Redwood City School District (RCSD) students this past year showed the highest academic gains in nine years, according to data released by the California Department of Education today.
The district’s Academic Performance Index (API) growth score is now 789, up 131 points over its 2002 base score of 658, the first district-wide score recorded for the district.
In 1999, the first year the state released API scores for individual schools, the district had one school scoring in the 900s and one school scoring in the 700s, while API scores for the rest of the schools ranged from 372 to 677.
Today, the district has one school, North Star Academy, at 990 out of 1,000 possible points; five schools scoring in the 800s; and nine schools scoring in the 700s.
Garfield, a former charter school with a 2012 API score of 694, has increased 89 points since it returned to the district in 2009.
“Test scores aren’t just numbers – they tell part of the story about our students,” said RCSD Superintendent Jan Christensen. “The story behind the rise in test scores is that our students are learning and achieving at a higher level, and they are going into the next grade more prepared. This lays a foundation that will help them achieve success in high school and beyond.”
Christensen added that the district adopted an achievement plan in 2007. Since then, the district focused on new instructional strategies, invested in professional development for staff and built strong community partnerships.
“Principals and teachers have worked very hard with dwindling resources, and their strong commitment to students is paying off," Christensen added. "Our strong partnerships and support from the Redwood City community is also making a big difference to our students.”
Redwood City 2020 - a collaboration that includes the City of Redwood City, the Sequoia Union High School District, San Mateo County, the John W. Gardner Center at Stanford University, the Sequoia Healthcare District, First 5, and Kaiser Permanente - provides a wide range of support to students and their families.
The Redwood City Education Foundation raised nearly $500,000 last year that supports music, fifth-grade outdoor education, and SMART grants to enhance learning.
The Sequoia Healthcare District is also providing about $900,000 in funding that pays for physical education and wellness programs, and several community and faith-based organizations are providing classroom volunteers and facilities beautification.
Last spring, voters approved Measure W, which will provide $1.5 million per year for five years to enhance reading, writing, math and science; support and retain teachers, and support school libraries.
“We have invested in our staff and students by strategically using limited funds from the state and federal government, grants, and our local partners," Christensen said. "And now with community resources from the passage of Measure W going directly to our schools, we will be able to maintain the momentum we have built.”
Kennedy Middle School Hits New High
Kennedy Middle School showed the strongest gains in the district in 2012, increasing its API to 753 from 672 in 2011.
Staff at Kennedy School were elated to hear how their hard work has paid off, and said they plan to hold Principal David Paliughi to his promise that he would shave his head if Kennedy’s API score rose by more than 40 points.
As reported when STAR scores were released last month, Kennedy saw gains in student proficiency at every grade level for every subject.
Kennedy eighth-graders scoring "proficient" or "advanced" in the California Standards Test (CST) for English language arts improved by 19 percentage points.
In mathematics, Kennedy eighth-graders showed an increase of 27 percentage points for students scoring "proficient" or "advanced" in the CST for Algebra.
Kennedy eighth-graders improved by 15 percentage points in history and 12 percentage points in science.
Roosevelt Scores Soar
Roosevelt School, which is now a K-8 school, also made significant gains in 2012, increasing its API to 787 from 725 in 2011. Roosevelt’s first API score, released in 1999, was 613; it has since gained 174 points.
In 2010, Roosevelt recently adopted a 21st-century learning strategy called "project-based learning" (PBL) that revitalized the academic program at the school. PBL focuses on core academics, with in-depth investigations in social studies and science, and challenges students to work cooperatively, think critically and present their work in front of an audience.
DISTRICT-WIDE 2012 API SCORES:
Adelante Immersion School
2012: 838 10-Year Gain: +204
2012: 814 10-Year Gain: +64
Roy Cloud School:
2012: 877 10-Year Gain: +52
Fair Oaks Elementary School:
2012: 745 10-Year Gain: +326
Henry Ford School
2012: 833 10-Year Gain: +126
2012: 694 10-Year Gain: +220
John Gill Elementary School
2012: 727 10-Year Gain: +46
Hawes Elementary School:
2012: 734 10-Year Gain: +158
Hoover Elementary School:
2012: 746 10-Year Gain: +240
Kennedy Middle School:
2012: 753 10-Year Gain: +107
McKinley Institute of Technology (MIT):
2012: 738 10-Year Gain: +183
North Star Academy:
2012: 990 10-Year Gain: +56
Orion Alternative Elementary School:
2012: 871 10-Year Gain: +121
2012: 787 10-Year Gain: +164
Selby Lane School:
2012: 712 10-Year Gain: +131
Taft Elementary School:
2012: 788 10-Year Gain: +271
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