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Burbank schools rank well

Molly Shore

The results are in -- state test scores show that local students are

doing well compared to similar schools statewide.

In the Academic Performance Index scores released Thursday by the


California Department of Education, Burbank public school students

continued to make steady gains.

Using a numerical ranking from a low of 1 to a high of 10, Burbank

elementary, middle and high schools ranked six or higher.


When measured against similar schools of the same socioeconomic

group, Burbank schools generally scored well, with Disney and

Providencia elementary schools each receiving a 10.

“We’ve been working really hard for the last four years,” Disney

principal Linda Reksten said. “We’ve worked hard on reading and math,

and frequently check student [progress] to make sure the kids are


If students are having problems, Reksten said that teachers



“We catch things pretty quickly, and that’s the secret to our

success,” she said.

In schools with the same demographics as Disney, including

students on free and reduced lunch and English-as-a- second-language

students, Reksten said her school places at the top.

However, Emerson and Roosevelt elementary schools -- when compared

to similar socioeconomic schools -- were at the low end, with a 1 and


2, respectively.

Emerson Principal Linda Acuff said she and the teachers plan to

address the problem.

“We started a schoolwide writing campaign this year,” Acuff said.

“We know that writing makes the students smarter because of

synthesizing all their skills and knowledge. We anticipate that will

improve scores.”

This is the first year Emerson teachers are doing interim

assessments on a regular basis, Acuff said, adding that the

information will give them indications about what specific needs the

students have.

Emerson teachers are given release time from their classes to plan

and analyze the data, Acuff said. Substitutes are paid for by

reading-award money that the school earned, she said.

In the latest test scores, 80% of the API for elementary and

middle schools rests on the California Standards Tests, which

superseded the Stanford 9 tests, while almost 90% of the API for high

schools is based on the standards test and the California High School

Exit Exam, state education officials said.

Specifically, the API includes English language arts and

mathematics for grades two through 11, with social science added for

grades 10 and 11.

“When we first started giving API’s in the state, there was a

heavy reliance on the Stanford 9, and now it counts at a much lower

percentage,” said Caroline Brumm, the district’s coordinator of

student and program evaluation.

From 1999 to 2001, the Stanford 9 mathematics test counted as 20%

of the overall test score, but in 2002, it dropped to 3%, while the

California Standards Test for mathematics became 18% of the test


Because the 2002 base API includes the new standards- based

tests, as well as the exit exams, and because the calculation of the

2002 Base API is different from the 2001-2002 growth API that was

released in October, state officials said that a comparison of the

two is inappropriate.