Oakdale Joint Unified School District continues to hold its own in Stanislaus County by way of SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) test results.
During Monday night’s monthly school board meeting, Assistant Superintendent Kristi Rapinchuk addressed the board with comparative testing results from Spring 2016 vs. Spring 2017.
“There’s a lot of good things to report,” Rapinchuk said. “Throughout Stanislaus County we do have the highest Math SBAC score K-12 district. The same for English Arts.
“I have to say that I have never seen teachers working as hard as they’re working now,” the assistant superintendent stated.
Rapinchuk noted the district did see a very slight drop year to year in English Language Arts, noting a new ELA Curriculum as probable cause. She also noted a study showing that teachers tend to gain the most by way of learning when working with one another.
“When you happen to be – and we are – a ‘top dog’ in the county right now, it’s a good time to focus on learning from one another,” she said. “Our teachers are working hard in the classroom, learning from one another.”
As the district continues to flourish and focus on academia, the administration is equally aware of the growing problem of bullying and how best to address it by specific age group.
“Bullying is basically actions where there is an imbalance of power,” Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Services Larry Mendonca said. “Certain groups or certain individuals trying to claim stake or trying to claim some type of force about another.”
Mendonca acknowledged the growth and presence of technology and social media as new waters to navigate for the district over the past five years. He also noted the importance of educating students, as well as teachers on the differences of bullying versus teasing.
“The problem when it comes to school is jurisdiction,” Mendonca stated. “Anyone can send a text or get on-line. Schools have jurisdiction when it’s on the way to school, on campus or during a school activity.”
Mendonca also stressed the importance of addressing students appropriately by age, keeping maturity in mind.
“Our site administrators and our teachers have a big challenge, because they must keep in mind the immaturity of youth that we have at times,” he said.
Mendonca shared protocol for addressing bullying, as well as schools encouraging students to report such cases. Each of the school sites also host anti-bullying activities to encourage students to make the right decisions and exercise kindness.
“Our expectation is there must be intervention,” he said. “Our policy states there must be intervention.”
Board member Diane Gilbert addressed the board, expressing her thoughts on more pro-active ongoing programs at the Junior High and High School.
“It needs to come from the students,” Gilbert said of the upper grades, “be initiated by the students and perpetuated by the students.”
Student school board member Russell Pabalan agreed with Gilbert and stated he would take the info back to the Leadership Group at OHS.
“We have bullying,” Mendonca said, “there’s no denying it. Bullying occurs. It occurs everywhere and it occurs at Oakdale schools. Our schools are going through a concentrated effort to aid students.”
In other business, Oakdale Teachers Association and California School Employees Association opened contract negotiations with Assistant Superintendent Terri Taylor.
The meeting began promptly at 6:30 p.m. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Magnolia students Caleb Kirschner, Brooklin Werner and Trent Esteves.
The next meeting will be held on Monday, Nov. 13 at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be hosted at Oakdale City Council Chambers, 277 N. Second Ave., Oakdale.