Growth API scores released: Mixed results for GUSD, MHUSD

Teachers, union reach stalemate

Gilroy Unified School District stayed above the state’s performance target for the Academic Performance Index, while Morgan Hill Unified School District climbed five points but fell short of the state’s benchmark, according to the 2012-13 Accountability Progress Report released today by the California Department of Education.
The API is the state’s yardstick that measures the academic performance and growth of schools across a variety of measures, and sets the pace for next year’s goals and expectations.
The API is a numeric index that ranges from a low of 200 to a high of 1,000, with the state benchmark sitting at 800.
Superintendent Debbie Flores of GUSD said eclipsing the 800 mark has been the district’s goal since they stood at a 751 API only five years ago.
“We’re really pleased with the fact that we made so much progress over the last five years,” said Flores, elated that nine GUSD schools were at or above 800, one surpassed 900 and five showed growth of 10 or more points.
“Our goal all along is to help every student in this district achieve at the highest possible level,” she added.
Superintendent Steve Betando of MHUSD was glad to see the district climbing five points to a 795 API overall, two elementary schools jumping a combined 73 points and five schools hovering above the 800 mark. But, at the same time, he considers the API to be “a single score” and only one component to measuring student success and teacher effectiveness.
“We have (benchmark) assessments throughout the year. This was just a one-shot, one-time deal in the spring,” Betando said. “It’s pretty exciting to see huge jumps and it’s motivating to the staff, but we have to be careful not to read too much into it.”
Each year in May, the state releases a district’s Base API.
The Base API:
-Is calculated using each school’s test results from the state’s Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program and the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE).
-Is used to measure academic improvement from one year to the next by comparing it to the Growth API.
The Growth API:
-Is released in the fall.
-Is calculated using the same test criteria as the Base API, but with test data that is one year newer.
-Is used as a measure of improvement in API when compared to the Base API.
For the second straight year, a majority of schools statewide met or exceeded the state’s performance target of 800, including nine GUSD schools and five MHUSD schools.
GUSD’s district-wide Growth API remained the same at 804, with seven of its 16 schools showing positive API growth.
MHUSD’s API improved to 795, with six of its 14 schools testing better than in the previous year.
The biggest increase among the two neighboring districts surfaced at MHUSD’s Jackson Academy of Music and Math, which was transformed into a magnet school last year. Known as JAMM, the school climbed 42 points up to a 793 API.
“I was really excited to see those scores. We predicted there would be a huge increase at Jackson,” said Betando, crediting the project-based learning model used at the magnet school for mathematics and music as well as an enthusiastic and passionate staff.
In Gilroy, Rucker Elementary School churned out a district-high 24-point increase that put the school over the state’s target with an 805 API.
“We’re really excited about (Rucker’s growth),” said Flores, crediting the district’s implementation of an elementary school initiative three years ago. “They actually had a drop the previous year … (but) obviously they turned it around and we’re very proud of them for doing that.”
Gilroy Prep School, the city’s new charter school that opened in 2011, was one of eight GUSD schools to drop in their API scores, falling from a district-high 36 points. But the kindergarten through fourth-grade charter elementary (which will tack on an additional grade level each year through the eighth grade) is still at the top of the district with a 942 API.
The same pattern held true with the Charter School of Morgan Hill. It’s one of seven MHUSD schools taking a score dip, but still maintains the district-best with an 893 API.
Other MHUSD schools that demonstrated API growth:
-Barrett Elementary, up 31 points to 788
-Paradise Valley Elementary, up five points to 854
-Britton Middle School, up 24 points to 802
-Ann Sobrato High School, up seven points to 793
-Live Oak High School, up nine points to 774
GUSD schools showing API growth:
-El Roble Elementary, up 11 points to 808
-Las Animas Elementary, up 12 points to 874
-Rod Kelley Elementary, up 15 points to 856
-South Valley Middle School, up 13 points to 787
-Christopher High School, up one point to 801
-Dr. T.J. Owens Gilroy Early College Academy, up one point to 931
-Mount Madonna, up 21 points to 583
The Growth API results show the majority of all schools, including 56 percent of elementary schools, 50 percent of middle schools and 31 percent of high schools are now meeting the state benchmark.
“Despite the very real challenges of deep budget cuts and the ongoing effort to shift to new, more demanding academic standards, our schools persevered and students made progress,” State Superintendent Tom Torlakson of Public Instruction said. “These results should give us confidence as we start the new school year, and our efforts to make college- and career-readiness a goal for every student move into high gear.”
Seven of MHUSD schools’ API scores dropped, data shows. The biggest decrease at 34 points is at Central Continuation High School with a 623 API.
Double digit declines also occurred at other MHUSD schools:
-Nordstrom Elementary, down 23 to 892
-San Martin Gwinn Elementary, down 13 to 768
-El Toro Elementary, down 12 to 769 API
-Martin Murphy Middle School, down 10 to 786 API
-Los Paseos Elementary, down eight points to 822
-PA Walsh Elementary, down six points to 741, (the lowest API in the district other than Central)
In Gilroy, eight schools show a drop in their API scores:
-Eliot Elementary School, down 29 points to 753
-Antonio Del Buono Elementary, down 15 points to 771
-Glenview Elementary, down 5 to 783
-Luigi Aprea Elementary, down 13 points to 875
-Ascencion Solorsano Middle School, down 15 points to 840
-Brownell, down two points to 822
“Obviously, we will be focusing on those six schools and working directly with those schools,” Flores said. “The district will be supporting them in identifying strategies in helping them (improve their scores).”
Gilroy Unified School District
District-wide 804 (remained same)
Elementary Schools
Antonio Del Buono 771 (-15)
El Roble 808 (+11)
Eliot 753 (-29)
Gilroy Prep 942 (-36)
Glen View 783 (-5)
Las Animas 874 (+12)
Luigi Aprea 875 (-13)
Rod Kelley 856 (+15)
Rucker 805 (+24)
Middle Schools
Brownell 820 (-2)
Solorsano 840 (-15)
South Valley 787 (+13)
High Schools
Christopher 801 (+1)
GECA 931 (+1)
Gilroy 732 (-13)
Continuation High School
Mount Madonna 583 (+21)
Morgan Hill Unified School District
District-wide 795 (+5)
Elementary Schools
Barrett 788 (+31)
Charter School of MH 893 (-9)
El Toro 769 (-12)
Jackson Academy 793 (+42)
Los Paseos 822 (-8)
Nordstrom 892 (-23)
PA Walsh 741 (-6)
Paradise Valley 854 (5)
San Martin Gwinn 768 (-13)
Middle Schools
Britton 802 (+24)
Martin Murphy 786 (-10)
High Schools
Ann Sobrato 793 (+7)
Live Oak 774 (+9)
Continuation High School
Central 623 (-34)


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