Principal Patricia Saddler of LeConte School knows how she wants to spend the $22,225 award the state just granted the school because of its improved performance on the Stanford 9 test.
She’d like new outdoor physical education equipment, upgrades on the school’s computers, tools for farm and garden instruction and landscaping to beautify the campus.
The decision on how to spend the funds will be made with the help of the parents and teachers on the school’s site committee.
LeConte was not alone to be awarded $63 per pupil taking the test. All Berkeley schools got similar awards except Washington School, Berkeley High School, Longfellow School and the new Franklin Magnet School.
Schools are profiled according to the income of parents, the parents’ level of education, size of the school and ethnicity of the students. Improvement on the test is compared to the previous year and the school’s growth is then compared to similar schools and measured accordingly, said Karen Sarlo, school district spokesperson.
Sarlo said Washington School had performed well on the test, and improved over last year, but not enough to win the award. Longfellow School has been disqualified from the award for two years because one of the teachers used a previous test for practice purposes, Sarlo said.
As for the inadequate growth at Berkeley High School, Sarlo said the test was given in poor conditions during the chaotic week after the fire, with students taking the test in open rooms, such as on the stage of an auditorium.
Although the children at Le Conte School performed well on the test, Saddler said the school doesn’t depend only on the Stanford 9 to assess the children. “We use a variety of assessment tools. The (Stanford 9) is only one piece of the assessment.”
Saddler credited the children’s growth in learning on the school’s focus on “basic literacy” and the use of supplementary math materials. Moreover, the school offers a “wonderful after school program” which any of LeConte’s second-fourth grade students may attend. Forty children in the fourth and fifth grades take advantage of the program, as do another 30 children in the second and third grades.
The Stanford 9 is in the its third year of use and tests children in the second through eleventh grades. This is the first year monetary awards have been given to schools which have met target growth. Some educators fear such emphasis on standardized tests will cause teachers to teach test skills, rather than meeting the children’s true learning needs, but others argue that it is important to be able to both measure a child’s growth in learning and to compare children with those across the nation.
Following are the monetary awards that each Berkeley School will receive for improvement on the Stanford 9 test. The amount is equal to $63 per pupil taking the test.
Cragmont Elementary $20,452
Emerson Elementary $18,806
Jefferson Elementary $19,376
LeConte Elementary $22,225
Malcolm X Elementary $25,898
Muir (John) Elementary $15,956
Oxford Elementary $17,729
Rosa Parks Environmental Science Magnet $21,908
Thousand Oaks Elementary $23,302
Whittier/Arts (Elem) $26,974
King Middle $53,948
Willard Middle $43,880