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School District Assessment Scores Show Positive Trend

It was a night focused on academia Monday, Oct. 10 during the Oakdale Joint Unified School Board meeting, as Assistant Superintendent Kristi Rapinchuk reviewed results and comparisons for the Spring 2016 Smarter Balanced Assessment System (SBAC) testing. The tests replaced the STAR assessment system as the curriculum has changed to Common Core Standards.

Rapinchuk noted the transition from the previous testing type via pencil and paper to the current computerized. The testing is administered each year to students in grades three through eight and the junior class.

“We’ll look across time which is probably the most effective way to evaluate programs,” she said. “How do we, within ourselves, compare Spring 2015 to Spring 2016.”

The assistant superintendent reviewed in depth results of the testing in both the English Language Arts (ELA), as well as Mathematics categories, offering comparisons to the board of how OJUSD fares in comparison to the county, the state as well as a school site breakdown within the district.

In the area of ELA, OJUSD ranked second in Stanislaus County with a score of 48 percent of students scoring in the “Exceeds Standard” or “Met Standard” range. In Mathematics the district ranked first in the county with a 34 percent rank for the two scoring spots. By state comparison the district was below state level with an overall state ranking of 49 percent in ELA and 37 percent in Mathematics.

“Several questions have come forward … why are we lower than the state, that doesn’t typically happen,” Rapinchuk reported. “When you look at demographics the Central Valley has a significant population that would have unique needs.

“One of those being the state of California in general has 25 percent of the English learners throughout the nation are in the state of California,” she continued. “Those are very specific learning needs and they tend to take a while before they’re scoring well.”

In reviewing the report by school site, Rapinchuk noted a positive trend of improvement from 2015 to 2016.

“All those arrows are headed the right way,” she told the board. “I’m pleased with the work our teachers have done. They really are navigating difficult shifts into a big difference in the rigor of the curriculum. We are making history in the era of education.”

Following closely behind the positive feedback of Rapinchuk, Director of State and Federal Programs Armida Colon offered a report on the Advanced Placement Program at Oakdale High School.

Colon reviewed a slideshow presentation with the board noting the commitment as well as the expectation of the teachers and the district for students choosing this path of education.

“AP courses are an open opportunity to all students,” Colon stated. “We are very fortunate. Although we have prerequisites for some of those courses, if a student wants to get into a course, if a parent wants their student placed into a course … we absolutely respect that.

“We have an open opportunity program for our students,” she emphasized, with regard to AP offerings, “which is something to really celebrate.”

In closing both the Oakdale Teachers Association and California School Employees Association Chapter #830 presented their Proposals for Contract modifications.

Assistant Superintendent and Agency Negotiator Terri Taylor noted the entire contract is open for OTA.

OTA lead negotiator Marty Fauria addressed the board noting that he and his committee represent 238 members and must review 44 articles in the collective bargaining agreement to address what is best for all.

“The OTA negotiating team takes its responsibility very seriously and goes about their work diligently,” he said. “The team is obligated to representing the views of its members in a fair and forthright manner. It is our hope that we represent the teachers of Oakdale during these negotiations in such a way that all can be proud.”

Proposals from each were given to Taylor for review and consideration.

The meeting was begun in its traditional manner with elementary school students leading the Pledge of Allegiance. Students Scarlett Garcia, Drew Rushing and Kinsey Cortes did the honors.

The next OJUSD School Board meeting will be conducted on Monday, Nov. 14 at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at Oakdale City Council Chambers, 277 N. Second Ave., Oakdale.