Monday, September 13, 2010

MDUSD API scores are out!

API Scores have been released. This news bulletin, just in from the Superintendent's Office.


Mt. Diablo USD News Update

Where Kids Come First

API Update

We wanted to celebrate the good news with you that 37 of our schools met their API growth targets, and as a district our API grew by 11. Though many of our elementary schools showed significant gains, Ayers, Ygnacio Valley, and Holbrook all had gains of 50 points or more. At the middle school level, El Dorado, Pleasant Hill, Riverview all gained 26 or more points. At the high school level, Mt. Diablo gained 29 points, while College Park gained 17 and broke the 800 pt barrier. The gains at all our schools were due to our teachers’, support staff members’, and administrators’ hard work, continual focus on reviewing student achievement data, analyzing and sharing best instructional practices, and supporting students who do not master a skill after the initial instruction. Attached to the bottom of this news update are the API scores for all of our non-special program schools.

We know that we need to continue to work collaboratively to analyze student achievement data and review best instructional practices to ensure that we are meeting all of our students’ learning needs. Currently, we need 56% of our students demonstrating that they are proficient or advanced on the English-Language Arts (ELA) portion of the STAR test and 56.4% on the mathematics STAR Test. District-wide 58.8% of our students were proficient or advanced in ELA and 58.5% were proficient or advanced in math. However, several of our subgroups including socioeconomically disadvantaged, English Learners, Hispanic/Latino, and African American did not meet the performance targets. Our District Goals and Objectives are critical to help continue to move forward allowing our district to meet the upcoming academic targets Not only do the District Goals and Objectives provide clear growth expectations on multiple critical measures, the document also provides strategies that we will be implementing district-wide to support every school to meet the learning needs of all our children.

If you have questions about your child(ren)s’ school’s API, I recommend that you contact the principal and discuss the school’s Single Plan for Student Achievement. If you would like to participate in the dialogue around your child’s schools plan to move forward I suggest that you join your school’s School Site Council.

In these difficult financial times, we are extremely proud of our teachers’, support staff members’, and administrators’ commitment to continually challenge ourselves to improve the learning opportunities for all our children.

2010 Growth 2009 Base Growth Target Actual Growth
Mt. Diablo District 784 773

Elementary Schools

Ayers 834 777 5 57
Bancroft 892 903
Bel Air 646 660 7 -14
Cambridge 727 686 6 41
Delta View 825 830
Eagle Peak 893 873
El Monte 754 748 5 6
Fair Oaks 731 695 5 36
Gregory Gardens 818 848
Hidden Valley 851 843
Highlands 856 845
Holbrook 777 727 5 50
Meadow Homes 648 655 7 -7
Monte Gardens 918 898
Mountain View 809 797 3 12
Mt. Diablo 915 911
Pleasant Hill 898 901
Rio Vista 669 671 6 -2
Sequoia 921 917
Shore Acres 659 620 9 39
Silverwood 828 805
Standwood 917 905
Sun Terrace 780 759 5 21
Valhalla 878 870
Valle Verde 930 927
Walnut Acres 936 934
Westwood 810 805
Woodside 869 863
Wren 765 754 5 11
Ygnacio Valley 753 697 5 56

Middle Schools

Diablo View 857 858
El Dorado 708 682 6 26
Foothill 900 881
Glenbrook 660 643 8 17
Oak Grove 646 627 9 19
Pine Hollow 788 771 5 17
Pleasant Hill 825 799 1 26
Riverview 672 645 8 27
Sequoia 867 871
Valley View 828 831

High School

Clayton Valley 776 771 5 5
College Park 804 787 5 17
Concord High 723 743 5 -20
Mt. Diablo 651 622 9 29
Northgate 864 855
Ygnacio Valley 666 677 6 -11


  1. "difficult financial times" ? How can the district then afford to pay for the catered dinner at Centre Concord for the School Site Councils ? Doesn't make sense to me.

  2. Geez, as a parent I feel pretty slighted by Mr. Lawrence. Not one word of praise for us parents, no credit for the work we do with our children. Yes, I agree we should thank our teachers and school adminstrators -- but I guess the rumors are true about Mr. Lawrence: its all about him. "The gains at all our schools were due to our teachers', support staff members', and administrators' hard work, continual focus on reviewing student achievement data, analyzing and sharing best instructional practices, and supporting students who do not master a skill after the initial instruction."

  3. Aaack! This blog is getting wild!

    Parents complaining that the Superintendent doesn't praise them for being a good parent? Good Grief!!

    1:42pm- WTH? You wrote,

    "...but I guess the rumors are true about Mr. Lawrence: its all about him. "The gains at all our schools were due to our teachers', support staff members', and administrators' hard work, continual focus on reviewing student achievement data, analyzing and sharing best instructional practices, and supporting students who do not master a skill after the initial instruction."

    How is that all about Dr. Lawrence?

    If you need praise from a school employee that you are doing your job, maybe you aren't doing that good a job.

  4. Anon 1:57 The credit for rising test scores should be shared with the good parents who help educate their children. I agree that Steven Lawrence should have acknowledged that rather than giving all of the credit to teachers and administrators.

  5. Believe it or not 2:14pm, there are crappy parents who have kids that do well on their own.

    Why should I care what he says? My kid does their homework every night and gets good grades. It doesn't matter the least in my world what he thinks. I see the proof in the pudding and I know that the role I play as a parent sets my kids up for success.

    Try practicing some self love. If you know you are doing a good job with your kids, why do you need someone else to tell you so?

  6. Lawrence is putting lipstick on the pig -- it appears that MDUSD is on the verge of being named a "Program Improvement" district, unless the district can escape with the graduation rate improving this year. Despite some significant improvements at some schools [50 API points is big], the overall scores appear to be worse as judged in the Adequate Yearly Progress Criteria in any grade level for either math or ELA. Take a look at:
    Friends, its not good news for the children.
    Doctor J

  7. Doctor J - Lipstick on the pig? That is a new low for you.

    I like Dr. Lawrence's communication and he does acknowledge that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. Change takes time and we have to acknowledge the accomplishments, no matter how small.

    The STAR testing is not an accurate reflection of the school nor the student. My child is a Senior, passed the CASHEE, did well on his SAT's but not so well on his STAR Math section. Why??? We don't know and neither does he. He is in AP Calculus and did really well in Honors Pre-Calculus. Maybe it was a bad day, maybe he was sick, who knows.

    Most importantly, what is he learning? This is what we talk about and what he can do to improve his skills for College and his future. We are all thrilled he is done with STAR testing, yeah! These tests mean absolutely NOTHING in College!

  8. Anon 5:10
    I previously posted that the Lawrence as the new Supt should not be held accountable for the test results this year since he just began on Feb 1. However, the School Board should be held accountable. I would love to hear them publicly accept responsibility instead of try the blame game. This is not a situation that developed in the last year; it is a result of years of neglect and lack of accountability. However, I do think that the Supt should have been up front that this district is in danger of being named as a Program Improvement district. He did not -- He just gave us the sugar frosting.
    Doctor J

  9. Dr. J,

    How has all of your hard work at your site impacted students relative to test scores?

  10. Boy, this Superintendent can't win, no matter what he does. I'm not a fan, I'll say that, but I certainly do not need the Superintendent to thank me for being a parent? He is responsible for school and what happens in it, I am responsible for parenting and my support for my kids in their education. When I read that it didn't even dawn on me, "why didn't he thank me." Hmm, I guess to each their own.

    Doctor J, can you elaborate more on why the district is "on the verge?"

    We have to be involved every step of the way with our kids. And sometimes performance in the classroom doesn't translate to the test (one way or the other). You could be told your child is struggling, when really it is a bad teacher, or a teaching style that does not fit your child's style of learning, but then they ace advanced on STAR. So what's it all mean? Nothing much. I guess some sort of benchmark, but I tend to pay most attention to how much child is doing day to day.

  11. Gary, there you go again, trying to cloud the issue -- you have been on the school board for 15 years now and have been School Board President. If I am not mistaken, you voted to hire every Superintendent during your tenure. You have voted to hire every teacher, every administrator, and every employee. The academic decline of MDUSD is unfortunate, especially for the children. We still don't have a Strategic Plan -- even the words of the Supt that his Goals/Objectives are the "first step" towards a SP -- well, you know because you have studied how SP's are adopted that "goals/objectives" are NOT the first step towards a SP.
    So Gary, lets have a little transparency here -- Is MDUSD on the verge of being named a Program Improvement District ? I have been asking you for weeks -- what is your timetable for adoption of a Strategic Plan ?
    Doctor J

  12. Anon 5:47
    Why on the "verge" -- its like being on the crumbly edge of a tall cliff. You need to go to this web page and see:
    Its not pretty.
    Doctor J

  13. Dr J,

    I think it's ironic that you of all people would accuse me of not being transparent. I have said that I am available to discuss strategic planning with anyone who is willing to meet me in person. Other than that, I have answered all of the questions over and over about strategic planning.

    I wasn't trying to "cloud the issue". You seem to have some very strong opinions regarding student achievement and I am curious if you'd like to share with everyone the level of success that you have experienced at your site and how you have been able to achieve that success. Maybe we can all learn from you.

  14. Gary, I will participate in the public Strategic Plan process, if you ever follow through with your commitment to champion it.
    Doctor J

  15. This will help you to interpret the AYP data:

  16. Most districts in California are trending to Program Improvemnt districts because of the targets set by No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

    NCLB has sets targets of Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) for the % proficient or above students should be. It various between elementary/secondary and high schools but for 2010/2011 school year approximately 68% of all students should be proficient or higher in English/Language Arts (ELA) and 69% should be proficient or higher in Math. The percent increases each year until 2013/2014 when ALL students (100%) should be proficient or higher. This includes special education students and students who have been in the school system for at least two year regardless of English Learner designation.

    A district would go into program improvement (PI) if it did not meet these goals. Many districts in California would fall into category, especially those with high demographics in socioeconomically disadvantaged children.

    I have not done detailed trend analysis, but I did look at the School Accountability Report Card (SARCO) for our high performing schools (scoring over 850) they average about 83% ELA and 87% math and have been there for a few years. Just a glance at WCSD shows that there schools are showing the same sort of trending - leaning a bit higher in math.

    Bottom line is that in California as the NCLB % goes higher more schools fall into PI and more districts fall into PI.

    I was at a Parent Advisory Council (PAC) meeting last year and Dr. Nicoll did discuss this possibility.

  17. Theresa,

    Would you please repost your link. I copied the link into my browser and received page not found.

  18. Thank you for the link Theresa and is very helpful in explaining the difference between the API and AYP. Sherry, I am not sure it supports your hypothesis that "most districts" are trending to Program Improvement districts since "graduation rates" are outside of the standardized testing process, and that can keep a district out of PI. I continue to believe that having a comprehensive Strategic Plan is important to improving the education of our children. Sherry I hope you would support immediate steps for beginning the comprehensive Strategic Plan process in MDUSD and not be satisfied with just goals/objectives.
    Doctor J

  19. CC Times debunks Mr. Lawrence's puffing about API scores.
    I thought they took sugar coating out of the schools.

  20. From Katy Murphy's article (found it interesting and inspriring that non-English speakering students made such good progress and scored so well):

    Lincoln Elementary, in Chinatown, became the first non-charter school in the city to win a National Blue Ribbon Award this year for its academic achievements. At least 90 percent of its students enter kindergarten with limited knowledge of English, and its API is 953.

  21. Ok, Gary, I have to acknowledge. It was kind of like watching a teenage boy on his first date with a girl at the door. Was he going to kiss her or not ? You beat around the bushes forever, but finally, finally, you actually mentioned the words "Strategic Plan" -- hurrah to you ! You kissed her. But . . . it was more like kissing your sister. Pretty wimpy. You could have done so much better. But you do get another chance. :-) Lets get the Strategic Plan process started ! Lets not wait. The Elementary presentation was fantastic. I am pretty worried about the middle school and high school -- seems like they are way behind in the process. Lets not lose this momentum !!
    Doctor J

  22. Dr J, two questions, and complete honest answers are required: what have YOU done at your school site to raise STAR scores, and which schools SPECIFICALLY do not have sufficient text books for their students?

    Transparent answers, please. Honest, complete, clear answers. Anything less diminishes your credibiity.

  23. It's difficult for schools with two or three subgroups to meet API goals than schools with just White or White/Asian populations. Affluent schools test higher than low-income schools (as indicated by the % of kids on free or reduced-price lunches).

    I'm not an educator, but it seems that the poorer performing schools need more resources. I don't know if that means money, aides, or what. I think we should be prioritizing and giving to the neediest first, but everyone would be up in arms and clamoring to get their 'fair share.'

    I'm in the Northgate feeder pattern, and I believe that, yes, as hard as it is, we should put the neediest of our 'family' before ourselves. Compassion is easy when things are good, but more meaningful when the chips are down.

  24. Anon 9:24 Oh my, your questions are way too personal. Didn't your mother teach you manners ? You might as well just ask me my $@%{ .
    Doctor J

  25. More interesting tidbits from Lincoln Elementary’s API report:

    # of students included in testing: 383
    # of students “socioeconomically disadvantaged:" 316 (subgroup API=947)
    # of students “english learners:” 335 (subgroup API=954)

    Appears to be a non-affluent community in Oakland (316 of 383 students in the socioeconomically disadvantage subgroup)?

  26. Do you think if we stopped addressing/answering Dr. J's post he will go away?

    He has gone from mildly informative to having a personal agenda to losing reality.

    I say we boycott his/her posts!

  27. My child still doesn't have a textbook for Advanced Math Topics at College Park High School.

  28. 8:14pm- Maybe you would get a better response if you went to the board meeting and told the board or contacted Barbara Oaks directly.

    I honestly don't know what complaining about it on this blog will do.

  29. Anon 11:02,

    I wouldn't complain about it at the board meeting if I was you. You are likely to be told you are an "'enemy of the kids of MDUSD" by Paul Strange if you do.

    Then you won't be getting an apology from Paul and his I mean fellow board members will be too chickenshit to call him out on it.

  30. Good Lord, 7:47am! Seek Help for your issues!!

    Maybe you and Paul will end up in the same anger management group!

  31. " and which schools SPECIFICALLY do not have sufficient text books for their students?"

    El Dorado Middle School has core classes that do not have text books. Teachers are reduced to spending valuable time making photo-copies from one text book, which I believe is illegal. Not to mention a huge waste of time and money.

  32. Long-time Board WatcherSeptember 16, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    Anon 7:47, you are demanding that the Board as an official body make a public issue about a matter (Paul's comments about Linda) that has appeared only on this blog. Only people who read the blog know about it. (And many of us are tired of hearing about it while Linda herself has put the matter behind her.) Dick Allen and Linda Mayo do not read blogs. Sherry may have stopped doing so. Gary Eberhart has responded here, directing critics to talk to Paul personally.

    I am all for holding Board members accountable for their actions and decisions, and many posters on this blog do that. But holding all Board members accountable for one member's comment on a blog is, well, ridiculous. Can we please talk about district matters that are important to students, staff, and parents?

  33. "and which schools SPECIFICALLY do not have sufficient text books for their students?"

    I'll chime in to answer this question as well... My 6th grader goes to Valley View and there are not enough text book in his core class (history/english) for every student.

    The teacher even said last night at back to school night that they (VV) could not afford to buy spelling text books. They received a grant so each teacher could have one and only one... the kids can only view the material on an overhead screen.

  34. I've seen a number of comments related to missing text books. I'd be happy to follow up on those concerns. If you would, please send me an e-mail that includes the site, the teacher, the subject, and the period, if it's a secondary school, and I will look into each and every concern about text books. Of course we are extremely low on funds in our district, but I am unaware of an inability to purchase text books. I know that we may have placed some text book adoptions on hold for budgetary reasons, but that should not be a majority of the problem. In any case, let me know specifics and I will look into each issue.

  35. If parents have concerns about textbooks, you can email me ( I will need the following information:
    School Name
    Grade Level

  36. I see Gary has beaten me the punch. I did not see his post when I began typing mine.

    Sorry about that.