Schools get cash incentive |

Schools get cash incentive

Eight thousand California schools received rankings Tuesday and the numbers leave South Lake Tahoe schools with plenty of room for improvement.

The Academic Performance Index is based on the 1999 Stanford Achievement Test, Ninth Edition, given last spring.

The 1999 API Report includes the percentage of students tested per school, the overall score for each school, statewide ranks, the 2000 growth target and the 2000 API target.

Gov. Gray Davis wants every school to reach an API of 800 for 2000.

Though most schools in the Lake Tahoe Unified School District scored significantly lower than 800, their target growth goals do not seem unobtainable.

“I feel very confident that the growth target for every one of our schools (can be reached,)” LTUSD Superintendent Rich Alexander said.

“I believe it’s possible to reach 800 (in the future), but there are a lot of things that have to be done first.”

Alexander said refocusing attention on areas in which students scored poorly is the way to improve.

“I don’t see curriculum revision as much as focusing our efforts on those areas where we need to strengthen our scores,” he said.

According to Gov. Davis, reaching the growth goals is really the issue.

“It matters less to me where a school ranks today. What really matters is whether it shows improvement a year from today,” the governor said. “Starting today, every school will have to demonstrate improvement over its performance in the previous year.”

Schools, as well as individual instructors, accomplishing improvement goals will be rewarded with cash incentives and bonuses, according to Davis.

“Teachers and schools can both earn financial rewards if they accomplish the only thing that really matters: improved student achievement,” he said.

Schools meeting growth targets on the 2000 STAR test will be eligible to receive up to $150 per student.

The API also provides $96 million for planning assistance, implementation and an intervention process for more than 400 schools that score in the bottom 50 percent.

“I’m confident that schools will rise to the challenge we have set for them,” Davis said. “Scores will rise and students will graduate with marketable skills.”

LTUSD Assistant Superintendent Barbara Davis was unavailable for comment Tuesday. She will speak tonight about LTUSD’s API scores at the school board meeting. The regular session of the meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in the district office’s board room.

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