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School District Discussions Focus On Accountability
Escalon Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Joel Johannsen reviews some of the dos and donts that were part of the discussion for the districts LCAP, Local Control Accountability Plan, in a pair of public meetings over the last couple of weeks. Marg Jackson/The Times


Setting priorities and goals, members of the administrative team at Escalon Unified School District sought input from the public – their ‘stakeholders’ – at a pair of public meetings over the last couple of weeks.

Specifically, the district’s LCAP, Local Control Accountability Plan, was called into question, with the district looking for suggestions on how best to spend the money received to get the desired outcomes for students at all grade levels.

State priorities, said Assistant Superintendent Joel Johannsen, include conditions of learning, pupil outcomes and engagement – including parental involvement and school climate – and within each priority there are ranked goals. Implementation of state standards, parental involvement and student achievement rank high on Escalon’s list of goals under the state’s priority system.

Sessions were hosted at both Dent Elementary and El Portal Middle School, with Johannsen providing an overview of the LCAP budget for the district and painting a clear picture of the school district in terms of demographics.

Currently, Johannsen said, the district serves nearly 3,000 students in eight schools – four elementary schools, a middle school, a comprehensive high school, one continuation school and a charter school.

Demographics show current student enrollment at 47 percent white, 47 percent Hispanic and six percent from other backgrounds, with 22 percent classified as English learners, 48 percent classified as socio-economically disadvantaged and eight percent receiving special education services,

“The district’s commitment to its students is evidenced by its simple, yet powerful mission statement – ‘All Students will Learn at High Levels’,” Johannsen noted in his overview.

Figures also show that Escalon High School has maintained an average graduation rate of 95 percent over the last four years, roughly 15 percent higher than the state average.

Johannsen said the goal behind the public sessions was to get a feel from residents about how the school district is doing, what they are doing well and what they can do better. He said the conversations were a “good dialogue” and the district gained some insights. The Local Control Accountability Plan also correlates to the Local Control Funding Formula, which allows for some flexibility in spending on programs and provides a base formula for state aid to schools.

Four specific goals determined for EUSD include: Provide the necessary resources and staffing to make all students career and college ready; increase academic rigor so all students have the necessary skills to be college and career ready; accelerate growth of underperforming subgroups in all academic areas; and enlist all stakeholders to create learning environments that are effective and engaging.