Last Thursday, members of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District School Board elected Julia Brownley as their President and Kathy Wisnicki as their Vice-President. Brownley, who is in her third term on the Board, was previously the Board’s Vice-President. Wisnicki joined the Board after being elected in November 2004. Selection of a new President and Vice-President takes place annually in December. In other business, the Board discussed the evaluation of the District support, intervention and remediation programs that will be made by the department of the Educational Services this academic year and during the summer of 2006. The goals of the programs, according to the District staff report, are 1. to support students who have not yet mastered state standards, 2. strengthen promising programs so that they can more effectively meet the needs of the students they are intended to serve, 3. create an on-going cycle of evaluation for individual program improvement, (to be followed by planning, implementation of changes, and tracking of impact of change efforts, culminating in another round of program evaluation) and 4. use the results of these efforts to better target limited intervention funding to programs that have a track continuous improvement.” Donna Muncey, the District’s Director of Educational Services, told the Board that Santa Monica High School’s second year of implementation of its federal small learning community grant will be evaluated externally by Hilary Rhodes, a graduate student at RAND. This evaluation will assist the District in applying for additional federal funding for SAMOHI’s redesign. Other programs that will be evaluated are the summer school program at Samohi, as well as the “Intensive Intervention Summer School” for elementary and middle school students. The focus of the evaluation at the elementary and middle school levels will include “incorporation of more targeted reading intervention support for English Language Learners,” a more effective mathematics intervention program and “changes to strengthen the parent involvement component of middle school summer school.” Two pilot programs will also be evaluated including the “READ 180” pilot at Edison and Will Rodgers Elementary Schools. This reading intervention program which targets fourth and fifth graders is being evaluated to see whether it is appropriate for use in the District, as well as whether it should be offered for older students. The other pilot program is “Soar to Success” which also targets children who are struggling with reading.“School-Based Mental Health,” and the “Valued Youth Program” are also scheduled to be evaluated.
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