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Sonoma County schools improve

  • Hillcrest Middle School Sixth grade math students learn to draw Arabic inspired designs as a precursor to geometry on Thursday, May 30, 2013. (Conner Jay/The Press Democrat)

Sonoma County Schools posted academic improvements in 2012 when compared with other schools across California, according to data released by the California Department of Education.

Twelve Sonoma County schools earned the top score of 10 when compared with 100 schools with similar demographics, including student poverty, percentage of English language learners and parent education. Eleven schools earned the mark last year.

Five schools, Technology High School in Rohnert Park, Hillcrest Middle School in Sebastopol, Corona Creek Elementary School in Petaluma, Austin Creek Elementary School in Santa Rosa and Santa Rosa Accelerated Charter School, earned a 10 when compared to all other schools in the state no matter their demographics. That is up from three schools last year.

For the second year in a row, Technology High School in Rohnert Park scored a 10 in both similar schools and state ranking. It was alone in that honor last year but was joined this time around by Hillcrest and Corona Creek.

Hillcrest Principal David Fichera credited the teaching staff of the 293-student charter school with creating individualized instruction while still covering state standards.

"They are highly dedicated," he said. "They do whatever they can to meet students where they are and take them to the next level."

The latest results are based on tests taken in spring 2012 and give an index score up to 1,000 that is then used for comparison rankings on a scale of 1 to 10.

The Academic Performance Index, or API, is a key measurement of student achievement, using tests linked to state academic standards in English, math and science in various grade levels.

The numbers include those that will be used as a baseline to determine if schools and districts meet federal targets under the federal No Child Left Behind law. That information is expected to be released in September.

Across Sonoma County, 66 percent of schools either maintained their similar school rank or improved. Thirty-four percent fell when compared to similar schools.

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