LCAP Responses 2014

The following responses are from Parent Advisory Committee and the English Learner Parent Advisory Committee (based on the first draft of the NUSD LCAP).

Q: Will school districts be able to see the results from those new SBAC tests this year?

A: No, this year was a field test for all California schools.

Q: What’s the County Board’s role?  Can they say that our targets are too low?

A: The Sacramento County Office of Education is responsible for certifying the district LCAPs.  Target setting is the responsibility of school districts with input from our stakeholders.

Q: On grad rate, in the third year, you have Inderkum and Natomas High School will each reach or exceed 92%.  Inderkum is already above that.  Are you thinking that 92% is already so good that you’re setting that as the target?

A: In 2012-2013, the district graduation rate was 88%.  Our target is to increase the graduation rate to 92%.

Q: We’re trying to be positive for kids, but there has been a history of grad rates going up and down.

A: The District’s vision is all students graduate as college and career ready, productive, responsible, and engaged global citizens.  This means that our focus is to help all students to graduate from high school.  While data trends vary from year to year, our intention is for the graduation rate to climb past 90% and stay above 90%.

Q: What does the Charter School graduation data look like?

A: In 2012-2013, Natomas Charter school had a 97.1% graduation rate and NP3 High School had a 96.1% graduation rate.

Q: Have you considered how you are going to address the drug problems in schools?

A: NUSD has a division called Students Services and Safety that provides those types of supports to students.  They are currently trying interventions and can help families connect with county and other services as well.  We also believe that increasing the number of counselor will help us address that.

Q: Is there a way for kids to reach out for help at school anonymously?

A: We currently have an anonymous tip line.

Q: Has there been any correlation between substance abuse and the graduation rate?  Have you looked at that?

A: No, we haven’t looked at that yet.

Q: How are you going to deal with hacker type situations?  Students are supposed to keep their passwords to themselves but we’ve had a few situations where students have found out another’s password.  What’s the penalty for those students going to be?

A: Effectively managing student use of technology happens at the intersection of Board policies on the acceptable use of technology, parent engagement and communication, and educating students on proper technology use.  With the expansion of wireless technology, wider use of laptops and mobile devices, and increases in instructional technology this will continue to be a focus for our Instructional Technology Department.

Q: On page 6, you have graduation rates listed for Inderkum and Natomas High, but when you add that to the dropout data it doesn’t add up to 100%.  Is there a way to represent it here so it adds up to 100%?

A: No, because the State classifies students as graduates, dropouts, Special Education completers, students who continue beyond their 4th year, and GED completers.

Q: On page 9, we have waivers for students to compete in athletics who don’t meet the eligibility requirements.  Is that what you’re referring to here on page 9?

A: No

Q: What does it entail when you say, “Increased personnel for social-emotional supports and behaviors will be providing services to students?”  Is there going to be training for teachers to be more positive with students?  Is that just for middle and high school?

A: That refers to supports primarily at our secondary schools.  We do know that students in elementary school have increased needs for social-emotional support but in the beginning we’re starting with secondary schools.  We do have a mental health and social emotional support team in place that supports students PreK-12.

Q: What does “safe and welcoming learning environments” look like?

A: That is something that we will develop over time together with staff and parents.  This work will take multiple years.  The idea is to set the goal and then work toward it together.

Q: What’s the rationale for picking Kindergarten and 10th grade to address for attendance?

A: The number and percent of students absent in those grades is highest and it gives us the greatest opportunity to impact both elementary students and high school students.

Q: Why are you setting the goal to increase 10% one year and then 20% the next year for Parent CORES?

A: The intention is to build programs and services the first year and expand access and communications to an even wider audience in year two

Q: For Common Core, are we creating curriculum for the whole district or are individual schools creating the curriculum and are we going to be getting new text books?

A: When you teach to the textbook, you meet the needs of the students in the middle but leave the rest behind.  We’re in the beginning of a multi year process to develop unit guides aligned to the common core that use textbooks as a resource, as well as other resources.  And then teachers can collaborate digitally to meet the needs of students instead of just using worksheets in the back of the books.  The whole district is moving to some common elements with curriculum, but there will always be a need to embed flexibility for curriculum related to IB, AP and some interdisciplinary career themed curriculum.

Q: How will teachers and students use laptops and other technologies for teaching and learning?

A: This is an example where teachers working together with other teachers and with students have unlimited possibilities for how they will use technology as a tool for teaching and learning.  Students have limitless information at their fingertips and teachers have as many possible teaching tools available to them.  This year we had teachers in NUSD “flip” their lessons which means they spend time engaging in the critical thinking process with students during class after students watched a video of the teacher’s lecture on a mobile phone or tablet.  We’ve also had elementary students write essays on their Chromebooks that are reviewed in real-time on the web by their peers. We expect to many more innovative uses of technology in the years to come.

Q: Its hard to read this when information breaks from one page to another.  Can you make it easier to read?

A: NUSD, as all school districts across the State, is required to follow the LCAP template.  Where feasible, we will use spaces to help readability.

Q: Has does your Goal 4 and Goal 5 intersect so that you ensure staff are creating safe and welcoming learning environments, such as culturally conscious education/training.

A: It is our desire that all students feel safe and welcome and that the district’s diversity is recognized as a strength.  To that point, all school districts, including Natomas Unified can and must get better.

Q: Where you’re planning to provide services to low-income students, how will the other students be impacted or supported by that work? Will all kids be served?

A: Using data we identified the need to provide extra supports at particular schools with high number of low income students but all students at those schools who need academic support will receive support

Q: Why don’t you provide these supports at all schools?

A: There isn’t enough money to do everything everywhere.  We use data to target where the greatest needs are found.  While the budget is improving, California still has not returned to per student funding levels prior to the state crisis.

Q: Goal 1 refers to English, math, science and literacy.  What about social studies?

A: Literacy crosses all subjects, including the social sciences.

Q: It says that students at Heron provided extended day support but it wasn’t?

A: All schools were provided with the resources to provide extended day.  There were some grade levels at Heron where teachers chose not to work beyond contract hours to provide the tutoring needed.  We are hopeful that the increase in hourly wage for extended hours tutoring ($40 starting July 1) will help.  If it does not, we did negotiate new language in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that allows us to hire tutors beyond our teaching workforce.

Q: Are students getting more minutes to their school day?

A: Beginning in 2014-2015 there will be 17 more minutes in the school day for students in grades 1, 2, 3; and there will be 50 more minutes of instruction for students in middle school each day.

Q: Have you considered how food, and how little time students have to eat, affects their school work?

A: Yes, we always strive to provide students with adequate time to eat.  Please speak with your site principal and utilize Constituent and Customer Service if you feel adequate time is not being allocated at your student’s site

Q: Are your new teachers coming to NUSD Common Core trained or will they have to leave to go get trained during the school day.

A: Universities are preparing new teachers for the Common Core but NUSD will provide professional development for new and returning teachers for many years

Q: What is a 1.0 FTE Career Technician?

A: The Career Technician is a full-time classified position to support students college and career going.

Q: What is APEX?

A: APEX is an on-line credit recovery program for students

Q: What is the Healthy Kids Survey?

A: It used to be a mandatory student survey in California for students in grades 5, 7, 9 and 11 regarding student engagement and school climate.  It is no longer mandated. The survey has not been used in NUSD recently but will be brought back to Natomas in 2014-2015. The survey provides us with insight from our students about their perceptions in a number of school areas.

Q: Does the healthy kids survey track individual students over time?

A: It does not.  It gives us snapshots over time.

Q: Have you considered adding counselors to elementary schools to address long-term changes to address behavior issues instead of waiting till high school?

A: We are not waiting till high school to provide support to students.  We’re training teachers how to respond to social emotional issues for our students.  We added a pre-K program and identified students with social emotional needs.  We have a Mental Health/Social Emotional support team that is deployed to schools to provide specific supports to students.  We added more counselors to specifically address the college and career going and graduation needs of our students.

Q: Is the new course catalog only going to cover two years of high school or do you mean that the catalog will be revised every two years?

A: The new course catalog will cover the entire high school experience.  The plan is to develop a new catalog and then revise the catalog once every two years.

Q: Are we going to do outreach efforts or track students to improve attendance?  What else are we going to do other than hire a .25 FTE?

A: In 2014-2015 we will analyze student attendance patterns and identify opportunities to develop new attendance improvement systems in 2015 and beyond

Q: What does “outside monitoring” mean?

A: Part of our district’s Cycle of Continuous Learning and Improvement is to monitor instructional and operational programs that we implement to ensure that we continue or expand programs that work and work to improve those that are struggling.  While district and site leaders monitor programs, it is also valuable to get insight from outside experts.

Q: There’s an amazing parent education program EL program from the Los Angeles County Office of Education you might want to consider.

Q: You should add a community stakeholder committee to the HOPE Alliance program.

Q: Is the .25 FTE for attendance, .25 FTE for Music and .5 FTE three people or is that all the same person?

A: Yes

Q: Will Heron and Two Rivers get after school hourly support for students with this plan?

A: Yes, all elementary schools have money budgeted for after school support for students.  Each principal will coordinate a program for their school

Q: What are the 210 Chromebooks for and why does it show up in more than one space?

A: The new Gateways Middle School has a 1-1 computer program in which all students will use a Chromebook.  It initially showed up in two places because it includes 2 years of purchases (210 one year, 210 another)

Q: Are you going to teach students typing or keyboarding skills?

A: Not as a district-wide program, but schools, teachers, and parents may all make use of the many typing programs available to support students.

Q: Is there a difference between in-house suspension vs. home suspensions?

A: Both suspensions mean that a student is out of class and missing valuable instruction time, but only home suspensions are reported to the state for accounting purposes.

Q: What does the safety program consists of?  What is Restorative Justice?

A: The safety program is a multi-faceted effort supported by Student Services and Safety to provide safe learning environments for our students.  Restorative Justice is a concept that involves emphasizing repairing the harm caused by a behavior or violation of school rules.

Q: What is the HOPE Alliance class?

A: The Hope Alliance classes serve our at-risk students in middle and high school, and in particular are designed to provide additional support for our identified at-risk African-American and Latino students.  However, the program is open to students of all ethnic backgrounds.

Q: There are a lot acronyms in here, a table of contents with a list of acronyms.

A: There is a Glossary of Terms from the State of California available here.

Q: In reference to music and arts, what does it mean to “establish a system to monitor student engagement by gender, ethnicity and grade level?

A: To ensure that all students have opportunities to participate in the music and arts we will monitor participate rates by subgroup.

Q: What is the difference between the ELD Professional Development for Elementary Teachers and the Curriculum Training Treasures ELD?

A: Curriculum training refers to supporting teachers as they access the textbook and other curricular material for student success.  ELD Professional Development can refer to broader teacher support for instructional startegies and techniques to help English Learners.

Q: What summer school opportunities will be available for EL students, and for what age groups?

A: Some middle school and then high school.  We would like to look at targeted elementary school programs as more resources become available.

Q: Regarding safety, what is the District doing to avoid the unsafe behavior that is coming in from the community?

A: One strong step is the hiring of Sacramento Police School Resource Officers (SROs).

Q: Will there be specific English Learner classes for summer school at high schools?

A: Possibility.  Summer school will be based on identified need, if that is needed then yes.  A major component to our efforts is to also ensure English Learners have access to rigorous courses they need for college and career success.  English Learners will take those course in summer as well.

Q: Can this LCAP be written in a way that is easier for parents to understand or is there a way to summarize the LCAP for parents?

A: The district is required to follow the template provided by the State.

Q: Has the District considered teaching all the acronyms used in K-12 education in Parent Cores?

A: That consideration will be shared with our Parent CORES department.

Q: What is ERWC?

A: Expository Reading and Writing Courses emphasize the use of non-fiction texts and in-depth study of reading and writing.

Q: Could you present the data in this LCAP using graphs or charts?

A: The district is required to follow the template provided by the State.

Q: How is the state going to check that they are getting the results through these programs?

A: The Sacramento County Office of Education is charged with approving LCAPs.  The State may identify school districts in need of intervention.  To learn more about that process, review Ed Code 52072:§ionNum=52072.

Q: What is CAASPP?

A: The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress is the statewide assessment system that encompasses the new Common Core State Standards exam called Smarter Balanced assessments, the CST, CMA and CAPA tests.

Q: Is this going to be ongoing every year?

A: The LCAP must be updated annually and submitted to the County Office of Education each July.

Q: This looks very complex – I think as parents it would be easier to just focus on one year of work in the EL category.

A: NUSD is required by law to complete the LCAP with three years of planning

Q: It would be better if this document could be condensed.

A: The district is required to follow the template provided by the State.

Q: Are the new counselors for elementary too?

A: No, these counselors are for middle and high schools

Q: What is A-G?

A: The UC/CSU a-g requirements are a list of subject requirements that high school students must complete to be eligible to apply to the University of California and California State University.  It is important for parents and students to understand that by completing NUSD graduation requirements, a student is not necessarily eligible to apply to the UC or CSU because the a-g requirements are more rigorous than the minimum graduation requirements.  You can learn more here:

Q: Can the district provide English for parents?

A: The district  provides some course work through School Readiness and/or Parent CORES to have parents learn English through literacy classes with their student.

Q: Is there funding included in the LCAP for more English, advanced and intermediate, language classes?

A: LCFF provides the financial resources and state mandates and local input help determine how the money from the state is allocated.  To add new things in without new resources, some things must be eliminated.