By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
CUSD pleased with API scores
Placeholder Image
Ceres Unified School District officials are pleased with the results of the state Academic Performance Index (API). Most of the schools in Ceres improved their overall scores.

"They're nifty," said CUSD Superintendent Dr. Walt Hanline. "I'm pleased with them overall."

He noted that the average improvement of districts in California was 14 points while Ceres experienced 15.

"I'm most impressed with the performance of the elementary schools," said Hanline.

Assistant Superintendent Mary Jones said she was "very pleased - we had 15 schools that made the target or exceeded it."

Each spring California students in grades two through twelve take a set of tests to measure knowledge of language arts and math. Scores are then reported as the API, with a numeric index (or scale) that ranges from a low of 200 to a high of 1000. The statewide API performance target for all schools is 800. The growth target for a school is 5 percent of the difference between a school's API Base (previous year's API score) and the statewide performance target of 800.

Four schools who met the state's expectation of scores of 800 or better were:

• Summit Charter Academy, which scored 857;

• Virginia Parks Elementary School, 805;

• Westport Elementary School, 852 (up from 798);

• Whitmore Charter School of Technology, 821 (up from 814).

Despite the great scores, four Ceres schools slipped in API expectations. They were

• Central Valley High School, which slipped from 737 to 730.

• Blaker Kinser Junior High, dropping from 710 to 705.

• Whitmore Charter School, 788 to 763.

• Whitmore Charter High School, decreasing from 758 to 662.

Hanline downplayed the disappointments noting that Blaker Kinser remains a strong school despite a drop that is not significant. He noted that last year BK had a Similar Schools Ranking of 10. The ranking for 2009 will not be out until March, said Jones.

Both Whitmore Charter School and Whitmore Charter High School are both home school facilities and prone to wild fluctuations because of their small student numbers. The charter school has less than 25 kids while the high school has less than 100.

"I do not over interpret or under interpret the data for the charter schools," said Hanline.

Central Valley High had a Similar Schools Ranking of 10 last year and Hanline said he doesn't read a lot into its seven-point slip.

"In any championship team," he said, "once in a while you relax and once in a while you slip and that happens. What we have to do as leaders and captains is do what we can to see that doesn't happen."

Hanline attributed the success of the growth schools like Westport to "great teaching, excellent leadership and parents who are connected."

He said it means a lot that rural Westport Elementary School, which is "fairly diverse, economically disadvantaged as a whole" has posted a 54-point gain. Typically students from poorer families tend to struggle the most.

Under Principal Marla Mack, Westport is fast becoming a top achieving school.

"We've had a lot of work .... to improve the quality of teaching. That's what's showing. The teachers are really gearing up and taking it to the next level."

Hanline observed that most districts in California see scattered scores from school to school.

"I'm most proud of the fact that our schools are tightly clustered. Every one of these elementary schools are well into the 700s."

Even Caswell Elementary, which is perhaps Ceres' most challenging school because of economic demographics, gained 35 points, from 677 to 712.