• Glossary of Education Terms

    Here are definitions for some of the terms or names you may find in documents produced by Madera Unified School District.

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    Academic Enrichment: Chances for supplemental learning so students can better master academic subjects and related skills, such as literacy.

    Adaptive Exams: Tests that change based on how well a student is doing while taking it. The tests are taken using a computer. They are also known as computerized adaptive testing or computer-adaptive tests.

    Adult Transition Domains:  Skills that help students with disabilities to better function as productive and independent adults. These include practical academics, domestic skills, community skills, job skills, recreation, and leisure.

    Adult Transition Program (ATP): Activities and services for 18-22-year-old MUSD students with disabilities who have completed high school yet have a significant need for support as they adjust to life as an adult.

    Advanced Placement: High school classes or exams that involve basic college-level work. A good score on such an exam enables students to skip taking a related introductory course in college if they attend one later on.

    Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID): An in-school academic support program for grades 7-12 meant to prepare students for college. It targets middling students who want to go to college and are willing to work hard.

    Aeries Student Information System (Aeries SIS): A website that enables full and immediate access to student information.

    After School Education and Safety (ASES): A grant program that funds partnerships between schools and local community resources to offer after-school, supplemental learning activities. See "Academic Enrichment"

    Agriculture Advisory Committee: The group advises Madera South High School on the agriculture pathway of Career Technical Education.

    American College Testing (ACT): An entrance exam taken by high school students seeking to study at colleges, especially in the eastern half of the United States.

    Arts Education CommitteeA group that exists to promote the value of arts education.

    Asynchronous Learning: Online or distance education that occurs without real-time interaction. 


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    Blended Learning: Combines in-person and online teaching into a unified experience. See "Hybrid Learning"

    Board Policy and Administrative Regulation 5121 (BP/AR 5121): MUSD rules on grading.

    Budget and Finance Committee: A group that reviews the district's recommendations for its budgets including financial management strategies, goals, and long-term planning.


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    Cal-SAFE: A comprehensive and community-linked program that serves teen parents with intensive academic and personal needs. It helps participants grow in parenting skills, self-sufficiency, and career knowledge.

    California Alternative Assessment (CAA): An online exam offered to students with disabilities in science, mathematics, and English as an alternative to other exams from the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress. 

    California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP): A California system of several statewide tests on mathematics and English language arts and literacy. It was established in 2014.

    California Association of Suburban School Districts (CALSSD): A statewide coalition that advocates for policies and funds to improve education in suburban schools.

    California Department of Education (CDE): A government agency that oversees public education in California.

    California Science Test (CAST): An online science exam for eligible students in grades 5 and 8 and in high school. It comes from the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress.

    Career Technical Education (CTE): Academic programs that prepare students for skilled trades, applied sciences, modern technologies, or specific careers.

    Case Carriers: MUSD staff who advocate for the students they serve. They connect students to resources, work with families, and schedule Individualized Education Program meetings.

    Central Valley Education Coalition: An organization of more than 120 school districts and county offices of education within Madera, Fresno, Merced, Kings, Mariposa and Tulare counties. It advocates for policies and funds to meet the needs of valley students, including issues such as English as a Second Language and Career Technical Education.

    Citizens' Bond Oversight Committee: This group of community members reviews financial audits of all bond projects and informs the public on project progress. They meet four times a year.

    Clever: A service that lets school users access multiple online programs and resources with a single login - instead of needing a different login for each one.

    Cohort: A group of people, such as students, who are about the same age as each other.

    College Credit: A measurement of the academic work a higher education student has completed. Each "credit hour" means that for about 15 weeks the student has had an hour of weekly class instruction and two hours of weekly out-of-classroom work. Most colleges require 120 credits for a four-year degree.

    Computerized Adaptive Testing: A test that changes based on how well the student is doing while taking it on a computer. It is also known as tailored testing.

    Content Delivery: How information, such as a lesson, is shared with students or others.

    Cooperative Contracts: A purchase agreement shared between government agencies. “Cooperative” purchasing contracts enable school districts and agencies to benefit from the volume buying power of larger government entities.

    Core Content Connectors: Alternative achievement standards based on essential academic content in both the Common Core State Standards and research-based pathways for learning.

    Core Content Drives: Teaching resources available to MUSD teachers via the Google Drive cloud file storage service. Each is focused on a specific academic subject. They include a "Unit of Study" summary, a common "Summative Assessment" for the subject, and directions to resources where they can develop their lessons. See "Unit of Study Components" and "Summative Assessment."

    Course Design Teams (CDT): A group of teacher-leaders who determine the knowledge and skills students will be expected to learn based on various state standards. Also known as Curriculum Design Teams.

    CTE Advisory Committee: Appointed by the MUSD Board of Trustees, members of this group develop recommendations on the Career Technical Education program and act as a liaison between the district and potential employers. Members should include one or more representatives of the general public with knowledge about the disadvantaged, students, teachers, business, industry, school administration, and the Employment Development Department.

    Curriculum Design Teams (CDT): A group of teacher-leaders who determine the knowledge and skills students will be expected to learn based on various state standards. Also known as Course Design Teams


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    Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP): A teacher's assessment of a child's learning and development based on watching the child perform normal everyday activities. A teacher may also ask parents to share about what skills they see their child using at home.

    Differentiation: Various teaching methods and lesson adaptations used when a teacher has a diverse group of students.

    Digital Learning: Audio and/or video instruction as well as interaction through an electronic device.

    Digital Library: MUSD's online collection of resources for digital learning, such as virtual seminars.

    Distance Learning: Education in which the student and teacher are in different locations. Distance learning includes audio and/or video instruction as well as interaction through an electronic device. In addition, it may include the use of textbooks and/or print materials as suitable to support student learning.

    District Athletics Advisory Committee: This group advises MUSD and it's Board of Trustees on athletic programs including updates, trainings, and support.

    District Career Technical Education Committee: A group that serves to implement the development and improvement of educational programs. ITs members include MUSD staff, community members, business partners, parents, and organizations.

    District English Language Advisory Committee (DELAC): A bilingual group that develops recommendations on teaching students whose primary language is not English.

    District Portal: An online service for seeing your child's grades and attendance. It can be accessed as a phone app or website. See "Aeries Student Information System"

    Dual Enrollment Courses: Classes that grant both high school and college credit.


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    Edgenuity: An online credit recovery program at the comprehensive high schools through the after-school program. It is used as a credit recovery program during the regular school day in the alternative education schools.

    Education Code, California: All of California's law directly involving the state's public schools (up to 12th grade). School districts are free to do anything not specifically forbidden by the laws.

    Education Software for Guiding Instruction (ESGI): Software for one-on-one tests of reading and math.

    End of Year (EOY): An acronym used for an activity, such as testing, that happens near the conclusion of a school year.

    English Language Learners (ELL): Students who live in a home where English isn't spoken and who qualify for extra help. Also known as emergent multilingual students.

    English Language Proficiency Assessment of California (ELPAC): A mandated state test on a student's ability with English. It is only taken by students whose primary language is not English.

    Essential Program Components (EPC): Guidance from MUSD that outlines how to teach English language arts, English language development, and mathematics. It recommends daily instructional minutes for each subject, where to focus on when teaching the subject, the core program materials required, and strategies.

    Expanded Learning: Supplemental education activities that occur before or after school or in the summer. 

    Extended Learning: Any program or strategy meant to increase the time students spend in education. 


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    Facilities Committee: A group that reviews MUSD's facility needs, helps prioritize facility projects, and recommends which capital projects should receive funding first.

    Formative Assessment: A flexible, continuous, and informal analysis of a student's academic progress over time. For comparison, see "Summative Assessment"

    Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE): A legal requirement that special education and related services be provided as described in an individualized educational program  and under public supervision to a child at no cost to the parents.


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    Google Classroom: A free web service created by Google for schools. It is designed to simplify making, sharing, and grading assignments.

    Google Meet: Online video and audio software by Google for meetings between distant people. Users need a Google account, such as a Gmail or YouTube account, to attend a meeting.

    Gradebook: A teacher's record of the grades earned by his or her students.

    Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum (GVC): Knowledge and skills students are expected to be given enough time to learn regardless of which teacher they have.


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    Hybrid Learning: Combines in-person and online teaching into a unified experience. A portion of class sessions are on-campus, while the other portion has students working online. Many hybrid learning models include a blend of both asynchronous and synchronous online learning.


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    Illuminate: Software used to create quizzes and tests that can be taken online or on paper. It also reports on results.

    Individualized Education Program (IEP): A plan for a student that outlines what should be learned within a certain amount of time and what special services should be given based on the student's abilities. Federal law requires all children with disabilities be given free and appropriate education according to this plan from infancy until 21 years of age.

    Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): A federal law that requires free appropriate public education be available for eligible children with disabilities as well as special education and related services.

    Instructional Continuity Guide: A descriptive outline of how a specific subject may be taught during a long-term closure due to severe hazards, such as a health or weather crisis

    Instructional Continuity Plan (ICP): An outline of how the school district will manage education during a long-term closure due to severe hazards, such as a health or weather crisis

    Instructional Day: The time that students attend in a classroom or in distance learning that meets the minimum requirements and is approved by the Board


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    Least Restrictive Environment (LRE): A legal requirement that a child with a disability be educated as much as possible in the same classroom as mainstream peers without a disability. The phrase is found in the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

    Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF): Rules used by California to decide how much state tax revenue each school district receives. It was enacted in 2013. 

    Local Education Agency (LEA): A public authority within a state that manages public elementary or secondary schools in a city, county, or area of the state. Madera Unified School District is an LEA.


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    Madera County School Boards Association (MCSBA): A group with a three-fold objective of advancing public schools, cooperation with all who wish to better the educational opportunities in Madera County, and promotion of public education through other means.

    Measures of Academic Progress (MAP): A series of tests that measure general knowledge in reading, language usage, mathematics, and science. Students use a computer to take each test, which change based on how well the student is doing while taking it.

    Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): A nonbinding yet serious agreement that outlines each participant's role, requirements, and responsibilities in a project. An MOU is a step towards a legally binding agreement.


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    NetOP: A program used to manage virtual classrooms. Teachers can view student screens, blank student screens, limit internet access, block input, and share their own screens.

    Next Step Guided Reading Assessment: A test of a student's word knowledge, phonics skills, fluency, and understanding.

    Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA): A not-for-profit organization that creates tests for students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.


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    Online Platforms: Internet-connected software or websites that enable users to be served in some way, such as by being taught.


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    Parent Advisory Committee (PAC): This group advises MUSD on its finances and consults, reviews, and comments on the district's Local Control and Accountability Plan.

    Parent Portal: An online service for seeing your child's grades and attendance. It can be accessed as a phone app or website. See "Aeries Student Information System"

    ParentSquare: An app for parents, teachers, and schools to message each other.

    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Masks, face-shields, or other devices designed to be worn by an individual to protect against one or more health and safety hazards, including infection.

    Piggyback Contracts: Agreements issued by a government agency that allow other agencies to use it (i.e., to “piggyback” on its terms and prices). “Riding" or "bridging" on an existing contract another entity put out to bid arguably saves time and expense compared to having businesses submit bids on a new contract.  

    PIN 20-06-CCP (Provider Information Notice #20-06-CCP): Guidance from the state  on social and physical distancing while caring for children during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

    Point Person: The one who steers a group or who has the most visible role in it.

    Pre-vocational skills: Personal, interpersonal, and other abilities needed to be ready for employment. These can include self-control, scheduling, hygiene, assertiveness, and safety.

    Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (PSAT): A practice exam taken to prepare for the Scholastic Assessment Test and qualify for National Merit Scholars recognition and scholarships.

    Prep Period: Time set aside during a work day for teachers to write and rehearse lesson plans, grade papers, analyze student data, research, meet with parents or colleagues for feedback, or do other non-teaching professional tasks. Mandatory meetings should not be part of this time.

    Primary Education: Grade levels 1-5 of public schooling.

    Priority Standards: A ranking of academic benchmarks based on "leverage," "endurance," "readiness," and external exams. "Leverage" refers to whether a skill or knowledge can be applied to other topics. "Endurance" refers to how long a skill or knowledge is likely to be required in future studies or life after school. "Readiness" refers to whether the knowledge or skill prepares a student for later learning. "External exams" refers to whether the skill or knowledge will be asked about in mandatory tests. 

    Professional Learning Community (PLC): A small group of educators who regularly meet to share and collaborate in an effort to improve teaching skills and student achievement.


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    QuaverEd: A company that offers online learning software, mostly focused on teaching music.


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    Reading Inventory (RI): A short online test on a student's understanding of texts.

    Remote Learning: Education in which the student and teacher are in different locations. See "Distance Learning"

    Resource Specialist Program (RSP): A form of special education available to students with mild to moderate learning disabilities who are having trouble in one or more areas in the classroom. It teaches strategies to help them succeed.


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    Safety Advisory Committee: A group that advises the MUSD Board of Trustees on safety issues and concerns, including trainings, materials, and programs to promote school safety.

    Scaffolding: Various teaching methods used to help students progress in understanding and independence while gaining new skills. Over time, temporary supports for student learning are taken away as they are no longer needed and more and more responsibility for learning is placed on the students.

    Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT): An entrance exam taken by high school students seeking to study at colleges, especially in the western half of the United States.

    Schoolhouse Learning: Students attend school daily for in-person instruction with teachers.

    Secondary Education: Grade levels 6-12 of public schooling. 

    Section 504: A U.S. civil rights law that is part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It forbids federally funded programs or activities from discriminating due to a disability. It requires school districts to offer free and appropriate public education to qualified area Students with Disabilities.

    Seesaw: Online software (app and website) that enables students to collect their work to share with a teacher.

    Self-paced Learning: Lessons in which the learner sets the speed and timing of content delivery.

    Senate Bill 98 (SB-98): A COVID-19 childcare and education budget bill passed by California lawmakers in the summer of 2020.

    Sequential Arts Education: The teaching of audible, tangible, or visual creative skills in a logically strung together series of hands-on lessons.

    Site Selection Committee: A group that advises the MUSD Board of Trustees on potential future school sites and site configurations.

    Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC): A group of state governments that make online tests that meet state standards. The tests change based on how well a student is doing while taking it.

    Special Day Class (SDC): Core academic lessons, social skills, and more taught to students with disabilities who spend more than half of their school time in a self-contained classroom. 

    Special Education: Programs meant to identify and meet the learning needs of children with disabilities, whether emotional, mental, or physical.

    Specialized Academic Instruction (SAI): Services offered to support students with disabilities so they have appropriate access to the lessons and academic content that mainstream students are taught.

    Standards-based Curriculum: Knowledge and skills students will be expected to learn to meet state benchmarks for education.

    Student Care Check-in Calls: Teachers and support staff telephoning students who are absent from online class meetings for a week. The purpose of the calls are to make sure students have their basic needs met to effectively finish learning activities.

    Students with Disabilities (SWD): A learner with a physical or mental impairment that greatly limits one or more major life activities.

    Summative Assessment: A structured and formal analysis of a student's academic achievement at the end of a lesson or course. The student's results, often expressed as a grade or percentage score, may be compared to a benchmark or standard. For comparison, see "Formative Assessment"

    Synchronous Learning: Online or distance education that happens with real time interaction


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    Truancy Hunter: An online tool that automates the tracking of students away from school without leave or explanation.


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    Unit of Study: A topic taught both by itself and as it relates to other connected topics. 

    Units of Study Components: The elements of teaching a specific topic, including key concepts, major ideas, skills and knowledge to be taught, prerequisites, vocabulary, resources, and more.


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    Vertical Alignment: The process of organizing what students will be expected to learn while keeping in mind what they should have been taught in their previous grade level and what they will need to learn in their next grade level.

    Virtual Platforms: Software that simulates access to specific hardware or a complete computer system that is not actually present.


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    Wellness Committee: A group that puts the school district’s Wellness Policy into action.


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    Zoom: Online video and audio software for meetings between distant people. Users do not need a Zoom account to attend a meeting.


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Last Modified on May 14, 2024