Choosing a Program or School
In Redwood City School District (RCSD), we offer a variety of programs and learning experiences because we know that every child has unique learning styles and interests. From immersion programs in the Mandarin and Spanish languages, a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) integrated curriculum, Project Based Learning (PBL), a unique Parent Involvement model, Gifted and Talented Education, Accelerated Learning, Bilingual Education, and much more, RCSD provides a rigorous, challenging, and engaging curriculum where all children learn, grow, and thrive. As exciting as these options can be, sometimes trying to choose one can be a daunting task. We have put together these three steps with numerous resources to help you find the best RCSD fit for your child.
Step 1: Use the Local Information
School and District Websites
Redwood City School District (RCSD) website
RCSD Enrollment Page
All RCSD schools offer tours throughout the school year. Visit the individual school websites for a schedule or contact the schools to arrange a tour.
Visiting classrooms and talking to the school principal is one of the best ways to determine whether a program or school will be a good fit for your child.
Parents of Students Currently
Enrolled in the School
Ask the principal if he/she would be willing to connect you with a current parent.
School Board Meetings
The RCSD Board of Trustees is an elected board of 5 citizens who set policy for the district. The school board approves the budget, and the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) that describes how the district is allocating its resources to ensure it is meeting the needs of students. The board meets twice a month, and hears detailed reports on all aspects of school district operations, including academic performance, discipline, use of technology, suspension and expulsion rates, etc. Each school makes a detailed report to the board every other year. You can learn a lot about the district’s priorities by attending school board meetings, and even if you cannot attend, reports presented at previous meetings are accessible from the agenda of each meeting, available from the link above.
School PTA/Parent Organization Meetings
Check with the school principal to find out when your school’s parent meetings are held. Attend a meeting and connect with current parents!
Family, friends, and neighbors
We encourage you to put the most weight on information provided by people who have direct knowledge of the school, rather than those who tell you what they have heard about a school.
Step 2: Analyze Primary Data
Each year, the state tests all 3rd-12th graders who attend publicly-funded schools in California. These tests provide data on the percent of students statewide, in each district and at each school who met state standards. You can view results for every school district and school at this state website.
Results are broken down by:
- Grade level
- Disability status
- Economic status
- English-language fluency
- Ethnicity for economically disadvantaged
- Ethnicity for not economically disadvantaged
- Migrant worker eligibility
- Parent education level.
Data includes further breakdowns within ELA for Reading, Writing and Listening, and Research/Inquiry and within Mathematics for Concepts and Procedures, Problem Solving, Modeling and Data Analysis and Communicating reasoning.
You can also see growth over time for a particular cohort. For example, you can see how many [of the same] 4th graders met standards vs. the year before when they were 3rd graders.
In addition to the Smarter Balanced test results above, the California Department of Education (DOE) has developed a tool to help districts and the public interpret the results of the Smarter Balanced test results. The California Dashboard is an online tool that shows how local educational agencies and schools are performing on the state and local indicators included in California's school accountability system. The Dashboard provides information that schools can use to improve. The Dashboard is made up of easy-to-use reports that show school district or school performance on six state indicators and four local indicators. Users can search to see the reports for any local educational agency or school.
The California 5x5 Grid provides a color-coded grid that shows whether schools scored very high, high, medium, low or very low in ELA or math, and whether they increased or decreased in their proficiency. The grid is also available by demographic sub-groups.
The RCSD Climate Survey provides data on aspects of school that affect academic performance, such as family engagement, safety, mindset, etc. District-wide results are available on RCSD website at link to the left; contact principal for information about individual schools.
Ed-Data is a partnership of the California Department of Education, EdSource, and the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team/California School Information Services (FCMAT/CSIS) designed to offer educators, policy makers, the legislature, parents, and the public quick access to timely and comprehensive data about K-12 education in California. Provides one-stop shopping on all academic, demographic, financial, staffing and other data, allows you to compare schools and districts according to many different factors
3. Consider Secondary Data
A new analysis by a Stanford research that uses standardized test scores from roughly 45 million students in over 11,000 school districts in the US to measure how students grow in academic proficiency from 3rd to 8th grade.
GreatSchools uses publicly available data from standardized state tests (in California, Smarter Balanced) and applies its own methodology to calculate 1-10 rankings. The state no longer ranks schools, but relies on the dashboard to provide detailed information on specific indicators.) GreatSchools provides a summary ranking, as well as rankings in specific areas such as student equity.
A word of caution: The data used in GreatSchool rankings may lag up to one year behind the data available on the California Department of Education website.