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A.V. HIGH FACING CHANGES FAILURE TO HIT API TARGETS MAY BRING SANCTIONS.

Byline: Karen Maeshiro Staff Writer

LANCASTER - Antelope Valley High School could face state sanctions this fall, including reassignment of the principal and reorganizing the school, if it fails to improve its score in state academic rankings.

Antelope Valley High School, a low-performing school that is participating in a state program to boost student achievement, has not met its growth targets in the Academic Performance Index test for two years.

``I don't think there is a single answer for that. I think a great deal of improvement is going to be seen. It's just going to take a little bit of time to meet and diagnose the needs students have. I have a challenging population,'' Principal Mark Bryant said.

Antelope Valley High School signed up to participate in the state's Immediate Intervention/Underperforming Schools Program and received a $50,000 grant in the 1999-2000 school year to develop a plan to improve test scores.

The plan was implemented in the 2000-01 school year.

Under the II/USP program, schools are expected to meet their short-term API growth targets - which, for Antelope Valley High, was a 12-point improvement for 2000.

While the high school did show growth in the API between 1999 and 2000, it did not meet the designated target this year, a district staff report said.

Antelope Valley High School had a 2000 API score of 563 and its API in 2001 was 554. The state goal for all schools is 800, and the high school average for 2001 was 636.

Low-scoring schools that do not meet their API growth targets and fail to show significant growth after two years of implementing the plan are subject to state sanctions, under the Public Schools Accountability Act of 1999.

The sanctions call for reassignment of the principal, subject to findings, and in addition, at least one other action, including allowing students to attend any public school with available space; allowing parents to establish a charter school; assigning management to another educational institution; reassigning teachers; or reorganizing or closing the school.

The Antelope Valley Union High School District board last week held a public hearing on Antelope Valley High's lack of progress, as required by law.

The school gave a report that reviewed the plan that was put into place in 2000-01 and what added steps are being taken this school year to help reach its goal.

The actions include regular administrative assessment of teachers' instructional delivery; naming a testing coordinator for the school; creation of a Renaissance Club to recognize student achievement; reading of motivational sayings during the reading of the school bulletin; and a second-semester math tutorial program.

School officials also sat down with students to review their individual standardized test scores and assigned some to tutorial help.

The school also plans to hold a barbecue during the week of standardized test-taking in April, an event called Star-B-Q, to motivate students to do well.

``It's to get going in the right direction and reiterate the need to come in with a good positive attitude,'' Bryant said.

The plan implemented last school year included creating three freshman student ``houses,'' containing about 75 students each, who would have the same three teachers, the report said.

``The houses are designed to create a smaller environment in which learning can take place. The class sizes are smaller. They have common teachers,'' Bryant said. ``Part of what they do is more collaboration, communication, working out lesson plans with each other. They keep a closer eye on kids and help them along.''

Students who participated in the ``houses'' achieved higher academic grades than other ``nonhouse'' freshmen, but there was no significant difference in standardized test scores when comparing the two groups of students, the report said.

Trustee Al Beattie said the curriculum mandated by the state does not dovetail with the tests the students are required to take.

``In his comments, (Bryant) expressed the position that as the curriculum comes closer to what's on the test, he would anticipate better scores,'' Beattie said. ``It's discouraging test scores are dipping, but I'm not sure that's a sign of a problem of what and how we are teaching. It's a problem of more alignment of the test to the curriculum.''
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 22, 2002
Words:701
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