Local schools get report cards
Published: Friday, June 22, 2012 at 11:42 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 22, 2012 at 11:42 a.m.
Two Petaluma area schools earned a top score in the state’s similar school ranking system based on spring 2011 tests. Liberty School and Two Rock Union School were among 11 Sonoma County schools to earn a top score of 10.
Similar school ranks are part of the state’s Base Academic Performance Index report that also includes statewide ranks and academic growth targets for every school in California. The rank will be compared to the results of spring 2012 testing to measure the academic progress of the schools. That API Growth Report will be released in the fall.
Similar school ranks use a scale of one to 10; 10 being best, one being worst; to compare elementary, middle and high schools with similar demographic characteristics. A rank of 10 means a school performed above or at least among the top 10 percent in comparison to similar schools.
In addition to the similar school rank, schools are ranked statewide against all schools of the same type — elementary, middle and high — based on their API scores. Only one Sonoma County School, Technology High School in Rohnert Park, scored a 10 in statewide rankings.
In addition to a 10 ranking among similar schools, Liberty received a nine statewide ranking. Two Rock received an eight statewide ranking.
Wilson School from the Wilmar School District repeated its nine statewide rank and also had a 9 similar school rank.
Liberty principal Chris Rafanelli said there was no secret to his school’s success.
“It is hard work,” he said. “The staff works hard and so do the kids. Excellence is in the details and we work hard on the details.”
Rafanelli said he is especially gratified by Liberty’s similar school rank. “For me, professionally, that ranking is more valuable, because it reflects where we stand in comparison to other schools like ourselves,” he said.
Two Rock principal Mike Simpson said his school ranking was a combination of several things.
“It is a tribute to the quality of our staff, our teachers and support staff, our parents and the support we get from the Coast Guard. They all contribute,” he said.
Two Rock has received a 10 similar school rank every year since 2007. In 2008, it was chosen a California Distinguished School and in 2010 was picked as a national Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.
Other area schools with high rankings include Oak Adobe and Sonoma Mountain schools from the Old Adobe Union School District with eight statewide rankings; Cornoa Creek School with a nine statewide ranking and Meadow School with a nine statewide ranking from the Waugh School District.
Among Petaluma City Schools, Grant School continued to rank well statewide, with a rank of 9, although that was down slightly from its rank of 10 the year before. Grant received a six similar school rank.
Petaluma’s secondary schools ranked well with other schools in the state. Petaluma High received an eight statewide rank and a nine similar school rank.
Casa Grande High School received an eight statewide rank and a six similar schools rank. Petaluma Junior High received eight statewide and nine similar school rank and Kenilworth Junior high received a seven statewide rank, but only a four similar school rank.
McDowell Elementary School received a three statewide rank, but ranked among similar schools. McKinley Elementary School dropped from a four to a two statewide rank and was ranked six among similar schools.
Petaluma city Schools Superintendent Steve Bolman noted that schools in the community’s largest school district compared favorably to other Sonoma County districts.
“In general, Petaluma schools, look pretty good,” he said. “Especially if we look at the larger school districts.”
Bolman said the rankings for McDowell and McNear were the result of a change that now has McDowell a kindergarten through third-grade school and McKinley a fourth through sixth-grade school.
“The change takes time and McKinley changed principals as well,” he pointed out.
Bolman said one problem with the rankings is that the data is old before it is released.
“It is a year old,” he said. “We’ve already taken this year’s test. We need to see where we need to improve in time to make changes.”
Rafanelli agreed. “I wish the rankings came out when the test scores were released,” he said. “I don’t know why they don’t.”
(Contact John Jackson at johnie.jackson@argus courier.com)
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