State of the School District 2012

  • State of the School District September 2012

    ASSESSMENT RESULTS

    Students in the Cache County School District score in the top echelons of the state in their accomplishments.  Assessment serves the public and schools by providing measurable information about a students’ core knowledge, skills, and abilities that are measured through high quality valid and reliable assessments. Information obtained from assessments is used to improve student learning, provide accurate reporting of student learning, and support best practices by schools, teachers, and students.
    Students take the following assessments:

    Criterion-Referenced Tests (CRTs)
    - CRTs are used to measure students mastery level of the   Utah Core Curriculum. 
    • Language Arts grades 3-11, 92% of our students were proficient compared to 84% for the state of Utah.
    • Math grades 3-8, Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II, 82% of our students were proficient compared to 69% for the state of Utah.
    • Science grades 4-8, Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, 85% of our students were proficient compared to 72% for the state of Utah.
    For more information of schools CRT scores see: https://cognos1.schools.utah.gov/cognos10

    Direct Writing Assessment grades 5 and 8 -  The Direct Writing Assessment is a summative writing experience designed to assess student writing skills.  Fifth grade students scored 94% proficiency and eighth grade students scored 89% proficient.   For more information on individual schools see: https://cognos1.schools.utah.gov/cognos10

    Utah Academic Language Proficiency Assessment is an annual assessment given to Limited English Proficiency students.

    National Assessments

    EXPLORE grade 8 -  This national test is given by ACT and is designed to help eighth graders explore a broad range of options for their future.  Students are assessed in English, mathematics, reading, and science.  Students in our district scored scored a composite of 16.3 compared to students state wide with a 15.5 composite score.  See www.act.org/explore for more information.

    ACT 11th grade - The ACT is given to all 11th grade students and is designed to measure their level of college and career readiness. Graduating students scored a composite score of 21.3 compared to a composite score for the state of Utah of 20.7.  The national composite score was 21.1.    See www.actstudent.org  for more information. 

    National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) grades 4 and 8 – The NAEP is given to selected grades in our district and measures what students know and can do in various subject areas. For state results see: http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/

    Advanced Placement (AP)

    • MCHS – 402 exams, 67% pass rate
    • SVHS – 261 exams, 71% pass rate

    Concurrent – 10,550 credits earned

    • MCHS – 3,800
    • SVHS – 6,750

    CURRICULUM INFORMATION

    English/Language Arts
    District efforts for implementing the Utah Common Core Standards in English/ Language Arts have been ongoing through professional development with secondary English, ELL, and Special Education teachers.  Our efforts began with the adoption of the standards in 2010 and aim at full implementation and assessment in 2014.  Professional development each year is led by a group of teacher leaders who have received training in the following areas: identification of the key components within the standards, teacher collaboration to strengthen instruction to help students build the necessary skills, and training to assist teachers to incorporate various effective instructional strategies.  The focus for 2012-2013 will be on analysis of assessment items.  Future professional development will include: alignment of curriculum and materials to the CCSS, development of scope and sequencing, and identification of more complex texts.

    Mathematics
    Beginning in the 2012-13 school year, Cache County School District will be implementing Utah Core Curriculum in grades 3-4, 8 and Secondary II. With this phase of implementation we will have continuous articulation of Common Core Math in Kindergarten through 10th Grade. In 2013-14 we will add Secondary III with the Honors strand fully implemented. This process has been supported with extensive teacher training and staff development. Much of it has been designed and led by key effective teachers. At the elementary level 24 teachers make up the Math Committee. This committee has been responsible for curriculum design, pacing, assessment creation and staff development for over 300 elementary teachers.


    Lead teachers also help plan and design curriculum in grades 6-8 and 9-12. This past summer we had nine separate groups working to prepare curriculum for the 2012-13 school year. This included the custom development of Secondary I and Secondary II (with Honors) math instructional resources. These custom books, which are100% aligned with the Common Core Practices and Standards, were printed for every student to begin the school year. 


    Our teaching staff has made an amazing commitment to the new standards with 210 secondary and elementary math teachers voluntarily attending over four days of summer staff development this past summer. Another 287 elementary teachers volunteered an additional day in August for Common Core math training. This summer training, along with the early out sessions provided by the school board during the contract year, has allowed the time necessary to implement this aggressive change in the math curriculum.


    In grades 6-8 we are piloting a digital based math program called ‘Digits’. It provides online instruction during homework with targeted intervention customized to student’s needs. We are anticipating that these resources will lead to successful achievement on the new standard assessments which will go into effect in the spring of 2014-15.

    It is now apparent that the curriculum unity model of coordination, articulation and alignment is beginning to bear fruit. Elementary math performance as measured by state CRT’s is up to 92% proficient. This would place Cache County as the highest scoring system in the state. In addition, several of our 6/7 schools are over 90% proficient and we have outstanding teacher models at every level. First and Second grade testing shows 93% of the students scoring 80% or better on the end of year tests. Kindergarten alone has one of the best common formative assessment systems developed in the entire country. Given this pattern in our K-8 program, along with our commitment at the secondary level for continued staff development, it is anticipated that very high levels of achievement will be experienced by Cache County students when the first Common Core test rolls off the line in 2014.

    SCHOOL DISTRICT FUNDING

    School district funding for fiscal year 2012 compared to 2011 is as follows:

    Funding Sources 2012 Percent of budget 2011 Percent of budget
    Local Source 36,521,608 32% 33,688,302 29%
    State Sources 66,362,395 59% 66,199,529 58%
    Federal Sources 10,163,666 9% 14,660,160 13%
    Totals 113,047,669 100% 114,547,991 100%

    The largest area of revenue decrease was noted in federal ARRA funds and the state legislature was not able to fully cover the federal shortage in 2012. The district has continued to make appropriate budget reductions in expenditures in order to operate within available revenue resources.

    The budget for 2013 is sound and should remain solid throughout the year to finance the educational operations of the district. Individual schools are beginning to struggle to operate within their reduced instructional and custodial supply budgets. School employees continue to receive reduced wages in the form of three furlough days. I hope that we will be able to direct new funds in the future toward these areas along with the numerous other areas that have been reduced during the past four years. 

    ELEMENTARY SCHOOL NEWS

    Elementary Scores in Language Arts, Math, Science

    Ongoing Professional Development
        June Reading training for new teachers in Reading instruction
        Reading and Math trainings during the last two weeks in August
        Reading/Writing instruction training for new teachers in September
        Para-pro training for Tier II programs/8 sessions in September/October

    Four Sessions of District level Professional Development (early-early outs)
        Common Core Language Arts (2 sessions)
        Common Core Math (2 sessions)

    Gifted and Talented Program (School Enrichment Model)
        Five Specialists serving 16 elementary schools
        Approximately 400 identified gifted and talented students

    Title I
        Training on the new Utah ESEA Flexibility Waiver
        No more AYP/rather schools are identified as Priority, Focus or Reward schools
        Millville made AYP this year/still identified as needing improvement for one more year

    TIPS (Teacher Induction Program based on the New Utah Effective Teaching Standards)

    • TIPS I/Seven sessions for 60 new elementary and secondary teachers
    • TIPS II/Five sessions for second year teachers
    • TIPS III/Two sessions for third year teachers


    Training for Administrators the new UCAS assessment System (John Jesse-USOE)
    Grading schools on a 600 point system including proficiency, student growth and parent, teacher and student input surveys, as well as graduation rates for high schools. (September 12th at 9:00 a.m. in the Board Room for all administrations)

    Dual Language Immersion Program

    Begins in 1st grade
    Four schools/Sunrise, Heritage, North Park and Providence
    Application: October 1, 2012
    Languages: Chinese Spanish French Portuguese

    ELL
    All elementary school met AYP and met AMO (annual measurable objectives.)

    SECONDARY SCHOOL NEWS

    Current Configuration (9 Schools):

    (4)  6/7 schools
    (2)  8/9 Center
    (2)  High Schools
    (1) Alternative High School

    Student Growth – refer to the Building Task Force report

    Facility Additions

    •    South Cache – 2 classrooms
    •    Mountain Crest – 2 classrooms

    Future Facility Additions (summer 2013)

    •     Spring Creek – 2 classroom
    •     South Cache – 1 classroom

    Advanced Placement (AP)

    •     MCHS – 402 exams, 67% pass rate
    •     SVHS – 261 exams, 71% pass rate

    Concurrent – 10,550 credits earned

    •     MCHS – 3,800
    •     SVHS – 6,750

    ACT : Composite – District 21.3, State 20.7

    BATC

    •     MCHS – 354 enrolled courses    37,845 enrolled hours
    •     SVHS – 421 enrolled courses    44,134 enrolled hours
    •     CH – 60 enrolled courses   5,567 enrolled hours
    •     Cache District – 835 enrolled courses   87,546 enrolled hours
    •     High demand courses (top 7 in order): Certified Nurse Aide (CNA), Health Sciences, Automotive Services, Welding, Dental Assisting, Culinary Arts
    USU – Concurrent Enrollment courses
    WSU - Concurrent Enrollment courses
    SLCC - Concurrent Enrollment courses
    UVU - Concurrent Enrollment courses
    On-line courses – 4 students

    Graduation Rate (10-11): Cache 89%, State 76%

    Technology in schools

    •     Lab updates every year
    •     WiFi available in all secondary schools
    •     IPAD classrooms
    •     Projection systems available for all teachers

    New Programs

    •     Engineering
    •     Robotics
    •     Health Sciences
    •     Common Core (Math, English)

    Fee Waivers:


    6/7 schools average - $1,600
    8/9 schools average - $22,000
    10-12 schools average - $37,500

    TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT

    The school district currently operates 129 school buses transporting approximately 10,723 students to Public Schools in Cache Valley. The district transportation program serves students in the Cache and Logan Districts through a cooperative agreement made in 1997. There are approximately 5,000 different school bus stops in Cache Valley.

    The district has purchased 4 new school buses this past summer, as well as, purchased a used school bus from another Utah school district last spring. Our oldest operating school buses are model year 1990. Our fleet is one of the oldest school bus fleets in the state; however, our fleet has been recognized by the Utah State Department of Public Safety with its highest fleet safety award each year for 17 consecutive years.

    CHILD NUTRITION

    Congress recently passed the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act which will impact the Child Nutrition program in the Cache County School District. When school starts in 2012-2013 lunch prices will be increased by .10 cents per category (elementary, middle school, high school). These increases are required by the Federal Government and will also impact the lunch menu’s that will be served during the next school year. We continue to strive to provide a healthy, satisfying lunch to the students of Cache County School District and to promote a healthy lifestyle.

    FACILITIES DEPARTMENT

    The buildings currently owned by the Cache County School District includes a total of 2,233,987 square feet and is comprised of sixteen elementary schools, four middle schools, two 8/9 Centers, two high schools, one alternative high school, the district office, the service center and student support services building. The District also owns twenty nine portable structures which house thirty six classrooms. The District is also leasing two portable structures that house a total of four classrooms.

    The ages of our school buildings range from eighty one years as the oldest which is the two story section of Summit Elementary built in 1931 to the two year old Birch Creek Elementary and Heritage Elementary Schools built in 2010. Apart from school buildings the very oldest footage in the district is the south west portion of the district office which was built in 1896. Approximately 50% of the total square footage of district buildings was constructed prior to 1985 and 50% since then. 25% has been built within the last thirteen years.

    Generally the District’s buildings provide a safe, comfortable and friendly learning environment. For the most part heating, electrical and plumbing systems are adequate. The age of these systems mirrors the age of the buildings that house them. The recently constructed elementary schools contain the latest state of the art electrical and HVAC systems while the very oldest structures like Lewiston Elementary and Wellsville Elementary still contain their original electrical and HVAC systems that are becoming increasingly more difficult to maintain. A significant portion of the District’s newer buildings is heated by small residential type forced air furnaces which are serving the District well and are being replaced on a case by case basis as they wear out. However, several of these buildings also contain networked electronic HVAC controls that are becoming obsolete and are in need of fairly significant component upgrades.

    Efforts are constantly being made to be energy efficient. The state of the art equipment in the newest buildings has reduced the operating costs of those facilities. In our older buildings, as equipment wears out efforts have been made to install energy efficient replacements. Of note is the fact that a lighting retrofit project was completed several years ago that replaced nearly all of the old inefficient light fixtures throughout the district with modern efficient lighting.

    Handicap accessibility is an area of concern. All but the newest buildings have deficiencies that range from minor to extensive but budgets have not been adequate to address this issue in any significant way. Many alterations have been made to many of the buildings over the last several years to address this issue but there are still many corrections remaining to be made.

    Seismic safety concerns exist in several of the older buildings. The recently completed Building Task Force Committee report goes into much more detail, but to summarize, the areas of greatest concern are those buildings or portions of buildings that are constructed of unreinforced masonry. In this category are Lewiston Elementary, Wellsville Elementary, Millville Elementary, Park Elementary, Summit Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, the District Office and the Student Support Services Building. To a lesser extent, seismic issues extend beyond the above mentioned buildings. Building codes first began addressing this issue in 1976 and any structure built prior to that date is suspect. We have a significant inventory of buildings that fall within that category.

    One large area of concern is the amount of deferred maintenance that is accumulating. With the significant reduction in funding recently made by the State there are many areas of regular maintenance that are being neglected. However, with that being said, I feel that the district maintenance staff and custodial staffs at all of the schools deserve an expression of gratitude for all the hard work they do and for the pride they take in keeping our buildings up and running and making them so presentable. Considering the limited amount of available funding, the overall condition of our facilities is due in large part to their efforts.

    POWERSCHOOL

    Powerschool (student information system) meets the demands of instant communication in education today by providing real-time updates of student information and data supporting evidence of student learning to parents and students. Parents, teachers, and students also enjoy the ability to access this information via free mobile apps currently available in the Apple store in addition to well-designed mobile web pages viewable on any mobile device. Direct e-mail links available for parents, students, and teachers enable users to initiate email communication with a single click. Parents may also choose to receive automatic email notifications of grades and attendance, assignment scores, attendance, and school announcements sent daily, weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly. For parents who wish to subscribe to class assignments, scores, final grades, and/or school events the system supports an iCalendar standard.

    By linking their children’s information to their parent account, parents receive the ability to view the following information for each student as soon as teachers update it (students also can access this information):

    • Daily or period attendance – current/past week and past history
    • Current attendance totals
    • Calculated final grade updated with each new assignment score entry
    • Individual assignments including teacher notes, due dates, and scores received
    • State and Common Core Standards proficiencies as aligned to assignments
    • Past grades received in prior terms
    • Teacher comments
    • School bulletin items

    With approximately 1,140 administrative users, 8,308 secondary student users (previously available to secondary students only, now available to ALL students), and 4,862 parent accounts, Powerschool remains heavily used; however, encouraging more parents to create accounts continues to be an ongoing challenge.


    TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT

    By working closely with the Utah Education Network in addition to taking advantage of the Federal E-Rate Program, our schools enjoy one gigabyte fiber networks.   We support over 4,500 computers ranging in age from brand new to over nine years old with over 63% being over four-years-old. Our department also manages 318 networked printers, 250 switches, and 190 wireless access points. We provide and manage network, email, and wireless access for over 16,000 students and over 1,000 employees. Managed servers include 26 physical and 16 virtual machines.

    Responsibilities of the Technology Department include the following:

    • •Network Function in and to Schools
    • •Wireless Networks
    • •Computing Devices and Printers
    • •VOIP Phone Systems
    • •All Servers and Programs Housed In-District
      • Storage
      • Printing
      • E-Mail
      • Spam Filtering
      • Web Filtering
      • Domain Name Services
      • Security Firewalls
      • Servers Housing Following Programs
        • Powerschool (Student Information System)
        • Munis Server (Employee System) and Time Clocks
        • School Accounting Programs
        • Reading Programs
        • Media Management Program

    One of the biggest challenges currently facing the technology department is preparing for “One-to-One” and “Bring-Your-Own-Device” (BYOD) demands that our district may face. These initiatives require enhancing current wireless capabilities. Additional future challenges include improving fault tolerance (system redundancy), updating current server and network equipment, and developing a disaster recovery plan. Our biggest challenge, as always, remains supporting these technologies on a limited budget while providing high-level professional services.