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SCVNews.com | SCV Schools Far Outpace State Average in Academics | 10-11-2012
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Every school in the Saugus, Newhall and Castaic School Districts scored 800 or better in the 2012 Academic Performance Index, according to a report released today by State Superintendent Tom Torlakson. Of the 57 local schools reporting, only six received scores less than 800.

The Superintendent was also excited to announce that for the first time a majority of California’s public schools met or surpassed the statewide target for academic achievement on the 2012 Academic Performance Index (API).

Some 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. Ten 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.”

Schools in the Santa Clarita Valley showed consistent improvement, with nearly all public schools achieving scores of 800 or higher. In the Hart Distict, only one high school, Golden Valley, scored 781, but showed significant improvement from last year. Every school in the Saugus District achieved scores ranging from 809 to 942; In the Newhall District scores ranged from 832 to 981; in the Sulphur Springs District, only Canyon Springs, which also showed significant improvement over last year’s numbers, scored 794, with all other schools scoring between 804 to 909. Every school in the Castaic District, which also includes Castaic Middle School, scored over 800. (Complete scores for all Santa Clarita Valley public schools are listed at the end of this story).

This year, the Hart District’s API score of 838 is an increase of 8 points from last year’s score and places it as a leader in the state among similar union high school districts. The district’s outstanding API score is the result of efforts by teachers, staff and administrators at all district schools. The report lists the performance of California public schools based on two accountability systems, the state’s Academic Performance Index (API) and the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).

API scores are calculated by converting a student’s performance on statewide assessments across multiple content areas into points. These points are then weighted and averaged across all students and all tests for their schools and district, resulting in the school’s and district’s API. API scores can range from 200 to 1000 with scores above 800 being the goal for all districts and schools.

Academic Performance Indexes are also calculated for large subgroups – ethnic minorities, socioeconomically disadvantaged, English learners and students with disabilities – which account for the state’s much discussed “achievement gap.” All of these subgroups in the Hart District showed district wide growth in their scores.

The district’s highest API was achieved by the Academy of the Canyons Middle College High School, which scored an API of 937. The Academy is a school of approximately 400 students grades 9 – 12, located on the campus of College of the Canyons.

The largest component of the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) accountability system is determined by a districts or schools progress toward meeting the Elementary and Secondary Education Act’s goal that 100 percent of its students score proficient or better in English-language arts (ELA) and math by 2014.

These goals, or percent proficient targets, increase annually and have now become very challenging, especially for students with disabilities and English learners. Most schools and districts across the state will miss their AYP targets in these areas. In the Hart District all of its significant subgroups of students performed better than last year, but due to the proficiency rate targets being raised, several did not meet this year’s AYP target.

This year the Hart District met 32 of its 42 AYP targets, missing in the students with disabilities, socioeconomically disadvantaged, English learners, Black or African American, and Hispanic or Latino subgroups. Individual schools which missed their AYP targets also did so because of scores for students with disabilities, English learners, Hispanic or socioeconomically disadvantaged subgroups.

The AYP target percentages this year were 78.0 percent of students at proficient or above in ELA and 78.2 percent in math, up from 67.0 and 67.3 percent from last year. The Hart District recorded proficiency rates of 72.9 percent for ELA and 69.8 percent for mathematics.

“Our students have shown excellent growth overall, and our subgroups have also shown progress,” said David LeBarron, director of curriculum and assessment. He noted that the school sites have developed strong, research based intervention programs for students and special education faculty has aligned its curriculum to the state standards in a drive to better serve their students with special needs.

LeBarron feels that the team approach to learning is the most critical element in the district’s success.

“When we look at the standardized tests, we don’t see that as an end product, we see that as a tool to really help us do a better job with our students,” he said. “When we get these scores back, my principals take their data and start breaking it down. They’re more focused on groups, not the whole school; they are looking how certain groups performed on certain tasks, what are some of the strands the students struggled with, what subgroups are falling behind.

“Once we get that information, then we work with actual departments and intervention groups. That’s where the teachers and parents work together. For instance, Special education students – we’ll start talking to them about what the academic needs are as well and what can we do to support that and help that, intervention at the schools. Parents need to be aware of that, engaging their students in the intervention.  Someone needs to get the students there. Someone needs to make sure the student is doing their homework. Someone needs to hold us accountable. That’s why the parent involvement is so important.

“Kids are only with us six hours a day and they’re at home 18 hours a day,” LeBarron continued. “Unless we’re communicating, talking with each other, holding each other accountable at times, there may be gaps. Our job is to make sure that there are as few gaps as possible.”

 

Newhall School District (2012 score: 906/2011 score: 903)

Stevenson Ranch          981/977

Oak Hills                      942/949

Pico Canyon                 937/925

Valencia Valley         905/908

McGrath                      896/883

Meadows                     885/896

Wiley Canyon               881/877

Old Orchard                 872/883

Peachland                     855/869

Newhall                        832/808 * greatest growth in last year

 

Castaic Union School District (839/843)

Northlake Hills    868/866

Castaic Elementary       845/854

Live Oak Elementary    800/823

Castaic Middle 841/838 * greatest growth in last year

 

Sulphur Springs Union School District (844/832)

Golden Oak                 909/888

Sulphur Springs            878/866

Mitchell                        859/855

Fair Oaks Ranch          855/851

Pinetree                        854/840

Leona Cox                   815/799

Mint Canyon                814/755 * greatest growth in last year

Valley View                  804/808

Canyon Springs            794/779

 

Saugus Union School District (890/876)

Bridgeport                    942/929

West Creek Academy  939/929

Mountainview               925/910

Charles Helmers           923/911

Tesoro Del Valle          919/929

Plum Canyon                899/875

North Park                   892/870

James Foster                880/871

Emblem                        871/845 * greatest growth in last year

Rosedell                       868/859

Santa Clarita                 862/844

Rio Vista                      857/833

Cedarcreek                  825/845

Highlands                     823/823

Skyblue Mesa              809/805

 

William S. Hart Union High School District (838/830)

Elementary schools:

Santa Clarita Valley International 764/789

Junior High schools:

Rancho Pico                 924/901

Rio Norte                     900/899

Placerita                       886/876

Arroyo Seco                850/834

Sierra Vista                  840/808 * greatest growth in last year

La Mesa                       820/800

High Schools

Academy of the Canyons  937/941

Einstein Academy         910/908

West Ranch                  856/852

Valencia                       850/819 * greatest growth in last year

Hart                             830/829

Saugus                         820/819

Canyon                        802/803

Golden Valley               781/770

Opportunities for Learning  705/697

Mission View               661/624

Learning Post               819/820

Bowman                       565/671

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