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AREA SCHOOLS IMPROVE LATEST BURBANK, GLENDALE DISTRICT API SCORES SHOW GAINS.

Byline: Alex Dobuzinskis Staff Writer

GLENDALE - More than 72 percent of Glendale Unified schools improved their scores on the state's Academic Performance Index enough to meet their schoolwide goals, and most Burbank schools improved as well, according to statistics released Tuesday.

One difference between the Glendale Unified School District's results this year compared with last year is that eight of its 29 schools did not meet the schoolwide targets for growth on the API, while last year all of them did. The district as a whole improved its score on the API by five points, bringing it to 779 out of a possible 1,000.

``This kind of achievement, continued achievement, for a district that is this size and known as an urban center with tremendous diversity, both in linguistic and socioeconomic diversity, is tremendous,'' said Assistant Superintendent Alice Petrossian.

The Burbank Unified School District earned an API score of 757, a 10- point increase over last year. Both Burbank and Glendale's school districts beat the county average API of 676 and the state average API of 693.

Thirteen of BUSD's 16 traditional campuses met the state's schoolwide API growth targets, which do not take into account ethnic, gender and socioeconomic subgroups within each school. The school with the highest increase - 29 points - was Providencia Elementary, which got a 764.

``There's no quick fix or recipe. We've been improving our scores. And last year we went down by one point and I think that was a blessing in disguise, because it really got us to focus on each individual ... student and really redefine our instruction,'' said Principal Amin Oria.

Balboa Elementary, which receives federal funds to offset its high number of poor students, broke 800 on the API, the ultimate goal set by the state for all schools.

``That's quite an achievement. And Balboa continues to grow every single year,'' said Terri Dutton, director of assessment and evaluation for the GUSD.

Forty-five percent of GUSD students who took the standardized tests that make up the API come from families with incomes low enough to qualify them for free or reduced-price lunch.

Schools throughout the state have been measured by the API since 1999. The assessment system relies on standardized tests on subjects such as English language skills, math, history and social sciences.

The API is also a component of the federal government's assessment system under the No Child Left Behind Act. Schools are measured by Adequate Yearly Progress benchmarks, meaning they need to gradually increase their percentage of students proficient in math and English, on the road to getting 100 percent of students at that level by 2014.

All of the GUSD's schools met the targets set by the No Child Left Behind Act, except for one school for special needs students that had no valid API score.

But three of the BUSD's regular schools - George Washington Elementary and Luther Burbank and John Muir middle schools - did not meet all the AYP components. Still, Joel Shapiro, director of curriculum instruction and assessment, said the district did well overall.

``The trend points toward continued improvement at all levels,'' he said.

The BUSD school that dropped by the most points was Washington Elementary, which plummeted by 18 points. The GUSD's biggest points loser was Horace Mann Elementary, which fell by 11 points.

Alex Dobuzinskis, (818) 546-3304

alex.dobuzinskis(at)dailynews.com

CAPTION(S):

photo, box

Photo:

Vivian Hovsepian reads a book Tuesday outside her classroom at Balboa Elementary School, which broke 800 - the state-mandated goal - on its most recent Academic Proficiency Index.

Tom Mendoza/Staff Photographer

Box:

API RESULTS

Sources: California Department of Education
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Date:Sep 1, 2004
Words:602
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