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Several schools shine as API scores are released

Burbank Unified achieves modest gains overall, with district-wide score inching up to 834.

August 31, 2011|By Megan O'Neil, megan.oneil@latimes.com

Burbank schools uniformly exceeded the much-coveted Academic Performance Index score of 800, according to 2010-11 data released Wednesday by the California Department of Education.

Leading the pack was Stevenson Elementary School, which earned a score of 895. It was followed closely by Emerson Elementary School with a score of 882, and Roosevelt and Jefferson elementary schools, which both scored 873.

The top performing secondary schools were Muir Middle School and Burbank High School, which scored 865 and 820, respectively.

The overall Burbank score inched upward two points to 834.

“It is impressive to have all BUSD schools at or above the state goal of 800,” Supt. Stan Carrizosa said. “This places us in the highest performing districts in the state.”

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Scores on the Academic Performance Index, known as API, range from a low of 200 to a high of 1,000, and are based on standardized tests. They are a cornerstone of the accountability system for California public schools, and are generally considered an indication of the academic effectiveness of a school site.

They can also be a source of pride or despair — high scores are posted on school marquees and advertised in PTA fliers, while low scores can trigger hand-wringing and parent meetings.

Statewide, 55% of elementary schools, 43% of middle schools and 28% of high schools met the state API target of 800, according to the California Department of Education. San Marino and La Cañada school districts again ranked as No. 1 and 2, respectively, in the state.

In Burbank, Washington Elementary School recorded the biggest improvement, climbing 24 points to a score of 821.

“We are ecstatic that we are past the 800 mark, and we are going to aim for 850 next year,” Principal Arlene Mooradian-Zenian said.

The gains at Washington are all the more notable given that it serves one of the poorest areas of the city — 69% of its students receive free- or reduced-price meals and 29% are English-language learners.

The school struggled to boost scores for years. In 2008, it slipped into “program improvement,” a designation born out of the No Child Left Behind Act and applied when any one subgroup of students fails to hit federally established target scores in two consecutive years.

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