Loomis District scores high with state

By: Joyia Emard Loomis News Editor
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The Loomis Union School District continues to rank as a top district in the county, according to the recently released state academic performance scores. The Loomis District earned an Academic Performance Index (API) score of 896, one point higher than last year. “Our schools have maintained a high level of performance,” said Gordon Medd, district superintendent. Medd said students, staff and teachers continued to perform “in spite of everything being against us.” He said “everything” included 20 percent in state budget cuts to education, larger class sizes, furlough days, and lack of staff development days. He said teachers and students continued to push ahead academically. Two district schools saw big increases in their scores. Penryn Elementary School students increased their API score by 11points, going from 885 to 896. Andy Withers, Penryn principal said, “It is both rewarding and exciting to see that the hard work and energy of our staff and students has resulted in an increased API score. We have an excellent group of staff and students, as well as a very supportive community.” Withers attributed the majority of the increase to the strong professional learning community (PLC) the school has. He said over the past two years, teachers have met weekly on Friday mornings and dedicated time to review school programs as well as classroom and student performance needs. “This time is valuable and helps us stay focused on quality teaching and learning,” Withers said. Loomis Basin Charter School saw a 17-point gain last year, jumping from a score of 930 to 947. Last spring, the school’s primary years program became International Baccalaureate accredited. Erica Sloane is the new school director. She started as a third-grade teacher, then became the vice principal and was promoted last May after former director Cindy Uptain became the new principal at Franklin Elementary School. Sloane said the school added two seventh-grade classes this year for a total of 360 students and built the infrastructure to add eighth grade next year. She said the school will begin a multi-year process of becoming accredited for the middle school program. Sloane said the charter school’s API increase was the result of a group effort. “Everyone worked together. It was a community effort from parents, students and staff,” she said. Sloane said the school’s best practices of being inquiry-based helped in the API gain. “We’re teaching students to be thinkers – to analyze, evaluate and create – not just memorize. We look deeper,” she said. In other district news, the school board voted at its Sept. 1 meeting to reinstate three teacher training days that will give students extra days off during the school year. Medd said, "After several years of being denied staff development days due to budget cuts, it is a blessing to have three days this year dedicated to teacher training.” Medd said the training days will be used by staff to analyze student data, review the effectiveness of instructional programs and develop common assessments for each grade level. “Students will benefit as a result of the efforts of teachers during these staff development days," he said. The staff development days that students will now have off are Friday, Sept. 30, Tuesday, Nov. 1 and Friday, Feb. 3. DISTRICT API RESULTS Loomis Union: 896 Eureka: 907 (up 10 points) Rocklin: 883 Roseville: 872 Auburn: 815 SCHOOL API RESULTS Franklin: 892 H. Clarke Powers: 891 Loomis Basin Charter: 947 Loomis Elementary: 888 Ophir: 885 Penryn Elementary: 896 Placer Elementary: 894 Source: State Department of Education