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Palo Alto schools report bump in test scores

Original post made on Oct 11, 2012

Better test scores among disadvantaged and underrepresented minority students contributed to a bump in the "Academic Performance Index" score of Palo Alto schools, which was publicly released Thursday by the California Department of Education.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, October 11, 2012, 1:37 PM

Comments (12)

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Posted by borg
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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Posted by Ha ha ha Borg!
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 11, 2012 at 4:35 pm

[Several posts removed by Palo Alto Online because they are off-topic. Please re-post on an appropriate topic or create a new topic.]

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Posted by Jan H.
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 11, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Last year some San Jose schools ( such as Union School District and Willow Glen) scored higher than PAUSD at the elementary and especially at the middle school levels.
Los Gatos/Saratoga has always scored higher. I personally know of some people in PA who moved to Los Gatos or Saratoga for this purpose, and got the added benefit of a lower (if only a little) cost of housing.

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Posted by bill
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 12, 2012 at 10:34 am

On a percentage basis it is not a "jump" to go from 926 to 934 out of 1000 - less than one tenth of one percent? There are too many variables when comparing school rankings to brag about small differences - and most of them socio-economic.

I attribute the achievement of Palo Alto students to support from well educated, well off parents than anything else. It would be surprise if Palo Alto was not among the top scorers. Although as Jan H. points out, there are several schools on the Peninsula that rank higher at less cost.

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Posted by pa parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Wow, nothing makes you people happy! We live in one of the richest, most interesting, most intelligent communities in the country and all I read in these comments in complaints, and fear that other communities are better. I, for one, am quite graateful to live here.

Good job Palo Alto students and teachers!

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Posted by Jan H.
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 12, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Jan H. is a registered user.

For several years I knew a woman who was a teacher at the elementary school level in Willow Glen. This was in the Nineties. Her daughter was a riding school student of mine. At that time, Willow Glen scored a significant number of points higher than PAUSD, despite the higher socio-economic status of most PA parents, and despite the fact that WG spends less $$ on education.

I asked her what she thought the difference was. Her answer: more parent involvement in Willow Glen, Los Gatos, etc. Basically, fewer PA parents are able to make time for their child's school, for whatever reason. Her second response: fewer over-scheduled kids. Willow Glen students have fewer extra-curricular commitments, and therefore have more time to complete homework assignments and study for tests.

Simple as that, but apparently, difficult for many parents to accomplish.

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Posted by Scores
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 12, 2012 at 8:04 pm

"Last year some San Jose schools ( such as Union School District and Willow Glen) scored higher than PAUSD at the elementary and especially at the middle school levels."

Union Middle scored 932, slightly below JLS. Union Middle has seen an increased over 100 points in the last 5 years. Non-Title 1 Elementary schools in the Union School district are all in the mid 900's. Lots of parent involvement. Great kids who care about their peers. Teachers who want their students to do well.

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Posted by More-Data-Needed
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Six points is hardly a "bump". Each year there is a "growth projection" that is a part of the API data released by the State. What was the 2011-12 "Growth" number? It is not possible to discuss any increased API scores without this number being a part of the discussion.

The Weekly seems to have failed to understand this, and provide this important bit of data to its readers. It's very possible that the "growth" projection might be more than the increase turned in by the District. In this case, the District's performance would still be very good--but not up to expectation.

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Posted by Data please
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 16, 2012 at 7:17 am

API scores are up across the state, but a lot of the reason is that students with IEPs are taking an easier test, the CMA, rather than the CST. For an explanation, see Web Link. In PAUSD, 20% of special education students are taking the test, which raises their achievement scores (and therefore the API scores). The tests are mostly used in elementary schools at this point. It is interesting that PAUSD missed its API subgroup targets for 3 schools: JLS, Jordan and Paly, all because of special education students. That will probably change once the CMA is given to those students.

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Posted by Hillary Cohen
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 6, 2013 at 7:15 pm

My family and I will be relocating to palo alto next year. All the elementary schools seem to be quite good. Are the middle schools just as impressive? Can someone comment on where we should buy to get into a good middle school?

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Posted by If by "impressive" you mean rampant bullying...
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 6, 2013 at 10:51 pm

Los Altos.

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Posted by Experienced
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 6, 2013 at 11:15 pm

@Hillary: There are differences between ALL the schools, even the elementary schools. No one is going to post answers here - our schools are already overcrowded so no one is going to want people running to their schools. Every school has a stereotype. You are going to have to find some Palo Alto allies to ask these questions (hopefully, unPC ones who will tell you the real scoop). You might want to rent for a year first so you can make an informed decision on where to buy. If you are interested in a house, find out which schools the children will attend. There are condos which had signs claiming the high school children would attend was Gunn when it is actually in the Paly attendance area. The PAUSD website has a section where you can enter the house address and it will display the schools depending on the location of the house.

Be aware that while teachers in PAUSD are good, the students here are also smarter than the average American simply due to their genes.

Be sure you have enough extra money for the abundance of extracurriculars and camps available. Palo Alto is an extremely convenient location so if it's not offered here, it's offered in a city nearby. You don't want to move here and be housepoor, although there are many residents who are. You might need money for tutors in high school too. There are some classes in high school where nearly every student either has parental help or a tutor (but this is for advanced classes in math and science). Regular lanes in PAUSD are doable without tutors.

Don't worry about the "bullying issues" you might read on these threads. In fact, there is very little bullying in PAUSD compared to other schools, and in my experience and from what I've heard, bullying is taken seriously in our schools. [Portion removed.]

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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