The California Department of Education released the Academic Performance Index (API) and Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) reports last week and a review of the data for the Ramona Unified School District shows great gains for Hanson Elementary, Olive Peirce Middle School and Ramona Community School, with most of the schools in the district hitting above the statewide average of 800 for the 2012 year.
The API summarizes students' performance on a series of tests.
The district API score remained the same as 2011, 820. Two of the district's elementary schools show enormous growth, in particular.
Hanson Elementary increased its API Score to 867 an improvement of 23 points. Ramona Community saw an increase in its API score of 30 points to a score of 882. The other four elementary schools in the district all saw a decrease in their API scores compared to 2011, but are still above the 800 statewide average.
Ramona Elementary's API was the largest decrease of the elementary schools, with a total of 29 points below last year's score at 807.
Olive Peirce Middle School grew by 12 points to a 2012 API of 855.
Both of the district's high schools, Ramona High and Montecito High, saw a decline in their API scores with seven-point and 113-point decrease, respectively.
Cathy Pierce, director for assessment and categorical programs for the district, said she was most disappointed in the continuance of NCLB targets and sanctions, noting that she would like to to see a change.
"I would like to see our federal legislatures just call a 'time out' and revise the accountability system," Pierce told Patch in an email. "Schools and districts should be accountable to the public for students learning, but the evaluation system must be based on growth not an arbitrary and escalating percentage."
Some other highlights from the report:
- The district maintained an API of 820, well above the coveted 800 mark
- In 2012, only slightly more than half (53 percent) of the schools throughout the state attained this target.
- However, in 2012, all elementary schools and the middle school have an API above 800… a first in the history of RUSD schools.
- For the second year, James Dukes has an API greater than 900, coming in at 906 for 2012.
- Ramona Community School had the largest API gain in the district with a 30 point API increase. This increase brought RCS’s API to 882, the second highest API in the district.
- Hanson Elementary’s API increased 23 points to 810.
- Olive Pierce gained another 12 API points for a high of 855.
Pierce told Patch that Ramona is a place where staff truly embraces each and every student and has a "doing whatever it takes" attitude.
"In addition, our teachers are constantly participating in on-going professional development to improve their core instruction," she said.
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.
Noteworthy RUSD Academic Accomplishments Over the Past Four Years
- California Distinguished School: Barnett Elementary
- California Distinguished School: Mt. Woodson
- California Distinguished School: Ramona High School
- School to Watch: Olive Pierce
- Title I Academic Achievement Award: Ramona Elementary
- Golden Bell Award: Reading
- Golden Bell Award: Online Learning
- Golden Bell Award: Science
- Exemplary Career and Technical Education Award: Ramona High School
- CSBA Community Partner Award: Ramona Community Library and Ramona Unified School District
- 2012 San Diego Teacher of the Year: Jennifer McSparran
– City News Service contributed to this report.