An ambitious revision of the San Luis Coastal School District’s goals is under way — that will, if successful, dramatically increase test scores and put the focus of the district into classrooms and their needs.
Superintendent Eric Prater, who was hired by the school board in July, said the strategic-plan initiatives he is proposing will not only serve as a way to measure student success but will also hold the district accountable.
Trustees, expected to adopt the five-year plan in April, will use it to allocate resources and funding in coming years.
“This is how we make sure that diminishing resources are focused on our kids in the most thoughtful way,” Prater said.
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The school district, the county’s second largest, has a growing number of families who are struggling economically and an increasing number of English learners.
Improving the test scores of those students is one of the key initiatives being put forward.
“We can’t assume that what we are doing is working for all kids when the data shows otherwise,” Prater said.
An additional emphasis will also be put on early education by developing preschool and pre-kindergarten transitional programs for students of socioeconomically disadvantaged families.
“We need to reach out to those kids,” Prater said. “We need to knock on doors, find them and get them into school early.”
The 10 proposed initiatives also include improving technology in classrooms, increasing the number of students qualified for the UC and CSU systems and strengthening students’ experience at school by making it a more inclusive environment.
The district is now in the process of synthesizing survey responses collected from more than 500 families and 277 employees on their desires for the district. That information will then be assimilated into the strategic initiatives before the school board adopts them.
Initial criticism of the plan from staff and community members is that it may be too ambitious.
“We don’t want to set expectations so high that we are never able to achieve them,” said Chris Ungar, school board president. “We also don’t want to set them so low that we aren’t achieving anything.”
Prater said the district is up to the challenge.
“At the end of the day, my job is to make our district the very best it can be, and (neither) I, nor the school board, feel that resting on our laurels or remaining in status quo is the proper way to proceed.” Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.