Secondary Site Plans
Last Tuesday, I attended another school board meeting. The purpose of this particular meeting was to review the ‘Site Plans’ for the secondary schools in the district (Maple View Middle School, Summit Trail Middle School, and Tahoma High School). Site Plans are basically the priorities and plans the principals have created for their respective schools. This year, the principals collaborated on their priorities and presented a summary to the superintendent and the board.
To my pleasant surprise, their focus for the 2019-2020 school year will be almost entirely on the advanced students—including gifted!
The impetus for change stems from a statistic introduced by Tony Guirado. From the get-go, Tony has stressed the concept that each student should gain a years’ worth of learning in each year and has set student progress as his driving metric.
The findings are not good. Of all sixth graders, only 43 percent made a year’s worth of growth for the 2017-2018 school year in ELA. Only 31 percent did in math. The numbers are similarly dismal across the other grades.
Splicing the data further, they found that the students making the least growth were those who scored 4s on the SBAC tests. In other words, the highly capable and other advanced students are stagnating, many experiencing less than a quarter of a year’s worth of growth.
This has been a sharp wake-up call for Tahoma leadership, who now recognize that all is not sunshine and roses.
“At Tahoma, we’re not used to looking at statistics like these,” said Andy McGrath, principal of Maple View Middle School. He pointed out that they still have a “comfortable” lead over the state average, but that no one at MVMS is happy about this stagnation.