Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP)
What is the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF):
2019-20 Superintendent's Response
June 19, 2019
Dear Arcadia Family,
On behalf of the Arcadia Unified School District, it is with great enthusiasm and gratitude in which I recognize our community’s effort, dedication, and commitment to our Local Control Accountability Planning (LCAP) process. I want to personally thank each of you for your time and thoughtful responses to surveys, during meetings, and throughout this year’s planning for the 2019-20 school year. I especially want to thank each member for serving on the many advisory committees throughout our district and schools that help inform our district’s planning. Also, thank you to all members that participated in our Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) District Parent Advisory Committee (DPAC) and District English Learner Advisory (DELAC), as well as our LCAP Bargaining Units Advisory. Our district is leading the nation in reforming education to meet the learning needs of your children and our students to prepare each individual to be uniquely prepared to become the leaders of tomorrow.
My LCAP Steering Committee, cabinet, and the board of education have carefully reviewed the comments and feedback provided on the 2019-20 draft of our LCAP. My response to your thoughts and guidance is based on a collaborative, cross-curricular, inter-departmental conversation and analysis. Consideration was given to all thoughts and ideas on the wide variety of topics that were brought up during advisory meetings. The input provided was insightful and serves to guide our decision making. Each of you who participates helps to ensure that our plan addresses the needs of all of our students and assists in our prioritization of limited resources.
Thank you again for contributing to the continuous improvement of the Arcadia Unified School District, its schools, and most importantly our students. Our results speak to the effectiveness of our collaborative efforts. Our award-winning elementary schools set the educational foundation for every student to build upon. Our exceptional middle schools create a caring safe learning environment for students to mature, grow, and expand their knowledge. Rancho Learning Center offers a variety of programs for students that may need alternative educational opportunities. Arcadia High School, which is ranked in the top 2% of high schools in California, prepares and graduates our students who go on to prestigious colleges and Ivy League schools. I could not be prouder of any organization. It is a pleasure to serve and partner with each of you.
Superintendent’s Response to 2019-20 LCAP development feedback
Goal 1: Provide high quality effective instruction that ensures college and career readiness by addressing the unique needs and abilities of all students
FEEDBACK (F) High academic stress is harmful to students
SUGGESTIONS (S) Spacing out due dates on assignment to reduce stress
(S) Yoga before school
(S) Giving students choice on how they present their information
(S) sending/posting class agenda night before a quiz
(S) Post all assignments in advance
RESPONSE (R) Student mental health was a major theme from the feedback provided. We believe that we need to work on reducing stress on all fronts. This includes in our schools, classrooms, at home, and through teaching our students coping skills to manage stressful situations. The district is focusing on incorporating components of the Universal Design Framework (UDL) into staff training, lesson planning, and classroom instruction. UDL includes student voice and choice in demonstrating their understanding as suggested. We believe that though UDL and the excellent instruction going on in our classrooms we will help to reduce academic stress. Also through helping students with building a growth mindset and resiliency, we will help students deal with stress in more productive ways. Some of our elementary schools are using calm-down kits with various ways to help students learn to regulate their emotions. Rancho Learning Center practices mindfulness and some of our schools are practicing yoga, breathing, and meditation to teach students to moderate their stress. We have also contracted with Care Solace an online mental health referral support system and team to connect families with mental health care if needed. Please see goal 4 for additional support regarding mental wellness.
(F) Accessible and engaged teachers with flexible scheduling support student learning
(S) Engaged teachers
(S) Does not just lecture
(S) Does not just take lessons off the internet
(S) Organized teachers - clear class plan/pacing plan
(S) Communicate any misconnections
(S) Open feedback for growth
(S) Listen to all student suggestions
(S) Assignments should be more engaging
(S) Rethinking grading for group projects
(S) Using different tools to support all learners’ needs
(S) Giving students choice on how they present their understanding
(S) Open-door policy
(S) Block schedule (not having to go to the same class everyday)
(S) Rotating schedule
(R) AUSD is committed to improving instruction in every classroom. We believe we have incredible teachers. Many who spend countless unpaid hours lesson planning, adapting instruction, and creating new innovative ways to engage their students. Our LCAP goal 1 actions seek to enhance and support teachers in providing the best instruction possible. Actions 1, 2, and 8 address California State Standards and ways to enhance instruction to be more relevant and meaningful to students. Additionally, our Goal 3 actions also serve to support these efforts. Goal 3 Recruit, develop and retain high-quality, effective staff committed to all students focuses on supporting staff to collaborate, innovate and grow as educators. The district added additional days to the teachers’ contract and utilizes minimum days to provide focused time for staff to improve their skills. Actions include professional development for staff on UDL and other innovative instructional practices, supporting “new” teachers in AUSD to understand the “Arcadia Way” and to incorporate district teaching methods into their classrooms. The district is committed to collaboration. It is one of our core values. In today’s world economy and job market, our students need to learn to work collaboratively and with people that work differently than they do. Group projects are a part of this learning process. We understand that this often causes struggle and frustration. However, we believe that those struggles and frustrations are incredible learning that will serve our students well in college and in their careers. District leadership will discuss with our bargaining units and principals will discuss with their staff regarding your suggestions regarding open-door policies, block scheduling or varied scheduling, and teachers collaborating on scheduling assignments to reduce assignment overload.
Goal 2: Ensure strong financial responsibility and maintain fiscal integrity by aligning resources effectively to support student success
(F) School Facilities
(S) Need staff to use facilities
(S) Parents and students able to access facilities for community meetings/events
Evening family events for working parents
(C) CONCERN - Drainage at First Ave
Safe and engaging
(S) Crying/punching room (de-stress)
(R) The district is proud of our maintenance team and our community. We were happy to see no concerns about cleanliness. Our committee approved bond measures that have helped us with building and improving state of the art school facilities; something that is rare in California schools. Based on input from staff, my understanding if the comments regarding use of facilities in three-fold. 1) Making sure that our meetings are held in the evening so working parents can more easily attend. We are always trying to meet the needs of our parents. We are trying to offer meetings in the morning and the evening. We are also investigating offering online “webinar” type meetings in the future so parents and staff can participate from home. ThoughtExchange is another tool that we utilize to gather feedback and to communicate to make things easier for parents that may not be able to attend meetings. Since adding ThoughtExchange several years ago, our parent participation has increased significantly. 2) Allowing our community partners (AYSO, Scouts, Latino Parents group, etc.) to utilize school facilities for meetings and events. Our facilities are used frequently for school-sponsored events and community events. We always need to balance the use of facilities with maintenance and over-use. I have asked our maintenance team to look into the drainage situation at First Avenue. At this time we believe our playgrounds to be safe. Our facilities team and principals do annual safety walkthroughs of the campus to identify issues as well as any desired updates. In terms of making playgrounds more challenging, we will need to do more investigation about this. We are taking a different strategy regarding student stress (see goal 4). Our desire is to build student capacity to manage stress in a positive way and to have more resources available to students that need additional help when things become too overwhelming.
(S) Sunshades at holly ave etc. (trees)
(S) Trees at Baldwin Stocker on street
(S) Tables with shades
(R) Adding more shade and trees is not part of our current plan. However, we will look into possible grants to fund shade covers for playgrounds. I will speak with the principal at Baldwin Stocker about trees and bring this to the city during a joint meeting in 2019-20.
(F) Learning Outdoors and flexible seating
(S) Learn outdoors more
(S) Flexible seating more interaction
(S) More organized (kickball tournament)
(S) Outdoor classrooms
(R) Some of our schools are making outdoor learning a part of their instructional strategy. Outdoor gardens and finding areas on campus that are conducive to learning outside are examples of how this is being done. Rancho Learning Center has several outdoor learning spaces that are being “tested” and the High School has outdoor chalkboards in several parts of the campus and a garden area for learning. We are finishing up with our major construction projects in this final year of our 3-year plan and have not included increasing outdoor classrooms this upcoming year. However, I agree that outdoor learning and classrooms need to be a part of our educational strategy. School and district leadership have discussed more training for our yard supervision staff and classified staff. I will bring the idea of increasing organized games at recess.
(S) Coaches for recess (HS students)
(C) Morning dropoff safety (traffic lanes)
(S) Safety patrol
(R) We are not planning to add coaches for nutrition at the high school. Myself and school leadership believe that the campus at the high school is safe and that our students are remarkable. Often the nutrition break is one of the few moments in our students' busy lives that they have to connect with friends or to just take a break. Morning dropoff seems to have been an issue for schools since students have needed to be dropped off at school. Each of our schools has a safety plan for school dropoff and pickup. The issue is that everyone isn’t following the rules of those plans. I was proud of our High School students this year, who took it upon themselves to address the issue of parents dropping off students in the student parking lot which is against the rules and dangerous. The students gathered data, analyzed the data, and brought solutions to school administration. They made signs and re-educated parents about the dropoff rules. They also reported this to our board of education. Most of our schools have a safety patrol of some type which helps. We also work with the city and law enforcement to help address traffic safety. But, the most important thing to address this problem is you. I ask that you learn the dropoff and pick up process for your school and that you follow it. That you encourage your friends and other parents to follow it too. Ultimately it is all of our responsibility to be safe and to ensure student safety, especially in the car lines.
Goal 3 Recruit, develop and retain high quality, effective staff committed to all students
(F) Professional Development Topics
(S) Special needs teachers to teach through music, arts, etc.
(S) Teaching to all levels of students.
(S) Training - more consistency throughout grade levels/subjects
(S) Building a comfortable & trusting community to get students to talk and feel comfortable
(S) Instructional staff should get training and support in order to give students better support/help long term
(S) Subs should know standards - be better trained and supervised.
(R) The district is committed to ongoing professional development for all staff. Each year for the last 5 years, AUSD offers the Arcadia Innovation Summit which brings together AUSD teachers with teachers from over 100 different school districts to share best practices and ways to better engage students in learning. This year we even had teachers from other states and countries. Next year, we will begin concentrating on professional development for teachers on the framework for Universal Design for Learning (UDL). This framework aligns with our desire to make learning more personalized and student-centered. I believe that the UDL framework will address many of your suggestions both directly and indirectly. It includes using multiple ways for students to access standards in all content areas. It includes inclusive practices and co-teaching models. The framework is based on teachers knowing their students’ interests, goals, and learning styles. It also concentrates on having teachers allowing students to demonstrate their understanding of State Standards in ways other than just tests. Of course, testing will continue, however as we integrate the UDL framework into our academic program students will have voice and choice on how they can demonstrate competency if learning. This can include music, arts, and technology. The UDL framework is a part of our Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) for students which includes supporting students in areas of need through a tiered continuum of intervention over time. We have also trained teachers and staff on Restorative Practices and Leader in Me to help build community in the classroom and relationships. I understand that sometimes a substitute may not be an expert in the subject area they are teaching. We do our very best to choose substitutes that are familiar with AUSD and that are experienced teachers. All of our substitutes hold appropriate teaching credentials. We did not add this as an action in the plan. Know that our principals are aware of this suggestion and will visit classrooms with substitutes more regularly in 2019-20. Please see my response below regarding consistency.
(F) Consistency in Instruction
(S) Keep interventions - keep at all levels
(S) Different teachers of same subject grade completely different
(S) Test coming from another teacher who is not teaching that class.
(S) Standardized rules for all levels of classes.
(S) AP/Honors - use rubric
(S) More consistent grading
(R) Updating our grading policy was an action in our LCAP in years 1 and 2. We reviewed our current homework and grading policy. We also utilized ThoughtExchange and community meetings to seek stakeholder input and suggestions. The homework policy was updated in 2017. You will note SWAG as an action and collaborative time for teachers and staff in our plan. One of the purposes of this professional development time is to address consistency. Teachers are able to meet in grade levels, content areas (subjects), or areas of focus to work collaboratively and to plan together. Our hope is that by providing focused time for staff they will be better able to discuss grading practices and consistency in expectations as well as the use of rubrics and other practices. The district formed a collaborative committee last year to research behavior. Also, our work on MTSS includes a behavioral component. Although we have not finalized our plans we anticipate including components of Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS). This framework includes common behavior expectations across the district that are then made age appropriate for the school level. This will help improve consistency not only across classrooms but schools and the district.
(F) Evaluation of students and teachers
(C) Test coming from another teacher who is not teaching that class.
(S) Grading-assignments - support continuous learning
(C) Teachers assign projects from an online site that students can complete by copying
(S) Better evaluation for teachers
(R) I am confident that AUSD has some of the most innovative and exceptional teachers in the State. This is based on several factors: Board Learning Walks where I, board members, and district leadership visit classrooms and witness the instruction happening in our classrooms; reports from principals regarding teacher evaluations, drop in visits to schools and classroom, school events, district visits across the state, conferences, and in my own home. I often witness the dedication of our teachers long after the school bell rings. Many nights I will see our own teachers and staff participating in educational “Twitter Chats” and collaborating with other educators around the country. They often work many extra hours supporting students and attend our Arcadia Innovation summer during the summer when they are “off.” Our evaluation process for our teachers is strong. We are always striving to improve and our staff evaluation process isn’t about “catching teachers”, it is about helping them hone their unique skills and gifts as an educational professional. We won’t always be perfect on the first try, or even the second, or 10th. But, what I can promise we will never stop learning and improving.
Goal 4 Develop the "whole child" so that every student is healthy, safe, connected, supported and challenged. In reviewing our Healthy Kids data we need to continue to evaluate the effectiveness of the survey and our students' feelings towards school connectedness.
(F) Focus on Mental Health and wellness
(S) Community Building Activities
(S) Focus on mental health
(S) Discuss mental health
(S) Peer mentoring
(S) Meditation opportunities
(S) Teach students how to recognize signs of mental distress
(S) Give students a voice
(S) Teach balance
(S) Value sleep
(S) Crying room at AHS- stress relief without judgment.
(S) At MS, need for mental health support
(S) Publicize resources for students
(S) Discuss addictions
(S) Open opportunities for interns
(S) Teach ethics and civics
(C) Concern with cyber-bullying
(S) Discuss “anti-bullying day”
(R) I want you to know that your feedback on student mental health wellness was heard. We offer a wide variety of ways for parents, students, staff and our community to provide us with feedback. In every instance, the theme of student mental health and wellness was present. It wasn’t always stated in the same way but it was clear this was something that we needed to continue to prioritize. We have made great strides in recent years, but wanted to do more as soon as possible. I decided not to wait for a plan, to act now after receiving this additional feedback. This past year we added several additional counselor positions, and we now have a full-time counselor at every elementary school, totaling 23 counselors district-wide. I’m pleased to let you know that we will also be adding seven full-time positions next year: a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and a full-time Site Support Aide at each of our elementary schools which will be under the supervision of the BCBA. We currently have Crisis Response teams at every school, which respond to and help with mental health issues and threat assessments, a District Coordinated Safe and Healthy Schools Committee, and a Multi-Tiered System of Support Committee. In addition to coordinated events, like Mental Health Awareness week at Arcadia High School, many of our schools are utilizing practices in their classrooms to build a positive community culture, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve the happiness and overall wellbeing of our students and staff. Plus, we have partnered with renowned researcher Dr. Alan Daly who is helping us study and improve our school culture and climate across the district through our “Better Together” initiative. Also, my leadership team and district staff found a wonderful resource which we made available for our students, staff, and parents is Care Solace. Care Solace is an online referral service with a live (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) concierge line meant to connect individuals with local mental health programs and counseling services that meet their needs. To use Care Solace, individuals simply answer ten basic questions in order to receive an extensive list of referrals to applicable care providers. Care Solace takes into account all types of private insurance, including Medi-Cal, Medicaid, and Medicare, and those who have no insurance. The system also filters by age, gender, zip code, and special requests. The Care Solace team will assist you through the entire process if needed and help pair you with the best resources for your needs, whether it’s related to mental health or substance abuse.
Our LCAP includes several actions regarding mental health and wellness. In addition, we continue to expand and implement Restorative Practices district-wide and The Leader In Me character education and leadership model for all of our TK-8 students which have both been very well received by teachers, parents, students, and staff alike.