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
"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,"
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