa Clarita Valley Induction Consortium to provide a clear credentialing program for new teachers totaling $13,372.50
- Accept the Newhall School District 2017-18 contract proposal for the Newhall Educational Support Professionals (NESP)
- Accept the NESP 2017-18 negotiations proposal
- Adopt the Newhall School District 2017-18 contract proposal for the Newhall Teachers Association (NTA)
- Approve tentative agreement No. 1 with the NTA
- Approve developer fee consulting services proposal with Koppel & Gruber Public Finance totaling no more than $3,700 for the preparation of the Fee Justification Study
- Approve of Barracuda Spam Filter Program Through BorderLan Security for email security and a three-year user license totaling $13,928.38
- Conduct a first reading of revised administrative regulation: Environmental Safety
- Declare five vacancies on the Measure E Citizens’ Oversight Committee due to members serving the maximum allowable terms
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_