According to our Central Valley School District state report card from 2021-2022, 53% of our students met state English & Language Arts proficiency standards. Only 40% of students met state standards in math, with 47% meeting standards in science. To have the best chance at success, our students must master these foundational subjects. We must get them the help they need to be successful, but at the same time, expectations and accountability for school work must be clear for students to meet their potential.
During the pandemic, our board unanimously approved an emergency resolution to waive high school graduation requirements and credits. It was intended to assist specific students who had been on track for graduation pre-pandemic, but needed help with specific credits. It was meant to be applied on a case-by-case basis. However, at Central Valley High School, it quickly became known amongst students that they essentially could not fail classes. The outcome was not more equity, but a drop in student engagement and morale towards school. Students started believing that their online classwork and virtual attendance didn't matter. For Central Valley High School, attendance dropped from 83.6% in the 2020-2021 school year to 57.6% the following year. In the district, numbers went from 86% to 69% attendance. High support without accountability was a disaster. As if the difficulty of COVID wasn't enough, we witnessed further feelings of disconnect from school, teachers, and classmates influence learning loss and declining proficiency scores.
Moving forward, we must learn from what we witnessed and couple high support with high accountability, so that students can learn what it means to truly succeed. We must act now to connect with district families, learn all we can about students' needs, and work together to turn this decline around.
School-level citizen advisory committees and family outreach would be helpful tools for gathering the necessary data to explain what is affecting our students' abilities to be successful within each school. The factors affecting Progress Elementary may differ from those affecting Liberty Lake. Advisory committees could problem-solve effective solutions tailored according to their students' needs, working with the support of the district.
Concerning Career and Technical Education, our district is full of possibilities. There are community partnerships, career training courses, and certifications in abundance. However, not all students and families get the information necessary to participate. Missed opportunities! All students need the chance to utilize these programs. Excitement about a specific field of study will engage a student like nothing else.
The bottom line is that collaboration with our CVSD families and teachers, including our community of partners and resources, will help our district find solutions to academic shortcomings and ultimately help our students to reach their academic potential. We can do hard things. Our students can do hard things. We need to remind them of how capable they can be, especially when we work together.