Spotlight on Student Learning

  • Drawing of a Spotlight with text: Spotlight on Student Learning

    May 18: AVID Program Highlights and Senior Standouts

    Each year, the AVID program at each of our sites nominates an outstanding AVID senior for recognition. These students have often overcome personal obstacles to find the tremendous success they have and embody what it means to "achieve (A) via (V) individual (I) determination (D). Additionally, we shared some program highlights from the school year, which included achievement data and spotlights on special AVID events from the year. Learn more by viewing the presentation

    May 4: Student Equity Councils

    The Student Equity Councils were initiated as part of our work to address the Grand Jury report about hate speech in San Mateo County Schools. The 2021-2022 school year was the inaugural year for the teams in which each of our comprehensive schools launched student equity teams. The students were recruited to be representative of the student population and to ensure that the teams could provide insight into the perspectives of all parts of the student body. The teams were trained by Restorative Equity Partnership (REP) to support the students in developing skills in addressing school climate issues, specifically related to hate speech on campus. The students were trained over the course of the year through four all-day training sessions.

    The topics included for the trainings were:

    • Building relationships in affinity and across difference to lead change toward positive school climate and equity
    • Advocating for fair treatment and opportunities for others
    • Engaging in courageous conversations about hate, racism, and systemic inequities
    • Understanding privilege and mitigating personal bias
    • Setting conditions for safe/brave space where both healing and interruption can occur;
    • Pushing to include diverse affirming traditions and cultural lived experiences within the school community.

    This school year (2022-2023), each of our comprehensive schools as well as Middle College and Peninsula launched a student equity council. The second year was focused on both sustaining the student equity teams and onboard new students to the team. This was completed through coaching as well as a two-day training for new student members. Learn more by reading the report or viewing the presentation.

    April 20: District English Learner Advisory Committee (DELAC) Presentation 

    DELAC is our District’s English Learner Advisory Committee. Our District’s DELAC is made up of parents of students of limited English proficiency Our DELAC committee is supported by Dr. Shoman, our district Family Engagement Coordinator, Elsa Pulido, and our site Family Engagement Coordinators. All sites have been represented this year with the exception of Peninsula and we had both Spanish and Chinese-speaking parents. The committee met once a month in person at the District Office.

    In its annual report to the Board, the DELAC shared commendations and made recommendations for improvement to the District in the areas of communication; student focused supports including academic and social- emotional supports and family focused supports. Learn more by reading the report in English or Spanish; viewing the presentation in English or Spanish; and watching the recording

    April 6, 2023: Empowerment Through Action

    The Empowerment Through Action (ETA) Program at Hillsdale High School acts as an MTSS Tier 2 support for two hundred of Hillsdale’s historically underserved students. The program consists of empowerment-affinity groups, a Community Resource Center, enrichment activities, job and career training, parent education, and the Peace Pantry, which supports families with food scarcity.

    The mission of the Empowerment Through Action Program, launched in September 2019, is to close the achievement gap and foster belonging for our students through a series of empowering actions to enhance achievement in the following areas: social and emotional growth, academic growth, development of self-confidence and inner capital, social connection, and job and internship placement. Empowerment Through Action unifies and coordinates all these efforts/services with a focus on supporting the 10% of our student population that has traditionally struggled to succeed in school: low-socioeconomic and students of color. Hillsdale High educators shared a presentation on the successes of the program and how the community can continue to support their efforts to support student achievement. Learn more by visiting the ETA Website

    March 23, 2023: Overview of Panorama Student Survey Administrations

    The San Mateo Union High School District administers surveys (in English and Spanish) annually to all students, staff and families using the survey platform, Panorama. The purpose of these surveys is to garner feedback about key issues related to district/school culture and climate and to assess, among our students, key social-emotional health metrics. Administrators from Mills and Burlingame High Schools reported on survey response rates; and broad findings from the survey results including noteworthy positive feedback and areas for improvement. Learn more about our Panorama survey results by viewing the presentation shared by staff with the Board on March 23.   

    March 9, 2023: Classified Professional Learning

    On January 30 and 31, SMUHSD classified staff attended professional development at the San Mateo Performing Arts Center facilitated by the World Trust organization. The intended purpose of the two-day event was to train all staff in hopes of ensuring that structural racism will not be prevalent in the district’s policies, practices, and procedures and to promote and work toward the vision that all students and staff will coexist and function in a safe, inclusive, and equitable environment. World Trust provided pre-reading that included a look back at governmental acts and laws that created injustices, both intentionally or unintentionally.

    The first day of professional development began with a screening and discussion of the film “Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity.” The afternoon included a discussion of the roots of social justice: framing and analysis of systems and structures. 

    Day two included a conversation on addressing unconscious bias and strategic questioning: a  strategy for learning and change. To learn more read the presentation staff shared with the Board on Classified Professional Learning. 

    February 23, 2023: Certificated Professional Learning 

    On January 30 and 31, SMUHSD certificated staff engaged in in-person professional development after two years of Zoom or hybrid professional learning events. On January 30 all teachers and site administrators gathered at Capuchino High School, and on January 31, they gathered for  professional learning with their school site teams.

    The goal of the professional learning event was to continue our Antiracist School and Community Transformation Journey by re-engaging with our “why” as educators, and reimagine what it means to provide all students with equitable access to quality education.

    The January 30 PD day, opened with a welcome message from Randall Booker. This was followed by Joe Truss and Shane Safir providing an overview of our Antiracist School Transformation Journey from 2021-2022, building connections and through lines to our professional learning in 2022-2023. A teacher KIVA panel was hosted by Truss and Safir, with teachers from Mills, Capuchino, Peninsula, and Hillsdale High School, speaking about the ways in which professional learning has impacted their classroom practices. Following the welcome and opening, participants had the option of choosing from twelve, 90 minute workshops connected to our Antiracist School and Community Transformation work. The content in each workshop is connected to our Equity Board Policy and Administrative Regulations

    Each site built out an agenda for the January 31 professional development connected to our Antiracist School and Community Transformation Journey to their specific context and student learning needs. Highlights from our site PD included: site-based teacher panels around engaging and creating relationships with students, student work analysis through the lens of Antiracist teaching and Ethnic Studies tenets, student presentations and student panels, deeper learning on Restorative Justice Practices, aligning graduate profiles to antiracist practices. Additionally, several of our sites took this opportunity to begin their WASC (Western Association for Schools and Colleges) self-study process in preparation for next year’s accreditation visits, and thoughtfully incorporated themes from our Antiracist School and Community Transformation work through the process.

    February 9, 2023: Instructional Leadership Initiative

    At its February 9 meeting, the Board heard an update on the District’s Instructional Leadership Initiative.To support a culture of Instructional Leadership and to ensure an unwavering focus on the classroom instruction, pedagogy and culture within our classrooms, the Instruction Department, which includes the Instructional Leadership Team has initiated a multi-pronged approach to shift toward a culture of Instructional Leadership. 

    The first phase began earlier this fall with the Instructional Leadership Team (ILT). This team was created this year (Fall of 2022) to examine the intent and impact of instructional practices across the District and to reimagine these practices when and where they do not match our goals. 

    The three goals of this team (below) are aligned to our goal of creating a culture focused on Instructional Leadership. 

    1. Provide professional learning during the time set-aside during the District 

    professional learning. 

    2. Visit classrooms to uncover the amazing work underway across the District. 

    3. Create an instructional framework by integrating existing models available and integrating what we learn through our exploration in classrooms in SMUHSD.

    The next phase will include all school administrators to visit all schools, or conduct instructional rounds across the District. The purpose of these visits is to develop a baseline of the instructional practices in our District as well as identifying systemic patterns that show up in our classrooms. Learn more by reading the full report and watching the presentation

    January 26: 1st Semester Highlights 

    At its January 26 meeting, the Board heard a report on 1st Semester Highlights. While the list doesn’t include all District accomplishments since the start of the school year, it does serve as a snapshot of some of the highlights made possible through hard work and collaboration with students, their families, our educators and community partners. Read the full list of accomplishments; view the slide deck or watch the presentation to learn more.  

    January 12: Capuchino Pre-IB Math 3 Pilot Course

    At the January 12 Board Meeting staff from Capuchino High School shared a Spotlight on Student Learning on the school's Pre-IB Math 3 Pilot Course. During the 2020 - 2021 school year, the math teachers at Capuchino discussed how they could create a more equitable and effective math program for their students upon returning to in-person instruction.

    As an International Baccalaureate (IB) school, Capuchino had long discussed the idea of moving toward an integrated math curriculum to be in line with the international norm. At the Board meeting staff shared the rationale for this new math pathway along with a new set of instructional practices.

    Learn more by reading the full report and watching the recording of the presentation.

    November 17: Instructional Leadership Initiative

    At its November 17 meeting, the Board heard a report from Superintendent Booker on an Instructional Leadership Initiative aimed at disrupting predictable student outcomes (as disaggregated by race, gender and/or socio-economic status) in the following (but not limited to) areas:

    • Graduation Rates
    • CAASPP Performance
    • EL Proficiency Progress
    • Discipline
    • UC A-G Eligibility
    • Attendance
    • Panorama Survey Data

    By establishing a culture of “Instructional Leaders” among our Principals and Assistant Principals we will prioritize best-practice classroom instruction strategies that specifically target the needs/issues that are driving our predictable student performance outcome trends. The initiative outlines: expectation, time, training and accountability measures to make this possible. Read the full report or watch the presentation to learn more. 

    October 13: Student Discipline and Attendance

    At its October 13 meeting, staff shared a Spotlight on Student Learning on student discipline and attendance data. The report highlighted successes, areas for growth, surprises and plans for looking ahead including the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had in these areas. Staff also shared information on behavioral supports that aid in student success. Read the full report or watch the presentation


    September 29: CAASPP, CAST and Students on Track for Graduation

    At their September 29 meeting the Board heard a Spotlight on Student Learning highlighting academic progress on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP test); the California Science Test (CAST); and data around students who are on track for graduation. The report included successes, areas for growth and current strategies to intervene or improve student results. Watch the report