Strong performance according to state index
Today, the California’s Academic Performance Index (API) and Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measures reported strong performance from the ten elementary schools within the Newhall School District.
The District’s API rose for the fifth straight year from 866 last year to 869 this year. Over five years it has increased 40 points. For the second year in a row the Newhall District API tops all other districts in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Newhall’s API scores are also uniformly above the State API goal of 800. This is noteworthy due to the fact that about 20% of the Newhall District’s students have limited English skills. That is more than any district in the SCV.
McGrath School falls just below the 800 goal with an API of 776, but has steadily improved its scores each year during its three year existence, making a 17 point leap this year alone.
The Adequate Yearly Progress report is required by the No Child Left Behind Act. This measure requires that all groups within the school, by ethnicity, language ability, and socio-economic standing make adequate progress towards proficiency as measure by the state’s STAR assessments. In the Newhall District all subgroups at the district level, including English learners and socio-economic disadvantaged students, met their annual adequate yearly progress goals.
“It is a huge challenge to insure that certain groups, especially those with limited English skills, reach proficiency in the required numbers,” said Dr. Marc Winger, superintendent of the district. “The fact that we continue to reach state goals, even with students who, by definition, should not be proficient because of their language limitations, is a tribute to our hard working teachers and effective principals. We are very proud of the job our teachers do.”
At some sites (McGrath, Newhall, Wiley Canyon, Peachland Schools) the limited English students make up a third to a half of the student population. This year some subgroups at
Newhall and Peachland Schools did not make adequate progress, but the law allows for two years before sanctions might be applied.
The school wide index at sites impacted by limited English speaking students often masks even stronger achievement among other groups. If one peels apart the API, one finds that NSD’s Anglo students, generally unencumbered by language barriers, are doing extraordinarily well. The API at the district’s namesake school, Newhall Elementary, tells this story.
Peeling Apart the API at Newhall Elementary School
2006 Hispanic enrollment 61%
2006 Anglo enrollment 30%
2006 English Language Learners: 45%
2007 School wide API: 803
2007 Anglo student group API: 900
2007 Hispanic students group API: 740
“Our Anglo student group does extraordinarily well at every site, including Newhall School, where they are in the minority,” said Winger. “The 900 Anglo student API at Newhall School is one of the highest scores in the district. While our Hispanic student group, made up of high numbers of limited English speakers, presents us with our biggest instructional challenge we clearly meet the needs of all students in all of our schools.”