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Burbank elementary school breaks 900 API mark

Despite minor losses, district continues to exceed state's goal for standardized test.

August 30, 2013|By Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com

R.L. Stevenson Elementary made Burbank history this week: scoring above 900 on the Academic Performance Index, making it one of the California’s top schools.

While Burbank schools have continually met the state’s goal for scoring at least 800 on the standardized exam, Stevenson is the first school to have surpassed the 900-point threshold with a score of 905 — 14 points higher than what the school achieved in 2012.

“We are now on cloud 905,” said Stevenson Principal Debbie Ginnetti to Tom Kissinger, the director for elementary education, after she heard the news Thursday.

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During an impromptu school assembly that same day, Ginnetti attributed the success to both students’ and teachers’ efforts.

“We can’t have one without the other,” she said. “That was my message to everybody. We’re all working together, and this is the result.”

Districtwide, Burbank Unified reported an API score of 846 — one point lower than the previous year.

All three middle schools as well as Burbank and Burroughs high schools reported minor losses — between three to nine points — as compared to 2012.

Though the second highest score in the district also belonged to an elementary school — Thomas Jefferson with 897 — the news was not all good at the primary levels.

State officials nixed McKinley Elementary’s score due to cheating concerns, meaning the school is ineligible for receiving state and federal recognition during this school year and through 2014-15.

In mid-April, a third-grade student reportedly told the school’s principal that a teacher had helped third-grade students answer test questions. The incident spurred an investigation that eventually found that at least five percent of the students who were tested at McKinley were involved.

The teacher was placed on administrative leave afterward, and Burbank officials have declined to say whether the individual continues to be employed by the district.

Although state education officials invalidated the API score for the school, students were still able to see their individual scores,said Sharon Cuseo, director of instruction and accountability for Burbank Unified.

“Even though the [California Department of Education] did feel like there was a breach of security within one classroom, they also still released the individual scores to those students,” she said.

Burbank Unified ranked 57th among 404 California K-12 districts and 21st in Los Angeles County.

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Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.

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