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Low Marks, Moderate Improvement for Sonoma Schools in Statewide Testing

The state Department of Education released its annual school performance rankings Thursday; Sonoma schools received mixed results.

According to the state Department of Education's recently released rankings, Sonoma Valley's public schools still lag behind state standards. 

Sonoma schools performed in the bottom 50-percent in statewide rankings, with the exception of , which placed in the top 40-percent with a score of "6" and the which was in the top 30-percent.

, and received a "1," the lowest ranking, placing them in the bottom 10-percent of similar California schools.

The Academic Performance Index (API) is compiled annually from several tests, including the STAR program (Standardized Testing and Reporting). Scores are calculated on a scale of 200 to 1,000, with a statewide target of 800.

On average, district schools saw moderate gains to meet target scores, but two large drops -  (-39) and (-44) - created the overall lag.

The Public Schools Accountability Act mandates that most schools improve their scores by a minimum of five points; goals are measured by the difference between the 800-point standard and the school's prior scores.

In Sonoma, six schools met their growth target; four - , ,  , and - did not.

(Creekside High is held to a different standard, because it is an alternative school.)

Because of variations in student body, the Department of Education warns against tracking scores year to year; the more revealing question is whether a school consistently meets its growth targets, or if the amount of growth from one fall to the next is significant. Growth is determined by comparing spring results with scores released the following fall.

The statewide average API score was 768, according to the Department of Education. For elementary schools it was 800, while it was 765 for middle schools and 729 for high schools. The target API score set by the state is 800.

The average for schools in the was 733, up one point from 2009.

Thursday's numbers are baseline results from testing last spring. In the fall, the state will release data, based on recent tests, on how well schools are meeting targets for improvement.

Read more about how API scores are compiled and calculated here.


2010 2009 Sonoma Valley Unified School District Average 733 732 Elementary Schools

Dunbar 767 728 El Verano 732 719 Flowery 688 672 Prestwood 817 833 Sassarini 701 745 Sonoma Charter School 843 821  Woodland Star School 682 721 Middle Schools

Adele Harrison 748 757 Altimira 732 705 High Schools

Sonoma Valley High School 730 736 Creekside High School 474 409
Dee Baucher May 09, 2011 at 04:06 PM
Our public schools are a catastrophe. No matter that the taxpayers continue to be fleeced over and over again. This school district has consistently been insulated from scrutiny, thanks largely due to our main newspaper. (Never any honest reporting on significant deficiencies.) The administration of the individuals schools, as well as the district, remains unable/unwilling to address ineffective teaching, outdated curriculum, and unfair/politically motivated emphasis on providing special services for a single group of non-English speaking students, rather than on the needs of all students. This has led to a widespread exodus of families out of the public schools....either to charter schools or private schools.
Terri Hall May 23, 2011 at 07:29 PM
Lately I've observed a phenomenon of young, educated, well-off working couples who have elected not to have children. On the flip side, many young people living on government subsidies, are having children, with no regard for how they will raise them to be productive and educated members of society. So, this falls to the childless tax payers, wealthy retirees in Sonoma (themselves mostly without children), and teachers, who say we must have more money to fund education, so the schools/teachers/mentors, etc. can take on the unfulfilled role of the parents. I'd rather see my tax dollars go to educating young people on their own responsiblity (emotional, financial and physical) to their childrens' future - BEFORE they have kids. Sonoma has a weird atmosphere, wherein the kids whose parents are struggling financially to send them to private schools, are shunned for making this choice. It's kind of disturbing.

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