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By Sharon Penny

February 17, 2014 (El Cajon)--Ralf Swenson, Superintendent of the Grossmont Unified High School District (GUHSD) proudly discussed recent academic success rates throughout the district’s 11 high schools at last week’s board meeting.

Advanced Placement Courses:

The district’ s offerings in Advanced Placement (AP) courses are outpacing state and national averages. Although California has the sixth highest level of AP courses in the nation, with a rate of 40 percent of students enrolled, the Grossmont District leads state averages at 46 percent of its students enrolled in AP courses.  

The pass rate in the district is 53 percent, versus a 26.7 percent national average.

Academic Performance Index (API):

The API measures academic performance and progress of individual schools in California. Scores range from a low of 200 to a high of 1000.

During 2013, Grossmont District schools increased 14 points to 769, marking its tenth consecutive year of growth. Two of the high schools demonstrated dramatic improvements: El Cajon Valley High School (ECVHS) increased its API by 73 points, and Monte Vista High School showed a gain of 29 points.

The API scores also increased dramatically in certain subgroups: students with disabilities, socioeconomically disadvantaged students, and Hispanic/Latino students. At ECVHS, African American students were up by 79 points. The school exceeded all its API growth targets.

ECVHS also passed its most recent WASC Accreditation wit flying colors. The school is now accredited through June 30, 2020; previously, accreditation was only for three years.

Swenson had high praise for Principal Erin Richison and her administrators at ECVHS in marking such significant increases.

“They’ve done a tremendous job,” said Swenson.

Monte Vista’s AVID Program:

The AVID leadership team at Monte Vista was recognized at the Feb. 13 district meeting as the school receives revalidation as a National AVID Demonstration School.

Monte Vista High School is proud to be a nationally recognized AVID demonstration school. AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. It is a post-secondary, college readiness system that is designed to increase school wide learning and performance for all students and focuses on those students in the academic middle.

Monte Vista has been an AVID Demonstration School for the past 15 years, and its principal, Randy Montesanto, is one of 12 secondary site principals representing the western region of the US on AVID’s Principals Professional Learning Community.  The group meets biannually to share best practices of the highest performing AVID schools.  The AVID program at Monte Vista continues to grow and is currently 13.9 percent of the total school population. Last year, 100 percent of Monte Vista’s graduating AVID seniors challenged at least one Advanced Placement course during their high school experience.

Common Core

A report was given at the Feb. 13 district meeting discussing the Common Core Implementation Plan, which is being adopted throughout the nation. The principals of each high school presented at parent forums to inform and ask for feedback.

Common Core is a national education initiative that details what K-12 students should know in English language arts and mathematics at the end of each grade. The goal is to develop consistent standards across all states within the country and ensure that all high school students are college ready for a community college, a four-year college, or the workforce.  The timeline for the district is to administer the operational summative assessment by early 2015.


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