The Sulphur Springs Union School District’s staff gave a presentation on student progress in preparation for the work leading to their 2023-24 Local Control Accountability Plan, which would address equity gaps for student populations with more learning needs.
“This is an annual update, which we do every year,” said Assistant Superintendent of Education Services Jezelle Fullwood. “We want to be transparent. We want parents to know that we are working with them, for them and for our children.”
The LCAP is a three-year plan that describes the goals, actions, services and expenditures to support positive student outcomes that address state and local priorities, as defined by the California Department of Education. It also outlines specific services designed to support unduplicated students, which include foster youth, English learners and low-income students.
According to the presentation, the district’s LCAP details four goals, in summary: to continue to strengthen student engagement and involvement for all students, including unduplicated students, who will learn from credentialed administrators and teachers in safe school facilities; provide high-quality instruction and curriculum; partner with the broader community in supporting students; and provide a safe and healthy learning environment.
Recent testing data indicated that students struggled in English and mathematics, something that Fullwood recognized is happening not just in Sulphur Springs, but across the nation as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The district’s 2022 data was extrapolated by the California School Dashboard, a tool that provides parents and educators information on school and district progress to help guide decisions to improve student learning.
Pupil outcomes in English language arts and mathematics were based on student performance on the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment or the California Alternative Assessment.
In the Sulphur Springs district, about 50% of students met or exceeded state standards. In mathematics, approximately 39% of students met or exceeded state standards.
Overall, in English language, students are 3.8 points below standards and, in mathematics, students are 30 points below standard, data from the dashboard indicated, which is another way data is used to examine student progress.
The district saw an increase in English learner progress — about 50.5% of current English learner students making progress toward English language proficiency or maintaining the highest level.
“We continue to have an achievement gap, or an equity gap, between some of our student groups. The gap has gotten smaller, but we continue to see a gap in that way,” Fullwood said. “We do have an increased focus on support for those student groups, including our African American, our English learners, our Hispanic students, as well as our foster youth and our students with disabilities.”
In an effort to support those students, the district increased its focus on instruction, added more personnel at school sites such as learning-support teachers that help with reading, and also increased its focus on mathematics, too.
Staff also increased assessments and data analysis to ensure the district follows progress of those student groups and addresses it immediately, when there is a lack of growth or any other concern.
The Sulphur Springs district’s student population changed in recent years as the number of unduplicated students increased.
“Eight of our nine schools are now Title 1 schools. We began with about four Title 1 schools, then six and now eight are considered Title 1 schools,” Fullwood said.
“…So, because of that, we make sure that we have a concrete plan in place for that particular student population,” she continued. “We’re making sure we have Title 1 planes in place at those schools to meet the student needs.”
According to Fullwood, this school year, 2022-23, is considered a baseline year by many educators because students have not been learning in person for the past couple of years due to the pandemic. In the past two to three years, many districts across the state were not required to test their students due to the disruption of COVID-19.
“It’s really a baseline year. We’re not comparing necessarily to any other scores because it’s been several years, but we are looking at how well students are doing overall.”
The district also hosted parent forums Tuesday and Wednesday evening to share its student progress with the community, which staff also conducted in Spanish, as part of its work leading up to the 2023-24 LCAP.