Local News

Trustees hear updates on Bridge Program, English learners

By From page A4 | November 06, 2013

The school board will hear a report Thursday on the transition of the Davis Bridge Program from the now-disbanded nonprofit Davis Bridge Educational Foundation to the Davis school district, and also review plans for English learners.

The trustees also will hear an update from Associate Superintendent Bruce Colby regarding the district’s ongoing budget planning as California moves to the new local control funding formula, a process that involves many changes in the way state government channels funds to school districts.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the Community Chambers at Davis City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd. It will be carried live on Davis cable Channel 17, and as live streaming video at www.djusd.tv.

The presentation on the Davis Bridge Program was prepared by Associate Superintendent Clark Bryant, Harper Junior High Principal Zena Ingles, Montgomery Elementary Principal Sally Plicka and Bridge Program staffers Liza Lopez and Julie Ramirez.

The program aims to boost academic performance and narrow the achievement gap by pairing students with tutors drawn from UC Davis and, in some cases, Davis High School. It serves 117 students at Montgomery (with 82 tutors currently involved), offering tutoring, homework support, mentoring and music.

At Harper Junior High, the Bridge Program serves about 80 students, with 55 tutors. The junior high program includes a field trip to UCD for a glimpse of college life. Both Montgomery and Harper are looking to add more tutors.

The report on the district’s Tier III Improvement Plan for English Learners is part of the labyrinthine federal process created in 2002 by the No Child Left Behind act, which decreed that 100 percent of students would be proficient in English and mathematics by 2014. However, the intervening years seem to have proved that 100 percent proficiency is more of a utopian ideal than an achievable goal.

As a result, as the federal benchmarks for test scores under No Child Left Behind have risen closer to the 100 percent proficiency threshold, school districts across the nation have found themselves classified in the “Program Improvement” category under the law. In 2010-11, Davis was identified as a Program Improvement district for Title III programs because not enough of the district’s English learners were meeting federal proficiency targets.

Since then, teachers, staff and parents have met and developed an improvement plan. Thursday’s presentation will feature an update on the implementation and activities that have taken place since the plan was approved by the board in February 2012.

The budget planning update will touch on several themes: projected state revenue growth as California’s economy recovers, reducing the district’s ongoing structural spending deficit, parcel tax revenues (the district’s current parcel taxes will be up for renewal in the November 2016 election), employee compensation and collective bargaining, staffing and program restorations, and fund balance reserve components.

The school board also will consider a resolution regarding California Retired Teachers Week.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at [email protected] or 530-747-8055. Follow him on Twitter at @JeffHudsonDE

Jeff Hudson

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