The three high schools in the Fallbrook Union High School District (FUHSD) presented their School Accountability Report Cards (SARCs) to the board of directors at their monthly meeting on January 11. The reports are intended to provide parents and community members with a “quick snapshot of school accountability.” The data presented in the recently released SARCs reflect performances in the 2008-2009 academic school year.
According to Oasis High School principal, Dr. Shawn Wirth, the alternative independent study high school has experienced “two years of growth and overall improvement.”
Last year, 67 students attended Oasis, with 90.9 percent of them graduating and experiencing growth in proficiency in English-Language Arts (up to 43 percent from 27 percent) and History-Social Science (up to 27 percent from 13 percent). However, there was no growth in Mathematics (remaining at six percent), and a decrease in Science scores (down to 12 percent from 21 percent), according to the California Standardized testing and reporting (CST) results. The CSTs show how well students are doing in relation to the state content standards, and displays the percentage of students achieving at the proficient or advanced level, meeting or exceeding the state’s standards.
“Math has always been a weak area for our school and the district in general,” said Wirth. “We have students coming in without basic skills, such as algebra. This year, we have a tutor that can help students on an individual basis.”
According to Wirth, students require various levels of help.
“We have students ranging from those who may need help in algebra to a student in pre-calculus class that doesn’t need any help,” she explained. “The tutor helps students on an individual basis.”
Oasis teachers have also taken steps to further equip their students with necessary math skills.
“Our teachers have gone through additional math training, so they are really able to dig into the material with their students,” said Wirth. “[The problem with math] is that there tends to be a time crunch to help students. This is where the tutor can help.”
Educational services superintendent Jim Yahr said that a school with a small population such as Oasis is unable to rely solely on its testing score.
“[Oasis] has subgroups less than 11 percent do not have their individual results reported,” explained Yahr. “There proves to be a fluctuation in a percentage of students who are proficient and above. We can get kids who come from a strong academic background and shoot up the scores. It’s hard to get a baseline.”
According to the SARC, Oasis High was able to meet all Adequate Yearly Progress levels in participation rates for English-Language Arts and Mathematics, proficient percentages in English-Language Arts and Mathematics, Graduation Rate and Academic Performance Index.
Wirth attributes Oasis’ success to the hard work of teachers and the individualized student learning plans created by the teachers.
“Depending on the students’ needs, they may come in one day a week or five days a week on independent studies,” she said. “If we find that a student isn’t progressing as quickly as we like or is not turning in assignments on a sufficient level, we come up with a plan to remedy that.”
Dr. Wirth has been the Oasis principal since June 2009, and has since implemented what she calls a “chart of response to intervention,” which monitors a student’s attendance, test scores and tutorial hours.
The success reported on the SARC is evident in the fact that all of the 2009-2010 Oasis seniors and all but two of the school’s juniors have passed the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE).
The high graduation rate at Oasis is the fruit of the individualized study plans set into place by teachers for their students, said Wirth.
“We look at each student’s personal needs and figure out what they need in order to excel,” explained Wirth. “Some students have babies, have to work full time, or cannot attend regular school sessions because of religious beliefs, so we create plans that meet their needs. Students know they are not just a number here.”
University-minded students can now take advantage of the newly accredited courses approved by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), which allows for students to have a smoother transition into a university of their choice.
“The students can now apply to universities as if they were from any other comprehensive high school,” said Wirth.
“About a year and a half ago, the [Oasis] staff decided to provide our alternative for independent studies needs to be accredited, so they embarked on the process. It all came together last year.”
The WASC accreditation has made Oasis a viable option for students who may be interested in finishing high school early and getting into a university.
“We are seeing that students are showing a greater interest in Oasis, saying ‘hey, I can go [to Oasis] so I can take the courses I need’,” said Yahr. “This makes our school stronger.”
“A lot of work has gone into the WASC accreditation development and revision of courses,” said Wirth. “We also have new college prep courses that are accepted by the University of California (UC) school system. Four of our courses are approved, and once the program reopens in mid-January, we will submit more classes.”
According to Yahr, all of these additions to the educational program at Oasis are designed to help students obtain the highest degree of education possible.
“It is critical to ensure that our students get the essential key concepts,” said Yahr. “We want to help them master the content, and have focused our efforts upon that.”
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