After a deep review of current data as well community input from previous planning sessions, the administration and school board adopted Student Outcome Goals to address foundational improvement in Reading (literacy), Math (numeracy) and College, Career, and Military Readiness (CCMR).
Reading (literacy) is foundational to success in all other subject areas. The average adult in our country reads on a 7th or 8th Grade Level. We expect our graduates to be more than average. We focused our district goal on 3rd Grade because research has clearly stated that students that are reading on grade level at the end of the 3rd Grade have a significantly increased chance of graduating and being successful in whatever endeavor they choose to pursue: The percentage of 3rd Grade students at or above the college and career readiness level (Meets) on STAAR Reading will increase from 31% to 50% by the end of the 2021 school year. There are incremental improvements for each year leading to 2021: 2019- 37% 2020- 44% 2021- 50%. I would like to elaborate on a few of the things that we are doing across the district to increase Literacy. Foundationally, we have strived to align the English Language Arts Curriculum from K-12. In this process, we have focused on a Balanced Literacy Approach, Gradual Release Model, Use of Mentor Text, and a significant increase in access to reading materials. Reading materials available in our classrooms and libraries have been greatly increased. Through a partnership with Scholastic Books, we continue to offer free books to our youngest readers over Winter and Summer Breaks. In addition, we started a Summer Reading Bus that travels around the school district to give students summer access to reading materials. We have focused on individual students in need of literacy intervention with time built into the daily schedule. Our teachers have been provided a Literacy Series Professional Learning by our Academic Services Department to improve the implementation of research-based best practices.
Math (numeracy) has always been a cornerstone in receiving a quality education. Natalia has set one of its three student outcome goals to focus on numeracy: The percentage of 7th-grade students at or above the college and career readiness level (Meets) on STAAR Mathematics will increase from 17% to 32% by the end of the 2021 school year. There are incremental improvements for each year leading to 2021: 2019- 22% 2020- 27% 2021- 32%. So, what are we doing to reach our new student outcome goal in numeracy? We have provided new resources and extensive professional learning for our teachers. First, we have updated many resources: 1) a new aligned math curriculum (GoMath) in grades K-5, 2) adopted a vertically aligned resource (SpringBoard Math) in grades 6-8, and 3) implemented a new adaptive intervention software (Imagine Math) in grades 3-12. Second, we have provided extensive professional learning for our teachers: 1) research-based problem-solving model, 2) deep dive into mathematics strands and 3) Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID).
College, Career, or Military Readiness (CCMR) is a measure of a graduates’ preparedness for college, the workforce, or the military. Natalia ISD’s CCMR goal is that the percentage of high school graduates classified as CCMR Ready will increase from 32% to 50% by the end of the 2021 school year. There are incremental expectations for each year leading to 2021: 2019- 38% 2020- 44%. There are many indicators that are used to determine how well a school district is performing on CCMR. Natalia has recently implemented a multitude of activities and programs to increase the number of students that graduate being College, Career, or Military Ready. We began by auditing what was available for students and then began to align our programs to better prepare our students. We have already begun implementation of many programs and activities with many more to come soon that will manifest in higher CCMR performance:
- Began to offer Pre-AP Courses again at the Junior High.
- Began to offer Spanish 1 and Spanish 2 at the Junior High so that students could have access to AP Spanish courses in High School.
- Began to administer and pay for Pre-SAT (PSAT) at the 8th,10th, and 11th grades for all students.
- Began to administer and pay for SAT with the essay at the 11th grade for all students.
- Began to administer and pay for the Texas Success Initiative(TSI) test for all students. The TSI test is a state mandate required for all entering college students to be assessed in the areas of reading, writing, and math.
- Began to administer the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test to all high school students.
- Began an Early College Academy (ECA) with incoming 9th Grade students. Our first cohort began this year with 17 students. All tuition and books are free for students. Students are able to earn up to 42 college hours that are all transferable to any public university in the state of Texas. Each of these students is supported with a Chromebook and will soon have hotspots to work at home paid for through a grant.
- Increased daily support of all other Dual Credit enrolled students not enrolled in the ECA cohort.