“The hardest-working [people] in the classrooms are the students,” stated Santa Barbara School District’s Superintendent David Cash on Wednesday at a news conference during which the district’s Academic Performance Index (API) and the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) results were announced. And it appears the hard work has paid off.
“I’m happy to report that our schools have made progress,” Cash said. There have been “incredible gains,” he went on, “gains that we haven’t seen in a long time.”
The superintendent was especially happy to announce that McKinley Elementary School scored exceptionally well. Cash was “excited” and said that McKinley did a “fantastic” job in the areas of math and English arts. “McKinley should be very proud,” he said. “What a statement it is for the school and the community.”
Tuesday afternoon, the district’s five school board members brought cake and balloons to McKinley to deliver the good news to Principal Emilio Handall and his staff. The superintendent described the moment as one of the more “touching moments of my career.” The news, however, did not surprise the principal.
“It wasn’t surprising because all the work that our staff has done the past year has been the right thing,” Handall said in an interview. “We’re very excited. We’re headed in the right direction. That’s what we’re most excited about.”
Three years ago, when Handall took over as principal, McKinley’s API score was 672 points. This year the elementary school received 774 points — just 26 points short of the state target of 800 — but that is still not good enough for Handall.
“We need to get even better,” he said. “[We need to] continue the things we know are successful with students and get rid of the things we know aren’t working. Also, we need to try new things that research has proven to be helpful.”
Cash declared Wednesday “a great day for Santa Barbara children,” though he too stated “we still have a lot of work to do. There is still a huge percentage of students that are not doing well enough.”
District Schools’ API Scores
(Each school’s score for the previous year is in parentheses.)
Adams, 775 (745)
Adelante Charter, 696 (678)
Cleveland, 719 (741)
Franklin, 743 (734)
Harding University Partnership, 744 (687)
McKinley, 774 (748)
Monroe, 760 (764)
Open Alternative, 775 (822)
Peabody Charter, 883 (871)
Roosevelt, 867 (847)
Santa Barbara Charter, 792 (819)
Santa Barbara Community Academy, 769 (778)
Washington, 916 (904)
Goleta Valley JHS, 821 (838)
La Colina JHS, 880 (880)
La Cumbre JHS, 800 (782)
Santa Barbara JHS, 832 (823)
Dos Pueblos HS, 820 (816)
San Marcos HS, 776 (771)
Santa Barbara HS, 790 (780)
La Cuesta Continuation HS, 545* (514*)
“*” means this API is calculated for a small school. APIs based on small numbers of students are less reliable and, therefore, should be carefully interpreted.