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A banner year for local schools

Hart district says thanks

Posted: September 29, 2008 9:44 p.m.
Updated: December 1, 2008 5:00 a.m.

One of several banners hung over city streets this week, thanking local students and school staff members for a job well done on standardized tests.


Banners went up across the Santa Clarita Valley this week to thank staff, students and parents of the William S. Hart Union High School District for the outstanding test scores recently reported by the California Department of Education.

The Hart district's Academic Performance Index (API) of 804 ranks first in the state among union high school districts with 10,000 or more students.

In addition to the district's high score, 10 of the Hart district's 17 schools scored higher than 800 API, the state's goal for every school and district in the state. The district's highest individual school API is 889, and a number of the district's other schools are rapidly approaching the 800 goal.

"Of course, we all realize that a good education is much more than high test scores," said Vicki Engbrecht, assistant superintendent of instructional services, "But the state's API score does offer a simple number to help the public recognize ‘good' schools. Every one of our schools qualifies under those criteria."

API scores are based on student performance on statewide tests across such content areas as English/language arts, math, social studies and science. Scores can range from 200 to 1000, with all schools and districts expected to reach the 800 level eventually. The Hart district moved up 13 points in 2007-08 to top the 800 API goal for the first time this year.

The Hart district worked hard in recent years to align its curriculum to the state standards and set up intervention programs for students who need extra help.

"Tests are far more important than just a number score," Engbrecht said. "We use the results throughout the year to improve instruction on a school, classroom and individual student basis."

The Hart district governing board suggested the banners to thank students and parents for taking the tests seriously, and the district's dedicated staff for working hard to be sure students are learning, Superintendent Jaime Castellanos said.

The banners are posted on three paseo bridges in North Valencia, on Newhall Avenue, Soledad Canyon Road and Whites Canyon Road to spread the message to as many local residents as possible.


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