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FUESD sets goals to increase academic success


Last updated 8/7/2008 at Noon

As the summer winds to a close, students and teachers alike are preparing for the new school year, and those with the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District are no different.

The district made some large strides in bettering the academic standard in the elementary and junior high schools in the 2007-2008 academic year, and while proud of the achievements, the elementary school board has set some distinct goals to work toward for the 2008-2009 year.

One of the academic successes last year includes having brought more visual and performing arts curriculum instruction to enhance core programs in English language arts, math and science.

Dr. Brian Jacobs, assistant superintendent for the district, states that with the development of a new curriculum guide, as well as the addition of new instructional materials and music coordinators throughout the district, the visual and performing arts program has truly been enhanced and is something for the district to be proud of.

“Even in these really rigorous times of poor academics , we are still seeing the value of a visual performing arts program and how that can have an impact with our children in the rigors of math, science and social science,” Jacobs explained.

This is especially true as other districts in the area and state have gone to cutting these types of programs, he stated.

Along with expanding the visual arts and performing programs, the school district is looking at the upcoming year as an opportunity to address and identify achievement gaps with the special populations in the schools, such as those in the English language-learning program and the special education program.

The district also plans to be in alignment with President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act. Plans are in place to have these two groups sufficient in the courses they are being taught by looking at different intervention models to work with these children as well as the children who form the rest of the student population.

According to Jacobs, the district is looking at implementing before- and after-school tutorial programs that will add to the day-to-day instruction children receive in the classroom, bridging the gap identified with any students who are struggling.

The model used to recognize the signs of a delay in academic learning is called “framework intervention” and is a scaffold that allows teachers to look at how they can begin to address a learning gap recognized in a student.

Steps included in framework intervention include different teaching methods that can be used by a teacher in the classroom as well as suggestions for having the teacher work with a small cluster of students in reading comprehension, spelling, vocabulary and more.

If a student still shows a gap in academic achievement, the teacher can begin to look at more specialized intervention methods.

According to Jacobs, this could mean using the Special Review Assessment program, additional teacher intervention or ongoing progress monitoring using tools that help teachers make a prescribed diagnosis for the child’s learning needs.

Jacobs said the areas that will be given the most attention will be reading, language arts and mathematics, as having a mastery of these subjects is considered the “gateway to all the children’s academic successes.”

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