ESHS took a school-wide approach by aligning its Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accreditation goals with specific practices to ensure student achievement. “As a school, we also focused on methods for improving equity and access for all student groups—work that emerged out of various committees charged with reviewing data and support services,” said ESHS Principal Jennifer Hawn. Administrators and faculty reviewed achievement data results in multiple areas: SAT, ACT, PSAT, Physical Fitness Tests, along with CAASPP and other data. These assessments, and other valuations arranged by student group, were reviewed to identify trends in achievement and areas where ESHS could improve through focused professional development.
Each department then implemented professional development plans. For example, as a group, the math department focused on assessment training, and administered the Interim Comprehensive Assessments (ICA) test to get a pulse of the juniors’ math knowledge and thinking process. They also revised the geometry curriculum to include Algebra 1 as a consecutive course of study before students take Algebra 2. A pre-test/post test model was also used to analyze students’ performance and correct their mathematical thinking process where needed. Finally, math teachers were assigned to teach the class subjects in which they are strongest and most effective.
Intervention was also key to ensuring support for every student. The improvement research and implementation targeted intervention, with the ESHS counseling team and intervention specialist monitoring achievement throughout the year. ESHS responded with intervention support services for students who needed extra help, including meetings with students and parents when a student’s grades began to dip. In addition, every teacher offered individual or peer tutoring in their classrooms, and the assessment team set up a school-wide peer-tutoring program during lunchtime to provide students with additional study options.
“Every department and staff member at ESHS worked together to improve achievement and support for all students through measurable department goals, regular collaboration on instructional interventions, and a collective focus on supporting the needs of all students,” said Hawn. “We are fortunate to have a school community at ESUSD that unites in the success of our students.”