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Board to review SRVUSD state testing results

Regulations on extracurricular activities, deliberating new DVHS principal also on tap

The San Ramon Valley school board is set to receive a report Tuesday evening on the district's results from state standardized testing last school year, when local students performed better overall -- as did children on the whole statewide.

During the 2015-16 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) exams, approximately 82% of San Ramon Valley Unified School District students met or exceeded state standards in English language arts/literacy, with another 12% nearly meeting standards and 5% falling in the "standard not met" category, according to results released last month.

On the math side, approximately 76% of SRVUSD students met or exceeded standards, with 17% nearly meeting standards and 7% in the lowest category, "standard not met."

Those totals represented improvements over scoring in the prior year -- the inaugural CAASPP year -- when 81% of SRVUSD students tested met or exceeded English language arts and literacy standards and 73% met or exceeded math standards.

"We are especially proud of the gains we achieved in math," superintendent Rick Schmitt, in his third month leading SRVUSD, said in a statement.

"When the results of the first CAASPP administration were released, we recognized that there was a significant discrepancy between how our students performed on English language arts as opposed to mathematics," he said.

"We made a concerted effort to focus on math in 2015-2016 in terms of professional development for our administrators and our teachers, implementing interventions for our students and providing multiple opportunities for student success," Schmitt added.

District officials pointed specifically to improvements made at the 11th-grade level, where results increased by six percentage points in math and five points in English language arts compared to the prior year.

They also credited financial support from the San Ramon Valley Education Foundation last year to supplement professional development in math for all kindergarten through 12th-grade teachers in the district -- a grant that also allows the district to continue its partnership with the Silicon Valley Math Initiative and to work with Stanford University mathematics professor Jo Boaler.

"The credit for our district's continued improvement goes to many stakeholders," Schmitt said. "First, our amazing teaching staff has done a remarkable job in transitioning to the new California State Standards. They have embraced the changes in both curriculum and instructional strategies."

"Next, the overwhelming involvement and support we have received from our parent community as we have implemented new standards has been instrumental in the success of our students," he added. "Finally, our remarkable students work hard each and every day and take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow."

The CAASPP replaced Standardized Testing and Reporting examinations two years ago. It is an online test given in grades three through eight and grade 11 that incorporates new Common Core standards. Students are asked to write clearly, use critical thinking and solve complex problems.

The testing consists of two parts -- a computer adaptive assessment that bases follow-up questions on the correctness of the answer given, and a task that requires them to apply their skills to a real-world issue.

Nearby school districts saw similar CAASPP results. In Dublin, 79% of students met or exceeded the English standards while 73% did so for math. A total of 81% of Pleasanton students met or exceeded English standards, and 76% met or exceeded math standards.

In Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District the scores were lower, with 60% of students meeting or exceeding English standards and 47% meeting or exceeding math standards.

California made progress as a whole, with 49% of students meeting or exceeding the English language arts standards and 37% doing so for math. That's an increase of 5% and 4% over last year, respectively. The percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards rose at every grade and in every student group, according to the California Department of Education.

"The higher test scores show that the dedication, hard work and patience of California's teachers, parents, school employees and administrators are paying off," State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said in a statement. "Together we are making progress towards upgrading our education system to prepare all students for careers and college in the 21st century."

More than 3.2 million students took part in CAASPP last year. Less than 1% of eligible students did not take part in the assessment because of a parental exemption.

The CAASPP report is among several items set for the regular school board meeting starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday inside the boardrooms at the district administrative complex, 699 Old Orchard Drive in Danville.

In other business

* Board members will review proposed revisions to the administrative regulation on extracurricular and co-curricular activities.

The district updated the administrative regulation in March but did not include provisions regarding eligibility, discipline and other items related to athletics and extracurricular activities, according to district staff. The new revision would add in those elements, with district regulations and the most recent recommendations from the California School Boards Association.

* The board will receive an update on recent programs and activities at San Ramon's Windemere Ranch Middle School.

* Earlier in the evening at 6 p.m., the board will meet to talk about appointing a new principal at Dougherty Valley High School, among several closed-session topics. The San Ramon campus is looking for a new leader after principal Daniel Hillman was appointed as the district's new director of facilities-construction last month.

Editor's note: Reporter Julia Reis contributed to this story.

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