Led by Lee Elementary, the closed another year with academic bragging rights.
According to California's latest Academic Performance Index, which uses standardized tests to rate student learning, every Los Alamitos Unified campus scored in the top 10 percent or top 20 percent statewide, although when compared to schools with similar demographics, some ranked significantly lower.
For example, landed in the top 20 percent of middle schools statewide, but in the bottom third among middle schools with similar demographics. And rated in the top 10 percent statewide, but in the middle of the pack against middle schools with similar demographics.
The district's shining star was , which again scored in the top 10 percent among elementary schools statewide and among those with comparable demographics. Lee was one of just a couple dozen Orange County schools to pull off that feat.
This year's API scores, released in May, were based on statewide tests taken in spring 2010.
High API scores can make a campus eligible to become a California Distinguished School or National Blue Ribbon School. Low scores can trigger state "intervention" programs to help a school improve its academic performance.
Accentuating the positive, outgoing Superintendent Gregory Franklin praised Lee Elementary's achievement. “The board and I are incredibly proud,” he said.
Incoming superintendent , who takes over the district July 1, credited Lee's staff for working well together.
“They have a culture of lifelong learning and continually strive to provide the best programs for students,” she said.
One key to Lee’s success lies in the school’s ability to provide interventions for struggling learners both during and after school hours, Kropp said.
Minority and Low-Income Education
Los Alamitos Unified ranked tops in the county for minority education, despite receiving an overall score of C+. That assessment came from The Education Trust–West, an Oakland-based nonprofit advocacy group.
In April, the group issued letter grades for 146 California school districts based on the performance of African-American, Latino and low-income students. Not a single district earned an overall A grade; most earned C’s or D’s.
In compiling its grades, the group used four factors: academic performance of low-income students and students of color; student improvement; achievement gaps between white and African-American and Latino students; and college readiness among students of color.
The first three categories were based on Academic Performance Index ratings, which are broken down by subgroups.
Although Los Alamitos Unified did better than any district in Orange County, Kropp said more can always be done, as minorities make up approximately 30 percent of the district's student population.
Among other things, she said English learners receive daily language instruction and can get extra help after school and during the summer.
API Scores By School
Here are the raw API scores for local schools. The highest possible score is 1,000; the lowest is 200.School API Score Hopkinson 944 Lee 938 Los Alamitos Elementary 911 Los Alamitos High 884 McAuliffe 919 McGaugh 905 Oak 890 Rossmoor 927 Weaver 971
-- Joe Tash contributed to this article.