Gilroy schools show steady growth

 

While most Gilroy schools gained or shed a percentage point or
two on last spring’s standardized tests, several schools and the
district as a whole showed consistent growth across all subject
areas.
While most Gilroy schools gained or shed a percentage point or two on last spring’s standardized tests, several schools and the district as a whole showed consistent growth across all subject areas.

Of Gilroy Unified School District’s eight elementary schools, three middle schools and four high schools, three elementary schools and one middle school improved in every subject area.

Eliot Elementary emerged at the head of the pack, increasing the number of students demonstrating proficiency or higher in language arts and math by more than 10 percentage points, to 53.8 and 77.6 percent, respectively.

The California Department of Education won’t release schools’ scores on the Academic Performance Index – a measure of improvement on a 1,000-point scale – until later this month, but the school district estimated Eliot will add 56 points to its API this year, boosting its total score to 836, second only to Luigi Aprea Elementary School.

“It’s a wonderful story,” Superintendent Deborah Flores said of the growth Eliot has shown in recent years.

At a recent meeting with principals, Flores said she spoke about how other schools could replicate Eliot’s success.

“Why not adopt some of the best practices we have here at home,” she said. “We have already started but we want to step that up.”

Additionally, Eliot almost tripled the percentage of students scoring proficient or higher in science, bringing that percentage up to 44.8 percent. Every elementary school except for Luigi Aprea posted significant gains in science. Flores and Kermit Schrock, the district’s director of student assessment and data management, attributed the jumps in science performance to the adoption of new language arts material that has science and social studies built in.

Glen View and Rod Kelley elementary schools also increased the percentage of students scoring proficient or above in all subject areas, though not the extent of Eliot.

All three middle schools showed growth in most areas, with Brownell Middle School being the only one that improved in all subject areas. Flores estimated Brownell would add a “remarkable” 32 points to their API, which moves them within reach of the statewide target of 800.

“We’re hoping that a nice jump this year will help them in the process of developing their future,” Schrock said.

With gains in math and science, South Valley will also likely add 20 points to its API, Schrock predicted.

At the high school level, Gilroy High boosted the number of students showing proficiency in history and math but lost a few percentage points in language arts and science. In its first year, Christopher High School showed more of its students performing at or above proficiency in all subjects when compared to GHS. Though the district would like to take a closer look at those scores, “You can’t discount things like a small school environment and a new school culture,” Schrock said.

With some of the highest scores in the district, the Dr. T.J. Owens Gilroy Early College Academy showed improvement in all areas except math, where it stayed the same as last year. Mount Madonna Continuation School showed the poorest results, with 8.6 percent of students showing proficiency in language arts and 3.1 percent in math. Despite the low proficiency scores, Flores said she still expects the school to grow its API score this year.

While the district as a whole increased the percentage of students performing at or above proficiency in all subject areas, when compared to last year, it lagged behind the county’s performance in every subject by about 10 percentage points. Gilroy’s scores were more in line with what the state showed as a whole.

“Overall, we’re pleased with the results,” Flores said. “We saw positive trends everywhere.”

To view this year’s test results, visit http://star.cde.ca.gov/star2010/SearchPanel.asp

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