Reaching for the higher numbers
Local high schools raise API scores
For the first time, a majority of California’s public schools met or surpassed the statewide target of academic achievement on the 2012 Academic Performance Index, announced State Superintendent Tom Torlakson Thursday morning.
An approximate 53 percent of schools scored at or above the state target of 800, an increase of 4 percentage points over last year, marking a decade of steady growth. By comparison, 10 years ago, only 20 percent of schools met or surpassed the API target.
“We’ve set a high bar for schools and they have more than met the challenge, despite the enormous obstacles that years of budget cuts have put in their way,” Torlakson said. “The incredible efforts of teachers, administrators, school employees, parents, and students should serve as an inspiration to us all. While there’s still more work to do, California’s schools have earned a vote of confidence.”
Results released by Torlakson show that 59 percent of elementary schools, 49 percent of middle schools, and 30 percent of high schools are now meeting the state benchmark.
Locally, Burton and Porterville Unified high schools all improved.
“All of our high schools, and our middle schools, improved. Our elementary schools have a mixture of up and down,” said PUSD Superintendent John Snavely. “We’re very pleased over all where we are heading in API scores. “It’s especially rewarding seeing Harmony Magnet as it continues its growth. High Schools are historically lower than elementary, so to have a high school with that kind of API speaks volumes of that program.”
Harmony’s API grew by 11 points, from 871 to 882 — making it the highest high school score in all of Tulare County. No Visalia nor Tulare high schools reached the targeted 800 score.
Porterville’s other high schools also grew, with Granite Hills seeing the most improvement among the traditional high schools — a 45 point jump from 700 to 745; Monache a four-point increase to 765, Porterville High, a 20-point increase to 740 and Strathmore High growing by eight points to 693. Burton Charter Pathways, however, had the highest growth in Porterville, going from 559 to 627, a 68 point growth.
“We’re very pleased that our students and staff did an outstanding job and werre able to again show improvement,” said MHS Principal Richard Smithey.
PUSD middle schools — Bartlett (744), Pioneer (765) and Sequoia (788) — also grew by 12, 25 and 32 points, respectively.
When it comes to elementary schools, only two in PUSD surpassed the 800 mark — Santa Fe and Westfield.
Santa Fe Elementary slid from 843 to 831 but remained well above the 800 mark. Westfield grew by 17 points, reaching an API of 828.
Other schools with significant gain include John J. Doyle, 736 after a 25-point gain; Los Robles, 797 with a 22-point gain; and Roche, 793 with a 27-point gain.
In the Burton School District, William R. Buckley Elementary’s API remains the highest among elementary schools in Porterville. The API however, slipped 12 points from 851 in 2011 to 839. It was not the only school to slip a bit. Jim Maples Academy slipped one point to 777, Oak Grove Elementary and Burton Middle School slipped 32 points each to 795 and 731 respectively.
Summit Charter Academy, Matthew campus, raised its score four points to 753.
“We’re pleased with the strong effort of incredible teachers and staff wanting to keep looking on how we are delivering and pacing our instructional programs,” said Burton School District Superintendent Gary Mekeel. “There were some reduction in points and we’re looking into reviewing the data and presenting to the [Governing] Board Monday an action plan that particularly focuses on math areas for grades 7 to 12 and how they align instructional decisions and effort to go after improving, across the District, in the areas of math.”
The Burton District is also taking time to review data with the sub groups.
“Overall, we are pleased that we continue to be proficient in a range that not permanently acceptable but for now, doing many things well in areas we can grow in,” Mekeel said.
Among the smaller school districts, Rockford Elementary, Saucelito and Springville Union reported API scores higher than 800, specifically, 824, 814 and 813, respectively. Pleasant View Elementary saw a 28-point growth to 743. On the opposite end, Hope Elementary fell 39 points to 723 and Citrus South Tule went from a 677 in 2011 to a 572 in 2012 — a 105-point loss.
All of the results can be found on the California Department of Education website: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ar/
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.
By the numbers: School District, 2012 and 2011 API scores.
Alta Vista, 668, 662
Burton, 765, 776
Citrus South Tule, 572, 677
Hope, 723, 762
Lindsay Unified, 678, 662
Pleasant View, 742, 713
Porterville Unified, 758, 744
Rockford, 824, 842
Saucelito, 814, 778
Springville Union, 813, 818
Strathmore Union, 769, 760
Sunnyside Union, 755, 722
Terra Bella Union, 716, 723
Woodville Union, 674, 678