Schools Scores Remain High in Ranking


Laguna Beach schools fared well in the academic rankings released last week as part of California’s annual reporting cycle of academic growth and achievement.

According to the latest Academic Performance Index (API) report, which includes statewide and similar school rankings, as well as the growth targets a school is expected to reach, the Laguna Beach Unified School District overall received an API score of 895 out of 1,000, up from 874 last year.

“Our API scores and our schools’ rankings have continued to rise,” said Nancy Hubbell, assistant superintendent of instructional services. “I am particularly proud of the fact that our teachers and our site administrators continually and collaboratively review student outcomes and search for ways to improve instruction and to design effective and timely interventions.”

The high school, with a score of 876 (up from 850 in 2009), received a rank of 10 statewide and a rank of 7 compared to similar schools. For comparison, Mission Viejo High received an API score of 850, Corona del Mar scored 884, and University High in Irvine scored 908.

“We are obviously happy with the latest similar-schools ranking,” said high school principal Don Austin, who indicated that LBHS’s grouping includes magnet schools and schools of choice. He added that despite some testing advantages elsewhere, “our students are truly advantaged. They get to attend a single high school district with only one middle school and two outstanding elementary schools. This is a good time to be in Laguna Beach.”

El Morro Elementary School’s API score for 2010 is 903, with a statewide ranking of 9 and a similar schools ranking of 5; while Top of the World Elementary School scored 916, earning a statewide rank of 10 and a 4 among similar schools. Thurston Middle School earned a statewide ranking of 10 and a similar schools ranking of 5, with a score of 906.

“This continued pattern of growth and achievement stems from strong leadership, excellent teaching, the efforts of support staff, and community involvement,” said superintendent Sherine Smith.

The report showed that overall 50.9 percent of Orange County schools are in the top three deciles for statewide rankings, exceeding the statewide average by 21.9 percent. The percentage of elementary schools in the top three deciles remains unchanged compared to last year, while the middle school percentage decreased from 58 percent to 54 percent, and the high school percentage increased from 63 percent to 64.1 percent.

The Academic Performance Index (API) summarizes a school’s or district’s academic performance and progress based on statewide assessments. The API is used as an indicator for federal progress monitoring as well.

The school’s performance is calculated based on the performance of individual students at different class levels on a number of standardized tests, including language, math, sciences and history.


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