Walnut Grove School had a rank of 1 and Las Palmas Elementary School received a 2 in both similar-schools and statewide rankings released by the state Department of Education June 14, and only three of eight local schools scored better than 5.
Even as Patterson Joint Unified School District officials celebrated the high rank earned by 200-student Grayson Charter and good results at Patterson High and Apricot Valley Elementary schools, they said there was work to do in coming months.
“Definitely, we have a long list of challenges ahead,” said Ruben Piña, president of the Patterson Unified school board. ”Basically, what we need to do is not lose focus on the high expectations we have of all students. We need to work as a team that will include parents, teachers, administrators and board members.”
Most schools in the district scored on par with their 2010 results. The exceptions were Patterson High, which climbed from 4 to 5 in statewide rankings and from 6 to 8 in similar-school rankings, and Walnut Grove School, which lost 1 point in both statewide and similar-schools reporting.
Apricot Valley scored 7 in statewide rankings and 9 when compared with similar schools. But Northmead Elementary and Creekside Middle schools received 3s in statewide rankings and 4s in similar-school rankings.
Del Puerto High School, the district’s alternative school, had only 20 students tested and was not ranked.
Ranks are based on the 2011 state Academic Performance Index test results, on a scale of 200 to 1,000. Each school receives a growth target to meet above the score it received the year before.
Patterson Unified Superintendent Phil Alfano said educators look at similar schools first before considering statewide ranks.
“The similar-school rankings are very important, because you are comparing like student populations,” Alfano said. “When I see schools that are under a 5 on similar-school rankings, we want to take a close look and see what is happening and what we can do to effectively raise the rank.”
Only three schools in the district — Grayson Charter, Apricot Valley and Patterson High — earned ranks of 5 or better.
Piña said he hoped that with new vice principals at the elementary schools and middle school and a new superintendent of schools, local children would be on track for positive changes.
“I think with the new changes in personnel and focusing on academics, we can move the schools to becoming successful and reaching our targets of becoming an 8 or 9 in state rankings,” Piña said. “That’s our goal. We have hopes with the new superintendent we’re going to move forward.”
Alfano said he would work with local school administrators when they return after summer break to make sure the district is recording its student demographics correctly.
“If you use demographic information that isn’t correct, you can end up being compared to schools that are not like yours,” Alfano said.
The state Board of Education calculates similar-school ranks by grouping 100 schools of equal size with comparable student demographics, such as ethnicity, family income levels and numbers of English learners and gifted students while a school’s statewide rank compares to other schools of the same type statewide. .
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