API scores looking good

I already feel I’m behind on the news and it’s been just a day since my last post. First the news, quoted from the district’s press release on the newly-released Academic Performance Index (API) scores for 2008-09:

The district met its Academic Performance Index (API) targets and improved by
five API points to reach a district-wide API of 777, a score that exceeds all other large urban districts in California. This year approximately half of all schools (46%) have an API score of 800 or above, up from 40 percent (40%) in 2008.

Over two-thirds of the schools (68% or 71/104 schools) met their school-wide API targets, which is ten more schools than last year. The greatest success was seen at the elementary school level where 77 percent (or 54/70) of the elementary schools met their school-wide API targets.

“We are moving in the right direction. More and more schools are meeting their academic improvement targets and almost half of our schools are at the state standard for academic excellence,” said Superintendent Carlos Garcia.

That’s all very good news, but it’s still important to note that African American students, Latino students, Pacific Islander students and students in special education did not meet the (ever-increasing) targets set by the Federal government, so the district remains in Program Improvement, Year 3 status.

Schools that experienced the highest API gains include:

  • Malcolm X Elementary +99 points
  • Buena Vista Elementary + 93 points
  • Raoul Wallenberg HS  +69 points
  • Sunnyside Elementary +68 points  (over 800!)
  • Tenderloin Community School + 52

Schools that lost the most ground (in terms of API points) include:

  • Thurgood Marshall HS – 54 points
  • Burton HS -47 points
  • Ida B. Wells HS – 44 points
  • John Muir ES  – 42 points
  • Garfield – 38 points

The state’s goal for all schools is 800 on the API, but the overall scale goes from a low of 200 to a high of 1000. There are no schools in San Francisco with an API of 1000; below are the schools with the highest 2009 API scores at each grade level:

  • K-5 schools: Clarendon –  API  950
  • 6-8 schools: Presidio MS – API 875  (honorable mention: Roosevelt MS – API  873)
  • 9-12 schools: Lowell HS – API 949

However, it’s also important to remember that API scores are just a piece of the overall data files on a particular school.  Many of the schools I consider to be the best in the district are not included in any of the above lists. The best way to evaluate the quality of a particular school is to GO AND VISIT. I guarantee that after 30 minutes in any school, you will know in your bones whether it is the right fit for your student.

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