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September 11, 2007 > Elementary schools retain membership in '800 club'

Elementary schools retain membership in '800 club'

Submitted By Rick LaPlante

Four New Haven Unified School District elementary schools continue to be members of the "800 Club" of schools where results from standardized tests exceed state expectations.

The Accountability Progress Reports (APR) released today by the California Department of Education include both Academic Performance Index (API) and Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) data. The results come from Standardized Testing and Results (STAR) scores and from California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) scores taken during the 2006-07 school year.

After increasing by 12 points in 2004-05 and another 12 points in 2005-06, rising from 732 to 756, the District's overall API score dropped slightly in 2006-07, to 750, still well above the state average of 727.

"I'm not surprised that our scores leveled off this year, because that happens from time to time, no matter what district you're in," Superintendent Dr. Pat Jaurequi said. "I'm confident that we're going to see significant increases starting next year, because our teachers and students are working very hard and we're doing everything we can - and redirecting every dollar we can - to provide them with the resources they need.

"We've adjusted school schedules to make sure students are in class at peak learning times, and we're introducing all-day and mid-year kindergarten programs," Dr. Jaurequi continued. "We're focusing on literacy at all levels, and we've improved student-teacher ratios and increased instructional minutes in our middle schools. We've started the process of going to smaller learning communities at James Logan High.

"These all are proven initiatives, and I'm proud to work for a Board of Education that encourages and supports this kind of work. No matter how you feel about standardized tests, I have no doubt that these kinds of initiatives - in a district with such dedicated teachers and support staff - are going to pay off for our children."

For the second year in a row, four of the District's seven elementary schools scored above the state target of 800: Eastin (878), Pioneer (818), Alvarado (806) and Kitayama (804). Alvarado jumped into the "800 Club" in 2005-06, when the school had a remarkable 42-point gain from the previous year.

"It's significant that Alvarado maintained its score, because schools that have a one-year jump like the one Alvarado achieved last year often lose ground the following year," Dr. Jaurequi said.

The superintendent also commended the staff and students at Cabello Elementary School, closed in June as part of the District's efforts to deal with the financial realities of declining enrollment. Under first-year principal Tracie Noriega, Cabello increased its API score 26 points, to 786.

"Obviously, Cabello's teachers didn't allow the difficulties and emotions of last year affect their work," Dr. Jaurequi said. "I'm extremely proud of Tracie and her staff. I'm thrilled to have her as the new principal at Alvarado Elementary and that we were able to place so many of Cabello's teachers there, and I'm happy that so many other Cabello teachers took placements at other schools in our district."

The AYP results released today show that 48.9 percent of District students were proficient in English/language arts and 51.6 percent were proficient in mathematics. Although both scores fell slightly (from 50.1 percent in English/language arts and 53.1 percent in math in 2005-06), the District remains well above the statewide averages of 45.5 and 48.5 percent, respectively.

As a whole, the District met all 42 of its AYP criteria. All elementary schools met their AYP goals, with the exception of Hillview Crest. Because its receives Title I funds for educationally disadvantaged students, Hillview Crest will move into a second year of "Program Improvement" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

"That means parents will have the option again this year of having their children attend another District elementary school, and we also will be implementing state-mandated supplemental services, on top of the extra services that we already are providing at Hillview Crest," said Craig Boyan, Director of Assessment and Evaluation.

Barnard-White Middle School also missed its AYP goal and will move into a third year of "Program Improvement." Barnard-White is closing at the end of this year, and students will attend either of the District's two other middle schools, Alvarado or Cesar Chavez, in 2008-09.

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