Encouraging results from California API scores

FRESNO, Calif.

State Superintendent Tom Torlakson stopped in Sacramento to announce the 2011-2012 academic performance results, using the recently unveiled "School Quality Snapshot." A new online tool available to parents that gathers information from dozens of websites into one, easy-to-read document, putting everything from test scores to fitness levels to class sizes at parents fingertips.

Torlakson said, "And each of the 10,000 schools will have a profile like this that's simple, transparent and easy to use."

According to the numbers released Thursday morning, districts in the Central Valley saw significant gains in reading, writing and math over the last year.

At Fresno Unified, the state's fourth largest school district, the overall API score is now 724, a 10 point gain over the previous year, but still below the state's target of 800.

Fresno Unified Academic Officer Mike Neece said, "I actually think we're doing better than a lot of districts are. Our whole system is beginning to move."

For example, several schools like Thomas Elementary jumped up to 30 points to reach proficiency, and all but one middle school surpassed the state standard.

Thomas Elementary Principal Gayle Fredini said, "We are thrilled. Our hard work is paying off and it's so great to see."

At Clovis Unified, the district-wide API rose five points to 876 on the 1,000 point scale, placing it near the top of all California school districts testing more than 25,000 students.

Some logged scores over 900 points. While others, like Weldon Elementary, made a more than 20 point gain in one year.

Clovis Unified Associate Superintendent Dr. Carlo Pandrini said, "It's the result of a lot of hard work by our teachers and our students and our community, and we're going in the right direction."

The right direction, but while schools are making progress on the state's goals, they're not faring so well by federal standards, which look at whether or not kids are at or above grade level. Just a quarter of California schools reached those targets, a drop of eleven percent from last year.

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