Glendale Unified scores on state test improve

Glendale Unified improved its overall score on the all-important Academic Performance Index that measures student achievement, according to state data released Wednesday.

The overall score improved by eight points from last year's 850 mark to 858, well above the state's benchmark figure of 800, according to the California Department of Education.

Mountain Avenue Elementary again was the highest scoring school in the district with 952, improving last year's tally by three points.

Principal Rebeca Witt credited student engagement, heavy parent involvement and her school's foundation, which has paid for staff development sessions.

“I'm incredibly flattered by our teachers doing what they're doing with limited financial resources and higher class sizes,” she said.

Monte Vista Elementary followed one point behind Mountain Avenue with 951 — a 12-point gain from last year.

The highest scoring secondary schools were Clark Magnet High School, at 920, and Rosemont Middle School, at 944.

Scores on the Academic Performance Index are based on standardized tests and range from 200 to 1,000.

Twenty-five of 28 Glendale schools scored an 800 or better this year compared to 24 campuses in 2011.

“Obviously, we're very pleased with the progress the district is showing,” said Glendale Unified Supt. Dick Sheehan. “It just shows the kids are working hard and the teachers, as usual, are doing an outstanding job.”

All Glendale elementary schools surpassed 800 points this year.

Eight schools scored 900 points or more, compared to six schools that accomplished the feat last year.

Cerritos Elementary made the greatest gain of all, with a 34-point improvement to 846.

“We've been working very hard for the last two years on being very deliberate about the instruction being delivered in the classroom,” said Cerritos Principal Cynthia McCarty. “The kids are invested. They know what their goals are.

“You can imagine, the staff is feeling really good right now.”

Thomas Edison followed Cerritos in improvement with a 29-point gain this year, from 806 to 835.

By contrast, Glenoaks Elementary dipped 10 points this year from 875 to 865.

Despite the overall district success, one Glendale school — R.D. White Elementary — was newly identified for “program improvement” this year for coming up short in achieving federal targets for two consecutive years in spite of its overall progress. The designation brings with it more intensive monitoring and oversight in an effort to boost test performances.

Statewide, data showed that 53% of schools scored above the 800 target and that overall student test scores increased by 10 points this year.

Follow Kelly on Twitter @kellymcorrigan.

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