Wednesday’s release of the California’s Academic Performance Index (API) report validates the strong performance of the ten elementary schools within the Newhall School District. Newhall’s district-wide API increased significantly from 896 last year to 903 this year, making it the first district in the Santa Clarita Valley to break the 900 mark. The district’s API has steadily increased for the last eight years and it once again is the highest ranking school district in the Santa Clarita Valley. Newhall has topped the Santa Clarita Valley’s district API list for the last seven years.
“Exceeding 900 on the state’s 1000 point scale is a precedent-setting milestone and an incredible feat, especially when one considers the education funding crisis we have been dealing with and the instructional challenges we face with a student population that includes about 30% English Language Learners,” said Marc Winger, district superintendent. “The 903 district API is a testament to the dedication and excellent work of our students, teachers, administrators, and families. We are, of course, very proud of our top scoring schools’ achievements but this is not just about our top scoring schools pulling others along. This is about all schools in the district moving up the achievement levels of all students.”
The API is based on the State’s STAR testing so the results came as no surprise to Newhall administrators who have been analyzing STAR scores since they were released in August.
Nancy Copley, assistant superintendent of instruction for Newhall, said there are many factors that contribute to the district’s success. “We have been training teachers in a coherent writing program for seven years. Writing is such a powerful skill that it affects every other aspect of achievement and we are seeing the results. We have also been concentrating on the academic needs of English Language Learners and training teachers in effective instructional methods for these students. Our teachers have effective instructional techniques and work very hard, at every site, to take all children to their highest potential. The API is a validation of their efforts.”
The current API in the Newhall district is an admirable accomplishment in a district where about 30% of the students have limited English skills. At some sites (McGrath, Newhall, Wiley Canyon, Old Orchard, and Peachland Schools) the limited English speaking students make up a third to a half of the student population. These schools also have some of the highest level of students living in poverty in the Santa Clarita Valley.
The school wide index at sites impacted by limited English speaking students often masks even stronger achievement among other groups. If one peels apart the API, one finds that nsd’s Anglo students, generally unencumbered by language barriers, are doing extraordinarily well. The API at the district’s namesake school, Newhall Elementary, tells this story. While the schoolwide index of 808 is above the statewide goal of 800, Anglo students at the site actually achieved an API of 926, placing them solidly among Anglo students at the district’s other schools. (Table below).
“Our Anglo student group does extraordinarily well at every site, including Newhall, Peachland, Old Orchard, McGrath, and Wiley Canyon Schools, where they are in the minority,” said Winger. “The 926 Anglo student API at Newhall School, where Hispanics make up almost 75% of the population, proves the point. While our Hispanic student group, made up of high numbers of limited English speakers, presents us with our biggest instructional challenge, we clearly meet the needs of all students in all of our schools.”
“It is a huge challenge to insure that certain groups, especially those with limited English skills or those living below the poverty line, reach proficiency in the required numbers,” said Suzan Solomon, president of the district’s Governing Board. “The fact that we continue to reach overall State goals, even with large numbers of students who, by definition, should not be proficient because of their language limitations, is a tribute to our hard working teachers and effective principals. We are very proud of the job our staff does at all our schools.”
Deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station, along with the help of Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Aero Bureau, are actively searching for a stolen vehicle suspect who fled on foot along the 24200 block of Oak Vale Drive in Valencia.
The Castaic Education Foundation recently announced that 16 grants have been awarded for the 2022-2023 school year, totaling $50,000, which will be used to enhance student learning programs and supports including music, mindfulness, art, reading, math, science, video production, robotics and more.
Saugus High School, the scene of a deadly school shooting in November of 2019 which took three lives (including the shooter), was under lockdown for an hour on Friday afternoon after deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station responded to an "assault with a deadly weapon" phone call.
With the lifting of county, state and federal COVID-19 emergency orders, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health continues to ensure easy access to free vaccines, boosters, tests and therapeutics.
Due to the recent rainfall, Los Angeles County Health Officer, Muntu Davis, MD, MPH, is cautioning residents that bacteria, chemicals, debris, trash, and other public health hazards from city streets and mountain areas are likely to contaminate ocean waters around discharging storm drains, creeks, and rivers after the rainfall. Individuals who enter the water in these areas could become ill.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger hosted an intimate reception honoring several local artists affiliated with Tierra del Sol, a non-profit organization based in Sunland that helps individuals with developmental disabilities hone their skills in the arts and discover career opportunities.
In alignment with both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Public Health, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will change to weekly reporting of COVID-19 case, hospitalization and death data. The last day of daily reporting will be today, Tuesday, March 28. Starting the week of April 3, COVID-19 data will be reported weekly.
California State Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) expressed frustration at the Senate Public Safety Committee’s failure to advance a bill he coauthored aimed at bringing accountability to the fentanyl crisis.
Longtime festival favorites and thrilling newcomers highlight the performance schedule at the 27th Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, which will be held Saturday, April 22 and Sunday, April 23, in Old Town Newhall.
Come to Placerita Nature Center Saturday, April 1 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and meet the Animal Ambassadors who live in the canyon. Learn what the animals eat, where they live, their physical attributes and much more.
The California State University, Northridge David Nazarian College of Business and Economics invites the public to the eighth Annual Jeff Marine Bull Ring New Venture Competition on Thursday, April 20, from 3 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Los Angeles County’s declaration of a local public health emergency for COVID-19 ends on March 31. That means changes in some programs but many services will continue to be available to support L.A. County residents.
SNAP Sports, a nonprofit adaptive sports program for special needs athletes will hold a wine tasting fundraiser Wednesday, March 29 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Salt Creek Grille, 24415 Town Center Drive #115, Valencia, CA 91355.
Calling all teens and tweens: The city of Santa Clarita Public Library presents FanFest. FanFest is back and will be held Friday, April 7 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Canyon Country Community Center, 18410 Sierra Highway, Canyon Country, CA 91351.
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