The Redondo Beach Unified School District students improved their statewide Academic Performance Index Scores (API) by an unprecedented 18 points this year, far surpassing last year’s average growth of seven points bringing the RBUSD’s average score to 891.
For the first year, all RBUSD elementary schools received above 900 out of a possible 1000 points, which helps the Department of Education measure how a school is performing. Madison Elementary and Washington Elementary schools, which were the only two scoring under 900 last year, bumped their scores from 876 and 892 to 907.
Adams Middle School’s scores were discounted when it was suspected that one of the teachers was cheating, thus invalidating the entire school’s score. District officials confirmed that the teacher that was involved in the score irregularities no longer works in the district.
Lincoln Elementary school students celebrate the second year of Walking School Bus. Photo submitted by the Beach Cities Health District
“The district-wide gain is statistically significant,” said Keller. “In that we’re already a very high achieving district, so increasing at that level when you’re already bouncing near the ceiling says a lot about our staff, our kids and our parents.”
Keller said that achieving such a large average score jump is especially important because of the already high score of 873 from last year.
“There’s a few things I’d say helped us improve, and that’s our great instruction and alignment of instruction for our curriculum,” said Keller. “I think our teachers are just top notch, and I’d say probably another reason is that quite frankly we focus on the whole child; we don’t focus just on academic, but the social, emotional and physical aspects of the child.”
Keller cited the addition of Blue Zones and Beach Cities Health District’s programs that help teachers focus on other aspects other than purely just academic success as contributing factors to the district’s dramatic API gains. Just last week, the BCHD launched their second Walking School Bus (WSB) program throughout the South Bay and at four Redondo Beach schools, the WSB helps students get to school by foot in a safe environment. The district has also embraced healthier school lunches and classes focused around learning about healthy, natural foods. Many elementary schools have also embraced school gardens and morning exercises. Teachers have said the added movement has helped students focus better in the classroom, especially on testing days.
Keller also said that it is impressive for Redondo Beach to be ranking so high, especially when compared against Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach, which both scored in the 900s.
“We are a diverse community,” said Keller. “One thing is that we have ethnic and economic diversity, and on the back side you have high achievement. Our work is significant to the children we serve. At the same time, API is just one indicator in the grand scheme of things.”
Redondo Union High School also surpassed last year’s scores by 19 points. The high school also announced of the 677 students taking Advance Placement tests, they achieved a high pass rate of 83 percent.
Students learn about healthy food during a class at the school’s garden. Photo by Chelsea Sektnan
“This is clearly due to our amazing teachers, students and our entire Sea Hawk team!” Principal Dr. Nichole Wesley said on the Redondo Union web site. “We want to thank every single member of the Redondo team for being part of our continued growth and success.”
The only school that received lower marks was Jefferson Elementary, with just a two point loss from 943 to 941, bumping it from the highest to the second highest score in the district.
The highest score was Beryl Heights Elementary, with a number of 952.
Madison Elementary had the highest leap, receiving 907 points, gaining 31 points from their previous year’s score of 876.
“We are very happy about it here atMadison,” said Principal Joseph Ledoux. “The teachers are over the moon about it, everybody did a lot of hardwork last year and they deserve all the credit in the world.”
ForMadison, this is the first time they have had an API score of over 900. Last year they dipped 20 points to 876, but this year’s 31 point growth makes it a new school record.
“The teachers and the staff were focuses interventions for our struggling students and getting them the resources so they can excel,” said Ledoux. He also credits the school’s success to theirLearningCenter. “We have wonderful teacher’s aids that are like our safety net to help students succeed.”
He, like Keller, also credit the BCHD programs like the morning exercises, LiveWell nutrition and music programs to their growth.
“Without their partnership we wouldn’t have been able to do it,” said Ledoux. “Just having those partners in education is just one of the many resources in Redondo we have and just love.”
All schools received an A score, meaning all the schools scored at or above the statewide performance target of 800.
“One day we’ll see a little dip,” said Keller. “And we will learn from it like we’ve learned from what we’ve done well so far. To quote volleyball coach Tommy Chaffin, we’re hungry, but we’re humble.”
2011-2012 Accountability Progress Reporting (APR)
2012 Growth cademic Performance Index (API) Report