June 14th, 2009 1:40 AM by Lehel Szucs
Every spring, the state gives each school two rankings from 1 to 10 - the "statewide" rank compares it with all schools in the state, while the "similar schools" rank compares it to schools with similar demographics.
And among 94 public schools in Whittier and its unincorporated areas, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs, La Mirada and Norwalk, the base API report showed 22 campuses earned a 9 or 10 in either the statewide or similar-schools rankings.
Five schools earned the best rank of 10 in the similar-schools category:
California High (Whittier Union High School District);
Monte Vista Elementary, (South Whittier School District); and
Foster Road, Gardenhill and Morrison elementary schools (Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District).
And unlike any other local district, every school in the 5,000-student Little Lake City School District received a 5 or better in both the statewide and similar-schools rankings. | Link: Find your school's results.
"I'm extremely proud of our staff," said Superintendent Phillip Perez. "As I've gone around at our open-house events, I've listened to kids talk about what they're learning, and that's when these numbers become meaningful.
"When you see the progress an individual child has made, that's what keeps us going," Perez said. "As much as possible, we plan to stay the course, which is going to be difficult with the state budget moving in the direction it is.
"But that is our intention."
In addition to calculating ranks for all public schools, the base API report also establishes a new baseline to gauge the results of this year's testing, which come out in September.
It also includes adjusted school API scores from last fall to make up for slight testing changes from last year.
Compared to the area's 2007 rankings, about 71 percent of schools maintained or improved their statewide rankings from last year, while about 61 percent were able to maintain or improve their similar-schools rankings.
"This kind of progress happens only through the hard work and focus of dedicated school staff, parents and students," State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell said in a statement.
"However, I worry that these real gains are in serious jeopardy because funding for our public school system is in serious danger," O'Connell said. "What kind of education will we be able to offer next year and the year after that with the kind of drastic and unprecedented cuts now under consideration?"
That's also a concern among local school officials.
"Even in these difficult economic times, everyone in our district remains dedicated to ensuring all students achieve at higher levels and master the standards," said Sandra Thorstenson, superintendent of the 13,500-student Whittier Union High School District.
WUHSD saw mostly improvement this year in its API rankings, including straight 9s for La Serna High in both statewide and similar-schools categories.
"Our students, teachers and staff continue to prove that high academic achievement is attainable and sustainable, regardless of the challenges we face," she said.
To access rankings for individual schools or districts, visit www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ap/apireports.asp