The Magnolia Message: October 13, 2016 Letter from the Superintendent

cropped-Piedmont-P-circle.jpgDear PUSD Families,

As students are now settled into the routines of the school year, Homecoming weekend is behind us, and Halloween is fast approaching, I’m writing with an update of the work now underway to meet the District’s goals for this year.  The District’s goals and action plan — called the Local Control Accountability Plan, or “LCAP” —  were discussed in the August 2016 edition of the Spotlight on Student Learning.  For more information, see the summary of the 2016-17 LCAP and related materials on the District’s website.

Over the last several weeks, I visited classrooms at all levels throughout the District.  I observed engagement and curious exploration by students.  I had the opportunity to see teachers implementing new curriculum and instruction strategies, and differentiating lessons to meet student needs.  This is very exciting to see, and reflects some of the LCAP work conducted last year.  Just as exciting is the analytical work being done outside the classroom, by teachers and staff and by the LCAP Advisory Committee, to support and improve the work inside the classroom.

The LCAP Advisory Committee — which consists of parent representatives, teachers, staff members, and administrators — plays a leading role in both developing the annual goals and reviewing progress toward achieving those goals.  The Committee meets monthly and the meetings are open to the public.  For a list meeting dates and times, please click here.

At its September and October meetings, the LCAP Advisory Committee began to review and analyze data from California’s new standardized tests, the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, or “CAASPP.”  The CAASPP is designed to be a more meaningful assessment of learning and skill development than previous standardized tests such as the STAR Test.  The CAASPP is administered to students in grades 3-8 and 11, in both English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics.  For more information about the CAASPP, see

The CAASPP data is broken down by grade level and by subgroups (including gender,

students with disabilities, and ethnicity).  The ELA data is broken down into the following areas:

  • Reading – how well student understand stories and information they read
  • Writing – how well students communicate in writing
  • Listening – how well students understand spoken information, and
  • Research/Inquiry – how well students find and present information about a topic.

The Mathematics data is broken down into these areas:

  • Concepts & Procedures – how well students use mathematical rules and ideas,
  • Problem Solving and Modeling/Data Analysis – how well students show and apply their problem-solving skills, and
  • Communicating Reasoning – how well students think logically and express their thoughts about how to solve a problem.

The District’s CAASPP data and related information is on the District’s website.

The LCAP Advisory Committee is studying the CAASPP data, by grade level and by subgroup, to identify areas for improvement, ensure students are receiving services and support they need, and meet our essential goal of delivering relevant curriculum with innovative instruction.

I encourage parents to attend the upcoming LCAP Parent Engagement Night on October 25th – 7pm in the PHS Student Center to learn more.  Future LCAP Engagement Nights are scheduled for January 23rd and April 24th — both at 7pm in the PHS Student Center.

To be most effective, school districts depend on input from the entire school community, so I encourage you to join in the important discussions about how the District may better serve our students — whether it’s with the LCAP Advisory Committee, your parent club or site council, or any of the various District Advisory Committees or school support groups.

I welcome your questions and comments at any time, so please don’t hesitate to contact me at



Randall Booker

Superintendent, Piedmont Unified School District

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