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Brocton pegged as a Local Assistance Plan School

September 8, 2016
By Amanda Dedie - editorial@westfieldrepublican.com , Westfield Republican

BROCTON - Brocton Central School District has been identified as a Local Assistance Plan School for the 2016-17 school year, according to the board at a recent Board of Education meeting.

This designation was based on the academic performance of either all students, or particular groups of students, on state assessments during the 2014-15 school year.

Any school identified as a Local Assistance Plan School is required to conduct a self-reflection on the educational program, leadership and instructional practices. This provides school teams with an opportunity to reflect on the practices that currently exist within the school to prepare to identify appropriate next steps for the school.

The results of the self-reflection have been used to create the LAP plan to improve student academic performance.

According to the LAP, the subgroups - the economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities and white students, have a number of barriers that are making it difficult for the school to reach its potential in terms of state assessments.

The district, in its self-reflection, identified four things it believes the school does well for its sub-groups:

1. Teachers create learning modules that focus on data-driven instruction (DDI) that also align with Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS), and also incorporate differentiation and student needs into the individual lesson.

2. Leaders and faculty have used professional development days to create pacing calendars and unit guides, which create a framework for teachers to devise and implement annual, unit and daily lesson plans that address a variety of student goals and needs.

3. Implementing programs such as My Math and Reading Street, and adopting math modules in the 2016-17 school year, provided teachers with instructional practices that incorporated higher-order questions, varied complexity of texts, and multiple opportunities to learn, which have successfully lead to higher levels of engagement.

4. The use of intramurals, a Character Education initiative that promotes positive behavior, a Character Ed. Student of the Month program and the Brocton Elementary Enrichment Education Program (BEEEP), the Positive Behavioral Intervention & Supports (PBIS) program.

However, Brocton officials also identified three factors that they believe make it difficult for the school district and the identified sub-groups to reach their full potential:

1. Disparities in abilities and skills, as well as a generally low reading and writing level throughout the population and a culture that is low overall in literacy, provide difficulty in aligning these students with academic vernacular and higher concepts, with much attention devoted into reteaching and remediation of fundamental ideas and foundational skills.

2. Teachers and school leaders establish connections with student support staff to maintain infrastructure with the purpose of using data and anecdotal experience with individual students in order to respond to a varying degree of student social and emotional developmental health needs, all within the limited means available to the school and its leaders; there is a difficulty in collecting data in a small population of students while also maintaining confidentiality.

3. There is a need for more targeted training for families and staff from the school, so that assessment opportunities may be realized. Data such as state rankings, achievement data, and news or data shared by local newspapers is communicated with families, but data can be misinterpreted resulting in numerous parents having their children refuse state assessments.

Therefore, the school has identified four things that it believes must happen for the sub-groups, that is currently not happening, in order to create more success for students and the district on state assessments.

1. School leaders need to provide more framework and support in the implementation of curricula across grade levels and subject areas, while providing opportunities for teachers to create interdisciplinary plans that incorporate technology and enrichment opportunities.

2. Teachers need to be provided with more opportunities for interdisciplinary cooperation and development, as school leaders and staff work together to establish a unified plan for feedback on student work and for giving students ownership in extracurricular and academic activities, while revisiting the RTI process in a way that better serves the needs of the student population.

3. Targeted professional development needs to be used to achieve and encourage success, with a clear set of guidelines for staff and families regarding communication, strengthened coordination in the community, and a greater measure of control over the release of comprehensive data.

4. School leaders need to provide further support and avenues for school support staff and teachers to build upon existing social and emotional developmental health programs - and install further programming as the district is able to expand - while developing and sustaining further measures and opportunities for families and all school stakeholders to have input and share in ownership of the well-being of the school and students.

Part III of the plan discusses promoting participation in state assessments. In this section, the subgroups are identified due to their failure to meet the 95 percent participation rate on assessment.

"(Part III) talks about us not having 95 percent participation, and how we are going to give that information to the public so they understand why they really need to have kids take assessments, how that's going to help us as a district and how that's going to help us grow," said Sandra Olson, Brocton Elementary School principal and contributor to the LAP Self-Reflection Document. "We have a small population, and if one or two really good students choose not to take (the state assessments), at that point we have really skewed data."

Superintendent Jason Delcamp agreed.

"As much as people believe that opting out or refusing to have kids take exam, and there's no penalty for that - there is an offset penalty for that and that is, the data that identifies us as a district is based on those who took the exam, and with that, we need to continue to encourage (students to take the exams) - but we also understand the frustrations with the exams," Delcamp sympathized.

Delcamp then explained his past and varied attempts when it came to his approach in trying to get students to not opt-out of state assessments, and discovered that there was no change in the results.

"My approach last year was, let's keep it on the down-low. Let's not say a lot about the exams coming up, and we got about the same rate (of participation), so sometimes it's the more broadcasting you do ... We try to communicate with the parents, and hopefully the state will come up with better examples to share," said Delcamp.

The LAP addresses these concerns with the low state assessment participation rates, and hopes that in the next year, that rate will increase and reflect better results for the district.

"The United States Department of Education requires that at least 95 percent of students in each accountability group for which a school is responsible must participate in the state's annual reading/language arts and mathematics assessments," states the plan.

It then asks how the school plans to communicate with parents and other stakeholders regarding the purposes of the NYS assessment program and about the revisions that have recently been made to it.

The LAP self-reflection responded, "Continued dissemination of correct information from the principal via newsletters, conversation. There is a need for more targeted training for families and staff from the school, so that outreach opportunities may be realized."

The LAP then asks, "Some parents are unaware of how to interpret state assessments results and use them to support their children's learning, which may cause these parents to believe that state assessments do not provide valuable instructional information about their children. How do you plan to provide training to all parents in how to interpret state assessment results and how the assessments are used to support the learning of children?"

The self-reflection stated in reply, "Data such as state rankings, achievement data, and data shared by local newspapers is communicated with families, but there is room for expansion regarding what data is sent; much of the data and reputation of the school is easily distorted by local sources of journalism, with the district struggling to maintain agency in the establishment, maintenance, and cultivation of its own public image."

For a more in-depth, detailed look at Brocton's Local Assessment Plan, visit http://goo.gl/gJ51VA.

 
 
 

 

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