As reflected by recently released test scores, Lodi Unified School District has some success stories, including Lodi High and Morada Middle School — but also several campuses that are lagging, including George Washington Elementary and Millswood Middle schools.
Academic Performance Index rankings released Friday by the California Department of Education show a wide variance within the district, from elite-level achievement at Elkhorn Middle School, a school for Gifted and Talented students, to scores near the very bottom statewide at several campuses.
Lodi High School has a statewide ranking of 6, meaning that its students are within the top 60 percentile of the statewide total — higher than 60 percent of the schools in the state. Meanwhile, Tokay High School ranks slightly below average, scoring a 4 on its achievement test, according to the state.
However, when compared only to schools with similar demographics such as ethnicity, English language learners, parent involvement and parent education levels, Lodi High is in the top 80 percentile in the state in the “similar schools index.”
Meanwhile, Morada Middle School, with a student body dominated by low-income families, scored in the top half among middle schools statewide. It is in the top 10 percent among similar schools.
“I was very excited to see Morada break an 800 API at 802, and a similar schools ranking of 9 is an outstanding accomplishment,” Dawn Vetica, Lodi Unified’s assistant superintendent for secondary schools, said in an email.
“Also outstanding are Middle College, Lodi High and Bear Creek’s similar schools rankings,” Vetica said. “There is always work that needs to be done, but our schools are doing a good job of continual improvement.”
George Washington Elementary School on West Lockeford Street didn’t do so well. Dan Faith, who just completed his first year as principal at Washington, said he understands why the school ranks in the bottom 1 percent in the statewide index — 70 percent of the students haven’t grown up in an English-speaking home.
However, Washington ranked in the bottom 20 percent when compared to schools in California with similar demographics. That has Faith “baffled,” although he was not Washington’s principal when the 2012 test was taken.
“We’re going to get on the right track, I guarantee it,” Faith said.
Washington’s scores will improve, he said, because it has nice students, supportive parents and a good teaching staff. Some student intervention programs have also been put into place to improve reading scores, Faith said.
The school’s math scores are very good compared with the state, he added. A test called Adequate Yearly Progress indicates that Washington’s math scores are 51.1 percent of the state average, Faith said.
Among middle schools in the Lodi portion of the district, Elkhorn ranks at the top statewide and among similar schools, Lodi Middle School is in the bottom 20 percent statewide, and among similar schools, Millswood has a 4 ranking statewide and a 1 among schools with similar demographics. Millswood Middle School Principal Sheree Flemmer was unavailable for comment Tuesday afternoon.
California Department of Education officials quietly released the 2012 school rankings on Friday, failing to provide the analysis they typically do when new base Academic Performance Index scores are released each spring.
The index ranks schools on a statewide basis by comparing 100 schools with similar characteristics, including demographics.
The highest ranking is 10, and the lowest is 1, and each level equals 10 percent of the schools in the group.
At the elementary level, the Aspire Vincent Shalvey Academy ranked a 10 statewide, which means it’s in the top 10 percent, and the Aspire River Oaks Charter School achieved a 9 ranking. Larson Elementary is in the top 70 percent statewide, but it’s in the bottom 70 percent among schools with similar demographics.
However, Beckman Elementary in Lodi is in the bottom 10 percent statewide and bottom 20 percent among similar schools.
For more information regarding Lodi Unified schools, visit the California Department of Education website.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.