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"I want to congratulate the students, teachers and staffs at all of our schools for their excellent showing," said Supt. Bill Kowba. "What is particularly impressive is the growth that has come despite several years of historic budget cuts."
The Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measure is used by the federal Department of Education to determine if a school or district meets the act's annual growth standards; those that do not are placed on Program Improvement after two years. Four San Diego Unified schools exited Program Improvement as a result of these test results: Garfield High School, Kimbrough and Rosa Parks elementary schools, Garfield High School, and the King/Chavez Arts charter school.
Despite the improved scores, 113 schools are now on Program Improvement, up from 95 last year. School targets increased by about ten percentage points over 2010. However, because of differences between the state and federal standards, 20 schools met the California API target of 800, yet are on Program Improvement according to the federal government.
"California has some of the most rigorous standards in the nation and these schools excel," said Kowba. "Yet parents at these schools will receive a letter saying that their school is failing. That just is not true."
San Diego Unified's Board of Education has supported changes in the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), including those advocated by state Supt. of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson, who has called these schools "mislabled."
Torlakson noted that statewide, 55 percent of elementary schools, 43 percent of middle schools and 28 percent of high schools were 800 or above. In San Diego Unified, 59 percent of elementary schools met target, along with 48 percent of middle schools and 26 percent of high schools.
Despite the increase, for the third year, San Diego Unified did not make its AYP under NCLB. In its third year of Program Improvement, the district will be required to take corrective actions that are yet to be identified. San Diego Unified entered Program Improvement in 2009.
Among student groups, some achievement gaps continued to slowly narrow. For example, while White students had a gain of 12 API points to 890 and Asian students' scores rose 10 points to 878, Hispanic or Latino students were up 14 points to 735 and Socioeconomically Disadvantaged students increased 14 points to 746.
"We're pleased to see these achievement gaps continuing to narrow," said Kowba. "Eliminating these gaps is one of the key missions of our district."
For scores of districts and individual schools, go to the state's website at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ar/index.asp