Ivy High School presented its School Accountability Report Card (SARC) to the board of trustees at their monthly meeting on Jan. 11. The reports – which are intended to provide parents and community members with a “quick snapshot of school accountability” – presented data for the 2008-2009 academic school year.
According to the SARC, of the 19 senior students that were enrolled in Ivy High School, 91 percent of them received their high school diploma in the 2007-2008 academic year, which was a significant increase from the 84.4 percent of seniors who graduated in the 2006-2007 school year. In the 2008-2009 academic school year, 73.47 percent of all students met all state and local graduation requirements for grade twelve completion, including the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE).
In student performance, approximately 9 percent of the 106 students enrolled in Ivy were found to be proficient or above on the California Standards Test (CST) in English-Language Arts; a nominal amount were found to be proficient or above in mathematics; 13 percent of students were proficient in science; and 11 percent of students were found to be proficient or above in History-Social Science.
“We have met all of the goals set by the state,” said Ivy principal Melissa Marovich. “We have put a lot of emphasis into our exit exam preparation.”
“The test numbers are only a part of the big picture, and do not tell the whole story,” said Fallbrook Union High School District assistant superintendent Jim Yahr, who directs educational services. “We experienced growth from the 2006-2007 year from all students who have taken the CSTs.
Yahr also said that because Ivy High School has such a small population, state tests cannot be clearly interpreted. Instead, the high school sites focus on content cluster scores.
“This helps us pinpoint where students are struggling and what the students strengths are,” said Yahr. “We are then able to offer supplemental work groups or peer groups to students.”
Because the individual student is not impacted by the CST results, students do not necessarily concern themselves with the tests.
“The tests are not high stakes for the student,” said Yahr. “The tests don’t impact grades or get placed on the transcript, but it is important. Each school sight is responsible to help students understand how important the CSTs are.”
For every student within the district, the primary educational concern is to pass the CAHSEE, allowing the student to graduate.
According to Marovich, Ivy High has retired teachers available to help students study for the CAHSEE on a one-on-one basis.
“Students are responding very positively. We have seen a huge jump in scores after just a couple of hours,” said Marovich. “For example, we had a student who had failed the CAHSEE four times. This past fall, the student studied with one of the retired math teachers. Not only did he pass the exam, but the student’s score jumped to 380
Because Ivy High is a credit recovery school, taking CSTs are “not as high stake” for students.
“Student scores did show improvement,” said Marovich. “We are working on [state testing performance] with the staff, and taking important steps to inform students they can show us their skills.”
While students at Ivy are primarily striving to recover credits, Marovich believes that Ivy students must grasp missing lessons in order to succeed in any educational environment.
“We find that some of our student’s skills are like Swiss cheese,” stated Marovich. “While they may grasp algebra or pre calculus, they may struggle with fractions. The students are given an assessment to see what skills need to be backfilled, and teachers are able to see where they need to focus.”
“Most students at Ivy enter for a trimester or two then return back to Fallbrook High,” said Yahr.
According to the SARC, in the 2008-2009 academic school year’s Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program – which consists of several key components, including the CSTs, the California Modified Assessment and the California Alternate Performance Assessment – 10 percent of students were proficient or advanced in English-Language Arts (an increase from 8 percent in the 2007-2008 academic year); a nominal percentage of student were proficient or advanced in mathematics (down from 3 percent); 10 percent of students were proficient or advanced in science (up from a nominal percentage); and 6 percent of students were proficient or advanced in history-social science (up from 4 percent).
“The staff is focusing on teaching students life skills and what they will need to know in the ‘real world,’” said Marovich. “For example, we are focusing on algebra, saying, ‘here’s where you are going to need it.’”
“Last year, the school sites began working with the San Diego County Office of Education and started working with us in our Mathematics and English-Language Arts programs,” said Yahr. “The program starts by defining what standards are required for the course; it explains what key elements should be mastered before moving on. We have made revisions that include benchmarks, goals and objectives for each site. The district is supportive of the sites efforts and collaboration.”
Students at Ivy are placed within an individualized plan, which may include taking online courses at home, after school or at the tutorial center located on campus.
“The tutorial center also provides a safe place for kids from 1 to 3 p.m.,” said Marovich. “Students can now also participate in our sports program, in which we play against other continuation schools.”
Ivy High experienced an increase in its academic performance index (API) ranking by student group in the 2008-2009 academic year, according to the SARC.
Ivy students scored a jump in their ranking by 15 API points, which landed the high school at 548. The API is an annual measure of the academic performance and progress of schools in California, with scores ranging from 200 to 1,000, and a statewide target of 800.
“We have a very mobile population,” said Marovich. “For one reason or another, every new student we have failed in a mainstream high school. Many of our students have a record of poor attendance. [The Ivy staff] has to make an urgent effort to connect the student back into school. We are teaching how to be successful. Once we get these students back to level, they leave and we get a new batch of kids. It’s a constant balance.”
To motivate students to continue their education until graduation, guest speakers from various vocational schools come to allow students to see potential career opportunities.
“In December, we had four different speakers talk about career connections,” said Marovich.
Yahr was pleased to state that Ivy High met all six of its goals for the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Overall and by Criteria – which rates participation rates and percent proficient results by student groups – for the 2008-2009 school year.
“Ivy High met its API and AYP goals, as set under the California’s Alternative Schools Accountability Model,” said Yahr. “The school has shown growth.”
Marovich credits her teachers for the success and growth at Ivy High.
“Every kid that graduates from here wouldn’t have if they hadn’t come,” said Marovich. “Every student is a success. We do our best to keep kids in school, so we try to accommodate each student. Some have to work full time jobs, so we provide classes online. We have to give them options.”
Marovich stated that while there is a stigma that comes with attending a continuation school, but students soon find that the environment at Ivy is beneficial for growth and educational stimulation.
“This is a chance for students to turn over a new leaf,” said Marovich. “Students may come in angry that they had to come here, but within a couple of weeks, they realize how much they like it here.”
The teachers at Ivy are a crucial element to every student’s success, said Marovich.
“Continuation schools are all about relationships,” she said. “Students are discouraged upon coming in, but we build a relationship with them to get them to buy back into school. Because of the teachers, eight students are going back to [Fallbrook High School] to graduate. This is a testament to the teachers.”
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