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School Board Approves Student Success Act Plan

Investments will boost student success, focus on underserved students

At its March 18 meeting, the Eugene School District 4J Board of Directors approved the district’s plan to invest Student Success Act funds to boost student achievement, particularly among groups of students that have been historically underserved.

The district’s Student Success Act Student Investment Account plan, which was approved on a 6-1 vote, has nine major components, including initiatives to improve early reading skills, reduce class sizes in targeted grades, provide full schedules for all high schoolers, and add more mental health and behavioral supports for students.

“This plan needs to move the academic needle for our students with the greatest needs” under the law, Superintendent Gustavo Balderas noted, “and this plan is designed to do just that. We wish we could do more, but this plan will make a real difference for our students.”

The vote of approval is a culmination of several months of work by the district to analyze student data, review research, and seek community input at public forums, small group meetings, targeted community events, and online surveys, to inform development of the plan to best support student success.

“We have done amazing outreach and collecting of feedback, speaking with communities and scheduling meetings where we would go to underrepresented groups that really never came forward before,” board chair Anne Marie Levis said of the district’s community outreach and engagement efforts to inform development of the plan.

Following the school board’s approval, the district will submit an application for the funds to the Oregon Department of Education for non-competitive grant approval. The district is tentatively scheduled to start receiving the additional funding in August. Under the adopted plan, the district would hire nearly 100 full-time staff members and make other investments to support student success in the coming years.

The purpose of the Student Success Act is to increase academic achievement for all students and reduce academic disparities for groups of students that have been historically underserved, and to meet students’ behavioral and mental health needs. School districts may invest the Student Investment Account funds in four areas: investments to provide a well-rounded education, address health and safety needs, reduce class size and increase instructional time. A key goal of 4J’s adopted plan is to reduce academic disparities for historically underserved groups, including economically disadvantaged students, students of color, students with disabilities, and students learning English as a second language.

The major components of 4J’s investment plan include:

PROVIDE WELL-ROUNDED EDUCATION

  • Improve Third Grade Reading: Implement comprehensive programs to improve students’ reading skills by 3rd grade.
  • Learning For All Model: Launch a pilot program to increase access and inclusion for students experiencing disabilities.
  • Enhance the NATIVES Program: NATIVES provides tutoring, summer camp and cultural programming, to improve Native American students’ attendance, achievement and high school graduation rates
  • Emergent Bilingual Student Success Plan: Support emergent bilingual students who are learning English as a second language.

ADDRESS HEALTH AND SAFETY

  • Behavior Framework and Support Services: Increase supports for behavior, social emotional learning and mental health by hiring school psychologists, elementary student behavior support coordinators, middle school behavioral EAs, and a behavioral consultant.
  • Wraparound Support Teams: Create regional wraparound support teams including mental health supports, social workers and nurses, to support students experiencing crisis, chronic absenteeism or social and emotional problems that require care

REDUCE CLASS SIZES

  • Class Size Reduction:
    • Primary Grades: Add teachers to reduce class sizes in 1st and 2nd grade
    • Middle Grades: Add teachers to reduce large middle school core class sizes

INCREASE INSTRUCTION TIME

  • Extended Learning:
    • Expand 4J’s BEST afterschool program to two more Title I elementary schools with a large number of economically disadvantaged students
    • Provide Title I summer school access to all eligible elementary school students
    • Expand middle school students’ summer learning opportunities
  • Full Schedules for Grades 9–12: Provide a full day of classes for all high school students (supported by High School Success funds)

 

Student Success Act Information 
March 18 School Board Meeting 

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