By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Aimed at identifying learning deficiencies to tailor learning plans to individual students
MUSD students SB
Whether students will be mask-less as in this 2019 classroom photo when next school year starts will depend upon guidance at the time from the California Department of Health.

Manteca Unified — in a bid to methodically address learning issues created for many students who found it difficult to learn via online instruction — is working to put in place a system that allows for “real time” assessment of student skills.

Director of Secondary Education Clara Schmiedt noted it is part of an effort to tailor learning to “one student, one standard.”

The district is using part of the $45 million plus it is receiving in federal COVID-19 relief funds aimed at making school environments as safe as possible for learning as well as to address learning loss created by distance instruction to implement the Northwest Evaluation Association program.

The goal is to use the program known as Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) three times a year to develop a real assessment of what a student comprehends, what they need help at mastering, and how best to chart a path to maximize an education each individual student receives.

According to the NWEA website, when taking the computerized adaptive tests, the difficulty of each question is based on how well a student answers all the previous questions. As the student answers correctly, questions become more difficult. If the student answers incorrectly, the questions become easier. In an optimal test, a student answers approximately half the items correctly and half incorrectly. The final score is an estimate of the student’s achievement level.

That assessment will then be used by teachers to tailor a learning program for each student. It is also data they will share with parents to engage them as effectively as possible as partners in their child’s education.

The MAP tests are available in math, reading, and science.

The real time assessment effort that is still in the planning stage is part of a multi-faceted effort by Manteca Unified to not just have effective programs in place to address students that have suffered learning loss due to the pandemic but to also offer enrichment for students to work above grade level as well.

One effort will allow high school students — in addition to in-person classroom instruction— to take online college courses and receive credit.

The district is planning to offer supplemental academic programs before and after school as well.

The effort for the upcoming school year starting Aug. 4 will build upon robust summer education programs taking place next month aimed at addressing learning shortfalls created by distance learning as well as helping others further enrich their learning

The opportunities include:

*The Summer Academy: The Summer Academy is a specific program that focuses on foundational skills in Math and English language arts for students in K-8 grade needing targeted instruction.

*Grade Repair: Grade repair is an opportunity for 9-10 grade students to remediate essential standards and receive five (5) credits in English or Algebra.

*Extended School Year: An in-person offering through MUSD’s Special Education Department and intended for students with an identified individualized education plan needing to address regression or recoupment.

*Migrant Summer: An in-person program specialized for students identified as receiving migrant services in grades K-5 needing to accelerate learning in math and literacy.

*Cultural Education Camps: Students enrolled in the Title VI Indian Education program within MUSD explore the riverbanks of San Joaquin learning about native animals, plants while fishing, hiking, and practicing archery.

*Day in the Park: Day in the Park program is specifically for students and their families experiencing homelessness by providing an opportunity to promote learning. This is an extension of a far more comprehensive effort to ensure every student is supported.

*Exact Path: Online learning program that personalizes learning across grades K-10 in reading, language arts, and math as informed by assessment testing.

*STEM Summer Camps: through partnership with San Joaquin Office of Education, all MUSD students have the opportunity to enroll in an enriching STEM summer experience hosted by the SJCOE.

Visit to see all summer opportunities and resources for student engagement.

District Superintendent Clark Burke noted Manteca Unified understands it may take two years or so to make up learning loss. At the same time the district that was preparing to launch its online academy and institute other learning opportunities beyond the classroom when the pandemic hit in mid-March 2020, is committed to helping each student attain their potential.

Both Schmiedt and Burke indicated teachers are also mining things that worked well for students while they working online to mesh into instruction going forward.

Community Outreach Director indicated there were students “that excelled” with distance learning.

Safeguards will still be

in place next school year

Next school year — as things stand now — will be back to 100 percent in-person instruction except for those opting for the Manteca Unified online academy.

Whether there is a mask mandate will depend upon what guidelines the California Department of Public Health — as opposed to the Centers for Disease Control — has in place at that time.

In any case face masks will still be made available plus various environmental health upgrades will remain in place.

 “Our goal is to make all students and the staff to feel comfortable and safe,” Burke said.

While that might seem counter-intuitive given roughly 22,000 students have been back in the classroom for in-person learning for four full days a week since April with everyone distance learning in Wednesdays.

Of the 1,800 students enrolled in the 100 percent online Manteca Academy between 600 and 900 have expressed an interest in returning to a physical classroom.

“We want to make sure they feel comfortable enough to return,” Burke said.

At the same time Manteca Unified will step up the recruiting process for the online academy given students from outside the district can enroll.

The Manteca Unified online academy that was in the process of being rolled out when the pandemic hit is designed with the ability for students to engage in on campus sessions for science projects and other interactions. That has not occurred due to the pandemic.

Also in a bid to meet the needs of all students, those attending who reside within the Manteca Unified boundaries will be able to participate in after school extracurricular activities their home school — the campus they would have attended for in-person learning — whether it involves sports, club activities, as well as social endeavors such as dances.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email