By: Maria Salciccioli, Senior Policy Analyst
At the Board’s January Public Meeting, we heard testimony on the ESSA school report cards that the SBOE is working with the Office of the State Superintendent (OSSE) to produce. Two school leaders testified that the format of the report cards disadvantages schools that only serve early childhood students, because it only includes growth from 3rd grade onward. Pre-K through 3rd grade schools make tremendous gains with their students during those years, which won’t be evident to families who look at school report cards in their current form.
With this information, the Board aims to partner with OSSE to think about nuanced ways to present early childhood schools’ student outcomes. Board member Dr. Lannette Woodruff (Ward 4) wanted to understand what an early childhood campus really looks like, so I joined her for a tour of Eagle Academy PCS. Eagle’s CEO, Dr. Joe Smith, was one of the school leaders who testified at our meeting. We visited the Congress Heights location, since it’s the larger of the two.
Dr. Woodruff and I had a wonderful tour with Eagle’s Director of Advancement, John Campbell, and Family Involvement Coordinator, Josephine Mazyck. We visited classrooms where students were engaged in art, physical education, and literacy instruction, and we had an opportunity to see some of the school’s more unique offerings. Eagle Academy has a state-of-the-art occupational therapy program, and it’s a STEAM school, so science and arts are infused into the curriculum. Students garden, work with robots, and learn to swim – since the school has a swimming pool, every student receives swimming instruction. The students’ joy was infectious – they were so happy to show Dr. Woodruff and me what they were learning. One student pointed out my broken ankle, encased in a boot, and sympathetically showed me his broken arm; the cute moment certainly lifted my spirits about my temporarily decreased mobility.
We enjoyed our visit to Eagle Academy and hope to collaborate with the team there as we seek to advise OSSE on creating a report card that gives parents clear insight into each school’s unique strengths and areas for growth.