Community Collaborations Director
The staff, students, and partners of Guadalupe School are holding their heads high after scoring a major victory! Guadalupe School recorded a 44 percent gain in achievement and growth, according to the Utah Comprehensive Accountability System (UCAS). The results, recently released to the public, give Guadalupe School reason to celebrate. However, Principal Ernie Nix and his team know that their work is far from over. The vision of a 90/90/90 school (90 percent minority, 90 percent poverty level, 90 percent proficient on all core academic exams) still guides the staff, students, and partners of Guadalupe School and keeps the work moving full speed ahead. Nevertheless, the gains are significant, especially considering where the school was placed just over a year ago.
Guadalupe School is a K-5 charter school in the Salt Lake City area that serves students and families primarily residing in west Salt Lake. Ninety-six percent of its students are Hispanic/Latino, sixty-seven percent are English language learners, and one hundred percent of students are on free and reduced lunch (poverty level). In addition to economic and linguistic challenges, students at Guadalupe face academic challenges that have caused great concern for school leadership and staff, as well as United Way of Salt Lake and other local community organizations that support the school population in the areas of education, income, and health.
In 2011-2012, Guadalupe was ranked in the bottom 28 schools in the state, due to high numbers of students below and well-below proficiency in core subjects, based on the UCAS (which measure student achievement and growth against other schools in the state).
Principal Ernie Nix and his dedicated teachers and staff were determined to turn the school around and began to refine their focus and rally their resources in support of their students and families. Guadalupe redefined the school culture with a laser-focus on academic achievement and college-bound values. They mapped out the curriculum and made adjustments to ensure success for all students. Guadalupe also took a hard look at the data and determined the exact number of students falling behind, then organized existing strategies to target specific students based on academic need and enlisted para-professionals in the classroom to focus on targeted skill acquisition. With the support of Comunidades Unidas, a local nonprofit, and their parent engagement program for Spanish speakers, the parents of students falling behind were also targeted and trained on skills to better support their children in the home.
This laser focus on data driven interventions and organizing community support systems and resources is central to the Promise Guadalupe work. Guadalupe School is one of several United Way of Salt Lake Community Schools leading the way and changing the odds for students, families, and communities.
One year later, Guadalupe is showing significant gains and progress! With strong leadership, a talented and hard-working team, and a supporting cast of United Way of Salt Lake’s Collective Impact partners and volunteers, Guadalupe School is poised to reach its target of becoming a 90/90/90 school, and take its place among the top performers in the state!