The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District has made gains in its Academic Performance Index (API) scores across all grade levels and all student demographics.

John Deasy, district superintendent, said the 2005 API Growth Report results — which are for the 2004-2005 academic year — are “impressive gains.”

The API Growth Reports — released several weeks ago by the California Department of Education — include data on statistically significant subgroups of students.

The reports — which accompany an API Base Report released earlier in the year — are used to determine whether or not schools and districts meet federal accountability targets for annual yearly progress.

The Santa Monica-Malibu 2005 Growth Reports show remarkable gains from 2002 reports for all student subgroups, the school superintendent said.

Subgroups are African American, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, white (non-Hispanic), and socioeconomically disadvantaged.

“This level of growth is indicative of the high caliber of instruction taking place in our schools,” Deasy said. “These scores are further evidence that we remain steadfast in our commitment to raising achievement for all students while closing the achievement gap.”

The district’s four Title 1 elementary schools — schools with a sizable percentage of low-income students — demonstrated improvement for subgroups between 2002 and 2005.

McKinley Elementary School posted a gain of 72 points among Latino students and 49 points among socioeconomically disadvantaged students.

Latino students from the Edison Language Academy posted a 60-point gain while the school’s socioeconomically disadvantaged students gained 43 points.

Lincoln Middle School had a gain of 80 points for Latino students over this same 2002 to 2005 period.

“I truly believe this can be attributed to over four years of intense collaborative effort in three key areas,” said Lincoln principal Kathy Scott.

“As a team, we have focused on establishing clear expectations, developing and teaching a standards-based curriculum, and creating meaningful assessments that guide our instruction.”

In announcing California’s API Growth Reports, Jack O’Connell, state superintendent of public instruction, said he was pleased to see progress made by all students and in each student subgroup.

“While we clearly still have a long way to go, this shows that school focus on California’s standards-based curriculum is paying dividends in improved student achievement,” O’Connell said.

Across the state, 68 percent of public schools met all of their state-required growth targets.

An additional 16 percent of schools posted growth, but they did not reach their targets.

Another 16 percent of schools posted API scores that either remained the same or declined.

To meet all 2004 to 2005 API growth targets, a school must meet its five percent schoolwide target and each ethnic and socio-economically disadvantaged student subgroup at the school must improve at least 80 percent of the schoolwide target.

In contrast to the state, 79 percent of Santa Monica-Malibu schools met their API growth targets.

An additional 21 percent of district schools posted growth in scores, but missed their target. No school remained the same or had a declining API score.

“Santa Monica-Malibu’s teachers and administrators have been tenacious and unrelenting in their efforts to see every student reach and exceed state standards,” said Maureen Bradford, district director of educational services. “At the district office, we are equally committed to providing the training and support needed to continue this exciting upward trend in achievement.

“Our new standards-based elementary report cards are an additional tool to add to teachers’ toolkits for alignment of standards-based curriculum, instruction, assessment, and reporting practices.”

Beginning with the 2005 API base report, which will be released in March, two new subgroups will be added — “English learners” and “students with disabilities.”

When additional information is released, the district’s Educational Services department will utilize this data in planning for more professional development and support services if the base report indicates the need for improvement.

LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT — The API Growth Reports indicate that the district “continues to improve and continues its upward gains,” district officials said.

Sixty-four percent of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) schools met their growth targets compared to last year, when 52 percent of schools met their growth targets.

The year-to-year improvement is a 12 percent jump in schools meeting their growth targets.

Overall, Los Angeles Unified schools increased their average API score for all schools from 633 to 649, a growth of 16 points.

API scores increased for every student subgroup.

“This is all positive news for the past year,” district officials said.

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