BUTTONWILLOW UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT
JOINS NATIONWIDE EFFORT TO KEEP STUDENTS ON TRACK
STUDENT PERFORMANCE RISES DRAMATICALLY
Students in the Buttonwillow Union School District had some of the highest increases in the state with regard to improving the percentage of students who moved into the range of meeting a proficiency standard in recently-released data from state assessments. This growth occurred in the areas of both math and language arts. The percentage increase of students meeting math proficiency rose 14.39%. Those meeting language arts standards rose 6.34%.
“I am extremely proud of our students and the increase in their proficiency scores throughout the school,” said Buttonwillow Superintendent Stuart Packard. “This is a complete team effort that includes teachers taking leadership roles, staff regardless of position building relationships with students, and the community believing in the school.”
The Buttonwillow students are a part of the more than 250,000 students from across 13 states that are a part of this effort that focuses on proficiency in math through 8th grade. San Francisco-based California Education Partners serves as the entity that brings these districts from throughout the state together and creates a strong network of teachers and administrators working together for student achievement.
The math team from Buttonwillow School District meets at three annual convening sessions held throughout California. These meetings occur with 19 districts throughout California. Each of the districts are focused on keeping students on-track for success as they enter high school. Students from Buttonwillow generally attend Shafter High School in the Kern High School District.
The team from Buttonwillow is using data-driven continuous improvement to look at data to identify a problem, select a strategy to address the problem, set a target for improvement, and iterate to make the approach more effective and improve student achievement. This approach is based on the idea that while no two schools or classrooms are the same, there’s a lot they can learn together about how to solve challenges.
“I believe that the continuous improvement process has empowered our teachers to create systems that allow our students to experience academic success as demonstrated by the significant growth attained toward proficiency of the California Standards as measured by state assessments,” said Assistant Superintendent/Principal Hiedi Witcher.
“The incredible part of this process is that we are all on the same page, maintain high expectations and have created a staff-wide idea that all of our students can be successful and that it is up to us as a collective team to do what is right for students,” stated 6th grade teacher, Amy Younger who is part of the math team.
“We believe deeply that the professionals working in our school systems are most capable in improving outcomes for all students,” says Dr. Steven Kellner, Director of Program for California Education Partners, “the challenge is that districts across the state are isolated. Our role is to connect districts to each other and to the expertise they need to do great work.”
The cost of this work is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as part of their Networks for School Improvement national strategy. This network of districts will work together until June of 2023.
“This has been an excellent opportunity for our Buttonwillow staff to lay a foundation for systemic change that makes everyone in the instructional arena a leader and gives each person a voice to meet the needs of our students,’ concluded Superintendent Packard.
After the strong result of the past year, Buttonwillow is excited to be working with California Education Partners as one of the first districts to begin the use of a second team that will focus on Language Arts.