Paychecks are payoff to improved test scores

Gary Moskowitz

BURBANK -- Scoring well on the 2001 Academic Performance Index was a

matter of reestablishing priorities for Linda Reksten, principal at

Burbank's Walt Disney Elementary School.

Disney, whose overall 2001 API score was 785, rose 88 points from the

school's score of 697 last year. It was the highest improvement in the

district, and Reksten attributes the school's growth to interim

assessments done consistently throughout the school year for each

individual student.

"It's been a question of establishing real priorities and looking for

direct results with each and every one of our students before, during and

after school," Reksten said.

Staff at Disney Elementary will each receive a $10,000 bonus -- an

example of monetary awards the state promises to schools whose 1999-2000

scores placed them in the Governor's Performance Award Program.

The Academic Performance Index rates schools according to how students

scored on the Stanford 9 exam, which is given in the spring of each

school year. The California Department of Education had set a statewide

goal of 800 as a total score to strive for in 2001.

While several Burbank schools came close to reaching the 800 mark that

was set by the state as a goal to strive for, none actually reached the

mark. The state department of education has set an annual improvement

goal of 5% for all schools.

Caroline Brumm, coordinator of student and program evaluation for the

district, said schools are awarded progressively, meaning they are

awarded more points for improvement by low-achieving students. Progress

is monitored by "subpopulations" like ethnic groups, economically

disadvantaged students and those learning the English language.

"It really takes a commitment on the part of the staff. You have to

evaluate often because waiting until the end of the year is not enough,"

Brumm said.

Of Burbank schools, 88% met their goals for the 2001 API. Although

Burbank's two comprehensive high schools -- Burbank High and John

Burroughs High -- scored below 700 on the API index, Brumm noted overall

growth since 1998.

"The emphasis on teaching standards has impacted elementary and middle

schools more than in high schools, because they are getting exposed to

higher level subject matter earlier than they used to. High school

students have had less time to learn these standards," Brumm said.

API BY THE NUMBERS

(School*1999 API*2000 API*2001 API*Award Eligible)

Walt Disney Elementary School*603*697*785*yes

Thomas Edison Elementary School*664*721*757*yes

Ralph Waldo Emerson Elementary School*708*742*753*yes

Bret Hart Elementary School*709*731*762*yes

Thomas Jefferson Elementary School*742*776*794*no

William McKinley Elementary School*613*644*710*yes

Joaquin Miller Elementary School*642*698*709*yes

Providencia Elementary School*587*670*715*no

Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School*738*765*796*yes

Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary School*668*741*768*yes

George Washington Elementary School*700*708*709*no

Luther Burbank Middle School*653*696*703*no

David Starr Jordan Middle School*693*685*717*yes

John Muir Middle School*669*712*753*yes

Burbank High School*650*653*647*no

John Burroughs High School*638*648*667*yes

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