Time to examine the exams.

The local Board of Education on Thursday is expected to study in detail how Santa Monica-Malibu school district students fared on last year’s state standardized tests.

About 71 percent of SMMUSD students who took the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress last year met or exceeded the standard in English, and 60 percent passed the math portion of the exam. Those are slight increases over the numbers from the first year of the tests, when 68 percent of local students reached the English benchmark and 57 percent hit the goal in math.

But pass rates in the district varied dramatically across racial lines, according to the data. In English, they ranged from 50 percent for African-American students and 52 percent for Hispanic students to 82 percent for white students and 86 percent for Asians. Similarly, just 33 percent of black SMMUSD test-takers and 39 percent of Latino students met or exceeded standards in math, while white and Asian students’ rates climbed to 74 percent and 82 percent, respectively.

The school board will analyze scores for student subgroups, including English language learners and socioeconomically disadvantaged students.

The meeting is planned for 5:30 p.m. at Malibu City Hall, 23825 Stuart Ranch Road.

Enrollment update

The school board is planning to discuss enrollment and staffing levels for 2016-17, according to an SMMUSD report.

District officials began the staffing process in February and continued assessing numbers throughout the spring and summer. Staffing needs are tied in part to enrollment data, which SMMUSD officials analyze over the course of the year.

Staffing the school sites involves an examination of enrollment projections, and then aligning projections with staffing to meet program needs,” a district report reads. “Human Resources staff confers with the school sites throughout this period to address site-specific staffing needs.”

SMMUSD was expecting a slight decline in enrollment from last year. That trend, coupled with the projected budgetary shortfall, prompted chief financial officer Jan Maez earlier this year to say that the district might have to consider closing school sites.

Superintendent search

The meeting in Malibu comes two days after the school board held a special closed meeting to continue the process of selecting a new district superintendent.

Board members worked with consultants from Leadership Associates to review applications, which were due Sept. 23, and selected finalists to be interviewed at a future date.

The search follows the departure of Sandra Lyon, who left SMMUSD in June after five years to take the helm of the Palm Springs Unified School District. Chris King and Sylvia Rousseau are serving as interim co-superintendents through the end of the calendar year, and a new top administrator is expected to start Jan. 1.

Rousseau has been focusing on keeping alive the district’s momentum on trying to close longstanding achievement gaps. The district is currently working to figure out how to implement the strategies recommended by education reformist Pedro Noguera to improve equity at all SMMUSD schools.

King has spent his time handling Malibu-related issues and most other administrative matters.

jeff@smdp.com

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