Loomis schools are some of tops in county
Local school administrators are attributing increased state test scores in Loomis-area schools to hard working teachers, students and parents.
The State’s Academic Performance Index (API) uses the results of several state standardized test scores to provide a measurement of a school’s scholastic performance. API scores range from a low of 200 to a high of 1,000, with a State-established goal of at least 800. Although Loomis-area schools have met and exceed the target score of 800, this year several schools found their API score had exceeded 900.
Loomis Union School District (LUSD) Superintendent, Gordon Medd, said he was pleased, but not shocked by the increased scores. In addition to increased scores in several district schools, the Loomis School District’s API also jumped from 895 to 906.
“I am not at all surprised by the bump in scores,” Medd said. “This community is very unique in the amazing support system that is made up of staff, teachers, students and parents.”
Medd also said the increased scores “reflect the quality of teaching and learning that goes on in this district.”
Franklin Elementary School’s API jumped from 892 in 2011 to 911 this year. Principal Cindy Uptain said the increased score is exciting because it shows that the school’s increased efforts to focus on each student’s particular needs are yielding results.
“I’m happy with the score because it means you are putting other pieces in place that are working,” Uptain said
Although her school’s API score increased, Uptain said she also focuses on the data the test provides that illustrate where students still need help. A score above 900 is a clear indicator that a lot of students are doing very well, she said, but there is always room for continued growth.
“I always want us growing and the results of these tests help us figure out where we need to do that,” Uptain said.
Rick Judd, principal of Loomis Grammar School principal where the API jumped from 886 to 910 in one year, said he is happy with the increased score. But he said he is more pleased with what the increase reveals about the students.
“I’m more excited about the kids wanting to read and that our attendance has improved,” Judd said.
Over the past several years Loomis Grammar has been implementing a literacy program that is aimed at helping students develop a love of reading rather than feeling that they are forced to read. Judd calls the program a huge success and credits the student’s increased reading with the increased stamina they need to do well in school.
“We have parents call and say ‘Why does my kid want to go to the library all of the sudden?’” Judd said. “It’s because they are learning to love to read, and I think the benefits of that are shown when you have an API jump 24 points in one year.”
For the past several years, administrators, teachers and parents at Placer Elementary School, where the API went from 894 to 907, have been implementing a program that provides early intervention to students struggling in school. Principal Carolyn Cowles credits this intervention, which includes an extended school day for nearly 100 students in need of additional attention, with helping students move past difficulties and achieve greater success in the classroom.
“We’ve been doing this for three or four years now and we are seeing the benefits of it in the scores,” Cowles said.
Del Oro High School also saw a jump in its API, from 861 to 869, which moved the school into second place in Placer County, behind Rocklin High School. Assistant Principal Paul Lundberg said he was somewhat surprised to learn that the school’s API had increased.
“Our State exit exam scores were a little lower so I thought we were probably going to maintain last year’s API, but I was happy to see it went up a little,” Lundberg said.
Lundberg, who has been at Del Oro for nearly 20 years, attributes the increased API to hard work on the part of the teachers.
“Our expectations for teachers are so much higher these days and there are so many new challenges that teachers didn’t face 19 years ago,” Lundberg said. “I really commend them.”
Although the increased API scores gave school officials cause to celebrate, each administrator agreed the scores reflect consistent hard work on the part of everyone in the community. Superintendent Medd said he has confidence in the community’s ability to continue to provide excellent opportunities in education.
“The key to success in education is having staff, students and parents involved and we have that,” Medd said. “When all three of those things are in line great things happen.”
HIGH SCHOOL API SCORES
SCHOOL 2012 API 2011 API
Rocklin High 888 880
Del Oro High 869 861
Granite Bay High 868 867
Woodcreek High 854 847
Colfax High 835 832
Placer High 805 803
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL API SCORES
Loomis Union School District 906 895
Eureka Union School District 911 907
Loomis Grammar 910 886
Franklin Elementary 911 892
Placer Elementary 907 894
Ophir Elementary 896 876
H. Clarke Powers Elementary 893 890
Penryn Elementary 879 895
Loomis Basin Charter 935 947