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State testing school scores exceed goals but federal targets not met

By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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While all Western Placer Unified School District schools exceeded their goals for state testing scores, they did not meet federal targets. That’s according to Mary Boyle, the district’s deputy superintendent of educational services, who presented the district’s API and AYP scores during Tuesday night’s school board meeting. The state’s system of accountability is the Academic Performance Index (API), and Boyle said all of the district’s schools achieved an API of 800 or above, which is the goal set for the district by the state. The district’s overall API score is 822, according to Boyle. “We had phenomenal success and all students hit the API target,” Boyle said. “I’m very proud of all of our students.” The AYP target, or Adequate Yearly Progress, is a federally set goal, according to Boyle. “As a district, we did not meet our target and are entering program improvement as a district,” Boyle said. “It does not cause me any sense of concern with the education students receive.” The district’s Superintendent Scott Leaman explained what being in program improvement means to the district. “We have to give out a notice to the students and parents that we are in program improvement,” Leaman said. “Then we have to have a plan on how to get out of program improvement.” Boyle said 80 percent of districts who receive Title 1 funding did not meet their AYP goal as a district. The Western Placer Unified School District receives Title 1 funding since more than 35 percent of its students are in poverty, according to Boyle. “To go into program improvement shows a little bit of the challenge of the accountability model we are in,” Leaman said. “Obviously, we would rather not be in program improvement but we are not overly concerned. We will take the appropriate steps to exit (program improvement).” Boyle said other districts in program improvement include Roseville Joint Union High School District, Dry Creek Elementary School District and Placer Union High School District. “As a teacher, if I know 80 percent of my students are not meeting their targets, there is something wrong with the way my classroom is set up,” Boyle said. “If 80 percent of (those districts) are not meeting their targets, there is something wrong with the way the system is set up. We take our accountability very seriously. I just feel the system is flawed.” Boyle said the district will “continue to work on improving” AYP scores.