NHS student test
By Bret Bradigan
Ojai Unified School District
passed its Academic Performance Index growth goals with flying
colors, it was announced at Tuesday's board meeting. Six of the
district schools tested made the grade for cash awards, with
only Matilija Junior High School and Mira Monte Elementary School
not qualifying for the API bonuses.
Assistant Superintendent Jim Berube introduced the presentation
on the API scores: "This is what I call a celebration."
While both Matilija and Mira Monte met their growth targets in
API scores, two subgroups at Matilija - whites and socio-economically
disadvantaged - did not. And Mira Monte Elementary scored exactly
the same 821 points as in 2002, which, said Assistant Superintendent
Jarice Butterfield, makes it "harder to get growth when
you're already performing excellently."
The Academic Performance Index test scores are compiled from
a variety of other tests, mostly the California Achievement Test,
Sixth Edition, and the high school exit exams. Other components
are California's English-Language Arts Standard Test, Mathematics
Standards Test, and History/Social Science Standards Test.
District school scores not included were from Chaparral High
School and Valley Oak Charter School. Chaparral did not test
enough students, and the only four of 52 eligible students at
Valley Oak were tested, said Berube. The charter school could
get into trouble down the road, he said. If enough students don't
take the tests, the school will go onto the No Child Left Behind
Act list, with a variety of sanctions to follow should progress
not be made.
Berube said, "That cannot
continue." The board will review the charter for renewal
next year, and Berube, who sits on the charter school board,
said that could become an issue for the board to deal with.
The goal of the API is to have all the schools within the entire
state score 800 on a scale from 200 to 1000. At that point, according
to the California Department of Education guidelines, schools
are no longer required to show progress, only to maintain themselves
above that 800 mark. Mira Monte Elementary and San Antonio Elementary
schools fit that category, with Topa Topa Elementary's 798 score
putting them without whispering distance of that goal.
The board also accepted the donation of an automatic external
defibrillator at Nordhoff High School after a plea and demonstration
by Dr. Martin Pops and Clarence Sterling. The two, representing
the Rotary Club of Ojai and American Red Cross, respectively,
are also involved in this project with the American Heart Association,
Little House and the Ojai Valley Community Hospital. The committee's
goal is to install 15 of the life-saving devices around town;
they have six already installed.
The devices, explained Dr. Pops, are relatively foolproof, with
step-by-step voice instructions, to deliver an electric shock
only to hearts that have suffered authentic fibrillation, in
which the heart's normal electric rhythms have been interrupted.
He said that sudden cardiac arrest results in death 97 percent
of the time if untreated, and that the survival rate with the
AED improves to 50 percent. The key is quickness, he said. "It
needs to be done within the first few minutes."
Sterling, while demonstrating the device on a dummy, said that
high school students, especially high school athletes, are not
immune from sudden cardiac arrest or fibrillation. In fact, "A
baseball to the chest is the leading cause of heart attacks in
high school males."
Before their voting unanimously to accept the device at Nordhoff,
board members had questions about training and liability.
Superintendent Tim Baird said, 'There's always risk, but in this
case the benefits outweigh the risks." He planned to have
coaches, teachers and even a few students trained, and have the
devices on location at major sporting events.
Speaking of major sporting events, Kevin Horswell, the board's
student representative, said that the Homecoming event went off
without a hitch, and including a hard-fought win against a team
that was ranked higher in the CIF standings. Should Nordhoff
win Friday against perennial powerhouse Oaks Christian, they
will secure the division title and home-field advantage going
into the CIF playoffs.
Horswell also said the students were working on a Peace Through
Understanding project, and exploring adding sports such as lacrosse,
diving and bowling to the extracurricular list.
Carol Belser, director of Ojai's Parks and Recreation Department,
gave the board a progress report on plans to expand the skate
park, which is located on district property and leased by the
city. She is seeking Proposition 40 bond funds for a $365,000
improvement and expansion project, which would include pledges
from the community.
The school board's support was
needed by the Dec. 15 filing deadline, in the form of a 20-year
lease. That lease would include an extra 3,500 square feet of
space, which would include space currently used by the community
Baird said the board was getting an early heads-up to prepare
for an action item on the Dec. 9 agenda.
Board member Kathi Smith asked, "What if the park doesn't
get the grant and the park falls apart? How do we make sure we
don't get stuck? This doesn't seem like something we can just
Baird said such assurances of responsibility for the city could
be written into the lease, and that the signing of the lease
would be contingent on the city securing grant money.
During Baird's superintendent's report, he reviewed the tragic
death of a former Nordhoff student, the progress made on consolidating
bus routes to get Nordhoff students home more quickly, and to
expand the Food for Thought program to other elementary schools
from its pilot program at Topa Topa Elementary School.
Reminded by board member Rikki Horne, Baird said the contentious
calendar issue would be dealt with at a public meeting on Nov.
20 at 7 p.m. at Matilija Junior High School auditorium. "This
will be the last chance for public input before going to the
school board," he said.
The Ojai Valley News
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