Monday Message From Dr. Mary Sieu



January 28, 2019 



Superintendent’s Message - Dr. Mary Sieu

(Follow me on Twitter: @abcsupt)


I hope everyone had a memorable holiday on Martin Luther King Jr. Day!


On Tuesday, January 21, our District team met with the Los Angeles County Office of Education staff to review the data for Differentiated Assistance. ABCUSD was identified as being eligible for Differentiated Assistance based on two groups that did not meet the State’s priority areas. This includes our Foster Youth (CAASPP ELA and Math; Chronic Absenteeism/Graduation Rate; Suspension Rate) and Homeless students (Chronic Absenteeism; Suspension). The LACOE team will continue working with us to identify underlying causes, possible solutions, helpful resources, and methods for measuring the effectiveness of possible solutions. There is no requirement to create a new improvement plan nor will the State dictate a specific set of interventions for improvement. We will be reviewing our LCAP and strengthen the areas for these two groups immediately as well as for 2019-20.


On Wednesday, Jan. 23, I had the pleasure of attending Nixon Academy’s “Dig It-A Musical Tale of Ancient Civilizations” performed by all the 6th graders. What an exciting way to learn the importance of history through songs and characters!


We held our monthly Leadership Enrichment Academy with all our principals and key District staff on Thursday, January 24. The focus for this year’s Leadership Enrichment Academy Meetings will be centered around Stephen Covey’s work based on “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”  Charles Fonbuena, Master Facilitator with Franklin Covey Institute provided the workshop for our District leaders.


News About Our Schools and/or District


Four-Year Graduation Rate Calculation - In response to the U.S. Department of Education, California Department of Education changed the formula used to calculate the graduation rate for high schools. In this new formula, students who earn a high school equivalent diploma (e.g. Adult School Diploma, GED, etc.) are no longer counted as graduates. Students in special education who earn a Certificate of Completion are also counted as non-graduates. Data from continuation high schools is also included in the overall district four-year graduation rate. These changes directly impact our graduation rate.


CA School Dashboard Reports - The California School Dashboard Report includes information for groups with 30 or more students in each indicator: chronic absenteeism, suspension rate, graduation rate, college/career, English language arts, and mathematics.


The report shows there are student groups performing at the highest level (blue) and the lowest level (red) in each of the indicators. Included in the Local Control Accountability Plan are districtwide initiatives aimed at improving students' performance for groups with red/orange indicators. In the Single Plan, schools must also identify specific goals/actions in response to student groups with results in the red/orange area.


At the January 15th Board Meeting, staff reported on the data and presented recommendations for improving student performance in the identified areas. Increasing and improving student performance requires the collective efforts of schools and the District. We are working together to improve these outcomes for students. The link to the Dashboard is:


Human Resources – The Human Resources Department is in the process of preparing to recruit for the possible teacher positions that we will need for the coming year and for the Teacher Interview Event (TIE) that will be held on Thursday, April 11, 2019, in the District Office.


2019 California Distinguished Schools - Cerritos HS and Whitney HS have been selected to be eligible for the 2019 California Distinguished Schools Award. They may also apply for the Exemplary Programs Award in Arts Education, Career Technical Education, and/or Physical Activity and Nutrition Education. The two schools will be working on their applications which are due next month. 


Sponsored by California Casualty, the 2019 California Distinguished Schools Program recognizes California secondary schools that have made exceptional gains in implementing the academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education for all students. The California Department of Education identified eligible schools based on their performance and progress on the state indicators as described on the California School Dashboard.


Special Education - The Special Education Department held Individual Education Plan (IEP) professional development on December 12 and January 9 for all Special Education teachers. The focus was on writing measurable baselines, goals, and making connections with families. Instead of a typical large group format, the teachers participated in small group discussions led by the Special Education Leadership team, which allowed for in-depth conversations, questions, and answers. The feedback from the professional development was extremely positive.


Education Partnerships Roundtable - On Friday, January 18, 2019, ABC Unified School District hosted Long Beach City College (LBCC) for an Education Partnerships Roundtable at Artesia HS. This breakfast networking event was a joint effort between ABCUSD and LBCC to engage in meaningful conversations regarding academic partnerships to benefit our students. Board President Ernie Nishii and ABCUSD Superintendent Dr. Sieu provided opening remarks along with LBCC VP of Academic Affairs Kathy Scott and LBCC President/Superintendent Dr. Reagan F. Romali. Roundtables were organized by pathway, with 31 LBCC and 39 ABCUSD administrators and faculty in attendance. Pathways included: Automotive/Diagnostics, Advanced Manufacturing, Biomedical, Business, Computer Science, Engineering, Film/Production, Physical Therapy, Teacher Preparation, Theater Arts, and Video Game and Design.


Each administration/pathway table collaborated to determine partnership opportunities which included: Articulation and Dual Enrollment Agreements; Field Trips; Guest Speaking Opportunities; Career Panels, Equipment Sharing/Gifting; and Financial Assistance for students.


Professional Development - On Friday, January 25, 2019, from 8:00 AM -11:00 AM, an Equity Workshop was provided for the remainder of our Transportation Bus Drivers at Haskell MS. An Equity Workshop was also provided for our Student Intervention Assistants and Gym Attendants in the Board Room from 9:30 AM -2:00 PM. These workshops, presented by Generation Ready, were engaging and interactive with a focus on looking beyond the faces of students, parents, and co-workers to provide ongoing support and quality service.


Community Advisory Council - The Community Advisory Council (CAC) for Special Education held a parent education meeting on Thursday, January 24th. Twenty-five (25) parents attended the CAC. The Los Angeles Sheriff's office, in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health presented on a new program entitled "L.A. Found." They demonstrated a fascinating new wristband technology now available to families of disabled children which can help law enforcement locate children who are lost. ABC Safe Schools Coordinator Kendall Fujioka also spoke about suicide and approaches that parents should use to decrease the likelihood of such tragedies. SELPA Director Dr. William Gee also addressed special education questions regarding access to special education services and shared effective strategies to work with their children's teachers.