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Getting the state test scores is always a great opportunity to revisit some of the schools that I wrote about during the year to see how they fared.

Remarkably, testing season seems to have been good to a lot of the schools we stopped into. (Or maybe I’m good luck?) Here are some highlights:

  • You might remember Montgomery High, a seemingly ordinary school south of the Otay Valley Park that had become a battleground for Sweetwater Union High School District because of its lackluster scores. It brought in a peppy new principal, changed its schedule, and tried to implement a slew of changes to how teachers teach, sometimes rankling teachers and their union.

    So what happened? Well, Montgomery saw some big gains on the state test.

    The percentage of students who met state goals in math, for instance, more than doubled. The share of students meeting state goals grew nearly 13 percent in English, nearly 15 percent in history and 12 percent in science. I haven’t heard the official word yet, but the scores likely mean that Montgomery will avoid state takeover.

  • Scores also surged at another school under siege: King-Chavez Arts Academy.

    This charter school in Barrio Logan has had a roller coaster of a year. After the controversial firing of most of its teachers two years ago, the school landed on a state list of persistently low-achieving schools that are supposed to create dramatic plans to turn themselves around. But at the same time that it was being labeled as a failure, the Arts Academy saw English scores rise 14 percent and math by nearly 23 percent.

  • We also profiled another school that landed on that state list of low achieving schools: Burbank Elementary. Scores jumped there, too, giving some credence to its plans to keep on with reforms it has already started rolling out, instead of reversing course.
  • Finally, we stopped into San Ysidro High to see how teachers like Jessica Vargas were trying to toughen up classes to help English learners pass the high school exit exam.

    In every grade, more English learners reached state goals, though it is still quite rare — 8 percent instead of 2 percent among high school juniors, for instance. It’ll be interesting to see how they did on the high school exit exam, when those results are released later this month.

Got another school you’d like us to revisit? Shoot me an e-mail at emily.alpert@voiceofsandiego.org.

— EMILY ALPERT

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