Elementary schools compare notes on latest test scores

The progress of 2 local elementary schools toward their respective academic goals and the initial moves towards faculty contract negotiation were among agenda items at the Thursday meeting of the Claremont Unified School District.

After reports on district doings by the student board members representing CHS and San Antonio High School, Principal Amy Stanger and her team from Sycamore School took center stage, delivering their Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA).

Mandated by No Child Left Behind legislation, an SPSA is an update on a school’s progress towards goals set for the previous year as well as a report on its current priorities.

The school made significant progress towards last year’s academic goals: to increase the number of students school-wide who are proficient or better in mathematics and to increase the percentage of Hispanic students who are proficient or better in both math and English Language Arts.

Sycamore administration and staff had aimed to increase math proficiency among its sixth grade class from 63 percent to 72 percent. With 83 percent of sixth graders scoring proficient or above in math, the school met its target and then some.

As a secondary goal, Sycamore aimed for a school-wide math proficiency level of 79 percent. With students scoring 76.1 percent, up from a previous 72 percent, progress was made but the goal was not met.

Both English Language Arts and math proficiency increased among Hispanic students, the Sycamore delegation was happy to report. Administration and staffers had hoped to increase this subgroup’s ELA proficiency from 55.8 percent to 64 percent.

Ultimately, 65.3 percent of Hispanic students  scored as proficient or better in the ELA portion of state testing. The Hispanic subgroup also reached 65.3 percent proficiency in math, surpassing the school’s goal of 62 percent.

Another district success story is that of Oakmont Outdoor School, which met each of the 4 goals that administrators and staff set last year. Principal Stacey Stewart and her team had aimed to have 53.6 percent of students school-wide scoring proficient or higher on the California Standards Test in 2012, up from 50 percent in 2011.

Sycamore students exceeded the target easily with a 70.41 percent proficiency rate. This upward trend held true among significant subgroup at the school as well, with the Hispanic population improving from 49.2 percent to 71.93 percent; the white population improving from 50 percent to 71.43 percent; socio-economically disadvantaged (SED) students improving from 45.9 percent to 66.4 percent and the English learner population improving from 51.6 percent to 80.56 percent.

Ms. Stewart and crew also met last year’s goal of having 55 percent of Oakmont students scoring proficient or higher on the ELA portion of the California Standards Test. The students beat this mark handily, moving from a school-wide proficiency rate of 48.6 percent to 70.56 percent.

Again, subgroups showed significant improvement, with proficiency scores growing to 68.7 percent among Hispanic students, 69.05 percent among white students, 64.29 percent among SED students and 70.56 among English learner students.

The proficiency growth at Oakmont is among the top such leaps by California schools. Oakmont celebrated its success at a celebration held last week. Ms. Stewart and her team shared a video of the festivities with the school board, which is viewable at http://oakmont.cusd.claremont.edu.

At the end of the evening, Superintendent Jim Elsasser interjected a note of levity by reading an extremely frank thank-you note from Oakmont student Kaley Wolst, expressing gratitude “for approving all activities we experienced.” The following is an excerpt.

“Thank you for the party. The food was marvelous! My friend went overboard and had around 7 servings of cotton candy. The snow cones were great, however the people serving them…were too possessive of the syrup and gave everyone hardly any syrup. Thank you for the games and activities. I was a bit disappointed the DJ did not have the song ‘One More Night’ by Maroon 5. I coordinated a dance just for that particular song.

At the end of the day, I remembered everything: the teacher-dunking, the food, and the games and activities. A person popped a glitter balloon all over me at the end.”


Teacher union talks turkey

Joe Tonan, a Sumner Elementary School teacher and former head of the local teacher’s union who is still active with the organization, took the stage during the public comment session of the meeting to share his experience with the precipitous rise of healthcare premiums in recent years, and what he sees as a drop in the quality of medical coverage. Faculty members will continue sharing their stories in upcoming meetings, he said.

As the Claremont Unified School District gets ready to negotiate the next teacher contract, with discussions starting in earnest this winter, it looks like healthcare may be the top priority among local teachers.

The next meeting of the Claremont Unified School District Board of Education will be held on Thursday, December 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Richard S. Kirkendall Education Center, 170 W. San Jose Ave. in Claremont. 

—Sarah Torribio




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