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2018-2019 LCAP Executive Summary

Introduction

Serving Alameda children since 1855, Alameda Unified School District became a "unified" district in 1936. AUSD works hard to provide every student with a quality educational experience that strives for excellence and equity. AUSD serves the diverse educational needs of students from pre-school through high school, continuing on through adult education classes.


The Alameda Unified School District, serving almost 10,000 students, has a wide range of school offerings: a childhood development center, 9 elementary schools, four middle schools, two comprehensive high schools, a continuation high school, an Early College High School, and an adult school. The 9 elementary schools include one K-8 campus and 8 K-5 schools, several of these featuring innovative programs. Two 6-8 schools include one large, comprehensive site and a smaller site that features a STEAM program with an Integrated Arts focus. One of the two comprehensive high schools is a 6-12 Junior/Senior high school, serving students across the island. The community continues to value neighborhood schools, with almost all students attending the school determined by their enrollment zone.


AUSD is a diverse community of learners with a student population that is about 26.5% Asian, 29.1% White, 15.5% Hispanic, 13.4% two or more races, 7% Black/African American, 6.2% Filipino, .72% Pacific Islander, and .25% American Indian or Alaskan Native. Students with Disabilities represent 11.1% of AUSD population, 30.9% of students are classified as Socioeconomically Disadvantaged, and the overall unduplicated percentage is 36.2% (Up from 35% in 2016-17). Approximately 15.3% of students are English Learners and over 40 different languages are represented, reflecting the richness of cultures present in a city that is suburban with all the urban characteristics of the surrounding East Bay.


AUSD’s motto is ‘Excellence and Equity for All Students.’ With a mission statement reading, “We believe that our diverse community of students, given a rigorous academic program in an inclusive, safe and secure environment, will be prepared to be responsible citizens,” AUSD has in the past few years promoted a campaign of ‘Everyone Belongs Here.’ Developed through district-supported community roundtables (now including an LGBTQ roundtable, ALCANCE, the Hispanic/Latino roundtable, the Jewish Education Roundtable, a to-be-named African American Roundtable, and the Superintendent’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Council), this effort has resulted in a partnership with the city to foster inclusivity throughout the community.


Over the past decade, AUSD has prioritized school autonomy and innovation, supporting the ongoing development and implementation of innovative and magnet programs. School autonomy is also reflected in the relatively large amount of funding (base and supplemental) allocated to sites for discretionary spending. Sites work within their established stakeholder groups to develop local plans that align to district goals and implement individual foci.


Currently, AUSD is seeking to establish greater balance between site innovation/autonomy and alignment to districtwide instructional and behavioral expectations. This search for the right ‘loose/tight’ balance is reflected in current efforts to implement a comprehensive Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) across sites. This system would establish common structures for supporting all students at various tiers of instruction/intervention while also supporting the array of unique programs that make Alameda schools attractive and successful.


Underpinning all of the above is AUSD’s commitment to community engagement and shared decision-making. In addition to the community roundtables mentioned, AUSD engages bargaining groups, parents/guardians, students, and community members to ensure that all perspectives are heard and taken into account.


Alameda Unified has historically lagged behind their county peers in employee compensation across all bargaining groups. During the 2017-18 school year, the Board of Education committed to a significant reprioritization of the budget in an effort to make progress toward employee compensation at or near the county median to support the successful recruitment and retention of excellent employees. This process resulted in substantial programmatic reductions across school sites and at the central office level. Specific details of the cuts are outlined in subsequent analyses and the engagement summary.
The reprioritization process also encompassed two additional discussion points that have recurred in the community over time – the consolidation of schools and a second parcel tax. Both topics have recurred in various forms and speak to the collective acknowledgement that Alameda Unified cannot both meet its goals to (a) increase employee compensation to target levels and (b) retain current program elements AND maintain (a) the current number of school sites, especially those at smaller sizes for their grade span, and (b) current revenue streams. Over the coming year(s) the outcomes of these two discussions will have significant impact on AUSD’s ability to meet its diverse goals, most importantly excellence and equity for all students.

LCAP Highlights

AUSD’s 2018-19 LCAP presents the districtwide and site-specific efforts to achieve the four primary LCAP goals and associated sub-goals. The following table briefly summarizes the alignment of AUSD’s LCAP goals to the California Dashboard State and Local Indicators and the LCFF State Priorities.

 

Chart of state and local goals and metrics

 

Included in the Goals, Actions, and Services section, where appropriate, are site-specific budget codes. These codes align to tables of site-specific LCFF Supplemental expenditures present in the Demonstration of Increased or Improved Services section.
 

Specific Highlights:


• Expansion of the existing Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) program to provide more mental health and behavioral intervention support to sites and implement an academic universal screener/progress monitoring/intervention system. 2018-19 also marks the start of a districtwide implementation to train staff in Restorative Practices and enact a foundational anti-bias training program with curriculum development support. (Reference: Goal 1 Action 5, Goal 2A Action 22, overall Goals 1 and 2 include numerous academic and behavioral programs that contribute to MTSS implementation)


• Strategic Planning within Special Education Department: Attached as Appendix D is the draft Special Education Strategic Plan. This represents the year-long efforts of a planning committee to define a services delivery model for students with special needs that is facilitated by high quality teaching, supported through active engagement in the least restrictive learning environment, and monitored by multiple measures of student achievement.


• Ongoing implementation of the English Language Development program to support improved outcomes for English Learners in both fluency acquisition and mastery of core content. This remains a highlighted area within AUSD’s LCAP despite significant cuts in staffing as a result of the budget reprioritization process noted above. ELD staff will be working across departments to build capacity for a broader group of staff to support EL needs to mitigate the reductions. (Goal 2B, all actions)


• Overall, this year’s LCAP represents the district’s efforts to maintain forward progress in many areas parallel to the ongoing process of reprioritizing the budget to increase employee compensation. This process will continue in the coming years as there is still an acknowledged gap to close before the goal of employee compensation comparable to the county median is met.

 

review of performance

Greatest Progress

AUSD continues to make progress in the implementation of major programs/systems designed to support the needs of unduplicated pupils but also benefit all students. These specifically include the efforts in MTSS and ELD:


MTSS Implementation:


The implementation of MTSS, specifically those supports targeted at tiered behavioral intervention and mental health support, has continued to progress at planned levels. This has provided school sites with additional resources in the form of personnel, time for staff to collaborate, district office coaching/guidance, and funds for materials. A primary goal of the system is to reduce the disproportionate outcomes for students across lines of socioeconomics, language, race, ability, and other characteristics. The implementation has resulted in consistent installment and implementation of Coordination of Services Teams (COSTs) and associated processes, routine self-assessment by sites using the Tiered-Fidelity Inventory (TFI), and preliminary selection of a screening/diagnostic tool for future implementation. This will be further built upon with development and implementation of a districtwide data calendar to be utilized by central and site staff for routine review and use of data in decision making. AUSD’s belief is that, as personnel and systems goals are reached, the implementation across schools sites will positively impact student outcomes, particularly in the chronic absenteeism rate and suspension rate indicators. Additional training for staff in Restorative Practices and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) beginning in Fall 2018 will develop additional capacity across school sites to make positive growth in these areas. Both these efforts also support the district’s goal of implementing systems across all classrooms that will particularly support improved outcomes for students with disabilities. (Reference: Goal 1 Action 5, Goal 2A Action 23)

 

English Learner Progress:


From the spring 2017 to fall 2017 Dashboard release, AUSD moved from a ‘Yellow’ to a ‘Green’ in student performance. And while the spring 2017 results reflect a slight decrease within the ‘maintained’ change level (decrease of .5%), they also reflect two consecutive years of performance well above that of the prior dashboard release. Performance statuses of 83.1% and 82.6% in each of the last two years represent significant improvement upon the 80.6% from the ‘current year’ in the spring 2017 release. This growth is encouraging given the major efforts AUSD has put in place to increase the quality of integrated and designated ELD instruction across grade levels. As noted above, a major challenge in sustaining this progress will be the recent and potential future reductions in program staffing and resources. (Reference: Goal 2B)

Greatest Needs

AUSD has been identified for the state’s newly implemented Differentiated Assistance process. As part of the new Accountability System, districts are identified based on the performance of all students and individual student groups on the new California State Dashboard. AUSD was identified based on the performance of Students with Disabilities. The Differentiated Assistance process involves Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE) oversight through a self-assessment process and culminates in a formal summary to the Board of Education including specific recommendations for addressing the identified performance gaps.


As noted in the ACOE’s summary, while AUSD is a high-functioning district meeting the needs of most students (AUSD’s Fall 2017 Dashboard is Green for ‘All student performance’ across all 5 areas with reported performance levels), there is a real need for system change for historically underserved groups. As can be seen in the table included under ‘Performance Gaps’ below, student groups including Homeless, Socioeconomically Disadvantaged, African American, and Pacific Islander all are ‘Orange’ or ‘Red’ in all reported performance status areas. These groups, in addition to Students with Disabilities as identified through the Differentiated Assistance process, require both immediate and long-term strategic plans to address the significant disparity in outcomes across the dashboard indicators. For the 2018-19 LCAP and targets set for the next three years, AUSD has included specific target outcomes for these student groups within those goals where data is disaggregated.

 

Through the Differentiated Assistance process, a range of needs were identified for students with disabilities, most of which directly or indirectly will support improved outcomes for all students. The key needs identified through this process are summarized below. (NOTE: AUSD focused on Component 5: Infrastructure Alignment from the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA) Local Education Agency (LEA) Self-Assessment during the Differentiated Assistance process to self-assess and identify potential actions and services.

 

Data Systems


AUSD needs to develop and implement a comprehensive data system that includes universal screeners, diagnostics, and articulated benchmarks. Currently AUSD does have some benchmark assessments in place following recent adoption of K-5 Math and ELA curricula. Implementation fidelity of these benchmarks needs to increase and staff need to be engaged in regular review of the data in a systematic and structure manner. 2018-19 will mark the implementation of a districtwide screener/diagnostic/intervention tool that is currently in the final phases of selection. This data, in conjunction with other measures, will provide staff the information needed to appropriately apply tiered intervention. AUSD also needs to develop and utilize a system-wide data calendar that engages school sites and central staff in regular review of established data. This will support informed decision-making and more effectively link actions/services (and ultimately funding) to student outcomes. (Goal 2 Action 22)


Alignment of Resources-Actions/Services-Goals

AUSD needs to strengthen the alignment of central and school site actions/services to the stated goals and targets in the LCAP. This is particularly needed throughout the Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA) process. Site SPSAs need to reflect resource allocations toward actions/services that are intentional and closely aligned to stated LCAP goals and additional goals within the MTSS plan, SpED Strategic Plan, ELD Master Plan, and other district plans. While sites are currently required to align all SPSA expenditures to one of the stated LCAP goals, the articulation of a given action/service to a specific metric/outcome is not currently mandated. To support focus and alignment of fiscal resources to goals, the district also needs to review the current process for allocating funds to sites. This review needs to include an evaluation of whether funds are being disbursed in an equitable manner relative to the identified student needs at each site. The review should also consider whether it is appropriate to either (a) retain some of the funds centrally to more systemically address identified needs or (b) establish narrower parameters on how the funds can be used in support of stated goals and identified needs. With the bulk of 2018-19 site budgeting completed parallel to the self-assessment process within Differentiated Assistance, this need would be addressed in the 2018-19 work with sites to plan the 2019-20 budget. Lastly, AUSD needs to build in stronger accountability processes to ensure that the above alignment and utilization of funds are carried out with fidelity. (Reference: Specific breakdown of site budgets in Demonstration of Increased or Improved Services section)


Recruitment and Retention of Credentialed and Experienced Staff

Within the Differentiated Assistance process this was addressed specifically with regard to Special Education teachers. However, the need to recruit and retain staff exists throughout the district. As discussed above, a key need identified by the board and community is increasing compensation for all employees, including teachers, to the median county levels. Internally, increased collaboration between the Human Resources and Special Education Departments is needed to strengthen recruitment, training, retention, and placement of fully credentialed teachers. (Reference: Goal 4 Action 3 (HR department), Goal 4 Action 8 (SpED department))

 

Districtwide Training in Tier 1 Academic and Behavioral Instructional Practices
AUSD needs to establish and provide training on core academic and behavioral instructional practices to support all teachers to meet the needs of students, particularly students with disabilities and other student groups that have been historically underserved. Moving forward, AUSD will be providing, via a rolling cohort model, districtwide training to staff in Restorative Practices (to be followed in future cohort training with Restorative Justice), Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as the umbrella lens across all curricula, and anti-bias practices. These foundational trainings will establish a unified district vision for tier 1 instruction in all classrooms and better equip teachers to meet the needs of all students, especially those who are currently and historically underserved. (Goal 2A, Action 23)

Student Group Suspension Rate Graduation Rate Academic: ELA Academic: Math
All students Green Green Green Green
English Learners Green Green Yellow Yellow
Foster Youth Red N/A N/A N/A
Homeless Orange N/A Orange Orange
Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Orange Orange Orange Orange
Students with Disabilities Red Red Red Orange
African American Red Orange Orange Orange
Asian Blue Green Green Blue
Filipino Orange Blue Green Yellow
Hispanic Yellow Green Yellow Green
Pacific Islander Orange N/A Orange Orange
Two or More Races Green N/A Green Green
White Green Yellow Blue Green

 

As detailed above in ‘greatest needs,’ AUSD is addressing a range of identified needs with specific actions beginning in the 2018-19 school year and continuing existing actions that also meet these needs.


Suspension Rate
To decrease the suspension rate for all students, and specifically for those students who are performing significantly below the district’s rate for all students (Foster students (RED), Homeless students (ORANGE), socioeconomically disadvantaged students (ORANGE), students with disabilities (RED), African American students (RED), Filipino students (ORANGE), and Pacific Islander students (ORANGE)), AUSD is continuing with the expansion of the MTSS program as described above. This expansion includes the continued implementation of Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) with Coordination of Services Teams (COSTs) and the above mentioned training in Restorative Practices. This, along with improved data systems for recording and reviewing discipline data, will engage sites in strategic efforts to reduce suspension rates for students who are currently suspended at disproportionately high rates as well as all students. (Reference: Goal 1 Action 5)


Academic ELA and Math
To increase academic performance in ELA and Math for all students, and specifically for those students who are performing significantly below the district’s rate for all students (Homeless students (ORANGE for both), socioeconomically disadvantaged students (ORANGE for both), students with disabilities (RED for ELA and ORANGE for Math), African American students (ORANGE for both), and Pacific Islander students (ORANGE for both)), AUSD is providing foundational training in Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and UDL-aligned training in core curricula. Additionally, AUSD will continue to provide specific math support to sites with high percentages of unduplicated students through 2.0 FTE of math coaching. 2017-18 implementation of short-cycle math intervention at middle schools will be built upon by identifying and providing math intervention opportunities at other grade spans. ELA intervention at K-5 will be provided and supported through training in SIPPS curricular. The use of multi-sensory instruction will also be continued and expanded upon through training in Orton-Gillingham curricula. SpED staff will continue to support the recently piloted and implemented supplemental and replacement ELA/Math curricula for varying levels of tiered instruction. (Reference: Goal 2A Action 13, Goal 2A Action 23, Goal 2A Actions 10-14)


Graduation Rate
To increase graduation rates for all students, and specifically for those students who are performing significantly below the district’s rate for all students (socioeconomically disadvantaged students (ORANGE), students with disabilities (RED), and African American students (ORANGE)), AUSD, in addition to the above academic and behavioral measures, will continue existing actions across a range of fronts. Families will continue to be provided education through the School Smarts and Parent University programs. The former is aimed at increasing parent/guardian engagement and access to the educational system overall while the latter is more specifically focused on the college eligibility and matriculation process. Work will continue with counselors to more clearly define and implement a four-year planning process. Technology staff are currently engaged in exploration of the transition to a planning process that takes place entirely within the student information system, providing students, parents/guardians, teachers, counselors, and administrators the same level of information regarding a student’s planned course schedule over four years. Through grants and established programs, staff will work to increase enrollment in UC ‘a-g’ aligned, Advanced Placement, and postsecondary coursework during the high school career. The board and staff are also exploring all options to create more flexible pathways toward graduation including alternative methods of fulfilling graduation requirements.


Supporting improved outcomes for the student groups identified above across all four indicators will be the districtwide equity and inclusion training (referred to as anti-bias training in other areas and documents) to commence in 2018-19. As noted, this training will occur by cohorts, with some schools leading in early 2018-19 and others following in subsequent semesters/years similar to the roll-out of Restorative Practices training. (Goal 1 Action 12)

Increased or Improved Services

The most significant ways that AUSD will be increasing/improving services in the coming year include the ongoing implementation of the English Language Development program, the ongoing and expanded implementation of a comprehensive Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), and the implementation of the Special Education Strategic Plan (attached as an Appendix) to improve services for Students with Disabilities. More information on the district’s efforts to increase or improve services can be found in the last section of this document, including site-based actions that align to these efforts.