Rocklin schools attain top scores

State's Academic Performance Index shows high achievement
By: Gloria Beverage, Placer Herald Editor
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Students in the Rocklin Unified School District, including the family of charter schools, have earned top grades in the eyes of the state. According to results released by the California Department of Education, Rocklin schools attained impressive scores on this year’s Academic Performance Index (API). The index is calculated from results of student scores in math, English and other subjects on the STAR (Standardized Testing and Reporting) tests administered last spring. “The sustained achievement of Rocklin Unified schools, as compared to neighboring districts, documents the tremendous success of our students,” said RUSD Deputy Superintendent Linda Rooney. Rocklin Unified ranks first when compared to districts throughout Placer County with the high school programs attaining an API of 883, leading by 60 points or more, Rooney continued. “The district is extremely proud that five schools have achieved an API of 901 or higher,” she said. Those schools are Granite Oaks Middle School, Breen Elementary, Cobblestone Elementary, Sunset Ranch Elementary and Valley View Elementary. “Additionally, an impressive 246 perfect scores were achieved by Rocklin Unified students on the STAR assessments, as compared to 83 perfect scores in 2007,” Rooney noted. Students in the district’s Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program posted an API score of 988. “The focus upon instructional excellence and student support directly impact these impressive results,” Rooney said. “Through systematic implementation of annual ‘strategic priorities,” set by the board of trustees, the professional staff is guided by clear pathways for student success and specific performance targets for all students.” Rooney believes the student success is also due to the community’s acceptance of the Professional Learning Community Team concept, which allows teachers to strategically analyze individual student needs, develop goals for student progress, coordinate instruction and administer common student assessments. “We value tremendously the commitment and dedication of our families to quality schools for their children,” Rooney said. “This would not be possible without a working partnership or a ‘team’ that ensures ongoing achievement or all.” The Rocklin Academy family of public charter schools also earned high-achieving scores (963 and 956), which Executive Director David Patterson noted were the highest APIs of all schools in Placer, Sacramento, El Dorado and Yolo Counties. The family of charter schools includes the K-6 Turnstone campus, Rocklin Academy Meyers Street campus and Western Sierra Collegiate Academy, a middle/high school founded in 2009 by Rocklin Academy families. Rocklin Academy at Turnstone Way continues as the highest-scoring school in Rocklin for the last 10 years and the highest-scoring school in Placer County for the last six years, he reported. “Rocklin Academy students are also among the highest-scoring students statewide,” Patterson noted. Western Sierra Collegiate Academy earned an API score of 893, making it one of the highest scoring middle/high schools in Placer County, he continued. “This is a 21-point increase -- an outstanding accomplishment for a school that was only in its second year,” he said. Overall, Patterson acknowledged, “our students perform well because our Core Knowledge and middle/high school curriculum reaches far beyond English and math. We also have phenomenal teachers who are here because they love teaching and the curriculum. Add in our dedicated parent base with families who form a partnership with our schools and the benefit is test results that are outstanding every year.”