North Tahoe High aces standardized tests | SierraSun.com

North Tahoe High aces standardized tests

Jenny Goldsmith
Sierra Sun
Jenny Goldsmith/Sierra SunMicheala Clauss, a tenth-grader at North Tahoe High School, doles out cotton candy at a barbecue Friday. The student body was treated to a barbecue after receiving significant score increases on standardized tests issued in Spring 2008.
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Students at North Tahoe High School kicked back for a well deserved barbecue Friday afternoon in recognition of their performance in spring 2008 standardized testing.

North Tahoe High saw a greater Academic Performance Index (API) improvement than any other school in the Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District, said Joanna Mitchell, assistant principal.

“A lot of schools struggle to maintain their API level and to meet the target set by the state, but we far exceeded it,” Mitchell said during the barbecue Friday.

The California Department of Education set a growth target of five points for North Tahoe High, but the students’ scores far surpassed that goal with a growth of 39 points overall, Mitchell said.

Test results for the entire district are still being analyzed to determine which subjects students excelled in and which areas need improvement, said the district’s Superintendent Steve Jennings.

“We had some really positive results,” Jennings said. “We’re in the process of analyzing the tests to address problem areas … I’d like to see the numbers go up across the board.”

Students were tested in language arts, mathematics, science and history, and North Tahoe High saw growth in every subject and also met all federal adequate yearly progress criteria, said Principal Bill Frey.

“The students and teachers have been going the extra distance,” Frey said while grilling hot dogs for his students on Friday. “Between the test scores and the accreditation, this has been a great year so far.”

In August the Western Association of Schools and Colleges awarded North Tahoe High with the maximum six-year accreditation after evaluating the school’s educational program.

Frey said he attributes test score improvements to several new school-wide efforts implemented over the past four years such as the advisory program, mandatory after school tutoring, teacher collaboration, peer tutoring and the AVID program that prepares students for four-year college eligibility.

Aside from the 39-point growth in the 2008 standardized tests, North Tahoe High School has seen an overall Academic Performance Index growth of 85 points since 2005, Frey said.

“It really starts with the staff,” Frey said. “We will continue to work at the areas where kids did not do so well to help them master each subject.”