Welcome to the 2015-16 school Year
The start of the 2015-16 school year is here and excitement about what is to come is in the air. Our first day of school is Wednesday, August 12 and our amazing teachers and staff are ready. Over the summer our district has continued to grow and our total student population will exceed 4000 students. When the school year begins, we will have completed our evolution from an elementary school district to a K-12 educational program. From now on, students entering our school system can look forward to graduating high school after four years as a Mountain House High School Mustang.
I want to take this opportunity to give an update about the changes that have occurred in public education based on the Common Core State Standards. The Common Core Era began in 2012 with the state adoption of a new set of grade level based instructional standards. This adoption came with a promise that the existing state assessment system based on No Child Left Behind called the STAR or California Standards Test would cease and a new assessment would emerge and take its place. That promise has been fulfilled and last Spring the inaugural California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) was given to 3rd through 8th grade students in our district. The assessment results and their meaning to our district, school sites, families, and children are still in the process of being defined by the State. Individual student results will be sent home during the first weeks of the school year and the accompanying reports will tell parents how individual students scored. The system for districts and school sites to communicate the assessment results about our overall program has yet to be determined. It is reported that an ongoing debate at the state level is being had to determine what will be reported. It is important to note the CAASPP is a new assessment and has no relationship to the NCLB results that families are used to receiving based on the STAR assessment. The CAASPP is based on an entirely new system and standards and is administered using a technology and computer based process. Any results we get will be a baseline from which to build from moving forward. Once the State determines how overall scores will be reported we will bring forward this information to our community, until then we will work with the information that has been provided and learn from it what we can.
We are not alone in this transition and all school districts are grappling with how to accomplish this monolithic shift in our educational system. Over the past three years our district has endeavored to make the transition to the Common Core era. This effort began with our Board of Trustees passing our five year Strategic Plan in December of 2013; it continued when Governor Brown changed the funding system for public schools through the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and its corresponding educational plan- Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP)- which was first approved in June of 2014. The LCAP was revised over the course of last school year after the California Department of Education and San Joaquin County of Education provided feedback and made changes to the LCAP template. Our Board approved LCAP Version 2.0 will be our guiding document over the next three successive school years. Progress towards meeting the goals established in the plan will be discussed throughout the school year with updates being provided to our Board of Trustees, District Advisory Committee, and school site communities. In July 2016, the LCAP will be presented to our Board and any recommendations for adjustments to the plan will be approved at that time. I invite anyone interested in reviewing the plan to access it through our district website.
Our teachers, staff, and administrative teams are working exceptionally hard to make the transition to Common Core work for your children. Their dedication and commitment to the children of this district is amazing and it is this commitment that will lead us and our students into the future. We look forward to all of the amazing stories of success that we will experienced together in the 2015-16 school year.
This Virginia Beach School’s video explains the transition of school and classroom environments in the era of 21st Century skills. I think it brings to light the evolution in our education system and captures the spirit of what we hope our LCAP will succeed in accomplishing for all of our students. Virginia Beach School’s Video