Talk to the teachers and staff of the Saugus Union School District and it’s likely they’ll mention the new programs, classrooms and supports that are helping increase student success at each of the district’s 15 school sites.
With the recent release of the new California School Dashboard results, Saugus Union officials were able to visually see the fruits of their labor, as the district improved 4.7 points in the English language arts and 5.4 points in the mathematics component, according to the dashboard website. The scores were good enough to place the district in the tiers of green, which is right where a district wants to be, officials said.
Despite being the largest elementary school district in the Santa Clarita Valley in terms of enrollment, which is 9,960 students, Saugus Union has the second lowest number of English learners and socioeconomically disadvantaged students when compared to the other local school districts.
However, a look at the data shows that the student groups are improving in both English and math.
The English learners in the district managed to increase their language arts scores by 6.5 points from last year, according to the dashboard. That result wasn’t too far off from the group’s increase of 7.4 points in math.
And while the socioeconomically disadvantaged student group finished 12.3 points below standard, the students — who are eligible for free or reduced priced meals or have parents/guardians who did not receive a high school diploma — also managed to increase their English score from last year by 12 points, according to the dashboard. The cohort had a similar increase of 11.9 points in the math section, as well.
Scoring high on the dashboard is wonderful, but the critical piece is seeing a continuous improvement cycle in all students’ groups, said Isa De Armas, the district’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. “It’s about looking at our practices and seeing how can we improve.”
There’s no such thing as a perfect score because the district is always thinking, “How can we take that student to the next level,” De Armas said. “We’re constantly looking at our practices and making informed decisions about our next steps.”
“Additionally, our parents, teachers, administrators and staff have formed a strong partnership to ensure academic and personal success for each child,” De Armas said. This is evident in many of the district’s scores, including its low suspension rates.
Only 0.1 percent of students were suspended at least once, according to the dashboard, which is something De Armas attributed to the district’s newly established positive behavior intervention supports.
“We’ve really been focusing on our work with PBIS,” which helps teach the children behaviors expected of them, De Armas said. “We follow that process and we’re seeing those results. That’s the beauty of having the colors.”
District administrators and staff have already began discussing the results of the California School Dashboard that were released last week, according to De Armas, and district staff is expected to hold a formal presentation of the scores at a future meeting of the governing board.
To see a complete overview of how each local Santa Clarita Valley school district scored on the California School Dashboard, visit caschooldashboard.org or check the daily edition of The Signal throughout this week for a breakdown of the results from each of the five local public school districts. Articles about the Sulphur Springs, Castaic and Newhall district scores appeared earlier in the week, and the in-depth breakdown of the William S. Hart Union High School District’s results will conclude the series on Saturday.