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Tuesday, Oct 30 2012 03:31 PM

Tehachapi scores well in API, falls behind in AYP

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Tehachapi Schools will continue in the state's "program improvement" status although all schools increased their API scores.

The California Department of Education released the Academic Performance Index (API) and Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) reports earlier this month, and the data shows mixed results for Tehachapi Unified School District.

The district is currently in its second year of Program Improvement (PI), and five school sites hit their API targets for the 2012-year, but the district did not meet its AYP goals.

The state API summarizes students' performance on a series of tests, which are used to measure the academic performance and growth of schools.

And although the district API score raised from 789 in 2011 to 795 this school year, it still remained five points below the statewide goal of 800. However, the district's three elementary schools did meet the target growth.

Cummings Valley Elementary increased its API Score to 829 an improvement of three points, while Golden Hills Elementary showed the biggest gain in its API score with nine points to a score of 823.

Tompkins only saw a modest increase in its API score compared to 2011, but still weighed in above the statewide average with 803.

Both Tompkins and Golden Hills are currently in year-two of Program Improvement, and Traci Minjares, Chief Administrator of Instructional Services Technology for the district, said she was happy with the results.

"Having all three of our elementary schools meeting the 800 threshold was a great accomplishment."

At the junior high level, Jacobsen Middle School grew by a district-best 18 points to a 2012 API of 790.

Both of the district's high schools, Tehachapi High and Monroe Continuation, saw a decline in their API scores with two-point and 29-point decreases, respectively.

Scores for subgroups did however show improvement from 2011, with the exception of English Learners, which slipped from 696 to 656 in 2012.

Meanwhile, according to the district's AYP report, all six schools failed to meet requirements as defined by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

The district did not meet the Annual Measurable Objectives (AMO's) of 78-percent for English-Language Arts and 78.2-percent for Mathematics set by the federal legislation that calls for 100 percent of students to meet academic standards by 2014.

The one area the district met its AYP goals, was the number of Tehachapi High School graduates, which exceeded its target by over one percent -- with 90.6 percent of its students graduating in 2011-12.

What happens next?

A Title I school that does not make AYP goals for two consecutive years is identified for Program Improvement.

That means the each newly identified PI school must offer parents a school choice, giving parents an option to send their student to a school that is not in Program Improvement.

The district must also provide transportation for that student to the selected school, as well as professional development for teachers and district-reimbursed supplemental tutoring for eligible children from a state-approved provider selected by the parents.

However, the district can be also be a provider for tutoring and according to Minjares will be going to through the process of applying to do so.

Despite the overall results, Minjares was most disappointed in the continuance of No Child Left Behind targets and sanctions, noting that she would like to see a change.

"There are 4,402 schools in the state that are in program improvement," she said. "And that number just seems to increase year after year because you are moving to that 100 percent proficiency."

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