Monday, September 13, 2010
Today, the CA Department of Education released the Accountability reports for schools throughout the state. Although LAAMS had received its raw scores in August, the API score released today is significant because it measures how our school has been performing over time. After many years of positive growth, this last school year did not produce continued growth. We went down by 5 points in the API measure.
This score is bittersweet. We have an organized and efficient campus, one that many families flock to, and one that takes pride in serving the community. We knew, however, that the loss of 23 teachers due to the 2009 Reduction in Force would have a terrible impact on our school community, and by extension, our test scores. It did.
We increased the number of students who sank to the the lowest of levels, Far Below Basic. This is not an increase that we should have. Because California gives the most points for moving students out of this level, you also get dinged pretty hard for increasing the numbers there.
This blog has served to chronicle how our school survived the brutal dismissal of some of our most esteemed and talented colleagues. We survived, but our test scores show our survival was bloody. There is no other way to explain how years and years of positive growth all of a sudden came to a stop. According to the CDE website, our school has never had negative growth since it opened its doors in 1998. In fact, the only time there was not evidence of positive growth was when we had a different principal, and there were testing irregularities, and as a result, scores were not computed for our school. This happened in 2001.
Of course we will look at the data. We will analyze scores, class by class, to see if there is something we missed. But it doesn't take a genius to figure out that when you lay off 23 teachers, leave thousands of students to be taught by substitutes, that you will not get a good result in the end. I hope someone in the Beaudry building downtown bothers to pick up the phone ans ask questions instead of throwing us to the Public School Choice morass, and putting our school through even more turmoil, stress, and anxiety than we already have.
Further, a new middle school will be opening next school year resulting in the further loss of staff. Up to 30% of our staff will be forced to transfer to the new school. Truly, these years of upheaval are not lost on the students. It is very difficult for them to handle the continuous changes in faces at school. Their beloved counselors? Gone or back in the classroom. The dean they could trust to report bullies to? Not enough funds to keep them in the office.
So onward and adelante, to borrow a phrase from Scott Folsom, because there is no point in wallowing in this turn of events.
photo by DeFreitas