Burbank schools rank in the top 40

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DOWNTOWN ? Burbank schools rank in the top 40% statewide according to the Academic Performance Index rankings released by the State Department of Education on Tuesday.

The Academic Performance Index rates schools and school districts based on students' the performance on the California State Standards Test, the California Achievement Test and the California High School Exit Exam.

Schools receive a score between 200 to 1,000, with 800 being the state Department of Education's target score for each school. Those scores are released in October after the spring tests are calculated. Those numbers are then used to rank schools on a scale of 1 to 10 depending on what percentile they fall in. That number, as well as a 1 through 10 rank based on how the schools performed when compared schools with similar demographics, are released in March.

All of Burbank Unified School District's campuses ranked six or above statewide, but when compared to similar schools the ranks were all over the board.

The similar schools ranking is typically much more volatile than state rankings, said Joel Shapiro, the assistant superintendent of instructional services.

"It's hard to make generalizations, because the schools you may be compared to one year may change the next year," Shapiro said.

The API scores, which were released in the fall, showed that Walt Disney, Thomas Edison, and R.L. Stevenson elementary schools joined Ralph Emerson, Bret Harte, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt elementary schools in scoring more than 800.

"We had some schools that for the first time moved above the 800 mark," Shapiro said. "It's very encouraging because growth is what we're all about."

The entire district raised its scores by 19 points, with only Theodore Roosevelt Elementary dropping from 841 to 840.

In the statewide ranking released on Tuesday, Disney, Edison and Stevenson were ranked seven, eight and eight, respectively, putting all three in the top 30%.

Burbank High School was ranked seven, with a score of 734, and John Burroughs was ranked eight with a score of 757.

Thomas Jefferson Elementary, when compared to schools across the state, was ranked nine, with an API score of 851. When compared to schools with similar demographics, however, the school scored only a two.

"When we talk about API there are so many things that go in to making a great school," Jefferson Principal Esther Salinas said. "You're always evaluating and trying to make the best decisions."

With a score of 851, improvement becomes more difficult, Shapiro said.

"As your API improves, it becomes harder to grow," he said.

Disney, which scored a seven when compared with schools across the state, scored a 10 when compared with similar schools.

"That's something we can really be proud of," Disney Principal Roberta Kavanaugh said of the similar schools ranking.

Schools that did not score above 800 have growth targets of one to four points for the coming year. Those that have passed 800 are not required to improve. Salinas, however, is not letting that stop her.

"Any time we look at data, we always want to look at it with an eye of asking questions of what are our next steps," Salinas said. "It always comes down to looking at ways to continually improve."

FOR THE RECORD

A Page A9 story, "Burbank schools rank in the top 40," in Saturday's edition of the Burbank Leader mistakenly reported that Joaquin Miller Elementary School scored a 729 on its Academic Performance Index. The school actually scored a 792.

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