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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Schools prepare to play up or down play new API scores*

State education officials today released  the results of the most recent Academic Performance Index, the most widely watched albeit criticized measure of  academic performances at schools across California.  For the first time, a majority of schools, 53%, scored above the statewide target of 800, according to State Superintendent Tom Torlakson.  Statewide, elementary schools API score grew by 7 points to 815, middle schools by 14 points to 792, and high schools by 11 points to 752.

Many Eastside school boosters were quick to tout their school’s new API scores, which are frequently used to attract new students and support. In fact, Burbank Middle School, the Highland Park campus that was reorganized by the school district, posted the largest API gain–100 points–in L.A. Unified, reports the Daily News.

One teacher from Clifford Street Elementary in Echo Park wrote:

Great news to share. Clifford Street School had a remarkable year as shown by the newly released State API (Academic Performance Index) reports. Our growth was 26 points. Makes for an interesting comparison with other Echo Park schools.

Meanwhile, in Atwater Village, Shelli-Anne Couch President of the Friends of Atwater Elementary, said the school’s API reached an all-time high:

For the first time ever, Atwater Avenue Elementary School has scored over 800 on our API!! We did a record-breaking 809 – which is a whopping 34 point increase over last year’s score of 775. Wahoooo!!!!!! Please join us in congratulating our hardworking students, families, staff and teachers at Atwater Elementary, all led by the indefatigable Mr Charles D Smith. Go Blue!! … Atwater has the highest volume of Special Needs and English Learners of all the local schools (more than 3 x Ivanhoe number for example), so it’s an exceedingly good effort. (Atwater has 150, Glenfeliz 100, Ivanhoe 44, Los Feliz Charter 39).

Another Echo Park school, Gabriella Charter, also touted its results in an email

We are proud to report that in 2011-12, Gabriella Charter School received an API of 894 — its highest ever.

How did your neighborhood school perform? Click here to search the statewide results by school.

Related Link:

  • LAUSD scores double-digit gains in statewide school test scores for 5th straight year. Daily News

* This post has been updated

36 comments

  1. Micheltorena Elementary – 711 API

    http://www6.cde.ca.gov/schoolqualitysnapshot/sqsreport.aspx?id=7683531C-55F5-4540-A2B8-86F76BB1ED9B

    It may be underperforming in academics but it does have an impressive mid century inspired chicken coop!

    When is Silverlake going to stop preparing these children for a future in gardening and going to start preparing these children for professional careers they deserve?

    • UpTheBlock – where is your data that a school API correlates with graduates’ success in entering professional careers? I think parental income and educational background are the strong correlates but am not sure there is data yet available correlating these types of test results with “career success”.

      I would be interested to read any studies you have come across.

      I smell a bit of chicken poop here…

      • while we disagree on a few things, I agree with you on APIs as a predictor of future success for our children (and I hate the idea of teaching to the test”). they can be useful indicators though. API has been shown to be correlated with college admissions, college attendance rates and graduation rates (and we can all agree that college is a good thing in the long run); low API rates often can point out inadequacies in math departments and in resources like computer labs. plenty of studies available for those topics. I think the point we can all see eye to eye on is that it is up to us as parents to make sure that our kids are getting the best education available to them, wherever they may be attending school.

        • Michael please cite your source that the API is correlated with college admissions. Boo sheet! The API was first introduced in 1999.

          No such “studies” have been done. I’ve asked several university faculty in education and psychology departments for help locating such data and it’s not there.

          Prove me wrong and I will most gladly serve you the sweetest slice of humble pie.

          Does this mean API is useless? Probably not. But we cannot distill life “success” and “happiness” with a scantron.

          • you know if you look there are some studies. you are obviously in the mood to fight (even after I agreed with you and tried to make nice), so I will let you look it up yourself (it’s been 13 years, plenty of research done) and bow out of any future interactions with you. have a good day.

    • I’m with you UTB,
      They are touting this number as success? 53% of schools are above target? That means 47% are below! And by the way, the “target” is equivalent to the school as a whole having a D+ average…

      Thanks teacher’s unions! You are doing a fantastic job! I’ll be voting “NO” on that little tax hike Jerry Brown is pushing to fund your pensions.

      • Beanteam,

        You need to get your facts straight before you comment. The API target is 800 our of a possible 1000 points. If it were to have a letter grade equivalent it would be a “B”. The API itself is based on STAR testing standards which measure proficiency in various subjects and are not readily converted to the standard letter grade. As far as Prop 30 (the tax proposal for school funding) goes, this is a necessary measure to prevent, among other consequences, cutting 3 weeks off of the current school year which will have a long lasting and devastating effect on the education of a generation of students across California, with negative ramifications for the health of our state and nation for years to come. The prop is not being used to fund teacher’s pensions. Pension reform is an entirely different issue which does require action, but ultimately has nothing to do with Prop 30.

        • Nope. IT’S FOR THE UNIONS “SLDad” aka union member!

          • Based solely on your opinion. Comment again when you have some facts.

          • FACT: California is among the highest in every tax category in the country.

            FACT: California K-12 schools rank among the lowest in the country. (Thank goodness for you that Mississippi exists right?)

            FACT: California schools have one of the highest dropout rates in the country.

            FACT: California teachers are among the HIGHEST PAID in their profession while their students produce the lowest test scores.

            I could go on SLDad, but sadly the facts speak for themselves. You should be ashamed for continuing to take money and ask for MORE AND MORE! Like throwing more money in your pension fund is going to solve the problem! And if you think that this tax increase is not for the unfunded billion(s) dollar shortfall in your pension, you are either drinking too much union kool-aid or you are dumb. At least the latter would explain why the schools are in the shape they’re in…

            Disgusting.

            But of course, should you require more FACTS, please let me know.

      • the tax only applies to those individuals making over $250,000. Over the last 5 years, $20 billion has been cut from the state education budget. If 30 doesn’t pass, $6 billion more will be cut. The social and economic impact of these cuts are horrific. http://yesonprop30.com/index.php/about

    • Hey UpTheBlock,

      I’m glad you took the time to post a complaint about the chickens, they are a menace to education, it’s true. Just last week, my son came home and said that one of the chickens ( I think it was Sicilia) used ‘your’ incorrectly in a sentence. I intend to start a letter writing campaign to the principal. I don’t want my boys to end up on the streets because of those grammatically challenged fowl.

      It is fun, though, isn’t it? To get scores for a test that everyone loves to revile — until the results come out, anyway, and then they can jump up and down in outrage about them! Let’s all rant together about the failure of the public schools and those parasites, teachers! Booo, teachers! So greedy and evil and union-y. I mean, tell me about it. When are we going to just fire them all?

      But enough about those nasty teachers, let’s talk about metrics some more! Because those are way more fun to simplify down to a big number that somehow tells everyone (even the chickens) all they need to know about a school in one glance! Never mind that my 2nd grader reads at a 4th grade level and my 5th grader is in the Gifted program or that our teachers are fantastic and our principal rules. I *know* it’s all bad when I see that 711. (mmm, slurpees…) Gosh, I really wanted my kids to have professional careers, too.

      711! I mean, really! It’s almost like 19% of the student body was special needs! Am I right? Haha…but…. that couldn’t be the case! They wouldn’t mix special needs scores in with the others, would they? That sounds like the work of chickens, to me. I wonder if Micheltorena takes in a lot of the special needs kids in the neighborhood because other nearby schools (with high scores) don’t have the programs? I’m sure that couldn’t be it. Because that sounds too much like ” facts ” when a single number is much easier to get all red-faced about.

      So, let’s all knee-jerk our way to the chicken coop and burn it down before our poor, stupid children get any more poor and stupid. Stupid chicken coop. Stupid garden. Stupid teachers.

      Thanks for adding relevance and careful thought to the conversation, UpTheBlock. You must really love my school to care enough to be mad about the chickens.

      Cheers,
      Michel Mom

    • Up the Block, what school do you support and what is your agenda? Posting links and criticizing efforts to enrich children seems suspicious.

  2. Go Dorris Place Elementary – 884 API, up 32 pts!!!!!!!

  3. you gooooooooo LOGAN we love you…

  4. All Silver Lake schoosl are great. As parents, it is up to us to make our child’s education the best it can be. Uptheblock, be as nasty as you wish, that is your choice. Micheltorena offered its students an amazing education before the garden and chickens. The two just enriches it.

  5. Elysian Heights is up 17 points to 825!! Great job!

  6. UpTheBlock, you DO know that Micheltorena has a Special Education program, right? And that the scores of the Special Ed students are mixed in with the general student populace? I have my child enrolled in Micheltorena’s new Kinder Dual Language Program, and am absolutely in love with the school, his teachers, and the other parents invested in making dynamic changes in the school. Yes, I was initially hesitant about the API, but I did my homework and visited the school and its tireless principal. Not only do they offer amazing enrichment programs, like the gardens and after school programs, they also focus on academics and learning.

    Why DO you have to be so nasty, anyway? Thanks Mayberry Mommy for the chicken poop comment!

  7. Citizens of the World Hollywood has an API score 916.

    • my kid goes to Citizens and I hope that everyone is as happy with their kids education as I am.

    • All made possible by prop 39, a law that flies in the face of civil rights; private investments from Walmart (CCSA) in the form of right wing leglislation and interest free loans, and mad recuiting skills. Congrats CWC. We’re sooo impressed with your score.

      • yes CWC I’m impressed with your whopping 4 % special needs kids

        • wow, why would you attack someone based on where their kid goes to school? that makes no sense to me at all. why don’t you direct your energies to improving your own school and perhaps getting the dreaded Prop 39 revoked? you could be working on that right now, but instead you are trying to get in the face of a couple of people who are happy with their schools. excellent display of time management skills.

          • I am impressed with the charter school scores, and I teach at a regular school in Echo Park (API 844). I got to tell you, I think it is worth checking out what they may be doing right at Gabriella or at Citizens of the World. The demographics for both Gabriella and my school look similar. I would like to learn from them how they help their students achieve.

          • Looks like Orion 44 and Michael are recruiting here for charters. It’s so sad that charters take so much away from the real public schools with potential and promise like Micheltorena. Why not truly be a part of the community and invest in ALL the kids in the neighborhood not just your own.

          • I believe Lulu is merely pointing out a fact Michael. It is true Charters are supported by CCSA which is heavily funded by the Walton’s who own Walmart and their political views are super extreme right wing. We are trying to improve our school everyday while accepting all neighborhood children and I for one am very proud of our local Public Elementary school Micheltorena. It’s only going to get better for our kids.

  8. first off: i’m not recruiting for anyone. frankly I don’t have a stake in your where your kids go to school, that’s your business. my quote was “I hope that everyone is as happy with their kids education as I am.” and i meant that. i do take offense when people who are happy about their school judge me for my decisions. thanks, for the input, but I put a lot of thought into the decisions I make.

    I am glad that you’re happy with Micholtorena. I really am. I wish only the best for your children. But these tirades against people who choose to do things differently are tiresome at best.

  9. I have no dog in this fight, but this casual observer of comments on this site can’t help but notice the hostile boosterism of Micheltorena Elem. Seems none of the other local school beat their drums with so much anger…What’s up with that?

    • Well I guess we could be seen that way Vista. But, we are really happy with our school, garden, computer lab, new library, our Teachers our awesome, the families are inviting a warm with each other, and our kids thrive.

      Just not happy about Co-location with CWC, that is the difference, its fresh for us. So maybe that could explain our passion.

    • The first comment from UpTheBlock, the one that started everything rolling, was an attack on Micheltorena, so many of us feel the need to set the record straight. Hostile? Maybe. Boosterism? Perhaps. But when someone attacks with such mean-spiritedness and ignorance, it tends to upset folk. Especially people who are working so hard to make the school thrive for everyone in the community.

  10. I’m a happy Micheltorena mom whose kid is an even-more-happy Micheltorena kid. I must say the score I see is quite a conundrum because if it is supposed to represent the overall academic health of the school, well, it’s not jiving with what I see day in and day out. MichelMom gets it, as do all of us who decided to send our kids to their local public school; the API scores don’t tell the whole story. I know some of you seem concerned that my daughter will never find a job and that her mathematical abilities will have her mimicking the ill-fated Barbie doll circa 1997(“Math class is hard”), but so far the opposite is true. She comes home talking about history, she aces her math work, she reads like a professor of literature (if professors read Junie B. Jones), AND she is honestly exposed to a world of scholars who don’t have the same experience as her, whether that difference be race, socioeconomics, or special needs. So that’s where I disagree with “the studies that show” that somehow my kid will be will not be as “successful” as the 916-score kid. No matter where she finds her passion in the decades to come, I know her social foundation, given to her by her community school, will give her an advantage that no API score can test.

  11. Hate on me all you want, if it makes you feel better.

    Read the stats on the school.

    It is consistently under performing year after year.

    Our children deserve better.

    • I get it. You like complaining. Do you have a child in the school? If not, I”m not sure what your idea of “better” is. If so, what do you suggest? I think my child is getting a great education there. I”m grateful that the teachers there care about my son’s well-being . I’m not sugar-coating. I wasn’t sure about public education myself. We are pleasantly surprised and hope that the unpleasantness of people who like to spout negative comments do not dampen the momentum of the school or the community working to better it.

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