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Merced County P-16 Education and Community Council
The Merced County P-16 Education and Community Council was founded in 2003, under the leadership of the Merced County Office of Education. The council's singular focus has been to ensure education is the driver for post secondary success and regional economic development. The Council consists of representatives from 19 of the school districts in the county, and includes the Merced County Office of Education, Merced College, California State University, Stanislaus, the University of California, Merced, economic development agencies, community organizations, the private sector, and local government.
Throughout the history of this collaboration, the Council has leveraged resources and the political will to address the goal of improving student achievement by expanding access to a rigorous program of study, so that more students are prepared for higher education or the workplace. In an effort to achieve this goal, the Council developed specific objectives for pre-school, kindergarten through high school, and for higher education. These objectives and data sharing have illuminated structural barriers and helped the collaborative introduce systemic change that both improves student achievement and ensures that all students have access to a rigorous program of study and are college or career ready.
Impact of Mathematics Activities
Through the Council activities, county students have been positively impacted through the infusion of rigor, accountability, and use of data to inform instructional and placement decisions in algebra. Increased teacher capacity, rigor in mathematics instruction and student participation and success in secondary math courses through an Arches grant in 2010.
Impact of Early Education Work
Transitional kindergarten (TK) was enacted into California law in the fall of 2012. It became an opportunity to provide the early foundations for school success for those children turning five years old between September and December.
The first year of a two-year kindergarten experience, transitional kindergarten provides a bridge between preschool and traditional kindergarten. Merced County's Instructional Services Department, in partnership with its Early Education Department, have been supporting schools since the inception of TK with the help of funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation which was awarded in both 2012 and 2013. The funding has provided professional development and resources to TK teachers throughout the county, and to support a professional learning community of teachers dedicated to providing quality transitional kindergarten experiences to children. Services have included workshops, school visitations, and videos of best practices for instructors. Contact Michelle Symes at MCOE for more information.
Impact of Work with Institutions of Higher Education
Merced County districts have benefitted from the Council's development of relationships with business and higher education institutions and continued articulation and leveraging of resources. Collaborative activities have resulted in the following:
Business-Education Alliance of Merced County – B.E.A.M.
B.E.A.M. is a partnership of committed business, education, government, and community leaders who support education, workforce development, and economic growth in Merced County. Our mission is to support each child's journey - from preschool to productivity - building an educated community, a qualified workforce and a strong local economy.
Our goals are:
This is a report card that has emerged from B.E.A.M.'s work, defining key indicators of progress towards ensuring the goal of college or career readiness for all students is realized.
Merced County Instructional Rounds Network
Instructional Rounds is a way for educators to work together to improve instruction (City, Elmore, Fiarman, & Teitel, 2009). The practice combines classroom observations, the development of an improvement strategy, and a network of educators that are committed to improving instructional practice. Merced County's Network superintendents have committed to establishing well-defined theories of action to assist their sites in the identification of problems of practice, and to affect sustainable change that focuses on deepening the understandings of the instructional core. They have agreed provide professional development in the Rounds process at their school sites, to ongoing classroom walks, and to holding each other accountable for following through with actions identified in Rounds visits as the "next levels of work". Additional information about Rounds or about the Merced County Network can be obtained by contacting the Instructional Services Department.
The Silicon Valley Mathematics Initiative (SVMI) Consortium
The Silicon Valley Mathematics Initiative (SVMI) is a comprehensive effort to improve mathematics instruction and student learning. It is based on high performance expectations, ongoing professional development, examining student work and improved mathematics instruction. Merced County has joined SVMI in a countywide consortium in order to bring professional development opportunities that build the capacity of teachers through the use of Mathematics Assessment Resource Service (MARS) assessments. Districts participating in the SVMI Consortia will have access to training, under the leadership of Dr. David Foster, the MARS assessment database, and other SVMI proven resources that support the implementation of rigorous mathematics instruction. Additional information about joining Merced's SVMI Consortium can be obtained by contacting the Instructional Services Department.
Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC) County Network
The county, in conjunction with Fresno County Office of Education, is pleased to offer workshops and ongoing support for English teachers as an introduction to the materials contained in the California State University (CSU) 12th Grade Expository Reading and Writing Course. These materials and professional learning opportunities are aligned with the English-Language Arts Content Standards. The course emphasizes the in-depth study of expository, analytical, and argumentative reading and writing. These rich, adaptable resources, developed by a collaborative group of CSU and high school faculty and specialists, are designed to help students develop the academic literacy skills necessary for success in college and the world of work. Schools may adopt the course as a senior English course or integrate course modules within existing English courses at the 11th and 12th grades. Ongoing efforts include opportunities for training for teachers for the 8th grade ERWC materials and lessons, and networking meetings with other content area teachers.