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Updated: SMUSD Earns Top API Score in State for 8th Year

San Marino Unified School District is at the top of the academic performance index for the eighth consecutive year, according to State Department of Education figures released Wednesday.

Updated at 11:55 p.m. Thursday with quotes from SMUSD Superintendent Loren Kleinrock.

Figures released Wednesday show that the has again achieved the top API score in the state of California.

The API is a number between 200 and 1000 that reflects performance level of a school, sub group and district, based on statewide testing. Its purpose is to measure the academic performance and growth of schools. The state target is 800.

The SMUSD achieved a score of 955, an increase of six points from last year.

All SMUSD schools’ individual scores also increased:

  • : 969 (up two points from 2010)
  • : 950 (up 12 points from 2010)
  • : 975 (up four points from 2010)
  • : 938 (up nine points from 2010)

"It's really no magic," said . "It’s a combination of things. "We have a very strong teaching staff; we have motivated kids and families that place a premium on education and parents in the community that value the schools and step up to provide the support that the state won't or cant provide for us."

Kleinrock referenced donations, parcel taxes and other ways parents make up the difference in funding. A significant part of that is a $2000 donation per child, suggested by the San Marino Schools Foundation.

For the third straight year, the La Cañada Unified School District has achieved the second-highest score in the state, but data show the gap between API scores for San Marino and La Cañada is narrowing.

LCUSD earned 942 for the 2011 Growth Academic Performance Index--an improvement of nine points since 2010.

And while San Marino received a score of 955 (13 points greater), that's a much closer margin than in 2008 when a 27 point difference separated the academic rivals, said Lindi Dreibelbis Arthur, director of assessment, research and consolidated Programs for LCUSD.

"We have a friendly rivalry," said Kleinrock, regarding the LCUSD. “There is a risk of making too much out of API. We are going to do what’s best for kids educationally and coming out on top is a bonus--a byproduct.”

API Scores for Academically Comparable Districts

• La Cañada Unified - 942

• Manhattan Beach Unified - 932

• Arcadia Unified - 925

• South Pasadena Unified - 912

The state determines API scores using a weighted formula. The formula includes the tests administered in May, and the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE). The California Standards Test (CST) results are most heavily weighted. 

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