Santa Clara Unified reflects on new data in the California School Dashboard. How have students improved? Where can the District put more energy into helping more students?
California School Dashboard
The California Department of Education released the 2023 California School Dashboard for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. The Dashboard looks at the six performance indicators to determine how Santa Clara Unified did last year. At the Board meeting on Thursday, Jan. 25, Brad Stam, Chief Academic and Innovation Officer, shared that the District’s overall performance is higher than the state in every performance indicator. Notably, the District increased the English Learner indicator by 5.8 points, which is 7.7 points above the state. They also improved in the Chronic Absenteeism indicator by reducing it by 1.4 points, 6.1 points below the state. Previously, chronic absenteeism was such a problem that they were placed in Differentiated Assistance (DA) and told to improve it, but they did well enough to exit, according to Stam.
Unfortunately, they did decline by 3.7 points in the Graduation Rate indicator; Latino/Hispanic students dipped further with a 6.4-point decline. However, Stam reminded the Board that graduation requirements were temporarily lowered during the COVID-19 pandemic and have now returned to the normal requirements causing the decline.
They maintained their performance level in the other indicators: English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Suspension Rate. However, for the Suspension Rate indicator, Latino/Hispanic students did see an increase in suspensions. For the last indicator, College and Career, which tracks “students prepared for success,” the District scored “High.”
Santa Clara Unified was still identified by the State for Differentiated Assistance, namely to improve outcomes for homeless students and students with disabilities. They’re DA for English, math, graduation rate, and suspensions. The District is required to go through a 2-year continuous improvement process with the County Office of Education to improve.
We’re here to save taxpayers money, said Lori Raineri, Chief Executive Officer with Government Financial Services Joint Powers Authority (GFSJPA). GFSJPA has been watching the market and it is a good time to refinance Measure H and Measure J, both from 2015. They are estimating that over the remaining terms, they can save approximately $6 million on Measure J and approximately $17 million on Measure H by taking advantage of refunding opportunities. The District and Raineri’s team have been successfully saving taxpayers money on their bonds.
“We have saved taxpayers over $800 million,” said Mark Schiel, Deputy Superintendent of Operations and Chief Business Official.
This will come back for Board action on March 14. With approval, the bond sale will be on March 27, then April 10 would be closing and the refinancing escrow account would be funded with bond proceeds. They will come back to the Board again on April 25 with the bond sale results.
Silicon Valley Career Technical Education
Superintendent Alyssa Lynch from Metropolitan Education District (MetroED) provided an update on the Silicon Valley Career Technical Education (SVCTE) program. New this year, they started piloting two virtual CTE classes for fashion and medical science. Recently they also hosted the grand opening and ribbon cutting for new programs: electrical vehicles and nursing careers.
In the SVCTE, they serve over 1000 students across different school districts and 87% of them go to 2- or 4-year colleges. Last year they also helped students get 26 paid internships. From Santa Clara Unified, 77 students completed the program, 51 earned UC a-g credit, 32 earned articulation college credit, 6 earned college dual enrollment credit, one student from New Valley High School got a SkillsUSA silver medal, and three participated in the ambassador program. Santa Clara Unified hit a record for enrollment in SVCTE with 100 students this school year.
MetroEd is bidding farewell to Superintendent Lynch after 11 years. She is retiring at the end of this school year. The Board thanked Lynch for her service and wished her well.
The Board passed resolutions affirming February as American Heart Month and Black History Month.