Santa Paula Times

SPHS to mandate summer school

February 25, 2000
Santa Paula News
This month Santa Paula High School received its first Academic Performance Index (API) report. This index measures the academic performance of public schools throughout the state and sets targets for future improvement. The API is the cornerstone of California’s new Public School Accountability Act (PSAA), signed into law in the spring of 1999. Student scores are combined to produce the school API; students do not receive an individual score. “Santa Paula High School has already incorporated the 1999 Stanford 9 results into their plans for improving student learning,” commented Principal Tony Gaitan, after a preliminary look at the 1999 API reports. “Now we have a new way of looking at that data as well as state-established growth targets for our high school.”Only results of the Stanford 9 test given in the spring of 1999 as part of the state’s Standardized Testing And Reporting (STAR) program were used to calculate the school’s API for 1999. In grades 9-11 the API measures performance in mathematics, reading, language, history/social science, and science.Principal Gaitan noted that it would be extremely important that other indicators of student performance be added to the API as soon as they become available: “We must look at other information about our school to form a more complete picture of our progress. Much of that information is provided on the School Accountability Report Card required by Proposition 98 and used in conjunction with the API.” This report card will be mailed in March to all Santa Paula High School parents.The 1999 API establishes the baseline for the school’s academic performance and sets annual targets for growth. The state has set 800 as the API score that schools should strive to meet. The 1999 API reports included for each school: the 1999 API score, the 1999 statewide API rank within a school type, the 1999 rank compared with similar schools, the 1999-2000 growth target, and the API target for 2000.The APIs are based on the performance of individual students on STAR content area tests. The 1999 API calculation for Santa Paula High School is 524. Santa Paula High’s statewide rank is 3; the statewide rank includes the API ranked in deciles by grade level of instruction for all elementary, middle and secondary schools. Our similar rank is 7; this ranking compares our school to schools with similar characteristics. A rank of 10 is the highest, with a 1 being the lowest. Our target growth is 14 points calculated by taking five percent of the distance between a school’s 1999 API and the interim statewide performance target of 800. Santa Paula’s API target is 538 for spring 2000.
Principal Gaitan stated that “The staff at Santa Paula High School is committed to improving our scores and has therefore implemented a school-wide action plan that will assess student performance and diagnose the results in order to prepare our students to improve student scores on standardized testing this spring.”Santa Paula High School will also make it mandatory for all students who score below the 50 percentile on the SAT-9 test to attend summer school. Students who fail to attend summer school will be mandated to attend an extended school day in the fall during A or B period. Gaitan states that “We are currently scheduling a meeting to inform the feeder school principals that all incoming freshmen will also be impacted by this mandate. Incoming freshmen that score below the 50 percentile on their SAT-9 test will be mandated to attend a summer school program or they will be enrolled in an extended school day program in the fall of 2000.”Principal Gaitan concluded by stating, “With high expectations and the support of all staff, students and parents working together, we can continue to improve the academic achievement of our students and prepare them to be competitive in the world of academics and the future job market.”