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School Board Members Review Student Scores

It was all eyes on Assistant Superintendent, Curriculum, Gillian Wegener on Monday night as some standardized test scores came under review at the Oakdale Joint Unified School Board meeting.

Prior to that report, however, the Pledge of the Allegiance started the meeting as Cloverland Elementary students Jayden Cline, Hayden Felt and Adelaide Crowe did the honors.

Public Comment was then opened up to the community.

Longtime community member and district classified employee Cindy Toste shared her concern for the number of paraprofessionals slated for hire as the district transitions to all day kindergarten in the 2024-25 school year. Specifically, she pointed to a need for each teacher to have a Para in class every day, versus sharing with another classroom.

She further shared the importance of having the extra help, indicating that, as a classified employee, she was speaking from experience and urged the board to consider full time paraprofessionals for each of the teachers.

Assistant Superintendent Wegener the reviewed results of OJUSD SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) scores, with a comparison of 2019 through 2023. The 2020 school year was omitted as testing wasn’t given and 2021 was deemed questionable as students tested at home.

“We have to keep in mind, a number of things,” Wegener shared of the standardized testing. “In 2019, pre-pandemic our students took a full length SBAC. Districts received a claim and target data for each student which meant we could kind of drill down to what each student was doing well in and not so well in.”

Reviewing overall scores for the district as well as broken down by campus, overall the district met or exceeded standards; however, there was a drop from 2019 to 2023 overall. Wegener shared she hopes for the claim or targeted data to return in the 2024 year so needs may be addressed more specifically.

“We are going to continue our teach collaboration and planning at curriculum support sessions and grade level meetings and our district minimum days,” she said. “Teachers have a lot of time that they can work together on these things.”

The sessions are also targeted, she said.

“Our curriculum support sessions, just to be clear, are three sessions where all grade levels come together,” Wegener continued. “So, all our third-grade teachers come together three times a year. Talk about curriculum, talk about what they’re doing to move their students forward. Some of the best days of the year.”

As she reviewed the data for each site, Wegener offered kudos to Oakdale Junior High for favorable test results from the 2022 to 2023 year.

“We are not quite up to the state for met and exceeded but we definitely exceeded Stanislaus County,” she said.

Board member Diane Gilbert inquired on the effects of the overall scores when students do not participate in the SBAC testing. Wegener shared that for the 2023 year the number was small so the impact was felt but not as significantly as it has been in previous years. She noted that numbers can and are affected by students who don’t participate in the testing.

“We need our students to participate,” Gilbert stated, suggesting to Wegener that incentives and informing families of the consequences to the district would be beneficial.

Wegener offered incentives for consideration by the state in the coming year and agreed with Gilbert.

The next board meeting will be hosted Monday, Dec. 11 at the OJUSD Tech Center. The public meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m.