North Coast schools get mixed results in state testing

  • Sixth grade teacher Kulbir Sandhu discusses the novel "The Book Thief" with students in her class at Kawana Elementary School on Monday, September 13, 2010, in Santa Rosa, California. (BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

Sonoma County schools overall continue to post gains on California's key measure of academic performance, yet more local schools than ever have fallen behind academic targets set forth under the federal No Child Left Behind law.

In addition, local students are not making gains on the state scale at the same rate as their peers across the state.

While county students increased their scores by an average of nine points on the state scale, California schools overall on average boosted their performance on the Academic Performance Index by 13 points. Sonoma County remains ahead of the state's average on the API score at 779, compared with 767.

The state goal is 800 out of a possible 1,000.

Both the API and the federal No Child Left Behind law's adequate yearly progress targets are based largely on the Standardized Testing and Reporting program exams given to students in grades two through 11 each spring.

"The rest of the state is catching up and we need to analyze why we are not making as much progress year-to-year," said Sonoma County Office of Education Superintendent Carl Wong.

Last year, Sonoma County schools posted an average jump of 15 points. Still, a number of schools in Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino counties posted massive gains. Calpella Elementary in Ukiah tops that list with a spike of 86 points, while Kawana Elementary in the Bellevue District surged 70 points.

West Side Elementary in Healdsburg and Rincon Valley Charter School gained 65 points, and Cook Middle School in Santa Rosa gained 61 points.

Still, more Sonoma County campuses than ever before fell into program improvement — the penalty portion of the federal No Child Left Behind Law.

Last year, 33 schools started program improvement sanctions. There were 40 this year. No school or district in the county exited, said Nancy Brownell, county Office of Education assistant superintendent. Only schools that receive federal Title 1 funds, which target low-income students, can be hit with sanctions.

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