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Rocklin is first in Placer County for high school API scores

RUSD schools meet growth goals
By: Krissi Khokhobashvili, Placer Herald editor
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Rocklin High School has the highest Academic Performance Index score of all high schools in Placer County, according to state test results released Thursday.

Rocklin High scored an 888 while Whitney High School’s 868 tied it for third place with Granite Bay High School. Rocklin High is now ranked No. 3 and Whitney is No. 8 for scores in the greater Sacramento area. The Rocklin Unified School District as a whole performed well.

“Our Academic Performance Index ranks us as No. 1 of all unified school districts in Placer County and all of the greater Sacramento area,” beamed district Superintendent Kevin Brown. “We grew eight points for an overall API of 891 in the 2011-12 school year.”

The API is based on schools’ results of the Standardized Testing and Reporting program and the California High School Exit Exam, taken every year. Each school is assigned a number, from 200 to 1,000. The state sets yearly goals for school performance – this year’s goal was a score of 800.

The API is calculated by converting a student’s performance on statewide assessments across multiple content areas into points on the API scale, according to the state API website. The points are then averaged across all students and all tests, for an average API score.

Rocklin High Principal David Bills said that each spring, the students are challenged during an assembly held before STAR testing begins.

“The number that we challenged them to improve to was 888,” he said. “We knew it was a huge challenge … when you’re relatively high already, it’s difficult to increase, so we’re really proud of our students.”

Rocklin High has held the top high school API score in the county for seven years. Bills said students and teachers will celebrate Oct. 26 with a campus barbecue and a free dance.

Since Rocklin High opened 20 years ago, Bills said, its teachers have been held to high standards of teaching and a focus on having every student learn.

Both RUSD middle schools – Granite Oaks and Springview – ranked in the top 5 countywide for API. All elementary schools met their goals; top performers were Valley View with 927, Sunset Ranch with 932, Rocklin Academy at Meyers Street with 957 and Rocklin Academy at the top with 959.

“We had a 30 percent gain in the number of students earning perfect scores on the California Standards Test, grades 2 through 11, in all subject areas,” Brown reported. He added that the district’s graduation rate is 91.84 percent, while the state average is 76.26 percent. California High School Exit Exam pass rates for 10th-graders in 2011-12 were 95 percent for English language arts and 96 percent for math, compared with the state pass rates of 83 percent for ELA and 84 percent for math.

“We have a highly dedicated and professional teaching staff that works exceptionally hard to ensure each child is meeting the stated goals,” Brown said. “Our district has high expectations of ourselves and the performance of each child.”

That includes a rigorous curriculum and providing intervention and support services to students, Brown added.

Next year’s goal is for RUSD students to top the 900 API level and meet their adequate yearly progress standards for all subgroups of students, including English language learners, special-needs students and social/economically disadvantaged students, Brown said.

“Our students know our teachers aren’t going to give up on them,” Bills said, “and so it’s really through hard work and that commitment that we’re able to have our students excel on our state testing.”

To read the API report for Placer County, visit www.api.cde.ca.gov.

Reach Krissi Khokhobashvili at krissik@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter, @ThePlacerHerald.