WE Believe Conference

Growth mindset Conference and Exposition

By Babatunde Ilori, Executive Director of Accountability and Communications

Madera Unified held its 2nd annual We Believe conference on March 14, 2019. The theme of this year’s conference was having a “growth mindset”. Having a growth mindset leads to a desire to learn and a tendency to embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, identify effort as the path to mastery, learn from criticism, and find lessons and inspiration in the success of others. Two graduating students gave excellent speeches on their journey of growth in Madera Unified: Stephen Reed, a Madera High senior and Savaanah Garcia, a senior at Madera South. Stephen Reed and Savaanah Garcia received the highest scores across the district using a new locally created grade-level readiness measurement system. The grade-level readiness system was created in collaboration with the Accountability & Communications department, the Educational Services department, site leaders, teachers, and other staff members. The measures within the system include GPA, Attendance, Local and State Assessment Scores, SAT, AP Scores and even completion of Career Pathways and A-G College Course requirements.

The conference gives Madera Unified the chance to bring the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) to life: this year’s conference featured a newly dedicated space for exhibits of various programs into which the district had substantially invested. Madera Unified’s LCAP has the following goals / pillars:

  • Equitable access to rigorous high-level programs.
  • Data-Driven professional learning and collaboration.
  • Safe and healthy environments for learning and work.
  • Strong relationships with families and communities.
  • Equitable access to rigorous high-level programs.

Visual and Performing Arts students demonstrated their abilities during the conference by playing different instruments, creating artwork with watercolors, and displaying a past and present presentation of the Madera South Theatre Company work performed throughout the years. Additionally, Future Business Leaders of America, Future Farmers of America, and Family and Community Leaders of America provided conference attendees with overviews of their programs. Furthermore, Madera South high school won the Grand Champion trophy in the Career Skills Challenge hosted by the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools. This is the first time a comprehensive high school has won this award since the inception of the competition.

Data Driven Professional Learning and Collaboration.

The expo featured Madera Unified new grade level readiness measurement system which was used to identify the two student speakers for the conference. Grade Level Readiness was born at MUSD out of a desire to create a continuous improvement system that articulated a clear set of higher expectations that exist at a local, state and federal levels. Board policy has allowed for MUSD to establish appropriate processes and measures to monitor results and to evaluate progress toward accomplishing the district’s vision and goals. One of the Board’s goals is to create clarity and consistency, and with Grade Level Readiness we are now able to empower students, parents and educators with individualized information to ensure every child is making growth towards graduating with the optimum number of post secondary choices from the widest array of options. The system uses multiple measures to provide an overall grade level readiness score for students. Attendees were provided with sample reports called Me to Be. The Me to Be reports provide you with a visual representation of all the different measures used to calculate a students overall grade level readiness.

Safe and Healthy Environments for Learning and Work.

Madera Unified featured two exciting school construction projects during the conference. The concurrent enrollment middle school is scheduled to open during the fall of 2020 and will provide an educational setting for 8th grade students that has never been seen in Madera Unified or anywhere else in California for that matter. This project will be the most comprehensive, state-of-the-art education reform effort at the secondary level to date. The concurrent enrollment middle school will combine rigorous academics with technical, design, process, entrepreneurial, and critical thinking skills. The 30,000 square foot facility, will be designed with an atmosphere that is engaging and exciting, and is organized around six career clusters.

  • Agriculture
  • Engineering
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Medical Careers
  • Visual, Digital, and Media Arts
  • Public Safety

The Matilda Torres High School is scheduled to also open in the fall of 2020. As the district begins construction of a third comprehensive high school, proactive steps have been taken to think about the best ways to prepare the next generation for future careers.

Strong Relationships with Families and Communities.

The We Believe conference gave the Madera Unified community a chance to learn and provide feedback on the different district programs and projects. From learning more about the eight different parent resource centers to listening to students play musical instruments such as the flute and oboe, the conference provided our community a unique experience. Plans are already in motion for next year’s’ conference. The goal is to expand the conference to encourage more community members to attend.


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