Las Virgenes Unified School District and the State of California this afternoon released their annual API scores (STAR Test results) for the district. LVUSD typically scores high on APIs, and the district reports that it continues to be one of the “top ranking districts in the state.”

According to the California Department of Education, “The API is a numeric index that ranges from a low of 200 to a high of 1000 with a statewide target of 800.” Schools target continued improvement. School targets are set at 5 percent of the difference between the school’s base API score and the statewide target of 800, with a minimum target of 5 points.

The overall district score showed an increase over last year with a score of 876 up from 872. All schools scored above 800 with six schools scoring above 900 (with the exception of Indian Hills High school which is not yet reported). And, the district reports “all schools met their Annual Yearly Progress targets.”

As for the schools serving Westlake Village residents, White Oak Elementary had the highest score in the district with a score of 944 up from 927 last year. Lindero Canyon Middle School scored 893 up from 885 last year. And, Agoura High scored 839 up from 833.

Comparisons to Other Districts

To put this in perspective, scores over 800 are considered to be very good in and of themselves. Only 36% of all California schools are now “at or above the target of 800.” Broken down by school type across the state, 41% of Elementary Schools are over 800, 29% of Middle Schools, and 17% of High Schools.

Realize that scores typically reflect not only the districts programs, but also demographics in a district, socioeconomic levels, and parent involvement. As a point of comparison, for nearby districts or ones that LVUSD is typically compared to:

Score District
876 Las Virgenes Unified
858 Conejo Valley Unified
891 Oak Park Unified
683 Los Angeles Unified
851 Beverly Hills Unified
909 Manhattan Beach Unified
831 Santa Monica-Malibu Unified
904 Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified
917 La Canada Unified
858 Laguna Beach Unified

Full Text of Release

Here’s the full text of the press release including the scores:

Academic Performance Index 2008
District Continues to Demonstrate High Achievement

The release today of the 2008 Accountability Progress Report or STAR Test results from the state shows that Las Virgenes Unified School District continues to perform as one of the top ranking districts in the state. All schools scored above 800 with six schools scoring above 900. The overall district score showed an increase over last year with a score of 876. All schools met their Annual Yearly Progress targets. With in depth, comprehensive programs at all grades as well as innovative and advanced instruction that promotes student success, the district is also embracing research based strategies and programs for underachieving students.

“LVUSD continually strives for improvement and will be analyzing this recent state assessment data as well as ongoing curriculum and skills based assessment results to determine areas of growth or regression. A district wide staff development day in October will provide valuable training by district experts and nationally recognized specialists. The application for an International Baccalaureate Program for high school students in the district and the implementation of critical thinking, and application based curriculum across all grade levels are examples of the innovative programs that continue to make LVUSD such a high achieving district,” said Mary Schillinger, Assistant Superintendent of Education for LVUSD.

The Community Learning Center started during the 2007/2008 school year. An API score of 856 is a significant achievement for any school, particularly a newly formed school. The district supported the needs of the students in the CLC in meeting the state content standards using collaborative learning strategies. Jeff Lough, CLC School Coordinator, reports that; “the relationship based classroom focus at the CLC leads to increased motivation for learning concepts in a hand’s on learning environment. This in turn leads to high student achievement and a genuine enjoyment in the learning process. I anticipate building upon this trend of strong educational performance throughout the year.”

“I was pleased to see that our elementary schools continued to perform at such high levels. Every year we look closely at fluctuations in scores and other assessment data to identify deficit areas, particularly for those students that have yet to reach proficiency. We then use this information to target interventions to the skill gap areas. We remain committed to helping all students perform at the highest academic levels.” — Rose Dunn, Director Elementary Education LVUSD

Elementary schools in the district will be implementing a “Response to Intervention” plan which will earmark specific intervention strategies for students who do not achieve proficiency. Matching a specific, research based, remedial program to each student’s unique needs is the key to success. Student’s scores on the state wide assessment becomes the starting point for determining the components of each intervention plan.

The district scores reflect a significant number of students moving from Below Basic and Basic skill levels into the Proficient level, including students in the subgroups of English Learners and Students with Disabilities. Schools used a variety of strategies to support students in their achievement.

“Each year teachers ensure that curriculum is better aligned with state content standards. Teachers review “broadstroke data” to help better align curriculum. Emphasis is placed on helping students move from basic to proficient,” Ron Kaiser, Principal Lindero Canyon Middle School reports.

Mary Sistrunk, Principal A. C. Stelle credits a variety of strategies at her school including after school tutoring classes using high school students as tutors for students in Algebra and Algebra Honors, and the Success Maker program which is used for language arts, math and special ed. students. “It was great to have this tool and it did make a difference”, Mary reports.

Both Agoura High School and Calabasas High School continue to show high achievement in all areas. With scores of 839 and 842 respectively, both high schools rank in the top percentiles statewide for schools of their size. “We have a very talented staff that stress rigor and relevance in all academic areas”, states Larry Misel, Principal Agoura High School. “Each department meets and analyzes what the STAR results mean and how this will influence the pacing and instruction for the school year.”

Both high schools use the diagnostic information they gain from their STAR scores to develop department goals and intervention plans. “We will begin an aggressive 2008-2009 campaign focused on improving scores of students designated as Below Basic /Far Below Basic on the California Standards Tests in English Language Arts and Mathematics”, said C. J. Foss, Principal at Calabasas High School. “Each student in these categories will be assigned a mentor/advisor who will meet with them to devise a plan to improve their skills in specific areas of need.”

“School site leadership, a focus on standards based instruction, departmental collaboration, and sharing of best practices continues to improve student achievement and raise API scores at our secondary schools.” — Jim Nielsen, Director Secondary Education

Academic Performance Index scores for LVUSD Schools:

2008 2007
Bay Laurel 907 907
Chaparral 894 907
Lupin Hill 892 897
Round Meadow 890 904
Sumac 871 888
White Oak 944 927
Willow 922 915
Yerba Buena 935 916
Comm. Learning Center 856 N/A

Middle Schools:
Alice C. Stelle 898 887
Arthur E. Wright 891 866
Lindero Canyon 893 885

High Schools:
Agoura High 839 833
Calabasas High 842 848
Indian Hills Continuation no score available

Individual student reports were mailed home at the end of August. Schools also have a copy of student result reports. For more information, parents may contact their child’s teacher or the school principal.

The following is a link to the CDE Accountability Progress Report News Release, Tables, and Summary of Results: