The 2007 Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Visiting Committee identified eleven areas of critical need at Gridley High School, expressed primarily as process goals. Goal areas for follow-up included the following: upgrading school technology and tech support; increasing articulation among programs for special education and English learners; increasing representation of all stakeholders in decision making; increasing opportunities for interdepartmental/cross disciplinary teams to meet and discuss essential and benchmark standards and assessments, and continued training in data analysis and evaluation; identifying resources for programs/curriculum that provides students with skills that enable them to enter the work world; increasing advanced placement (AP) courses; closing achievement gap; developing department-wide common assessments/rubrics for courses taught by multiple instructors that align with state content standards; increasing the level of rigor in AP coursework to be consistent with AP standards and expectations; improving communication with parents; providing resources for an ongoing position throughout the WASC term of accreditation to ensure facilitation and continuous follow-up of school-wide action plan.
Based on the WASC Visiting Committee’s report, Gridley High School has achieved its goal of 90% first time California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) passage and 87% graduation rate. The school has a clear and sustained focus on improving student achievement of lower-performing subgroups of students in particular and on closing achievement gap. Since 2010, two periods of English language development (ELD) support for beginning and early English language learning (ELL) students and one period of ELD support for intermediate through advanced ELL students have been added since 2010. The faculty has focused on learning about California English Language Development Test (CELDT) to better assist ELL student. The board has also made a passing score on CAHSEE an additional measure of English proficiency for re-designation. To close the achievement gap, a CAHSEE intervention course has been added. Three years of staff development regarding targeted instruction have resulted in a 58-point grown on the California Standardized Tests (CST), 60-point growth on CSTs for Hispanic students, and a 90% first-time pass-rate in both math and English Language Arts on the CAHSEE.
The report states that there is a strong focus on academic language development, and the faculty is focused on improving both instruction and student learning. Teachers have increased the use of data in instruction, and several departments have developed common formative assessments. The math department has organized assignments for maximum collaborative prep periods. Departments or courses taught by multiple instructors that have common assessments or rubrics that align with state content standards include PE, Social Science, English 2 and 3, all math classes, and Art 1 and 2. The school has increased tech support and added two new computer labs with thirty student stations since 2007, and all computers on campus have been purchased within the last five years. The network has been upgraded, and the campus is expecting to become wireless by next year. The school has worked with the district to add changes to curriculum and increase the number of programs that provide students with skills to enable them to enter the world of work, including three CTE pathways: Agriculture Mechanics, AgriScience, and Media Support and Services. Calculus was added to the list of AP courses offered at GHS, making five total, and the enrollment in all AP classes has increased. Faculty members teaching AP classes have attended conferences and workshops to research ways to increase the level of rigor in AP coursework to be consistent with AP standards and expectations. Some actions that have been taken by the school to improve communication with parents include phone dialer, Aries, and a Facebook page.
Page 2 of 2 - Other strengths that the committee outlined in their reported included a supportive school board, a knowledgeable superintendent, and that the school’s leadership and staff were all focused on improving academic achievement of all students.
Regarding suggested school-wide critical areas for follow-up, one area was to ensure that School-wide Learner Outcomes were the focal point of the school improvement process by aligning them with district goals and through professional development that grounds the School-wide Learner Outcomes in the instructional practice of teachers and the ethos of the school. ...
For the rest of the report summary, please pick up a copy of the May 17, 2013 issue of the Gridley Herald.