A record 82 percent of local schools met schoolwide Academic Performance Index (API) targets set by the state, despite severe cuts in public education funding in California.
The percentage of Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) schools meeting the state’s ultimate goal of 800 on the API grew significantly this year, surpassing the state’s performance and the state’s rate of improvement, according to the LBUSD. The district’s share of schools meeting or exceeding the state goal is 54.5 percent, up six points over last year. Statewide, 49 percent of schools met the state goal, a three-point increase over last year, according to a news release issued Wednesday from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.
For LBUSD, the latest results represent an important victory considering the school district has cut more than $200 million from its budget over the past three years. LBUSD showed strong growth in the middle grades, where it had recently made several adjustments to curriculum and instruction.
“We saw some phenomenal gains this year in areas where we reworked instruction and provided additional professional development,” said Christopher J. Steinhauser, LBUSD superintendent of schools. “I’m extremely proud of our employees, parents and everyone who’s provided exemplary support to our students during these tough times.”
Some of the most improved middle schools, and their API point gains, are:
The middle schools implemented a number of changes aimed at improving student achievement last year, including self-contained sixth-grade classrooms at many campuses. Such classrooms create a more gradual transition to middle school by allowing students to stay with one teacher for the entire day rather than switching from class to class. Middle schools also placed more students into eighth-grade algebra and provided the extra support needed to master this college gateway course. The result was that roughly 200 more students this year became proficient in eighth-grade algebra compared to last year. To boost writing skills, the middle schools implemented a new Write for theFuture program that builds upon the elementary writing program, Write from the Beginning.
The API is a numeric index that ranges from a low of 200 to a high of 1,000. While entire school districts also are rated with this index, the official number for LBUSD cannot yet be calculated accurately because the school district is still awaiting results for its 17 year-round schools, which have later testing schedules.
For more information on the API, read Torlakson’s news release at cde.ca.gov/nr/ne/yr11/yr11rel62.asp.