Bilingual students to have opportunity to earn high school credits through World Language Assessments

Edmonds_School_DistrictEdmonds School District students who speak languages other than English will have the opportunity to earn high school credits this year.

District staff presented a report on World Language Assessments during Tuesday’s Board of Directors meeting.

Students will be able to earn up to four high school credits by demonstrating their proficiency through reading, writing, speaking and listening. Staff reported that others in the state who have taken one of the World Language Proficiency Assessments have been quite successful, with students in the Auburn and Highline Districts averaging three credits. The assessments are comprehensive and students need to be literate in the language, District staff said.

Students in grades 7-12 are eligible to take the tests and the District will be paying for the test fees. Most of the languages spoken in the District are covered by one of the World Language Assessments. The tests will be offered on April 25 and May 16. Each school has a specific individual who can provide more information or parents and students can go to:

Demonstrating proficiency on these assessments also will allow students to attain the Seal of Biliteracy, a notation that can be placed on the students’ diploma or high school transcript. The seal denotes that the student is proficient in reading, writing, speaking and listening in English and another language. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is still finalizing details on the program.

In other news:

– Executive Director of Student Learning Lara Drew told the Board of a new state law that states families of third-grade students who receive a Level 1 on the Smarter Balance Assessment must have a conference with the school principal and teacher to talk about the student’s program and support for the student. The conference needs to take place before June and coincides with the time teachers and administrators are doing their grading and evaluations. The state does not provide any additional resources for local school districts. Drew also mentioned that there is a bill is the state to undo this new law.

– The District is planning to streamline its various summer programs. The secondary summer school and the e-Learning program will be housed at Meadowdale High School. Students would have the opportunity to take hybrid classes.

The summer math program will be continuing at Cedar Valley Community School and possibly one other site and the District will provide transportation. The District also plans to offer a central website that will streamline the process for registration.

Future enhancements could include expanding the summer math program to a full day at one of the sites and adding certificated teachers to the math program, which currently is staffed by volunteers.

Board President Diana White liked the idea of consolidating the information on the summer programs.

“I know there’s been a lot of confusion in the past,” she said.

Some parents have questioned whether some classes are by invitation only or if they needed to make a call to get into the class, White said.

In the past, the District had more robust and comprehensive summer offerings but they were lost due to budget cuts, Drew said. The District will be looking at ways to enhance its summer programs in the future, Drew added.

– District Assistant Superintendent (Secondary) Patrick Murphy provided some Equal Opportunity Schools data. The District saw an increase of 148 students taking Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) classes, an increase of about 19 percent.

Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace high schools are proportionally enrolled for its students of color and Edmonds-Woodway has increased its numbers of minority students in its classes and expects to be closer or at proportional enrollment.

Last year 91.5 percent of all students who took AP and IB classes earned a C or higher and this year with the increase in students and emphasis on more diversity, 89.3 percent earned a C or higher. Last year students’ GPA was 3.01 and this year it’s 2.91. Lynnwood, which saw an increase of 66 students, saw an increase in GPA from 2.89 to 2.92.

“This is a promising indicator,” Murphy said of the data.

As the number of AP and IB students increase, the District is having the same success rate, Murphy said.

– Meadowdale Principal Kevin Allen provided details about the school’s Achievement Time in which students earning a C- or lower in any class are expected to stay with their classroom teacher for the last 15 minutes of class in order to receive extra help.

Each of the high schools has a different way of doing what they define as Achievement Time, Allen said. Because the schools have different schedules, the District currently is not looking at a uniform policy, Murphy said.

Allen said that a look at some data since the program was implemented in 2009 seems to indicate an overall reduction among all students for failing grades since the program was implemented.

Meadowdale student representative Leila Mengesha supported the school’s Achievement Time.

“Achievement Time is an integral part of our community at Meadowdale,” she said.

Mengesha said that she recently missed her French class because of a Hi-Q Tournament and she was able to get notes and catch up during Achievement Time.

– The Board unanimously approved a new Video Security and Access Control on School Property. School district grounds, building and property including buses used for district purposes may be equipped with video security cameras. Equipment may be placed in areas where there is not a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as parking lots, entrances, exits, hallways, front offices, gymnasiums, cafeterias, libraries, and other public shared, or common spaces. Equipment is not placed in areas where there is a “reasonable expectation of privacy,” such as locker rooms and restrooms, according to the new procedures.

Video recordings may be used by the District for five reasons:

  • Promotion of a safe school environment;
  • Student and employee discipline proceedings;
  • Protection of District property;
  • Adherence to District legal and administrative directives; and
  • Inquiries and proceedings related to law enforcement.

Signs are clearly posted alerting staff, students and the public that video may be recorded. Requests to view video by parents/guardians of students in the video must be made within 30 days of recording.

– In other business, the Board unanimously approved:

  • A contract for Roof Replacement at Oak Heights Elementary School
  • A contract for Asbestos Roofing Debris Cleanup at Spruce Elementary School and Mountlake Terrace Elementary School
  • The Construction Budget and Call for Bids for Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Improvements, Playfield Drainage and Playground and Parking Pavement Projects at Sherwood Elementary School

– As proclaimed by Gov. Jay Inslee, March 9-13  is Classified Public School Employee Appreciation Week. In honor of this, the following classified staff were nominated for School Board recognition for their outstanding service to the Edmonds School District:

  • Merry Rumpel, Receptionist – Educational Service Center
  • Connie Blevins, Speech, Language and Hearing Manager, and IEP Online Support Specialist
  • Kerri Grennan, Paraeducator – Cedar Way Elementary
  • Michelle Clark, Paraeducator – Cedar Way Elementary
  • Sandy Higgins, Attendance/ASB/Athletic Secretary – Alderwood Middle School
  • Carol Nelson, Registrar – Alderwood Middle School
  • Mary Stephens-Bell, Office Manager – Edmonds Woodway High School
  • Debbie Burns, Office Manager – Meadowdale High School
  • Nancy Overturf, Paraeducator – College Place Middle School
  • Jill Perander, Paraeducator – Spruce Elementary
  • Dorothy Shields, Paraeducator – Mountlake Terrace Elementary

– By David Pan

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