Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP)
The Superintendent has provided responses and answers to the comments and questions submitted from the public on the First Draft of the Local Control and Accountability Plan.
Numbers 1-6 below reflects the joint comments submitted and signed by 18 of the 33 Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) and the District English Learner Advisory:
1. LCAP Supplemental Funding lacks clear vision and lacks explicit linkage to overall district spending and relevant district plans, such as the English Learner Master Plan. We need to better understand what these funds “supplement.”
Response: While the LCAP is not intended to be a strategic plan for the district or provide an accounting for the entire budget, it is important to provide the context of major district initiatives. A new summary was created for the LCAP (2nd Draft) in order to place the supplemental funds in the context of the BUSD mission, vision and strategic initiatives, such as the 2020 Vision and the English Learner Master Plan. The LCAP draft now also shows where additional funding sources address the priorities, including BSEP funds, categorical funds, grants, and base funding.
2. LCAP spending priorities are not adequately directed to targeted student populations. Funding allocated to the student population at large is not supported by evidence that this funding will disproportionally benefit targeted students, as we believe the law requires.
The California Education code [§15496] states that while the funds must be directed to increased or improved services for the targeted students, these funds may be used to improve programs on a school-wide basis or district-wide basis, in accordance with Education Code section [§42238.07(a)(2)]. In that case, the LCAP should identify how such school-wide and district-wide services are directed towards meeting the district’s goals for its unduplicated [target] students, and in the case of a district-wide expenditure, how it is the most effective use of funds for that goal. The LCAP (2nd Draft) should make this distinction even clearer.
3. Overall “Goals and Objectives” are not sufficient to adequately address the magnitude and depth of current problems facing targeted student populations. We are not ambitious enough in our expectations for our learners and our educational system; we are not setting high enough expectations for our youth or our community.
The District has heard this concern and has made revisions in the new draft.
4. Performance measures and evaluation metrics proposed in the LCAP do not measure what truly matters in terms of student learning and engagement, supporting teachers, and improving the educational system.
A: We are required by the state to include certain metrics, as noted on the first two pages of the state’s template in the section on State Priorities. BUSD has added internal metrics which are meaningful to Berkeley schools, including goals from the 2020 Vision focused on student learning and engagement. The evaluation process will not only include those metrics but also the implementation of the goals and action steps proposed in the LCAP that include qualitative and quantitative measures of student learning and engagement, support for teachers, and changes in the current systems and structures.
5. Proposed LCAP funding for program evaluation is not adequately developed or defined.
In the new draft of the LCAP, Section 3C, the explanation of the role of the evaluator has been expanded, while keeping within the limits of the state-required template. The Department of Research and Evaluation represents a dedicated Professional Learning Community of staff focused on the evaluation needs in the district. The 0.4 FTE Teacher on Special Assignment (TSA) would join this team and work with the Director of this department and the Director of Special Projects and Programs to provide on-going monitoring of the LCAP goals, programs and metrics. (See additional responses regarding evaluation below.)
6. The PAC and DELAC consultation and input process lacked adequate opportunity for group discussion and development of programmatic response.
Given the extremely compressed timeframe accorded us by the state, the amount of stakeholder consultation was significant, as you can see in the Draft 2 Appendix. There were 37 meetings with stakeholder groups, including 7 meetings with the PAC and/or DELAC, two large community forums, and multiple public presentations to the Board. We look forward to building on this year’s process as we continue the work with on-going advisory committees: DELAC, PAC and Educator Advisory Committee (EAC). The members of these committees will be an important part of the ongoing process of review and updating of the plan in the coming years.[End of joint PAC/DELAC comment]
Comments from Individual PAC or DELAC Members
Goal: Cultural and Linguistic Relevance
Q: In addition to English Learners, what other student groups (African American, English Only Latino, ) will be included in the culturally relevant teaching practices and strategies training?
A: All underserved student groups will benefit from the training teachers will receive in culturally relevant teaching practices and strategies.
Q: Will Standard English Learners as defined below receive targeted services specific to their needs as defined below? If so, how?
A: RtI2 coaches and literacy coaches will work directly with identified students and support teachers in the use of the most effective strategies for learning and practicing academic language. Through professional development and school-wide collaborations, Berkeley High School has increased the use of common academic language across the curriculum through the use of constructing meaning and constructed response strategies.
Q: Why is the target not set to reach 100% of teachers by year three? Have 10% of the teachers already received this training and monitoring? If so, how.
A: We will work to ensure that every teacher participates in this training, and is supported in the use of culturally and linguistically relevant strategies with on-going professional development and coaching at the school site. However, with new teachers joining the district every year, it would be unrealistic to guarantee that 100% of our teachers could be trained at any one time. We will be keeping a log to track teacher participation.
Q: After the training is completed, how does the district plan to assess implementation of these strategies?
A: This will be included as part of the supervision provided by principals, supported by school equity teacher leaders, and monitored with the use of the Equity Rubric.
Q: What actions will the district take with teachers who refuse to implement multiple intelligence learning strategies?
A: Addressing our students’ multiple intelligences is an integral component of professional development related to teaching the new Common Core, and will be part of the teaching the Next Generation Science Standards. The district has not recently provided professional development specifically on teaching to multiple intelligences. The new Director of Schools will be out in classrooms every day and working with principals and professional development specialists to ensure we are providing the support our teachers need to reach students with diverse learning styles.
Goal: Teachers of Color
Q: Why is the goal only an increase of 1% a year? How is this goal ambitious for current HR staff when we have approximately 6 candidates already that can meet that goal for year 1 through the current “Transition to Teaching” program?
A: Given that the opportunity for increasing teaching staff arises only when there is staff turnover or expansion of programs, the metric is being changed instead to monitor the percentage of teachers of color among the new hires, as well as the demographics of our teaching staff overall. Our goal is to increase the number of qualified teachers of color who are hired and retained each year. And meanwhile, the district is currently already making progress, through the T3 “Transition to Teaching” program. We are looking at a plan that could incorporate “growing more of our own” to become teachers, and connecting with local colleges to improve our ability to attract more teachers of color from local teaching credential programs. A more ambitious metric will be included in the next draft of the LCAP.
Q: Why do we need a credentialed teacher to do this work part-time or on assignment? Would this be a teacher of color? If so, we need them in the classroom as much as possible to meet students and families desire to have more teachers of color teaching.
A: A key qualification for this position is the ability to know and understand the role of a teacher, and more importantly to understand the challenges of being a teacher of color in the Berkeley Unified School District. The current intent is to have a part-time teacher of color to lead this work.
Q: What are the barriers that are limiting current classified staff from participating in the transition program? (e.g. Is the funding enough, is it hard to access or enter the classes, could bringing the professors to school sites increase enrollment?
A: At this point, the district has not done a survey with classified employees to determine what the barriers might be. However, we can work with staff who have transitioned to teaching to find out what their barriers were and use that input to inform our outreach to classified staff of color.
Q. What are additional strategies that will be used to ensure students of color have access to the best or most effective teachers? Studies on closing the achievement gap site access to the best teachers as a key factor in closing the gap. Current studies also report that most students of color are instead intentionally getting the most inexperienced teachers. What measurements or monitoring do we have to ensure the latter is not happening in BUSD?
A. It is true that in some districts it has been documented that schools with high numbers of students of color often have less experienced teachers. However, because our zoning system is effective in promoting the integration and diversity of our schools, this is not an issue that affects our students.
Goal: College and Career Planning
Q: How will BUSD identify which students to target?
A: The high school is now using an Academic Support Index (a tool to identify students potentially at risk for targeted intervention and support) and an 8th to 9th grade Transition Rubric to identify students who may need additional support.
Q: How many African American students would be targeted for this goal? How many of the African American students targeted are also socio-economically disadvantaged; special education; and students in intervention and/or support programs?
A: The plan includes a goal to ensure all 9th grade students in targeted subgroups are supported in the development of a college and career plan. Numbers of students in each of these groups will be available in the Fall.
Q: What support systems are in place for African American Students that are not targeted? What improvements need to be made to those support systems?
A: African American students as well as their peers who are meeting academic and social-emotional standards connect with and are supported in a variety of ways, including clubs and athletics, enrichment classes, leadership opportunities and the career and counseling offices.
Q: How is BUSD going to make sure that students don’t continue to “fall through the cracks” at the High School Level?
A: BUSD is making the Intervention Coordinator / Counselor full-time, utilizing the Transcript Evaluation System to monitor progress toward graduation, and initiating the Academic Support Index and Transition Rubric to provide early identification of students who are at risk.
College and Career Goal:
Implementation – Question/Comment for Response:
Q: What year do these students begin receiving these services at the high school?
A: Upon approval of the LCAP, the services will begin in 2014-15, beginning with 9th grade students and tracking these students through their high school career.
Q: How are the services of the intervention coordinator different from the services an academic counselor would normally provide?
A: In addition to the services of an academic counselor, the intervention coordinator will connect students with appropriate resources such as academic after-school tutoring, mental health counseling, targeted intervention programs, community resources and/or social service agencies to address their specific needs.
Q: What is the role of the academic counselor past scheduling students for counselors and writing recommendation letters for the top performing students?
A: As part of LCAP, the academic counselors will benefit from access to the Transcript Evaluation System which allows them to monitor the progress of all students.
Q: How is the school going to ensure adequate GPA calculations for students who have taken AP courses?
A: The current GPA calculations are accurate.
Q: Is there a policy in place that drop the class from the students GPA calculation when the class has been retaken and a higher grade received? Currently, the lower grade still counts, but the higher grade is footnoted to colleges in the application. If we move to a college ready culture, than we just calculate as the colleges would and drop the grade from the GPA calculation. What are your thoughts on this process?
A: The GPA calculation in PowerSchool does not drop grades for re-taking courses. The current policy requires that both grades are noted on the transcripts so they are averaged. There is no footnote option for transcripts.
Q: How many African American students are currently enrolled in AVID in Berkeley? How do they target African American Enrollment?
A: There are currently 107 African American students enrolled in AVID, which is designed for those students whose parents have not attended college.
Q: What is there success rate with the African American students and families?
A: National research indicates that AVID has been an exemplary program in helping targeted students successfully prepare for college.
Q: Would the district consider College Bound programs that have a great rate with African American Students over long and short periods of time, and include guaranteed acceptance to various colleges?
A: As part of the LCAP goal to have every student College and Career Ready, the district is exploring developing a Middle College program with Berkeley Community College. Research shows that Middle College programs are successful.
Q: Could the district also partner with STEPS to SF STATE which will guarantee acceptance to the college when students complete the program?
A: The Step to College (STC) Program is a collaborative effort among high schools and the Colleges of Education and Ethnic Studies. STC is active at BHS with both students beginning the program as juniors and then as high school seniors, the course focuses on critical thinking and computer skills. This year, there are two courses taught by SF State faculty. One course is offered to the Seniors in partnership with the Bridge program and the other offered to Latino and African-American males. In both courses, the SF state faculty familiarize students with the format and structure of a university course. Students who participate in the program also receive help filling out university applications for admissions and financial aid, and when possible, scholarship support. Step to College does not guarantee acceptance to San Francisco State but rather gives them the skills to apply and be accepted as a result of their hard work. At the recent Bridge Graduation, 100% of students are going to college and at least 25% of the students have chosen San Francisco State.
Q: Have appropriate cost benefit analysis been given to expanding services of current providers versus hiring new providers to provide similar services? (This question relates to all expansion services noted in the plan).
A: No, we have not done such an analysis.
Goal: Third Grade Literacy
By the end of third grade, 80 percent or more of students will meet reading targets by 2015-16. The percentage of each applicable student subgroup reaching third grade reading level will increase by at least 5 percentage points each year.
Q: What specific additional measures/resources will be provided to the targeted students specifically, African American, English Only Latino students?
A: The following additional services will be provided to the targeted students including: the Middle School Bridge Program for African-American students, Career and College Plan for all identified ninth graders, the increase in dedicated time that the Intervention Coordinator / Counselor will serve targeted Berkeley High School students, RtI2 teacher / coaches at every elementary school, additional mental health services, a new social-emotional curriculum at all elementary schools, and the expansion of AVID to grade 11.
Q:How does the district monitor the ELL master plan and current funds to ensure those resources are meeting the targeted student population for reading readiness?
A: Monitoring the implementation of the Master Plan for English Learners will be the responsibility of the new Director of Special Programs and Projects. LCAP supplemental funding is helping us to increase services at every K-8 school for our English Learners with dedicated English Language Development teachers.
Q: Achievement Gap studies also reflect that high expectations is a needed solution to close the achievement gap. How does the goal of 5% a year which will only result in 65% reading readiness by year three reflect high expectations? This would be a D performance on a grading scale. As a district can we at least shoot for our students and staff to get a B in three years’ time for these subgroups?
A: Our goal has been revised to increase our target growth in third grade reading proficiency by 7% a year, or 21% in three years. The third grade reading proficiency of African American students has grown an average of 4.5% per year for the last two years. Reaching a growth of 7% each year will be an ambitious goal for us.
Goal 5: 3rd Grade Literacy – Question/Comment for Response:
Q: Has the district done a cost benefit analysis of contracting with groups such as readers of tomorrow versus using current teachers?
A: No, we have not done such an analysis as we have found that the investment in the professional development of K-5 Literacy Coaches and classroom teachers has demonstrated success such as the increase in student achievement in Reading, Writing and Spelling.
Q: Based on current teacher’s success with targeted students, how would using them for even more time be the best approach? Would the hired teachers be those that have a proven success rate currently?
A: Your question refers to the expenditure of LCAP supplemental funding on literacy coaches in our K-5 schools. All of the literacy coaches provide both 1:1 and small group instruction, and work with classroom teachers on best practices for teaching literacy. The data on third grade reading literacy for the last two years indicates that the number of African American students reading proficiently in third grade has grown by an average of 4.5% each year (a 9% increase in two years). The coaches have been effective in their work with students and teachers. Literacy coaches are selected based on their effectiveness in teaching students in the classroom.
Q: Could this work be more beneficial coupled with a community based after-school program that also offers resiliency programs and cultural enrichment training for these students?
A: One strategy that has worked well is to train and support BUILD tutors from UC Berkeley to work with students in our afterschool and city rec centers in the use of effective reading and writing strategies. The role of the literacy coaches is to both serve students directly and to coach classroom teachers in the use of effective practices. We will be looking at the hours that our RtI2 and literacy coaches are working in order to maximize opportunities for them to work with students both during the school day and after school. The goal is to provide access to both academic skills and programs like those you mention that will build resiliency and honor our students’ ethnic identity.
Goal: English Fluency for English Learners(p. 23 of 28):
Q: Being that this is a law that BUSD is currently violating, why is this funding coming from supplemental funds and not the core budget?
A: Education Code requires that every ELD student receive 30 minutes of English Language Development (ELD) instruction every day.Targeted ELD instruction happens in the classroom and through targeted small group instruction, and at a few schools through the Language Lab. With the increase in funding we now have through the LCAP supplemental funds, the additional ELD teachers will give more opportunities to pre-teach and scaffold instruction so that our EL students are advancing their English skills as well as accessing core grade level content.
Q: How can ELL learners partner with other students which need additional support in ELA as studies show partnering partnering ELL learners with other Standard English Learners helps both groups?
A: Every elementary school offers a variety of literacy skill building activities that include opportunities for students to be partnered in a variety of settings including one-on-one, small group, and multi-grade programs (ex. reading buddies, pen pals etc.).
Goal 7: Eighth Grade Math
Q: How can students begin to learn at their measured grade level and then progress? I believe a big problem in math is that students are learning material that is above their actual performance level and therefore they accept early on that they are just “not good at math” and “check out” instead of work harder to “tune in”. Adults exhibit this same behavior when topics are being discussed that they don’t understand or feel connected to. As such, how can we target students to learn at their level during the math assigned learning times in school (vs. before and after school)? It does a great disservice to students to be in a learning environment that is over their head.
A: In all grade levels, formative math assessments are used in the classroom throughout the year to determine what students know and are able to do. As a result of these assessments as well as teacher observation, teachers scaffold lessons and use other strategies to address students at their level.
Goal: Graduate ready for college
Q: Can we specify if graduating ready for college means a four year college comparable to a UC or CSU or based on A-G criteria? Currently, you can be 19 and go to a community college which would meet this goal as currently written. I would like to see students be ready for a four year college and make the choice to go to community college first, versus community college being the eligible option.
A: The new goal is designed to prepare all students to be college and career ready. The goal measures the number of students who are A-G ready. We believe that with more interventions and supports, students will be better informed about course selection and the choices they are making about their college and career plans, and better prepared to excel in their coursework.
Goal: Social-Emotional Skills, and Mental Health
Q: Can you please advise as to how BTA specifically is going to get additional services to address the emotional needs and barriers to learning of these high risk and highest need students?
Q: What support systems does BUSD have for this staff? I believe the current staff is on track to “burn out” without the additional staff as requested to service this PTSD need. Can you please advise as to why this would not be the case?
A: BTA has an academic counselor, an Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs counselor, a Student Welfare and Attendance Specialist, two campus monitors, a contract for a weekly Alive and Free program with Dr. Joe Marshall, and ten full-time teachers for 113 students.
Q. Parents are concerned that the money for the supplemental funds were specified for the “all children–with attention to subgroups” is not going to things that we actually know would have a disproportionately positive impact on the subgroups targeted by the supplemental funds. This concern was raised in part because there was no clear impact evidence presented about the selected programs. [for example, reduction in math class size, or the TSA for increasing the percentage of teachers of color….are these the best strategies for these goals?]
A: We do have data showing that our reduced math class sizes appear to have made a difference over the past 5 years, as funded through BSEP. We are currently proposing reduced math class sizes funded through the LCAP base funding. For the Teacher on Special Assignment (TSA) to support, recruit, and retain teachers of color, we are also looking at other means of achieving the same goal by looking into successful strategies used in other districts.
Q. Parents are concerned that the outcome targets proposed in the LCAP were not ambitious enough. They would just result in tinkering on the margins, not really changing the pattern of outcomes for these targeted students or the achievement gap overall. I can see the tension here. On the one hand, I would imagine that the district would want to set itself up for success by selecting targets that they believe are attainable with minimal effort. On the other hand, parents and community members do not think those goals are acceptable as they set expectations that are too low for our children, our educators, and our community. I think there are two options here (1) treat the LCAP process as a State accountability only exercise which would mean setting a low bar or (2) treat this LCAP process as both a State and community accountability plan that really strives to change the status quo. I think the Parent Advisory Committee wants the process they are engaged in to be #2 and the district was looking at it as #1; My sense is that the district wants to treat this as #1 then there must be some sort of companion documentation created that describes a community accountability plan/pact that shows more ambitious benchmarks and meets the needs that the community has for #2.
A: The District has viewed the LCAP process as both a state and community accountability plan. The newest version indicates that staff has heard the community on this issue and appropriate metrics were increased.
Q. I am concerned about the fact that the outcomes measures used are same old, same old. They are quite basic and do not necessarily measure what matters most for supporting learning—especially in the target population. Some specific examples/suggestions:
a. Student Engagement is just measured as showing up (attendance), rather than how engaged children are in the learning experiences they are having. There is significant research and several survey measures that would allow the district to go beyond that and consider measuring cognitive, behavioral and affective engagement in learning. I’d be happy to share some with the district.
b. Math is only test at 8th grade using a test we know very little about at this moment. I’d be happy to share some additional options for consideration regarding measuring math engagement and learning.
c. Literacy is only if reading at grade level by 3rd grade.
d. Parent engagement-is a question on a survey that we know the parents targeted by this set of funds are least likely to complete (I’ve been the survey chair for Rosa Parks SGC for the last two years and can speak to this if you like).
A. The outcome measures in the LCAP include those mandated by the state (attendance), and those named through our 2020 Vision (8th grade math, 3rd grade reading). We have added a metric showing how we will measure collaborative connections with families, using for example site coordinator records. Within our internal accountability process, staff reviews formative and summative data on an ongoing basis. Teachers are using these results to inform their practice in the classroom.
Q: I am wondering if there is a plan in place to support teachers with Common Core or Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). It was not evident within this process. It seems that teachers could use significant support in this area—especially and immediately with CC Math. In terms of NGSS, it appears that the district needs a district level plan for NGSS implementation as well as some indicators in the LCAP plan for science. At minimum, one indicator could be time spent on science (Oakland actually set some minimum minutes requirements for science learning in their district a few years ago). More ambitious would be learning or achievement outcome measures in science either using the state test as is at any point in time or using some more creative measures which I’d be happy to share ideas about. (FYI we have been testing these out at Superintendents Science Saturday as part of a grant that I have at LHS)
A: The Board approved a plan for the implementation of Common Core on September 25, 2013. The Next Generation Science Standards standards have been adopted but the framework and textbooks are not yet in place. However, we have teams of teachers already working on the transition to the new science standards, including some new collaborations with UC Berkeley science faculty and the Lawrence Hall of Science aimed at more hands-on science for students. You will also see that in the most recent version of the LCAP plan, we have a specific action with metrics tied to support and professional development for teachers in the use of the Common Core and NGSS.
Q. I am also concerned about lack of any attention to science at all in the LCAP plan. As I have shared in the past, there is clearly an intention by CA State Board of Education that the LCAP plan’s priority regarding standards implementation is to include NGSS. This is completely missing from the plan. I would be happy to provide some ideas about this as well (both as a parent and as a professional that Directs the Research Group at UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science).
A: Science is an important part of our students being career and college ready. We have included support for teachers in the implementation of new state standards, including the NGSS. The new science standards have been adopted by the state, but there is not yet a curriculum framework or any NGSS aligned- textbooks.
Q. Overall, there are many things that I would look for as part of a district planning process that I did not see compelling evidence of in the process or plan that I have been involved in. I recognize these could have been happening behind the scenes, but would to have them be more explicit:
a) use of existing research and evidence to decide what programs will make the kind of difference we want—there is much expertise and resources to access in this community.
b) more attention to measuring what matters—those things we know make a difference for student learning, achievement, and long term success (examples above)
c) we are not enough in our expectations for our learners and our educational system; we need to set higher expectations for our youth or our community
d) a plan that includes specific support for teachers to do their job better and well
e) a plan for the supplemental funding that prioritizes the populations that the funding is supposed.
f) a clear and rigorous plan for evaluation related to the populations and programs targeted in this plan.
A: The issues you raise are important for any comprehensive strategic plan for the district. Within the more limited context of the LCAP, we have tried to address many of these issues, and hope you will find a clear delineation of related action steps in the latest version of the LCAP as well as in discussions and responses to comments. However, many details having to do with specific plans are found in associated documents, such as the BSEP plans, 2020 Vision, or in program goals in professional development, evaluation and assessment, etc.
Q. Thank you to the staff and Board members who have spent so much time on this plan. In a later comment, I will try to summarize my “process” suggestions for next time, and I appreciate staff’s willingness to hear those suggestions in the spirit in which they are being offered – which is with a full understanding that this is a new process that was initiated on a very tight time frame.
A: Thank you for partnering with the district staff and Board to try to make this the best possible plan given the time and resources we have. We truly appreciate the time and care everyone has taken to work on this together on behalf of the students.
Q: In terms of process, I’d like to know what the revision process looks like if we want to change things when we look at allocating next year’s funds. Can we review and adjust the plan each year? Or does the plan we submit this year lock us into a 3-year plan and budget.
A: While the LCAP is designed as a three-year plan, it will be revised annually based on our assessment and evaluation of programs and services, and effectiveness of the action steps.
Comment: I would like to add a request regarding accessing information about resources for children with special needs. I think it is very important that the parents with special needs children get some help and guidance in the process to access, request and assessment for their children. Having a special child is hard enough to add all the intricate process to access the info and the resources. Also it is important that parents know the law and their rights to request services. Also I want to make sure there are enough funds to support the special aid teachers, and to have resources to give them professional development.
Response: Being a parent of a child with disabilities can be very challenging and it is important that parents are able to build a strong relationship with teachers and school special education providers. Many of the goals and actions identified in the LCAP are intended to address all of our high needs students including students with disabilities.There is an emphasis on early identification of students with academic and social-emotional needs. The District has moved beyond the model of waiting for a child to fail before assessing the child and providing services. Instead, intervention services are provided early on, either alone or in conjunction with assessment. LCAP funding will support early intervention services. The principal, school psychologist and/or special education teachers can provide information to parents about intervention strategies and/or assessment services. Special education teachers participate in professional development that is provided district-wide, at their school sites and through our North Region Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA).
Q: I understand that you will be posting all comments and responses on the internet, but I just wanted to confirm that this will be done.
A. Yes, we have set up this webpage for posting.
Q: Can you please explain to the PAC/DELAC whether it is your understanding that there will be consequences of any kind if the District does not meet the goals set forth in the draft LCAP? The answer to that question will help us understand whether we should be viewing this document as a compliance document or a vision statement.
A: The state is still developing a scoring guide for the LCAP goals and accountability measures. The county office will be reviewing the LCAP as part of annual compliance.
Q: What percent of the targeted students are a) EL but not low-income, b) low-income but not EL, and c) both EL and low-income?
A: 10.8% of the District students are English Learners. Of that group, 74.5% are considered low-income and 25.5% are not. Low income students represent 42% of the entire K-12 student body.
Q. If the Board approves this as a 3-year plan, what opportunities are there for adjusting and revising the plan after one year? Can it be reviewed and adjusted each year, or should we really be thinking of this as locking ourselves into this budget for the next 3 years?
A: The plan will be reviewed each year and can be adjusted each year.
Q: I think there is a desperate need for quality program evaluation in the District, but I am not convinced that adding a TSA in the BEA is going to appreciably increase the District’s capacity to conduct meaningful program evaluation (as opposed to data analysis). Can you explain what you have in mind for this TSA, what training and experience you expect the TSA to have, and what evidence supports the allocation of funds in this particular way?
A: The Research and Evaluation Department (formerly Berkeley Evaluation and Assessment (BEA)) represents a dedicated Professional Learning Community of staff focused on the evaluation needs in the district. The .4 TSA will work with the Director of Research and Evaluation and the Director of Special Projects and Programs to provide on-going monitoring of the LCAP programs, metrics and progress toward achieving the goals. The Department will follow a Cycle of Inquiry process to review the impact of these programs, using quantitative and qualitative data. In addition, the LCAP funded part-time TSA will meet weekly with the Directors in Education Services to review evaluation of LCAP programs and progress towards metrics. The TSA will benefit from coaching and collaboration and a Research and Evaluation Professional Learning Community (PLC) to ensure that all steps to monitor the evaluation process are in place. BUSD will monitor The TSA will use best practices to evaluate LCAP funded programs and action steps to ensure they are on target for meeting our goals.
The TSA would be hired based on their experience and the qualifications to perform both qualitative and quantitative analysis, program evaluation while also understanding instructional programs, actions and services from an experienced educator’s perspective. The TSA must have a teaching credential, have taught at least five years and have at least two years experience in Program Evaluation. This individual would have full access to our data systems and work collectively with the Research and Evaluation (formerly BEA) team.
In order to assure that the programs put in place or improved upon are making a difference for the students they are targeting, it is essential that there is dedicated staff with educational experience assigned to the LCAP. Evidence of the success of this model can be found in the quantitative and qualitative work produced in Board Documents such as the Plan to Acceleration of the Achievement of African American students and data-driven decisions made at the teacher, school site and governance levels.
Q: What research supports the decision to allocate funds for a .4 FTE TSA to attract and retain teachers of color? I don’t mean what is the research to support the need for more teachers of color, but what research supports the allocation of funds in this manner in order to accomplish that goal?
A: The answer to this has been provided elsewhere on this webpage.
Q: Why was the decision made to reduce the amount of District-level support for ELD coordination and training?
A: A greater need and demand has been identified for providing school site-based services to students and their teachers. While there is some need for district-level support, we believe that 1 full-time position should be sufficient; we have a district-based Literacy Coach at 0.5 FTE who coordinates the efforts of 11 full-time literacy coaches by providing professional development and data review every other week. This model has been successful and will be replicated with our English Language Development (ELD) teachers.
Comment: I very much like the summary document that has a first column that starts by articulating a need. These needs seem right on and the language is clear and compelling for parents, teachers, and community members.
Response: Thank you, we have purposefully drawn upon much of the language used by members of our focus groups to ensure that we are using accessible and meaningful language.
Q: During the drafting of the EL Master Plan, there was some difference of opinion with respect to whether the EL Master Plan represented an aspirational vision that was dependent on sufficient funding down the road, or instead a mandate from the Board for immediate implementation. The LCAP process requires, I think, that this be clarified. Here is one way to get at the question: In the opinion of District staff, does the currently proposed allocation of supplemental funds provide for the full and complete implementation of the EL Master Plan in the 2014-15 academic year? If not, a) what specific provisions of the EL Master Plan require further funding to implement, and b) how much funding do they require?
A: The Master Plan for English Learners outlines how we intend to move all schools forward in meeting the needs of English learners in our district. The Master Plan is not part of the LCAP. However, the planning that went into the Master Plan helped us to identify the need to have dedicated and trained ELD teachers at every K-8 school. It will take years of funding and training to implement the many steps to full implementation of the Master Plan for English Learners, but having dedicated EL teacher positions at every K-8 school is a significant start and a solid investment of LCAP supplemental monies.
The Master Plan requires all teachers be trained in Constructing Meaning, Systematic ELD, or other best practices for English learners, as well as in any ELD curriculum that may be adopted. Currently the high school is fully trained in Constructing Meaning, and those teaching Systematic ELD are trained at the elementary schools. Training in Constructing Meaning for use with elementary-aged EL students, has happened at Malcolm X, and a few other elementary schools. Some middle school teachers are trained, with more attending a training in August. With Constructing Meaning training costing about $25,000 for 30 teachers, there is still not enough funding available to train all teachers district-wide. With our limited resources, we are focusing on training those teachers who work with EL students.
LCAP Draft #1 Comments/Questions from the Public (non-PAC/DELAC members)
In addition to the comments and questions from members of the PAC and DELAC, the folllowing are comments summarized by topic from other community members:
Green Schools: Sustainability
Comment: I strongly encourage you to ensure that BUSD incorporates a goal into its LCAP focused on school sustainability, healthy learning environments, and environmental literacy.
Response: Thank you for advocating on behalf of our students. The LCAP is not intended to be a strategic plan for the whole district, but rather a targeted plan required by the state to address funding to serve high need students.
Comment: Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action (BOCA) has a concern that the LCAP funds are not directed to the targeted population as much as to “all students”. For many years, BUSD has concentrated on all students to the detriment to those that these funds are intended to target.
Let’s keep our eyes on the prize of bettering the school life and experience of those that have been targeted and a small sub-group of students that are not succeeding in what is considered one of the better school districts in the region.
Response: BUSD will offer a variety of programs and supports specifically for English learners, low income students and foster youth. These include: ELD teachers at every site, mental health support, family engagement staff, literacy coaches at K-5, middle school Bridge program, positive behavior support and restorative practices, Alive and Free, and AVID at middle and high schools for a total of approximately $1,700,000.
Course Access: Career Technical Education (CTE), AP classes
- LCAP funds should be spent on having more ROP classes implemented. Increase the amount of Career Technical Education classes at Berkeley High School.
- LCAP funds should be spent on educating students on how important going to college is as well as telling them how important AP classes are for getting into 4 year colleges. Please expand AP class access for students.
- Offer more vocational classes to give students a different option if they are not interested in the college track.
Response: CTE opportunities and AP classes are both important components of a strong high school program. The current draft of the LCAP directs actions to improve college and career readiness as well as provide intervention and supports at the high school level with staffing for an intervention counselors to support students and ensure access to college prep, AP and IB courses, as well as offering students mentors or other beneficial programs. BHS has recently received two grants focused on developing career and college pathways for students, and tracking student progress during high school and through enrollment in a post-secondary educational program.
- LCAP funds should be invested in technology to engage students.
- Funds should be spent on updating and purchasing technology and tablets to replace outdated textbooks. Utilize Google classroom to make school simpler for students and teachers. Teach 21st Century skills.
Response: Thank you for advocating for increased and improved access to technology. The DigiTech team members have been very busy this year bringing more than 5,000 student Google accounts to interactive life, introducing online tools and unlimited access ebooks via our libraries, and brought almost 2,000 Chromebooks into daily classroom use. Blended learning classrooms where students independently follow an online curriculum with teacher guidance have been piloted, and keyboarding instruction is taking place at all elementary schools.
Efforts in the coming school year include expanding the use of technology in teaching the Common Core, increasing collaboration both between teachers, and teachers and students, using online tools, and improving the wireless network infrastructure. No additional funding for technology-related expenses are needed from the LCAP supplemental funds due to other funding sources, including the Berkeley Schools Excellence Program (BSEP) and special state funding for Common Core implementation. You are welcome to join teachers, staff, parents and community members next year as we work to develop a new three-year instructional technology plan.
Comment: Offer SAT prep courses for students; Provide Ethnic Studies courses: Chicano/Latino Studies.
Response: In the process of developing the LCAP for Berkeley, we had valuable input and participation from some of our high school students. Many recommendations can be implemented without the expenditure of LCAP supplemental funds, and both of these recommendations have been brought to the attention of the Berkeley High School administration.
Professional Learning Communities for teachers
Comment: PLCs are a priority for teachers. We want to improve our practices through study and reflection and infuse our curriculum and pedagogy with the practices that we believe will help all our students, but especially those most in need of support.
Response: PLCs are found to be very effective setting for practicing the cycle of inquiry and sharing the use of best instructional practices among colleagues. The district has been increasing investment in teacher leaders and coaches in order to further the benefits of this collaborative work in all of our schools. The LCAP includes professional development and PLC related action items funded through multiple resources available to support this work, and includes metrics and outcomes on which we will measure our progress.
Teachers of Color
Comment: We should hire the best qualified teachers for the job- the color of their skin should not matter. There are very few male teachers in elementary schools that could be wonderful role models for boys.
Response: We are fortunate to be able to attract excellent teachers to teach in Berkeley. We are able to provide on-going professional development opportunities to support teachers as they grow and develop their teaching practice. There is research-based evidence correlating improved academic outcomes for students of color who have access to teachers and role models that share their students’ ethnicity and cultural heritage. As part of the LCAP, we have set goals to grow the percent of new hires that are teachers of color by allocating funding for increased staffing to actively recruit and support of teachers of color.
Comment: You need to take the enrollment numbers of students you are trying to serve into account rather than overall enrollment. Some elementary schools in Berkeley are clearly more affluent than others, and the services should be weighted to schools with more of the population targeted in this document.
Response: Several of the positions that have been added as part of the LCAP are being funded at varying levels due to number of students and families to be served at those schools. For example, schools with higher numbers of EL students will receive a greater allocation of the EL teacher’s time than schools with less EL students.
Berkeley Technology Academy (BTA)
Comment: In a public memo to the Superintendent, teachers and staff from BTA urged the Superintendent to direct more resources to Berkeley Technology Academy to fully fund the positions of a dean and full-time intervention counselor to meet the needs of BTA’s students.
Response: Many of the students at BTA are those identified by the state as needing additional services and programs that can be provided with supplemental LCAP funding. The final draft of the LCAP has been revised and is available on our webpage: www.berkeleyschools.net/local-control/lcap. The plan includes specific actions for services to BTA students, and includes dedicating a teacher on special assignment to focus on social-emotional and academic interventions for students, access to CTE courses and the BHS Health Center, teacher and principal participation in cultural competency training, expansion of the Lifelines Program, and a part-time ELD teacher, as well as other district-wide services and programs.
LCAP Draft 2 Public Comments
Several additional LCAP-related comments and questions regarding LCAP Draft 2 were received from the public after the initial LCAP Draft 1 comment period (after May 15, 2014). The Superintendent has responded here to a condensed set of questions and comments by topic:
Assistant Athletic Director/ Academic Support for Athletes at BHS
Comment: The position of Assistant Athletic Director is vital to the academic success of student athletes and should be funded fully. [This position] provides counseling and tutoring support for at risk student athletes and fosters an environment of achievement. Please preserve this position and if possible raise the position to 1.0 FTE.
Response: Supporting the academic achievement of our student athletes is an important part of ensuring success for all of our students. Our community process of prioritizing service to our highest need students identified more than $9 million in desired actions and expenditures, and unfortunately the LCAP supplemental funding could not be stretched to include financial support for the Assistant Athletic Director position. The funding to support .5 FTE for this position has already been secured to date, and other funding sources are currently being considered to fill additional need.
- Have schools set targets for waste reduction, which will reduce costs.
- Fund the Cooking and Gardening Program
- Sustainable and healthy schools may help meet state Priority #1 Basic Services, Priority #4 for Pupil Achievement and Priority and Priority #5 for Pupil Engagement.
- An environmental education is necessary for the 21st Century.
- We recommend that BUSD ensure that funds are included in the 2014-2015 budget and beyond to support the Gardening Program, the Green Star Schools waste reduction program, implementation of the BUSD Solar Master Plan, and other efforts to ensure that BUSD schools and facilities are maintained in “good repair.”
Response: Our school communities have made significant strides in raising awareness about the importance of being good stewards of our environment, and as a result, we have seen a significant decrease in the percentage of waste our schools are producing. Our garden and nutrition education programs have been an integral part of our science curriculum, and have contributed to embracing sustainable practices in every school. We are fortunate to have the local facilities bonds and maintenance tax that support our Solar Master Plan and safe, modern facilities for our students.
The importance of these sustainability efforts, as well as great facilities for our students, is noted in the introductory section of the plan, and our success in improving sustainability efforts have been shared with the broader Berkeley community. However, the LCAP is not intended to be a strategic plan for the whole district, and does not provide goals and actions for every important program and funding source available to implement our mission and vision for Berkeley’s public schools. The LCAP is a targeted plan required by the state to allocate funding to serve high-need students.
BHS RISE Program
Comment: RISE has a great working model. Please increase funding for RISE so that more than 25 students per year are able to participate. In addition, please help facilitate community building between BHS Bridges, attendance monitoring, home-school outreach, Student Tutoring, Mental Health non-stigma counseling, and College counseling, as they all serve similar groups of students.
Response: Students participating in RISE, Bridge, and other such support and mentoring programs are indeed benefitting from the services and counseling, and we want to expand our support and intervention programs at BHS in order to serve more students. The LCAP includes several action steps, including funding a full-time Intervention Coordinator/Counselor, to ensure more students are served by the programs and services available to help them succeed.
Comment: Please fund the SEEDS and CIRCLES program. These are restorative justice programs that are key to reducing suspensions and expulsions and are implemented in OUSD.
Response: Increasing the use of restorative justice practices is an important part of our strategy to improve the school climate and keep kids in school. The LCAP includes funding to engage SEEDS in student and staff training and support at all three of our middle schools.
Berkeley Technology Academy (BTA)
Comment: BTA was not as included in the process as it should have been. At least 75% of BTA students are challenged with Complex Traumatic Stress, justifying the ratio of FTE to students. BTA currently has 2 mental health professionals provided by the City of Berkeley for 6 hours a week and a full time drug prevention counselor funded by Alameda County. BTA needs more. We should merge the $40,000 funding for Alive and Free (whose effectiveness is questionable) with the funding designated for Anger Management at BHS and instead fund a full time intervention counselor (hopefully a LCSW) at BTA who could then supervise mental health students from local universities and programs in need of hours.
Response: It has been a challenge to fund all of the priorities identified through the LCAP development process. We received feedback from BTA’s principal and teachers, as well as members of the PAC, school board, and parent community, and have made modifications to the LCAP and to other funding sources in order to provide BTA with an intervention teacher. The three-year plan also includes future funding for an ELD teacher and family engagement staff at BTA, as well as support for several initiatives to address school climate and student engagement.
Comment: Middle Schools needs are not being met sufficiently by the LCAP. Because there are such great programs at the high school level, it is good that programs such as AVID and Bridge are beginning to take hold in the middle school, but they are currently not well defined programs and are ineffective. It is great that LCAP is funding the reduced math classes for middle school.
Response: The LCAP supplemental funding will provide a needed boost to expand and improve services to students through AVID, Bridge, and other effective student support programs for students in middle and high school. The middle schools will also improve coordination of their RtI model of supports and interventions for students with LCAP providing funding for RtI teacher coaches at each of the middle schools in years two and three of the plan. Services to EL students, including those in middle school, will improve with dedicated ELD teacher staffing. Reducing math class size from 28:1 to 24:1 has been secured with other funding; it is no longer included in the LCAP.
Math at BHS
Comment: The LCAP does not include sufficient resources to support math at the high school. Raising achievement in math is a large part of WASC and the 2020 Vision. Math teachers are facing a huge shift in content and instruction with the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. Helping teachers make this transition smoothly will benefit all students. Math success at BHS will have the biggest impact on the students that supplemental funds are meant to serve. We should add a 1.0 Math Coach position at Berkeley High School.
Response: Under Action A1.5 (page 29) for the final LCAP, we have included a 1.0 math coach at BHS, a position that will be funded through multiple sources, for the reasons you have listed.