San Carlos School District 2010 API Scores.

September 14, 2010

San Carlos School District Shines…

Once again, the San Carlos School District showed why it has made San Carlos the destination of choice for families with school-aged children.  The district came through with stellar API scores in the latest round of testing.  Some interesting fluctuations in the Brittan Acres scores, and a huge up-tick for Heather Elementary. But regardless of these scores, you absolutely can't go wrong with any of the schools in San Carlos.   Anyone who has been through the program at any San Carlos school will tell you that there's so much more to the whole experience that's not captured by a test score.

Here are the latest scores, and the comparison to last year:

API Met Growth Target
2010 Growth 2009 Base 2009-10 Growth Target 2009-10 Growth School-
All Subgroups Both Schoolwide
and Subgroups

Elementary Schools
Arundel Elementary 922 917 A 5 Yes Yes Yes
Brittan Acres Elementary 870 907 A -37 Yes Yes Yes
Heather Elementary 921 861 A 60 Yes Yes Yes
San Carlos Charter Learning Center 907 898 A 9 Yes Yes Yes
White Oaks Elementary 932 913 A 19 Yes Yes Yes
Middle Schools
Central Middle 874 872 A 2 Yes Yes Yes
Tierra Linda Middle 919 917 A 2 Yes Yes Yes

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  1. Anonymous on September 15, 2010 at 4:59 am

    The reason the Brittan Acres scores went down is because some of the classes there are part of the Special Day School, a program tailored to students with special needs.These classes were recently moved to Brittan Acres. I would imagine that if scores were examined for the non-special day school students, the scores would be similar to those of the other San Carlos elementary schools.

    Regardless, we are lucky to live in a community that has terrific schools!

  2. Chuck Gillooley on September 15, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Thanks for your comment. In fact, another reader just sent me this link which discusses that specific issue in more detail: BA Principa’s Message.

    I agree, there’s not a bad option for schools in San Carlos, and we tend to overemphasize API scores when there are so many other factors to weigh (some very subjective) when determining which school is right for you. But as I stated in the post, you can’t go wrong wherever you go in San Carlos.

  3. Joanne on September 15, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    The reason Heather’s scores went up is that there were fewer Tinsley kids from EPA. That’s why I take these scores (up or down) in perspective. It doesn’t take much to boost or plummet the scores. All in all, all SC schools are great!

  4. Anonymous on September 15, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    That is misinformation. Heather School’s Tinsley enrollement is not decreasing. Actually, it is on the rise. All of San Carlos schools are excellent and offer an exceptional education.

  5. Anon on September 16, 2010 at 1:58 am

    This really feels like when they rank the top 10 Universities. There is almost no difference between Stanford and Harvard. They are both great schools. All the schools in the SCUSD are amazing!

  6. BA Parent on September 16, 2010 at 4:54 am

    Anoymous is right. The reason Heather’s score went up and Brittan’s went down is that the special day class students were moved from Heather to Brittan Acres. Even though they are in a separate special day class, they still have to take the same test as the rest of the school and their scores get included in the school’s total score which includes the entire student body (special ed and non-special ed). Brittan Acres is a fantastic school and this just goes to show that API score alone doesn’t tell the entire story.

  7. PM on September 16, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Agreed, I don’t know why some feel compelled to explain away the scores of any specific school.

  8. Byron on September 17, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    BA Parent hit it on the mark and sometimes people try to be politically correct.. For at least 10 years, Heather’s scores have been the last in the SCSD. Go to any open house for sale in Heather’s area and one of the first questions buyers ask are the low scores. it didn’t matter whether it was API or STAR or whatever. Those of us who had our kids in Heather had to explain ad nauseum; Tinsley, special ed. As a result, Heather developed a perception problem. This was coupled with people falling over backwards to buy a house in White Oaks for the school reputation. That’s why, PM, people feel compelled to explain the scores of any specific school. In many ways, publishing these scores is a double-edged sword.

  9. PM on September 17, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    I have a child at Heather as well and do understand the perception issue – I guess what I’m saying is I never felt it necessary to try to explain my choice of school to those of uninformed opinion. But then I’ve not (yet) had to sell my Heather-zoned property either.

  10. Byron on September 17, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    While we’re on the perception issue, let’s confront some perceptions about high schools. Through the years, Sequoia’s image has suffered unfairly. despite having a rigorous and stellar IB/ICAP academic program. Is it seeing certain kids walking to school showing their boxers? Or is it a polyglot of languages being spoken? So what do a lot of SC parents in a Sequoia-zoned area do? They panic and rush to apply to St. Francis in (where?) Mt. View. Suddenly, you have non-practicing Catholics become practicing Catholics at St. Charles, schmoozing with the padres and volunteering their hearts out at church festivals, so that they can get a letter of recommendation. As a Carlmont parent, I’ve noticed the same attitudes creeping in with Tierra Linda Middle school parents. Despite having a stellar math and science dept that competes and wins math olympiads and an arts dept that’s phenomenal, it’s still not good enough. You hear code words like ” Carlmont has a lousy football team” or check out “those” kids getting off the Samtrans bus at the Club/Dartmouth intersection. In the meantime, I draw satisfaction from the fact that my kids aren’t chugging Monster/Rockstar energy drinks on the train trying to stay awake.

  11. prouddad on September 18, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    I’m a Heather parent who is relieved to pas the torch as having the lowest API scores.

    We have time and again heard rude comments about the school, or received sympathetic looks when we say which school our kids attend.

    Does anybody else recall the panic that ensued when some White Oaks kids got bumped to Heather. Outraged parents loved to say how they “paid a premium” to live in White Oaks.

    To me, the fact that Heather’s scores are now essentially the same as the coveted White Oaks reveals how meaningless these tests are anyhow.

    Those who have lived here a while tell me that this stigma has been visited upon Arundel, then Heather, and now Brittan Acres, as the special ed kids are moved around.

    Hey White Oaks, your turn will eventually come too. Maybe then the community will get over its fascination with it.

  12. Fake Test Sores on September 19, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    First of all, yes all the schools in S.C. are above average. But I agree w/others that these API results don’t tell the whole picture. I would rather prefer my children to attend a school with children of special needs, English learners, or different economic backgrounds or cultures. To me, that will teach them how to be accepting and get along in the world. How to love and respect everyone!

    Not only has White Oaks never taken the special needs children, but they have the lowest number of English learners, hispanic and black children as well. Now with the new boundries, it no longer encompasses the apartments it use to take. Very good job White Oaks! No Tinsley, not too much Hispanic and Black, and not too many lower social economic children. Doesn’t sound very diversified for my liking… that’s why I don’t own a home over there (besides itty bitty small lots).

    I’ve always known Heather had great kids and parents. It’s quite evident when they reach TL… if you like to use test scores as an indicator.

    There are so many nice areas to live in, in San Carlos!! Don’t let test scores misguide you.

  13. karen on September 20, 2010 at 4:54 am

    Fake Test Scores brings up a valid point. If Heather’s test scores were so low, then why is TL’s score so much higher than Central’s? Arundel couldn’t hold up Heather’s low test scores when the kids merge at TL.

  14. CE on September 20, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Karen and Fake Test Scores – Central hosts all the special day classes for both middle schools, and has done so for a number of years (that is one reason they moved the special day classes to BA – so those kids could move with their cohort to the same middle school).

    The dramatic one-year change in scores with BA and Heather is illustrative of the impact that an isolated population can have on API scores – which is why, as you say, we should take them with a grain of salt. One can only assume that Central’s API score is impacted similarly by hosting the special day classes, but since we don’t have a one-year move like we did with the elementary grade classes it is harder to quantify.

    Regardless, we can all be proud of every San Carlos school.

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