The first draft of the San Diego Unified School District’s school accountability plan includes proposals to expand its transitional kindergarten program to every elementary school in the district and boost services at schools with large numbers of “high-needs” students.
San Diego Unified, the state’s second-largest district, on May 1 released the 51-page draft of its Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) on the district website. The plan, which details how the district spends state dollars, is mandated under California’s new Local Control Funding Formula. Districts’ plans must specify how they will increase services for high-needs students – low-income pupils, English learners and foster youth.
Meetings will be held this month with members of the District Advisory Council and the District English Learner Advisory Committee to seek their input on the draft plan, in addition to asking for feedback from the public.
Prior to drafting the plan, the district held more than 40 meetings and forums with parents, community members and staff to discuss the school system’s educational and funding priorities. The San Diego Unified School Board is expected to hold a first reading of the accountability plan June 10, with final adoption scheduled for its June 24 meeting.
Moises Aguirre, executive director of external district relations for San Diego schools, said San Diego Unified aligned the priorities in its accountability plan with the district’s strategic plan – Vision 2020, which the community helped develop in 2009. Among the goals outlined in the accountability plan draft are: closing the achievement gap; access to a broad and challenging curriculum; quality leadership; and creating supportive environments that value diversity.
Aguirre said expanding the half-day transitional kindergarten program to all schools provides children, who turn five between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2, a sorely needed, quality educational program. Currently, more than 100 schools offer transitional kindergarten based on location. In addition, transitional kindergarten teachers at some schools will spend the rest of their workday leading an intervention program to boost the literacy skills of kindergartners and first-graders.
The draft plan also calls for “increased services” to 29 schools that serve a large number of low-income students. Those services include smaller class sizes in grades 3 and lower, transitional kindergarten intervention programs, pre-school classes, nursing services and counseling services. This fall, class sizes in kindergarten through grade 3 will drop from 27.1 students per class to an average of 25.5 students.
To help reduce the district’s student suspension and expulsion rate, the plan calls for San Diego Unified high schools to develop strategic plans to improve school climate and student behavior. Aguirre said the district is committed to keeping students in their classrooms learning.
What do you think of San Diego’s accountability plan? Share your feedback with EdSource’s Karla Scoon Reid.
Karla Scoon Reid covers Southern California for EdSource.
This report is part of EdSource’s Following the School Funding Formula project, tracking the implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula in selected school districts around the state.
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