Before the pandemic, the Firebaugh/Las Deltas Unified School District was rated as being among the Top Ten school districts in the state for Reading.

However, Gov. Newsom’s shutdown and distance learning led to an expected decrease in both Reading and Math.

Test scores recently released by the state showed that 35 percent of the district’s students were at or above grade level in Reading.  The scores also showed only 17 percent were at or above grade level in Math.

At Firebaugh High, 35 percent were at or above in Reading and 15 percent in Math.  The scores for Firebaugh Middle School were 34 percent (Reading) and 13 percent (Math). At Mills Elementary, the scores were 29 percent (Reading) and 65 percent (Math).

The decrease was not unexpected in Firebaugh, since this was the case of almost every school in California and the nation.  Moving forward, the district’s teachers and administrators are preparing to move those scores back up.

“We expected to see a decrease in our test scores on the California Assessment of Student Performance which is also known as the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments,” said Firebaugh Schools superintendent Roy Mendiola.  ‘We acknowledge that there are a lot of reasons for this nationwide decrease in test scores, but we are looking at these test scores as a new baseline.”

Firebaugh/Las Deltas School Superintendent Roy Mendiola

The school district is now placing targeted interventions and stronger support systems to address the academic, behavior and social emotional needs of the students.

“We have lowered class sizes in our elementary schools.  We are offering one-on-one and small group tutoring and behavior intervention during the school day, and we are serving more students through our expanded learning program,” said Mendiola.  “We are also creating new college pathways for our middle school students and career exploration opportunities for our elementary school students.”

The superintendent added that parent involvement will also be critical in bringing the test scores up.

“We are inviting parents to have their children, especially students from Kindergarten through sixth grade, to participate in our expanded learning opportunities program,” Mendiola explained.  “Parents with children at Bailey Elementary and Mills who want to sign up should notify their school principal.”

The school district plans to move forward—and up—with bringing students up to speed.

“We are confident that by working with everyone in our community that we will meet all of the needs of all of our students,” said Mendiola. “Our students, staff, parents and community deserve our very best effort each and every day. In the future, when our test scores are back up, FLDUSD, like every other school district, will still be working on continuous improvement.”

David Borboa