The new benchmark system “FastBridge” will be implemented this year to assess students

ATASCADERO — The Atascadero School Board of Trustees came together for the final time in the 2020-2021 school year on Tuesday, Jun. 8, for a brief session and tied up the remaining loose ends from previous meetings before heading into the summer. The Trustees approved the Learning Control and Accountability Plan and the Annual Budget, which were discussed the week prior, as well as sharing the results from the Spring benchmark assessments and approving phase one on the demolition of the B Building.

Tuesday night’s meeting was run by Board of Trustees member Terri Switzer as acting Board President George Shoemaker joined the proceedings via Zoom.

AUSD Superintendent Tom Butler touched on a few things during his report starting with praise for all of the graduation and promotion ceremonies within the District. Then, Butler moved forward, addressing summer school attendance which began on Jun. 8.

Getting through this together, Atascadero

“Here is just a couple weeks we will have our extended school year for our students with disabilities, but we have our summer school K-5 at Santa Rosa, that started today,” Butler said. “Here at the middle school campus, we have not only our middle school students but also high school students, and we also have a few high school students at the high school or at Paloma Creek High School, all told we are at about 700 students.”

Butler next addressed the changing of restrictions that would be taking place on Tuesday, Jun. 15, and how the District would move forward this summer.

“I am looking forward to keeping tabs on how things change,” he explained. “The team is committed to staying as current as we can to analyze those changes in guidance and how they relate to schools and communicate actively and clearly with our entire school community, which includes all of our parents.”

Following the board member reports, assistant superintendent EJ Rossi joined the meeting to adopt the LCAP and give an informational report on the new benchmark system “FastBridge” that AUSD implemented this year. The assessment will be given to students in kindergarten through 12th grade three times a year, once in each season.

“We have prior assessments in our District that help students identify areas of reading and how we can support them and provide them with interventions in areas of reading,” Rossi explained. “Math has always been one that we wanted to add, which is one of the main reasons we transitioned to FastBridge this year.”

The system is also designed to allow for progress monitoring by students and parents, such as national percentile and changes from test to test. The school administered the tests for the first time this spring but will begin three times a year in the 2021-2022 school year.

“I think the FastBridge program is going to be nice,” Trustee Switzer said. “Because we will see less red [referring to a graph presented during the meeting] as we go on because it is going to catch a lot of kids and be able to help them when they need the help, and that is just exciting in itself.”

After Rossi’s presentation, Assistant Superintendent Jackie Martin joined the meeting quickly to adopt the 2021-2022 Annual Budget, which was discussed thoroughly at the previous session.

In closing, Executive Director of Facilities Brant Llyod presented the bid for phase one of the destruction of the B Building. Lloyd stated that the project would essentially operate in three phases. The first phase is centered around prepping the site for demolition, such as clearing the entire building of asbestos. Phase two accounts for the demolition of the historic building and the building back up a pad to place a quad upon. The final phase being the construction of the quad/courtyard area.

At a regular board meeting in May, the Trustees selected Wysong Construction as the best value contractor for the job, and on Jun. 8, they agreed to phase one, which came with a price tag of $326,815.

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