Rewards await schools who make the grade |

Rewards await schools who make the grade

It’s not just students who will be rated on performance this year.

Schools will be graded, too. And if they show improvement, they’ll get more money.

Aimed at ranking student performance, setting improvement goals and forming a base for future rewards and sanctions, the Academic Performance Index could mean refocusing instruction for schools in the Lake Tahoe Unified School District.

According to LTUSD Assistant Superintendent Barbara Davis, the district studied a hypothetical growth target for the previous year to see which areas of study need more attention.

“If this year’s growth is any indication, I think we’ll be OK,” Davis said. “I’m confident that if we analyze our test data based on students’ scores on sub-skill areas and direct our attention accordingly, we should be OK. It (the API) basically guides our instruction.”

Seven thousand public schools will be given a score between 200 and 1,000 based on student performance on the Stanford Achievement Test, Ninth Edition. More than 4 million public school students in second through 11th grades took the test last spring. Those scores will be used as a baseline by which to compare next year’s scores. Each school is expected to improve by a certain amount on the 2000 test, given this spring.

Schools that make significant improvements on the 2000 test will be eligible to apply for up to $150 per student, a total of $96 million statewide, to be used next fall. Teachers from schools scoring in the lower half, whose students have improved by an amount yet to be determined, may receive bonuses up to $25,000, a total of $50 million statewide. And while overall improvement is essentially the goal, the API is weighted, giving more points to schools that show improvements for their lowest-performing students.

Individual schools were given their scores last week but State Superintendent Delaine Eastin asked that districts not make their scores public until today.

Barbara Davis will be giving an overview of what API is and how it is calculated at Wednesday night’s school board meeting, at the District Office Board Room, 1021 Al Tahoe Blvd. The regular session of the meeting begins at 7 p.m.

– The Associated Press contributed to this story.

What: Lake Tahoe Unified School District

school board meeting

When: 7 p.m., Wednesday

Where: LTUSD office board room, 1021 Al Tahoe Blvd.

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