Washington Central Story
WCUUSD Community Newsletter - September 8, 2023
And just like that, school is in session!
Phew - this week seems to have brought summer back with a vengeance! I hope that you've been able to stay somewhat cool during these hot days. It has been wonderful to see the sun, though.
Despite the heat, it has been a wonderful start to the school year. We enjoyed a morning together with faculty and staff at U-32 on the 28th, where we welcomed new faces, celebrated those who have been with us for many years, and honored our teachers of the year (see below!). Inservice continued in each of our buildings so we could be ready to welcome students. It was so nice to see everyone on the first day!
September 15th kicks off Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month, where we celebrate the history, culture and tradition of those who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean. The Smithsonian Institute has some great resources for learning more - check it out if you can!
As the year kicks into gear, it will feel like Fall before we know it. I hope everyone enjoys those first events of the school year.
- Meagan Roy, Superintendent
In this issue...
- Celebrating our Teachers of the Year
- Safe & Healthy Schools: Highlighting our facilities teams and some flood relief resources
- Humanity & Justice: Equity Indicators
- Academic Achievement: A new literacy assessment
- First Day Photos
- Last Day to Fill out our Thought Exchange on Vision & Core Beliefs
- Upcoming Board meeting information
Congratulations to our Teachers of the Year!
Safe & Healthy Schools
In any given summer, it is no small feat to have each of our schools shiny and ready for the start of the school year. This year, our district facilities team, led by Chris O'Brien (Director of Facilities), also worked hard to shepherd through a number of large facilities projects. While some of the work you can see (check out U-32's spruced up parking lot), many other projects are critical but also invisible. Thanks to the entire team in each of our buildings for all of their work to ensure that are schools are safe and ready to welcome students and families.
New Literacy Assessment
Guest post from Jen Miller-Arsenault, Director of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment
We in Washington Central continuously examine and revise our curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices based on evidence and research in the field.
This year we are introducing a new reading assessment, Acadience Reading, in Grades K-6. Acadience Reading measures essential early literacy skills that are predictive of future reading success. Examples of these essential skills include phonemic awareness, or the understanding that spoken words are made up of individual sounds , phonics, or the understanding that these sounds are represented by letters, oral reading fluency, and reading comprehension. This assessment is better aligned with our expectations for elementary readers and it is more efficient to administer than some of the assessments we have used in the past. It will provide important information about how our students are doing and who might benefit from more instructional support.
This fall our elementary teachers will be learning all about the assessment itself including why each measure is important, how to administer it, and how to score it.
Then in January we will administer it universally to our students in Grades K-6. We will administer it again at the end of the year, and in future years we will administer it each fall, winter, and spring.
Humanity & Justice
Many of you are aware that in June, the WCUUSD Board adopted a District Equity Policy, formalizing our ongoing commitment to ensuring that all are welcomed and supported in our schools. This policy asks an important question of the district - what impact does our work have on the students, families and school community members we serve?
By now, you know that schools rely on many different measures to know whether our students are learning what we want them to learn. We look at data so that we can make adjustments to our instruction, and continue to measure student progress so we know better how to serve them. This is also true of our humanity and justice work. We need to know what impact our equity work is having, so that we can continue practices that work, discontinue those that cause harm, and seek better ways when needed.
I am excited to begin work this year on identifying how WCUUSD will measure and reflect on our equity work. This begins with identifying Equity Indicators, or methods of measuring the collective impact. Later in the year, I will be able to share some of those indicators with our WCUUSD Board.
Currently, we are thinking about Equity Indicators in three ways:
- Implementation: What things are we doing as a district?
- Behaviors: What behaviors interrupt injustice for students, families & staff? How can we increase those behaviors?
- Outcomes: How do we know it’s working?
Over the course of the year, I look forward to gathering input from many sources about these indicators, and sharing more with you.