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First, it’s important to recognize that the Academic Performance Index (API) is obsolete as of about a couple years ago. It’s also important to understand why. The state has instead moved to the California Accountability Model and School Dashboard. This dashboard details a series of measurements including, but not limited to, standardized test scores. In these various categories current standing is taken into account, but so is progress and growth. Meaning a school or district can now get “points” for growth, even if the needle moved to a place that is lower than ultimately preferred. (I personally think this is a good thing and a GREAT thing for Azusa.)

There are more than a handful of reasons, and suspected reasons, for moving to this new model. Some of them include:
  1. Not merely measuring performance based on 1 test 1 week out of the year.
  2. Ways that the previous model has had the potential of creating what amounts to segregation where marginalized kids and families are further marginalized.
  3. Bringing awareness to and incentivizing growth and forward progress.
With that said, if you were to compare Azusa to… let’s say, Glendora, you would find with the information from the site, most categories are yellow for Azusa and green for Glendora. (Scores range from Red [lowest] – Orange – Yellow – Green – Blue [highest]) This means that for these districts in particular, Glendora is just one notch ahead of Azusa in most of these categories.

It’s also worth noting the demographics that are listed at the top of each respective report:
  • Glendora:
    • Enrollment: 7,607
    • Socioeconomically Disadvantaged: 27%
    • English Learners: 6%
    • Foster Youth: 0%
  • Azusa:
    • Enrollment: 8,900
    • Socioeconomically Disadvantaged: 83%
    • English Learners: 29%
    • Foster Youth: 1%

[Note that Glendora has fewer students enrolled than Azusa]

These demographics matter and often times reveal trends in academic outcomes. I don’t believe that they HAVE to, but they often times simply do.

( Azusa Dashboard | Glendora Dashboard )

It’s also worth noting that the dashboard does not currently include last year’s data. This data was just released and shared at a recent School Board meeting and the results were surprisingly great. (Not across the board, but in SO many different areas.)

Numbers such as Azusa vs. State average growth in the following areas:

1. English Language Arts – Azusa 4.03% vs. State 1.32%
2. Mathematics – Azusa 3.89% vs. State 1.09%

There are so many other incredible growth points that should be celebrated, but are not. Much of this has to do with sensationalism and negative news spreading more rapidly than good news. This is also due to a subpar job by the district in effectively communicating our successes to help accurately frame our narrative. (Feel free to check out the report here)

What would my plan be to address this?

  1. Do more of what’s working.
    1. There actually are many INCREDIBLE things happening in classrooms and at schools in the district, but not completely across the board. What are “these” teachers doing that “those” teachers are not? We need to assess and reconcile this and reinvest in our growth points.
  2. Do a better job of communicating our success.
    1. I recently responded to a comment from someone who basically said ,“AUSD SUCKS!” While I don’t agree with them, what I might personally say is, “AUSD Communication SUCKS!” People are talking in various spaces about the district. Some of it is true. Some of it is not. We need to inject facts, data, and critical thought into some of these spaces.

Bringing It All Together

I personally believe we need to begin with Trust:

  1. We need to rebuild trust by acknowledging where we’ve fallen short.
  2. We must address these shortcomings through measurable solutions with accountability structures in place.
  3. We’ve got to ask our community tough questions about ourselves and earn the right to correct falsehoods by first listening and allowing them to be fully heard.
  4. We’ve got to bring stakeholders in on reframing the perception that exists about the district.
  5. We must do a better job at telling our story and sharing our successes.

Original Question:

What’s the plan to increase student performance? API?





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