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Academic Excellence

De Portola is committed to continuing and building upon past academic excellence. A June 2017 survey of De Portola parents showed that 84% of respondents believed their child was academically challenged by their classes and 87% of respondents reported that their child’s academic needs are being met. This data was collected as a part of our constant effort to reflect and improve. These efforts helped produce the following achievement levels on the 2017 CAASPP:

  • 69% of De Portola Students Met the Standard in English Language Arts

  • 56% of De Portola Students Met the Standard in Mathematics

When compared to the state and district, De Portola’s results consistently show a commitment to academic excellence and achievement higher than state and district levels. The following charts show De Portola’s achievement data compared to results for both California and San Diego Unified School District, for both Math and English, during the 2016 testing cycle.

 

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At the time of this application, only preliminary CAASPP results were available, but the following summary is a good initial look.

 

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In addition to CAASPP summary results, De Portola measures and monitors other sources of student performance. Based on this data, De Portola students showed the following growth:

  • Lexile Scores improved by an average of 62 points over 16-17 school year.

  • Literacy Scaled Scores rose by an average 16 points among students who took the SBAC for the last two years.

  • Math Scaled Scores rose by an average of 21 points among students who took the SBAC for the last two years.

  • 17 of 44 students designated as English Learners qualified for reclassification.

  • 98% of De Portola 8th Grade students qualified for participation in promotion ceremonies.

 

We believe our growth can be attributed to a culture of success among both students and staff and that our continued growth depends on our commitment to Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) dedicated to the review of common assessment data, combined with a plan for systematic intervention. In response to this belief, De Portola performed a reflective review on our current PLC practice. This review illuminated a need to shift PLC conversation from teacher behaviors (lesson planning, pacing, teaching techniques) toward student learning. Accordingly, PLC teams were reorganized and teams implemented some changes designed to refocus PLC time on data derived from common formative assessments. These shifts can be most easily seen in the improvements demonstrated by our ELA Team.

 

The primary shift in this review led to the following changes in ELA PLC teams:

  • Teachers agreed upon a set of minimum proficiencies at each grade level.

  • Teachers designed a set of common assessments to be given 6 weeks into each quarter.

  • These Common Formative Assessments will be reviewed by ELA teachers using teacher created rating scales modified from Illuminate..

  • Data will be used to identify students not meeting minimum proficiency and ELA teachers will use pullout days to confer with students individually in preparation for retaking the assessment.

  • Students not meeting proficiency will be assigned supportive intervention.

 

Over time, we plan to reproduce this kind of system in other departments, leading to a focus on student learning throughout the teaching staff and a student culture that is focused on learning as opposed to grades.

 

In addition to the changes exemplified by our English Language Arts team, our AVID Site Team lead an effort to implement a “rigorous reading and writing curriculum” throughout our school. This emphasis has produced shifts in student reading and writing in science, history, and PE classes. Our whole staff was challenged to demand quality written products paired with teacher feedback using the mantra, “anything worth writing is worth writing right.” Science teachers implemented systems for student writing while implementing the Next Generation Science Standards and PE teachers required students to create a well-written response to an article read in class as they transition toward implementing the Physical Literacy Standards. These simple shifts in instructional demand have elevated the level of academic demand across the campus and contributed toward a culture focused on academic excellence.