View Full Version : categorical funding is helping students

10-18-2009, 08:44 PM
Board hears how categorical funding is helping students who may not succeed

10:00 PM PDT on Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Press-Enterprise

Specialized programs regulated by state and federal rules are changing the way schools teach and help students who otherwise might not succeed, an Alvord educator told the school board Thursday night.

Gina Simpson, director of special projects and student accountability, presented the role of "categorical" funds designated for programs to help students in certain categories.

The funds and strings attached to them "can be useful to guide a change in culture, decision making and focus" to help those students, she said.

The district is in Program Improvement under the federal No Child Left Behind Act because not all groups, such as special education students and English learners, made all targets on standardized tests in previous years.

The requirements the district now faces are have enabled it to focus better now, Superintendent Wendel Tucker said.

The categorical funds pay for teacher training to give direct instruction for the whole class and also support English learners, Simpson said.

It also pays for after-school tutoring and Read 180 and other programs for struggling students, she said.

Of Alvord Unified School District's 19,847 students at the beginning of the year, 12,932 received free or reduced-price lunches last year. The district, which that includes parts of western Riverside and Home Gardens and northeast Corona, increased its Academic Performance Index this year by 28 points to 736, tying for third most improved in Riverside County. That gain compares to a county average of a 17 points and state average of 14 points. The state goal is an index of 800 or higher by 2014 on a scale of 200 to 1,000.

English learners accounted for 44.8 percent of students in the district, Assistant Superintendent Diana Asseier said in presenting demographic data and standardized test results.

Last spring, 62 percent of English learners made progress in learning English, up from 56.2 percent the year before and 54.9 percent in 2006-07. And 36.3 percent of English learners are now classified as proficient in English.