South Whidbey School District leadership addresses test score drops

LANGLEY – School and district leaders on South Whidbey took the first formal step in addressing the failure to meet state-mandated student test score progress.

District Superintendent Jo Moccia and school principals presented drafts of their school improvement plans Wednesday night at a school board workshop. The district has used school improvement plans for the past 10 years, but is under more scrutiny after failing to meet adequate yearly progress, a state benchmark of student achievement based on standardized test scores from the High School Proficiency Exam, Measurements of Student Progress and End of Course exams.

As part of the district’s plan, Moccia will create a set of short-and long-term goals and prioritize effective programs.

For the coming year, Moccia’s draft to improve student test scores includes analyzing student test score data and evaluating how the district allocates its resources, specifically to effective programs.

Guaranteeing that money is being put into programs that work was important to the board as well.

“If this is an issue, then we have to revisit how we allocate our resources,” said Board Chairman Rich Parker.

Where the money goes depends on knowing which programs, such as a literacy coach or math intervention for at-risk students, are more effective than others.

That depends on data provided by the principals, which was not included in any of the three schools’ first-draft reports. Justifying program expenses was a theme throughout the reports, driven by Parker.

“The correlation has to be made … that somehow the community, the board and the staff can look at and understand,” Parker said.

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