Byron Union School District made the biggest gain from 2010 to 2011, increasing its API score by 30 points, jumping from 797 to 827. Byron Superintendent Ken Jacopetti credited the staff for the tremendous gain.
“As a district, that was phenomenal,” he said. “It was a real focused effort through the principals at each of the sites and working with our at-risk population and making sure students were achieving toward standards.”
The teachers and administrators of the 1,268-student district are being asked to do more with less in these lean economic times, said Jacopetti, and they’ve delivered. The superintendent also gave thanks for the board of supervisors’ support.
“We know we have a lot less resources, but still the agenda there is for us to tackle student achievement,” Jacopetti said. “Bottom line: this staff really worked hard.”
Excelsior Middle School experienced the district’s biggest gain: 36 points. Timber Point Elementary improved by 34 API points and Discovery Bay Elementary by 19.
The Liberty Union High School District API score increased to 764, up 19 points from last year. All three comprehensive high schools saw gains, but Superintendent Eric Volta is particularly proud of Heritage High, which increased 24 points to hit the score of 800, the state’s target score that signifies academic excellence.
Volta said he’s proud of his teachers and staff for working together to improve teaching methods to help students learn, but there’s always room for improvement, and the district will continue to strive for greater achievement in next year’s scores.
The district’s continuation high school, La Paloma, saw a dip of 45 points, but Volta isn’t overly concerned by the decrease. “Continuation schools are populated with students who struggle with learning. Many of these students need to grow emotionally before they grow academically and take education seriously. There may have been a dip in the numbers, but we had a low dropout rate last year, which shows more students are staying in school, which is actually a positive thing.”
The Oakley Union Elementary School District increased its score by 11 points for a total of 790. Vintage Parkway Elementary made the greatest gain in the district, scoring 825, a 25-point increase from last year. Superintendent Rick Rogers couldn’t be prouder of the seven schools in his district. “Under the most difficult of times in public education, our students and staff have not only met the state’s expectations; they have exceed them,” Rogers wrote in an e-mail to the Press. “All five of our elementary schools have met, exceeded or are very near the state goal of an 800 API score. Our two middle schools are doing some really great things for their students as well. Based on our ongoing analysis of the data, we know where to target our resources to maximize student outcomes. I’m optimistic that by providing the necessary information and resources to our outstanding staff, our students will continue to make remarkable gains at all grade levels.”
Led by its middle schools, Brentwood Union Elementary School District enjoyed a modest gain in API points from 840 to 843. But the 6,444-student district laid claim to East County’s highest-achieving school: Krey Elementary. Krey’s API score went from 876 in 2010 to 891 this year.
Brentwood Superintendent Merrill Grant feels that the small overall gain symbolizes the district’s upward trend. “We have a very high quality teaching staff that is really taking each student from where they are and helping them accelerate into the next level of performance,” Grant said. “We’re looking at all of our kids, whether they’re highly proficient or below grade level and raising their bar academically.”
Grant was especially proud of his three middle schools – Adams, Edna Hill and Bristow – which all posted API gains. Overall, five of the district’s 10 schools enhanced their API scores.
Antioch Unified School District API scores dropped by one point compared to last year’s, 732 to 731, but officials believe the positive trend of the previous two years will continue. In 2009, Antioch saw a three-point gain from 2008 – the next year, a 16-point uptick.
“We’re way ahead of where we were four years ago,” Superintendent Donald Gill said. “We’ve made some dramatic changes.”
Gill also noted that Antioch’s dropout rate fell by 9.6 percent, the greatest reduction in the county.
This was a down year for the district’s high schools. Antioch High fell by one point, Deer Valley High by 12 and Dozier-Libbey Medical High by 25.
Associate Superintendent of Educational Services Stephanie Anello noted that the drop could be attributed to the end of class size reduction, and shifting teachers to grades they’re not accustomed to due to the budget crunch.
The district did see some positive movement in its alternative and continuation schools. Prospects High saw a 57-point bump, from 606 to 663. Live Oak High’s scores rose from 482 to 538, and Bidwell Continuation High experienced a 13-point improvement, from 550 to 567.
Of the traditional schools, Antioch Charter Academy II and Marsh Elementary saw the largest gains –14 and 12 points, respectively.
Scores in the Knightsen Elementary School District decreased by one point, dropping to 847, but as the score omits Old River Elementary (which was factored into the 2010 score), the number isn’t the most accurate examination of the district’s progress. Old River closed its doors at the end of the 2009-10 school year, so only Knightsen Elementary was counted this year. While the school saw an 11-point gain, without Old River School, the district’s score saw a slight decrease. Overall, the Knightsen district’s 847 score remains the highest-achieving in the district, followed closely by Brentwood Union’s 843.