For the first time in California's history of Academic Performance Index testing, the majority of schools met or surpassed the state API target of 800 points, state officials announced last week.
Four out of the six scored schools in the Lake Tahoe Unified School District ranked above that statewide target, and LTUSD's API grew to 789 overall, up 10 points from 2011.
Some of the largest gains were made by the district's Hispanic and English Learners student populations, even though white students still have the highest API across the board. At South Tahoe High School, Latinos and English Learners were the only groups that saw a growth in API between 2011 and 2012, and at 39 points, English Learners at South Tahoe Middle School recorded the highest growth of any other group in the district.
"We were pretty excited with the results, but our big challenge is if we can repeat it. And that's a challenge we're happy to take on. We'll have a day to celebrate, and then it's back to work," STMS Principal Beth Delacour said.
Delacour credits much of this year's success to data the school has collected that targets strengths and weaknesses and helps the administration look at areas to improve. She also cited AVID, or the Advancement Via Individual Determination program, and student-to-teacher collaboration time as strengths in the school.
The API, a single number that can range from a low of 200 up to 1,000, is meant to represent a student population's performance level based on the results of statewide testing. It's an improvement model where educators compare the current API with the prior year, and all schools set an annual growth target.
In LTUSD, the Lake Tahoe Environmental Science Magnet, Sierra House Elementary, Tahoe Valley and the middle school all scored above the targeted 800 points and reached the school's goals.
The high school came in a point behind the school's target growth, while Bijou Community School's API decreased by three points.
"The high school is so much more difficult because the kids tend not to see the value of the test. It doesn't affect college. But I think overall we're on the right path," LTUSD Superintendent James Tarwater said.
Overall the district has seen continual growth in API scores over the last seven years, and according to Delacour, that's what is important.
"As a school district, we're all working hard and we've got the ladder against the right wall. What we're looking for is continuing growth. If you're getting the traction, that's what matters," Delacour said.
"As a principal, you win and lose as a team. I'm pretty lucky with the staff I have, and I've got great kids. Who wouldn't want to work hard for these students?" she said.
In other news:
Teen Bookmark Contest
The South Lake Tahoe library branch is offering a free Kindle to the winner of their bookmark design contest to highlight Teen Read Week, which runs Oct. 14-20. Teen artists are asked to create a bookmark and drop it off at the library by Saturday, Oct. 20. For more information call 530-573-3185.
Whittell breaks for Nevada Day
Students at George Whittell High School won't have school on Friday, Oct. 26 to celebrate Nevada Day, a state holiday that takes place on the last Friday of October every year and commemorates Nevada's entry into the Union in 1864.
Tahoe Valley Elementary School Fall Fest
The annual Tahoe Valley Elementary School Fall Harvest Festival will take place on Friday, Oct. 26 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tickets, which are available in advance from the TVES office, cost $5 per child. Children are encouraged to dress in costumes, play games, visit a haunted house and participate in a costume parade with parent supervision. All proceeds benefit the Tahoe Valley fifth grade field trips. The school is located at 943 Tahoe Island Drive.
Kid's Night Out program
Elementary and middle school children are invited to the South Lake Tahoe Recreation Center, located at 1180 Rufus Allen Blvd., on Friday, Oct. 26 for the city's Kid's Night Out program. The pre-Halloween costume party will take place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and costs $25 per child. For more information call 530-542-6099.
Teen dodge ball tournament
The eFit and Sports facility, located at 276 Kingsbury Grade, will host a teen dodge ball tournament on Saturday, Oct. 27 from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. There will be a movie night and party after the tournament. RSVP before Oct. 25 to pay $10 per person. For more information call eFit and Sports at 775-589-2270.
Community Leadership Fair
The South Tahoe High School AVID College Readiness system will host the first annual Community Leadership Fair on Thursday, Nov. 29. Representatives from local organizations will meet in the STHS student union from 12:30 p.m. until 2:40 p.m. to educate students about the services their group provides to the community. If you or your organization would like to participate, contact Frank Kovac at email@example.com with your name, the organization's name and a description of the services provided.
- Education updates and announcements can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.