District meets state goals but lags in federal criteria | TahoeDailyTribune.com

District meets state goals but lags in federal criteria

William Ferchland

The good news is schools in Lake Tahoe Unified School District meet or exceed expectations on California’s system for academic success.

The bad news is only half of the eight school sites conquered federal goals for subgroups, such as those learning English.

On Tuesday, California education officials released statistics and scores in two areas used for the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

The Academic Performance Index is the state’s analysis of annual student achievement on standardized test scores.

The federal Adequate Yearly Progress measures all schools in areas such as how many students scored proficient on standardized tests. The report also determines how many students were tested.

States are required to annually report their progress toward the federal goal that 100 percent of children be proficient in math and English by 2014.

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Both the federal and state accountability systems use results the California Standards Test, which tests curriculum unique to California classrooms, and the California Achievement Test, or CAT-6, which allows educators to see how California students compare to children around the nation. High schools are also judged by graduation rates and scores on the California High School Exit Exam.

Schools can fall short of the benchmarks in many ways – either by failing to test enough students or not having enough students meet the English or math goals. If a subgroup within the school, such as learning disabled or English language learners, fails to make those goals, that can also cause a school to fail.

Barbara Davis, assistant superintendent of LTUSD, was delighted with the district’s performance.

Four schools – Bijou Community, Meyers, Sierra House and the Transitional Learning Center – met federal goals. Al Tahoe and Tahoe Valley elementary schools fell short one goal. Al Tahoe and Meyers are now closed because of budget cuts. The district has since been reconfigured.

South Tahoe High School met the academic criteria, but fell 1 percent short of the required 95 percent student participation rate in the 10th-grade California High School Exit Exam.

The district will stress that parents bring their children to school on testing dates, Davis said.

South Tahoe Middle School met 18 of 22 goals.

“The achievement of English learners continues to be problematic,” Davis stated. “The middle school will provide after-school programs and staff training to better meet the needs of these students.”

Interim Superintendent Lorraine Garcy said she will meet with the English language program coordinator this week to discuss the shortfalls.

Next year the scores are expected to change dramatically at the elementary level due to the reconfiguration.

California’s goals for academic proficiency were the same as last year’s. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell said he is worried about next year’s results, when the academic goals increase.

“The step goes up next year, then it remains stable for three years. Then the balloon payment comes due and the goal goes way up” until 2014 when all students will have to be proficient, he said.

– E-mail William Ferchland at wferchland@tahoedailytribune.com.