Carlsbad schools get high marks

CARLSBAD — Carlsbad Unified School District is elated that all 13 of its conventional elementary, middle and high schools achieved Academic Performance Index, or API, scores of 800-plus in 2009. A score of 800 is considered “passing” by the state. Buena Vista Elementary School’s 79-point jump from 797 to 876 under Principal Tina Howard, who took the helm in Fall 2008, marked the largest increase countywide.
Overall, Carlsbad Unified attained an overall 2008 API of 858, up 15 points from 843 in 2008. The 2009 statewide average is 755.
“With the exception of Aviara Oaks Middle, which experienced a two point decrease, every school increased its API scores from 2008 to 2009,” CUSD District Superintendent John Roach said. “Four scored 900 and above. Many exhibited substantial increases, by as much as 20 or more points.”
Although a few schools/subgroups did not meet requirements of advancement mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (in terms of the required increasing percentage of students passing standardized STAR English and mathematics tests), no Carlsbad Unified school received sanctions. At some schools, subgroups such as socio-economically disadvantaged students did not meet all growth targets.
“This is a struggle for us at Carlsbad Unified and throughout our nation,” Roach said. “Districtwide, our English Language Learners progressed in mathematics, which is a big positive, but did not make Adequate Yearly Progress in English-Language Arts. I want to provide more support for these students to ensure they learn their ELA subject matter.”
Howard attributes Buena Vista’s skyrocketing API to a strong collaborative effort. “Our increase is the result of focused hard work on the part of the entire school staff: students, teachers, instructional assistants, tutors, families, support staff and community volunteers. We implemented a long list of strategies last year to accelerate the progress of all students. It paid off.”
In congratulating Principal Howard, Roach said, “Success begets success. When students and schools see the positive consequences of their efforts, they are motivated to continue working and achieving at a high level. I am thrilled with the progress we have been able to attain in testing over the past several years. As we move forward, we are diligently working to increase the academic success of every student under our tutelage.”
“It’s not just about test scores,” Roach said. “It’s about giving every student at every level an opportunity to succeed.”

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