API Scores Rise Across the District


The school district recently announced a rise in Academic Performance Index (API) scores with a district-wide increase to 922 this year, over 904 last year.

“The results speak for themselves,” said Superintendent Sherine Smith. “Our school district has far surpassed the state benchmark of excellence. We are extremely proud of our schools, our students, and our supportive community.”

Students across the district also gave a strong performance on the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE).

“The El Morro students and staff rocked the STAR test,” said principal Chris Duddy, referring to the 29-point increase in the elementary school’s API score to 923 from 894, the largest bump in the district. The fact that they surpassed their goal of achieving an API score over 900 proves that “the students were well prepared by our professional staff and motivated to show how much they learned throughout the year,” he said, calling it an “excellent reflection” on staff and students alike.

Laguna Beach High School showed the next greatest improvement by increasing their API score by 24 points to 906 from 882. Principal Joanne Culverhouse attributed the jump to the staff’s hard work, including their focus on student learning and conversations where they share and analyze data to make effective decisions.

Thurston Middle School and Top of the World Elementary School increased their scores as well, to 944 from 935, and to 924 from 919, respectively.

Assistant superintendent of instructional services Deni Christensen said the CAHSEE pass rates for sophomores released earlier this fall showed 96 percent of the class passing the mathematics portion and 98 percent passing the English language arts portion, both on their first attempt. She attributed the achievement to the collaborative work of the teachers ad support for any struggling students. “As a result, last year every Laguna Beach High School senior had passed the CAHSEE prior to graduation, and we again had no non-graduates,” she said.

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  1. It’s good news and appropriate to highlight the dramatically improved scores and specifically those that have increased recently; i.e. “most improved” in our school district.

    It’s unfortunate however that you didn’t choose in your article to more specifically highlight the staffs and performance of the other two schools that are already performing well over 900 and yet still improved to even higher 900 level scores.

    We are blessed with excellent staffs at all our schools and that excellence and is worthy of much greater recognition and discussion than the one line sentence you afford as an aside in wrapping up the article.

    I appreciate our District and schools staff’s leadership in student performance and school/student safety and encourage the good work relative to facility security during school hours and items such as the social host ordinance going forward. Great news!


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