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CUSD high in Similar Schools ranking
CUSD Similar Schools Rankings.tif
This chart shows how Ceres schools did in Similar Schools Ranking on the Academic Performance Index (API).

Ceres Unified School District officials are beaming after the state Department of Education released its Similar Schools ranking based on last fall's Academic Performance Index (API) scores.

The results, released late in May, show Ceres schools excelling when compared to schools similar to demographics of students.

Of the 140 schools in Stanislaus County , 22 schools attained a ranking of a "9" or a "10," with Ceres taking 10 of those. Breaking that down, eight Stanislaus County schools were ranked a "10" school with five being in Ceres, specifically Carroll Fowler, Westport and Walter White elementary schools, plus Ceres and Central Valley high schools.

Assistant Supt. Dr. Mary Jones attributed the high levels of Ceres schools to "consistency that we have with the instrumental practices across all our schools. We are faced the same direction; we are constantly focused on instruction."

While the news was mostly good for CUSD, not all schools are basking in glory. Cesar Chavez Junior High School, which had only seventh-graders last year, scored the lowest in CUSD with a ranking of a "5." The school has a significantly high concentration of English learners and socioeconomically disadvantaged students.

Jones said the highest concentration of 9's and 10's were experienced by CUSD in the 2009 school year.

The results from the California Department of Education are based on tests taken in spring 2012. The Academic Performance Index (API) numbers from tests taken in the past month or so will be released in early fall.

The API is an achievement gauge for California public schools based on standardized test results. The index assigns a score for each campus, ranging from a low of 200 to a high of 1,000, with 800 as the long-term performance target.

The new information gives the one through 10 rankings showing how local schools compare in the state and with other schools.

A score of 10 means the school falls within the top 10 percent, and a score of 1 means it ranks in the bottom 10 percent.

The state compares each school to all schools in the state and ranks them. It also takes a school's test scores and sees how well they did compared to schools of similar student makeup, including income levels.

Argus and Endeavor, the district's two continuation schools, are not part of the state ranking system.