Public Elementary Schools Get High Grades but Fall in Rankings

La Cañada Flintridge’s three public elementary schools were ranked in the top 25 among the hundreds of such schools in Los Angeles County in the most recent survey from neighborhood review website Niche.com, though that status represents a decline compared with last year’s listings.
Palm Crest Elementary School ranked No. 12, Paradise Canyon Elementary School was No. 14 and La Cañada Elementary School landed at No. 25 among public schools in the county, according to Niche.
Last year, Palm Crest was No. 2, LCE ranked No. 3 and Paradise Canyon came in at No. 4.
“My sense is with all the great work we’re doing … it will be fluid in the upward movement direction for next year,” said La Cañada Unified School District Superintendent Wendy Sinnette.
She said a significant part of the analysis is dependent upon parent and student surveys and there could have been someone who wasn’t pleased with a service the district provides.
“But I think we’re really trying to be responsive,” Sinnette said. “We take very seriously our Panorama Education surveys. We surveyed the entire community, students, teachers and parents, so we do weigh our stakeholders’ voice and try to be responsive with adjustments to anything, any program that might be lacking and any interest people have that we’re not addressing.”
Panorama Education surveys, according to the company’s website, help school districts understand survey feedback in the areas of student voice, school climate, teacher and staff engagement and family and community engagement.
All three LCUSD elementary schools did achieve an A+ ranking from Niche. PCR scored an A+ in academics and teachers and an A- in diversity. PCY obtained an A+ in teachers, an A in academics and an A- in diversity. LCE received an A+ in academics, an A in teachers and an A- in diversity.
The three schools also dropped in their statewide listing.
As for statewide rankings last year, Palm Crest placed 14th, LCE was 21st and Paradise Canyon was 23rd.
This year, Palm Crest was listed as 32nd, Paradise Canyon ranked 36th and LCE was No. 57th.
LCE Principal Emily Blaney said she was proud to see that her school received an A+ overall and that she continues to be impressed by students and teachers.
“One of the factors that Niche measures is academics, and we will soon analyze the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress data as a staff, which is an important measure of our academic progress from year to year. Niche analyzes other factors that we do not have control over, like the racial and economic diversity of our families. La Cañada Elementary will continue to focus on providing rigorous academics with an emphasis on social and emotional learning.”
Palm Crest Principal Cory Pak, who began his tenure on the first day of school, Aug. 15, said his initial focus has been looking at and analyzing the most recent CAASPP data. Pak succeeded Karen Hurley, who was recently named the district’s director of programs and services.
“I am proud of our students, staff, and parent community for receiving an A+ overall rating,” Pak said. “Everyone at Palm Crest has made a commitment to provide academic rigor with a greater emphasis on social and emotional development of our students.”
Paradise Canyon Principal Carrie Hetzel said there are many factors, “some controllable and some uncontrollable,” that can change scores from year to year but that it was difficult to understand why the school received a lower score this year.
“I am proud that Paradise Canyon Elementary received an A+ overall rating and prefer to look at the most recent California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress data to measure our yearly progress,” Hetzel said.

Leave a Reply