SALINAS UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT
Salinas Union HSD was referred to CCEE for assistance in 2019 after the 2018-19 California School Dashboard results showed the district failed to meet priority outcomes for a third year in a row. This year marked the third year for the CA Dashboard, which enacted Education Code subdivision (g) of Section 52064.5 (CA School Dashboard) that if three or more pupil groups identified pursuant to Section 52052, in three out of four consecutive school years, the district is eligible for support from CCEE. The student groups identified for SUHSD are English learners, students experiencing homelessness and students with disabilities. The table below indicates the student groups performance in comparison to the average statewide performance for that student group (the most recent year data are available).
The graphic below shows the enrollment percentage of these student groups relative to the district’s entire student population.
The vast majority of Salinas UHSD students are Hispanic, with other races and ethnicities represented by smaller percentages of students, as reported on the CA Dashboard.
Systemic Instructional Review Themes
The SUHSD SIR report and SUHSD SIR report executive summary were finalized in late June 2020. Three themes emerged in the SUHSD SIR Report as a result of data collection raising concerns about: 1) clarity and coherence, 2) accountability and 3) communication which also refer to the work being done by the district around Fullan and Quinn’s (2016) Coherence Framework.
Through the summer of 2020, SUHSD prioritized their SIR recommended actions and assembled a team that includes stakeholder representation (e.g., principals, teachers, union leaders, paraeducators) to work with CCEE, in partnership with Monterey County Office of Education, to plan and implement the SIR recommendations actions. During this time, SUHSD worked to develop their Distance Learning Plan and resources for its implementation. Throughout the disruption to schools caused by the COVID-19 pandemic SUHSD worked to increase parent communication and find methods that improved the two-way communication between the community and SUHSD. This work will serve as a base for their ongoing improvement communication efforts.
CCEE conducted a progress monitoring quarterly update with Salinas Union HSD and Monterey County Office of Education in early June 2021. The areas of strength included the leveraging of SIR recommended actions to narrow the district’s focus. The district team has aligned their new LCAP, professional development, and professional learning networks (PLN) to increase coherence and clarity. Additionally, a 2021-2022 assessment calendar is in place that includes data chats from district leadership to students and parents.
The district has implemented weekly community communications and clear communication to steering committees that have allowed for the selection of the High School ELD curriculum with teacher input. There is an opportunity to include principal and teacher representatives when designing communication to the field, such as the why, what, and how of co-teaching at SUHSD.
The threats and weaknesses surrounding SUHSD revolve around the need for further clarity, coherence, increasing the depth of implementation at the school site level, and how the central office will support schools using a multi-tiered approach. While general plans and policies are in place, there is no single district instructional plan that includes: focus, expectations, goals, etc., around academic outcomes. Further clarity is needed on the expectations and purpose of classroom visits, setting incremental targets as part of their cycles of improvement and how the cycles being implemented are connected to principal evaluations. These connections and deeper work will allow for further coherence across the SUHSD instructions systems and processes to improve pupil achievement.
During this cycle, CCEE supported the leadership team by providing CCEE professional experts to assist in narrowing the instructional focus areas for the year and developing the assessment calendar for 2021-2022 aligned to these. The district has also identified a process for engaging school principals and school leadership teams in cycles of inquiry to respond to instructional needs and pupil achievement. Additionally, CCEE engaged the SUHSD instructional team in reviewing existing documents, policies, and artifacts that could serve as the basis of the district’s instructional plan. We further supported leadership in connecting the SIR recommendations with the LCAP plan and engaged in learning walks with site leadership teams and provided feedback to site administrators and district leadership. Lastly, we collaborated with Peter DeWitt, a nationally distinguished leadership coach, to align the district’s coaching work with him to the SIR recommended actions
To further build clarity and strengthen the implementation of instructional practices, we recommend developing a district instructional plan with stakeholders that bring together existing practices, instructional documents, connect indicators for engagement and teacher clarity to student outcomes. Adopt the communications strategies and lessons learned during the pandemic to define SUHSD two-way communication and the objectives and indicators of success. Additionally, support principals and assistant principals in implementing quality instruction by codifying the expectations of cycles of improvement and enveloping them in the leadership evaluation process. This will set up school sites to address pupil achievement and hold them accountable to district expectations. Lastly, the district can further build coherence by selecting a couple of elements from their existing Gradual Release of Responsibility(GRR)/ Constructing Meaning (CM) rubric that align with student engagement and teacher clarity to have a common way of measuring implementation and noting the impact of these practices on student learning.