The California Department of Education released the Academic Performance Index (API) and Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) reports on Friday morning and a review of the data for the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District shows great gains for nearly every school and the district as a whole. The API summarizes students' performance on a series of tests.
The district API score rose to 827, an increase of 21 points over the 2011 score. The district's middle schools show enormous growth in particular.
Parkway Middle School increased its API Score to 867 an improvement of 31 points. La Mesa Middle School saw an increase in its API score of 52 points to a score of 843. La Presa Middle School hit an all-time high with a score of 783 an increase of a whopping 48 points over the 2011 score.
La Presa Elementary grew by 46 points to a 2012 API of 807. In addition, La Presa Elementary is one of three schools in San Diego County to meet all of its growth targets for two consecutive years, and will exit Program Improvement.
"The district has spent the past few years crafting a focus on instruction in each classroom, which began with a review of our textbooks and curriculum and last year a focus in instructional practice for all teachers," said Superintendent Brian Marshall. "We have five core focus areas – Professional Learning Communities and the use of data to inform instruction, Student Engagement, Non-fiction writing, and a focus on our English Language Learners and our Special Needs students.
"We have ongoing staff development in these areas and our teachers and principals have embraced the training and we are seeing the results of this in our [increases]," he said.
Some other highlights:
- Seventy-six percent of elementary schools have an API score of over 800
- Three schools – Fletcher Hills Elementary, Murray Manor Elementary, and Murdock Elementary – have API scores of over 900
- Casa de Oro Elementary saw growth of 41 points with an API of 791
- California Distinguished School winner Lemon Avenue Elementary hit an all-time high of 875
- Kempton Elementary grew by 35 points to 747
- Bancroft Elementary hit 780, a 24-point increase
Said Board President Bill Baber said: “I am proud of the work of our teachers and principals. These results are the end product tireless efforts in our classrooms.”
Board Member Emma Turner echoed Baber’s comments, adding: “we also need to recognize our students for their efforts!”
Marshall added that the district will continue to focus on instruction in the classroom each day.
"We will refine our instructional practice this year and fully implement the five focus areas," he said.
Locally, the Grossmont Union High School District saw a 10-point increase from 2011, rising to an API of 734.
Across the county, the San Diego Unified School District score went from 798 last year to 808. Possible scores range from 200 to 1,000, with a performance target of 800.
The highest score at the elementary school level was 991 by Torrey Pines Elementary School. For middle schools, the best was 934 at Marshall Middle School in San Carlos. Scripps Ranch was the top high school with a mark of 900.
The statewide API score increased by 10 points, from 778 last year to 788, the CDE reported.
According to the state, 53 percent of California schools met or exceeded the 800-point bar in 2011-12, up four percentage points from the previous year.
API reflects growth in student achievement from one year to the next. It is determined by results on the California Standards Tests in English, math, history/social science and science, and the California High School Exit Exam.
"We've set a high bar for schools and they have more than met the challenge, despite the enormous obstacles that years of budget cuts have put in their way," state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said. "The incredible efforts of teachers, administrators, school employees, parents and students should serve as an inspiration to us all. While there's still more work to do, California's schools have earned a vote of confidence."
Statewide, 59 percent of elementary schools, 49 percent of middle schools and 30 percent of high schools met the state API benchmark.
Elementary school scores statewide increased by 7 points to 815, while middle schools jumped 14 points to 792 and high schools increased 11 points to 752.
– City News Service contributed to this report.