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Adkison celebrates high score
Adkison Elementary School Principal Brian Murphy smiles at students while unfurling a banner highlighting their accomplishment for besting their API score to 804. Speaking to students at right is Ceres Unified School District Assistant Superintendent Steve Fabela. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier photo

Adkison Elementary School officials for years had hoped to bring state test scores above the 800 mark. They did that with little time to spare. The state is phasing out its existing Academic Performance Index benchmarking as the nation's schools go to common core standards and new testing criteria.

Before the switchover, however, Adkison raised its API from 790 to 804. In fact, it was the only Ceres school which had made the hurdle of those which had not done so.

"It's a huge accomplishment and gives us a fresh start, a good foundation to work with," said Principal Brian Murphy.

Steve Fabela, Ceres Unified School District's Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, dropped by a Friday morning assembly to present the API banner.

The school opened eight years ago but failed to earn a banner for the 2011-12 school year because test scores had faltered a bit.

The API rank reflects how second- through sixth-graders did in testing, specifically how fifth-graders did in science and ELA and math. Murphy said there was not one thing that pulled the scores upward.

"We worked really hard the last three years on building collaboration among our whole staff for the betterment of the kids. I think what we do in first grade is very similar to what we do in sixth grade, the fact that we work together, we collaborate, we share ideas, kind of helps us grow together. So outside of that we've been really focused on developing academic language for kids."

Adkison has the third highest number of English Language learners of Ceres Unified School District. In fact 381 of Adkisons' 649 students are classified as EL.

Murphy boasted that his school has the highest attendance of any Ceres school.

"I think I attribute a lot of our success to that. Kids are here every day. We're not battling parents on attendance issues and kids not showing up.

"I was fortunate when I came here this school already had good family partnerships, good connections with the community. Parents naturally feel a part of this environment. The teachers are phenomenal. So when I came here I just wanted to maintain that and keep it going."