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What’s Right with Santa Clara Schools?

What's Right with Santa Clara Schools?

Despite the loss of $35 million in funding and resulting staff and program cuts over the last ten years, Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) schools have achieved increasingly higher scores on the state’s Academic Performance Index (API). API is a state assessment of the performance and growth of schools based on student scores on standardized tests and high school exit exams.

During the five years from 2007 – 2011, SCUSD Academic Performance Index scores have increased annually. The scores have gradually risen from 750 of 1000 possible points in 2007 to 820/ 1000 points in 2011. Contributing to the rising API scores are classes and programs, some at risk due to continuing budget cuts, that encourage student retention and enable student success.


Here are some of the programs and individual successes from Santa Clara Weekly articles and SCUSD recent press releases:

  • Soar to Success is an intervention program to provide special assistance in English language arts and mathematics to K – 12 students needing extra support. Interventions are offered before, during, and after school.
  • Fourteen middle and high school students step up to state competition this month with FHA-HERO, the California affiliate of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.
  • In the recent American Mathematics Competition, four high school students placed in the top 25 percent nationally.
  • Four high school students were named National Merit Scholars based on Advanced Placement test scores.
  • Seventy-four high school students were named Advanced Placement Scholars for earning enviable scores on Advanced Placement exams.
  • Marissa Pinero in Wilcox High School’s Culinary, Hospitality, and Management Preparation Program received a silver medal in competition at the summer 2011 national leadership conference of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. Culinary arts, fashion design, and automotive technology are part of SCUSD’s career technical education program covering over 15 industry sectors.
  • At the May 2011 FaultLine Animation Festival hosted by Santa Clara High School, SCHS students received more than a dozen animation awards.
  • March 17 in San Francisco, Wilcox students qualified for national competition in the World Savvy Challenge to find solutions to global problems relating to sustainable communities. A Petersen Middle School team coached by Wilcox students placed first in their division.
  • Wilcox High School’s undefeated Winter Percussion Line of eight students won the 2012 Northern California Band Association Winter Championship for their division.
  • Jessa Carmack, Wilcox High School, was crowned Miss California’s Outstanding Teen 2011 at the state pageant, June 2011.
  • January 2012, Millikin Basics + Elementary School was named for preliminary consideration as a National Blue Ribbon School by State Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson.
  • At the Synopsys Silicon Valley Science and Technology Championship in March 2011, 21 awards were given to 14 district students.
  • In March, Buchser Middle School student Anthony Bordergaray qualified as a finalist in the 2012 California State National Geographic Bee.
  • On California Youth in Theatre Day March 13, Wilcox High School Thespian Honorarium Award winner Teanca Rossouw and Dani Salzer, her theater arts teacher, were among those honored at a breakfast with legislators at the state capitol.
  • The SCUSD Hall of Fame boasts some 50 alumni who have brought extraordinary distinction to themselves, their professions, and their communities.
  • Santa Clara mom Joan Forte’s 27-year-old developmentally disabled daughter is in the district’s Independence Network program, which is part of adult education and serves about 60 adults.

It’s not just day care for developmentally disabled adults,” Forte says. “It’s an education program that supports their life-long learning.”


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