Accelerated Learning to Create Equitable Outcomes

Santee School District Schools Take A Wholistic Approach To Address Student Needs
Posted on 10/01/2023

Santee School District Schools Take A Wholistic Approach To Address Student Needs

During the pandemic the district was concerned with how it was going to maintain a high level of excellence and student learning outcomes with less time in the classroom, and what the academic and emotional impact would be as schools returned to “normalcy”. While several surrounding districts put programs on hold, SSD took a wholistic approach to create equitable outcomes for all students by piloting and implementing new accelerated learning methods, new curriculum, and new social emotional programs. Through these new programs and creating collective efficacy through student support teams, the goal was to accelerate and maximize learning to help students catch up.

The State recently released results from 2023 assessments in ELA and Math. The data shows that SSD scored above State and Countywide averages, and that SSD holds the highest number of students in the “Standards Met” and “Standards Exceeded” categories in East County. The data shows slight improvements in both ELA and Math, and shows much higher growth within each performance measurement band. This data was also consistent within SSD's high-risk subgroups.

Each school implemented new accelerated learning methods, curriculum, and social emotional programs. Below are a few examples.

Creating Equitable Outcomes at Pepper Drive
Summer Bradbury, Principal at Pepper Drive, works with her staff to use academic, attendance, and social emotional learning data to create custom intervention plans for students who are struggling.

“During COVID we know students missed some learning, so we expected to see some drop in achievement. But when we saw that drop happening inconsistently across student groups, we realized the need to examine equity not just for student groups, but for every student individually.”

Principal Bradbury meets with each teacher three times a year to examine the progress and needs of every student on that teacher’s roster. A school counselor and a representative from the Special Education team join these meetings as well to create a wholistic view of the services each student is receiving and what additional support could be offered. This creates a unified support team for every student and has proved to be an effective way to meet their needs. This group approach also encourages staff to collaborate and consistently look for ways to create equitable outcomes for students school wide.

Academic Success through Student Involvement at Hill Creek
At Hill Creek, grade level data drives the target subjects and goals for small group learning sessions called W.I.N. (What I Need) Time. During W.I.N. Time students rotate to a different teacher for personalized instruction in areas they need support or, for students who are excelling, in areas that they need a challenge.

This is a collaborative process, requiring full participation from students and teachers in each grade level. Students are aware of their test scores and areas of need and work with teachers to create a roadmap for success. They are succeeding because they are involved and know exactly what they have to do to improve.

“W.I.N. Time takes the embarrassment away of not knowing a subject,” said Chasity Forster, Principal at Hill Creek. “Our motto is We can do hard things, and through W.I.N. I have seen our students get excited about learning hard things. Not only is it changing test scores it is changing the mindset of students.”

Hill Creek runs W.I.N. sessions every six weeks and saw major gains in the first year of the program’s implementation. The goal was to gain 5% growth in moving students to grade-level in ELA and Math. In ELA, iReady data showed 16% growth in moving students to grade level; in Math, data showed 17% growth in grade level.

Using Data to Create Positive Learning Environments at Cajon Park
Social emotional learning (SEL) programs are vital to academic success. At Cajon Park, Principal Andy Johnston is using social-emotional data to create positive learning environments for students and teachers.

“Through SEL data we noticed that a large portion of students were scoring themselves unfavorably in the area of self-efficacy,” said Principal Johnston. “We created growth mindset units to help students gain confidence to master hard topics, focusing on the power of yet – i.e. I haven’t gotten it…yet.”

Using the SEL data, Principal Johnston works with staff and a Climate Committee to facilitate classroom conversations and student surveys to follow up on why students are feeling certain ways. For example, feeling safe at school is consistently a top priority for students seen in SEL surveys. School leadership conducted follow up surveys with students to understand what could make them feel safer, and ultimately brought on additional school counselors based on student feedback. Humanizing this approach gives staff a better understanding of how to address student needs and create grade-level goals.