Stellar Rankings for LCUSD Evaluations

The forthcoming California Accountability Model evaluations for the 2015-16 school years placed La Cañada Unified School District in familiar territory — among the top-performing districts in the state.
LCUSD received top billings in most of the seven categories that are evaluated by the state, including in English language arts and mathematics. Both areas were listed as “very high” in achievement and showed improvement from the previous evaluation. School districts received the evaluations ahead of their public release.
“With curricular standards that are vastly more rigorous than those of a few years ago, and with other significant performance metrics taken into account with the new Dashboard, LCUSD students continue to shine and I could not be prouder of them,” Superintendent Wendy Sinnette said in a prepared statement.
The district’s graduation rate, which has increased annually since the 2011-12 school year, also was rated as “very high” in the state’s metrics, which weigh the year’s achievement level with how improved or regressed it is from the prior year. The online presentation of the evaluations is called the California School Dashboard.
English learner progress also was rated as “very high” for the 2015-16 year, with 90% of the district’s English learners showing improvement since the 2012-13 school year, according to the district.
The Dashboard also broke down individual school performances, with all three elementary schools ranking “very high” in English language arts and mathematics performances. Palm Crest Elementary School maintained its “very high” status in English learners and Paradise Canyon Elementary School also maintained its “high” ranking in that field, although both did decline slightly in progress. La Cañada Elementary School did not have enough students learning English to be graded in that metric.
La Cañada High School also graded as “very high” in English language arts, mathematics and English learner progress. Its graduation rate also placed as “very high.”
Suspension rate also was an indicator on the Dashboard. The entire district had a 1.3% suspension rate, which was an increase of 0.3% from last year and resulted in a “low” ranking, the second best for that category.
Individually, La Cañada Elementary was ranked as “medium” in suspensions after posting a 1% increase from the previous year. Both Palm Crest Elementary and Paradise Canyon Elementary ranked as “very low” after having decreased suspensions from the previous year. La Cañada High had a 0.6% suspension increase but still ranked as “low” in that category.
The state Department of Education is expected to roll out two additional evaluation categories for next year — chronic absenteeism and college/career readiness.
The California Accountability Model replaced the Academic Performance Index, which graded only standardized test scores and was retired in 2013. The Dashboard presentation is expected to be more useful in helping school districts identify areas for improvement with the help of state funding.
“I am grateful to our teachers for continually delivering such high-quality instruction and to our parents for their constant support,” Sinnette added in her statement. “We can target areas for growth under these new measures, but our initial performance level is outstanding, something to celebrate.”
The Dashboard information is expected to be released to the public in mid-March.

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