Coastal Academy Charter School: Using data to customize each student’s instructional program « Center on Educational Governance (CEG)

Coastal Academy Charter School: Using data to customize each student’s instructional program

Practice Area: data-driven decision-making

Coastal Academy Charter School:
Using data to customize each student’s instructional program

Coastal Academy Charter School

Oceanside, California
Founded 2003
710 students
Grades K-8
Site-based and home-schooling
61% White, 17% Hispanic, 10% African-American, 8% Asian, 2% Biracial, 2% Other
0% English language learners
6% Special needs
22% Receive subsidized meals
Teachers not part of collective bargaining unit

Source: Center on Educational Governance, 2011.

Since Coastal Academy Charter School opened in 2003, it has used an independent-study model for its students.

The school’s leaders administer and evaluate multiple measures of student academics, including the national Measures of Academic Progress (MAP); Reading Plus and Lexia, an online reading progress assessment; and the weekly/biweekly Saxon Math tool.

They rely on additional data sources such as teacher-made assessments driven by state standards, parent-teacher observations, and student work: portfolios, group projects, journaling, and enrichment games.

In August, the whole staff reviews STAR testing results, to begin the school year with a firm foundation.

The three large expense items in carrying out data-driven decision-making at
Coastal Academy were time, professional development, and MAP licensing fees.

Time was defined as the participation by teachers and staff to look at reports, analyze
data results, ask questions and discuss how data affect each child.

Teachers were paid their regular salaries for attending the required professional development at the beginning of and throughout the school year. The principal had not generated the exact cost, but said that Classical Academies Network supported the importance of using data-driven decision-making and the costs were included in the organizational budget.

The MAP licensing fee was $12 per student, approximately $8500 per year. This included use of the assessment instruments all year; individual student reports; teacher class reports; schoolwide and district reports; and online professional development which could be completed at home.

Lessons Learned

The principal named two main challenges: keeping parents actively involved as partners in the teaching process, and convincing the public that data-driven decision-making was “not teaching to the test,” but rather a collaborative teaching culture that made learning exciting for children.

Teachers remarked that data provided an unbiased look at each student as an individual with unique educational needs. “It takes the drama out of parent conferences because data provides us something quantitative to look at,” said a fourth-grade teacher leader. “I can show parents specifically where and how their child is succeeding or struggling.”

Teacher leaders felt strongly that data were a factor in the high STAR testing results, which helped them assure parents that they had chosen the right school for their children.


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