Test scores of Western Placer Unified School District students are improving and well above the statewide average, according to the district’s supplemental programs and accountability director Kathleen Leehane Tuesday night.
Leehane presented the findings to the district’s board of trustees. The results are from Smarter Balanced Assessment English and Math tests given to elementary and middle school students and 11th-grade students.
English and math test scores for third- and fourth-graders “are particularly improving,” Leehane said, which is the first group of students under the Common Core curriculum since kindergarten.
“I’m optimistic this will keep,” Leehane said. “We are well above the statewide average and moving closer to the Placer County average. The Placer County average is a little above us.”
Placer County is the highest scoring county in the state for this testing, according to school board President Paul Carras.
Superintendent Scott Leaman is “very positive” about the results.
“I think it shows a pattern of improvement,” Leaman said. “I was especially impressed with the math scores because that was a focus for us from last year. But there is always work to do on all test scores.”
“What’s most impressive to me is we are closing the gap between ourselves and the Placer County average and we are far above the statewide average,” Leaman added. “It’s amazing because we receive the same amount of funds as most of California. However, there are places with very high home prices. Marin County gets $23,000 per student and we receive $7,500 per student and Placer County still outperforms them. It’s amazing.”
Food and nutrition grant
The school district received an $8,000 grant for food, nutrition and agriculture education at all the primary school sites, according to food services director Christina Lawson. The district is one of nearly 100 California school districts incorporating California Thursdays to highlight locally-grown produce at the elementary schools, she added.
“We will have a farmers’ market from 11:30 to 1 p.m. Oct. 25 at Carlin C. Coppin Elementary School,” Lawson said. “There will be three local farmers to talk to the students.”
The farmers’ market is open to students and their parents. The local farmers include Twin Peaks of Newcastle.
Carras was pleased that the district received the grant.
“Food services don’t always make money,” Carras said, “but if they’re eating it and it’s healthy, that’s what counts.”
Board member Kris Wyatt agreed with Carras.
“I love what’s happening with food services,” Wyatt said. “Back in the day, it was pasta and cinnamon rolls.”
Twelve Bridges Middle School spotlight
Tuesday night’s district board meeting was at Twelve Bridges Middle School and featured a presentation by Principal Randy Woods and teachers.
Woods highlighted the school’s focus on AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), a college preparatory program, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math).
“We are a certified AVID site. There’s not a classroom on campus that doesn’t have AVID,” Woods said. “AVID and STEAM are teamed up this year.”
Woods introduced teachers Lucy Coleman and Chris McCabe, who incorporate STEAM in their elective classes. McCabe teaches digital art and 3-D animation and Coleman teaches robotics and astrobiology.
McCabe said the 3-D animation class is “fantastic.”
“The room is quiet and the students are all working by the time the tardy bell rings,” McCabe said.
Coleman said part of her robotics class has nothing to do with robots.
“A huge part of the class is learning to cooperate and work together,” Coleman said. “The students are learning a lot about engineering and the design process.”
Lincoln High School student representative Lindsey Ridgeway reported that the recent homecoming dance was the largest ever with 900 tickets sold and 850 students attending. The women’s golf team was undefeated this season, won two tournaments and plays Monday at the Section finals in Atwater, she added.
Leaman to address Chamber of Commerce
Leaman will be the keynote speaker Wednesday at the Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce monthly breakfast at Orchard Creek Lodge at Lincoln Hills. For information about attending the monthly breakfast, call the chamber at 916-645-2035.