As President of the Fallbrook Union High School District Board of Trustees, I feel compelled to share some thoughts with the public regarding our school district and Program Improvement. Prompting my comments are misunderstandings regarding what Program Improvement is, how it impacts our school district, and what the implications for Program Improvement are.
Program Improvement (PI) was established as part of the No Child Left Behind Act, federal legislation associated with both funding and accountability. Schools and districts that did not meet the accountability targets for two consecutive years became labeled as PI. Schools that did not meet accountability targets had this occur primarily for English language learner students and/or special education students. This was true for our school district. Regardless of the student group not meeting achievement expectations, the whole school or district was labeled PI, even though other students were meeting and exceeding targets.
The public should know that many schools do not meet all accountability targets but are not labeled PI because they do not accept Title I funding. This is especially true for high schools in unified school districts who choose to spend Title I funds at the elementary level and not the secondary level. We are not a unified district, so we do receive Title I funding. Additionally, the number of accountability targets and the difficulty in meeting those targets are much greater at the high school level.
The impact of Program Improvement within our schools has been a source of both good news and bad news. The good news is that more monies have been targeted to provide additional tutoring services for students needing academic assistance and more monies have been dedicated to teacher professional development. The bad news is that too many parents have concluded that all areas of our schools/District do not meet accountability requirements and are choosing to have their students attend school elsewhere. The majority of students attending other schools outside of our District and who use PI as a reason are not part of the student subgroups who are not meeting federal performance expectations.
Improving student achievement continues to be a priority for our schools and District, but our vision is greater than the testing results used for NCLB and Program Improvement reasons. There is more to student learning and student success. Our students annually have been selected to attend prestigious colleges and universities across the country.
Just this year our students received over $2.5 million in scholarships for both academics and athletics. Our students excel in the visual and performing arts and in Career-Technical Education programs (we have 24 courses in 11 pathways), and in honors and advanced placement courses (we have 12 offered this coming year). See the list below for details.
During the 13-14 school year students participated in at least one of 24 different career technical courses which are part of 11 career technical education pathways. Three of the pathways are in agriculture: Agriculture Mechanics, Horticulture, and Animal Science. Two are in the Arts Media and Entertainment area: Television and Video production, Computers and Graphic Arts. Other pathways include: Child Development and Childcare Careers, Fashion Design & Fashion Merchandising, Food Service and Hospitality, Machining & Welding Technology, Construction & Cabinetmaking, Vehicle Maintenance service/repair. All Pathways include at least a 2 year sequence of courses.
AP Courses for 2014-2015:
AP Courses for 2013-2014:
We are proud of our students and their accomplishments, and as a Board of Trustees, we are committed to enhancing the success of all students.
Board of Trustees
Editor’s Note: Due to its length, this Letter to the Editor has been published in the online version of the Village News only.