The State Board of Education voted unanimously this morning to approve a waiver to remove Turlock High School from the list of “Persistently Low-Achieving Schools.”
The list of Persistently Low-Achieving Schools released by the Department of Education goes by the criteria that every three years each school be reviewed for meeting proficiency rates in English Language Arts and Math according to exit exams, a five year average of Academic Performance Index (API) totaling a 50 point growth, and a three year graduation rate above 60 percent.
Turlock High School succeeded with an average graduation rate of about 88 percent while achieving an API of 715.
There are many schools that don’t achieve an API over 700 and are not on the low achieving list, but THS still did not meet the criteria of the school’s total growth of 50 over the last five years as they only increased by 49 points.
TUSD administration, some elected officials, and THS staff did not believe THS belonged on the listing of the bottom 188 (5 percent) of schools.
Ultimately, the State Board of Education agreed with the TUSD as they voted to remove THS from the low achieving schools list.
“It’s unfortunate the staff, administrators and community had to be put through this unnecessary additional strain at a time of enormous pressure due to state budget cuts to education,” stated TUSD Superintendent Sonny DaMarto in an email.
An email sent out Friday announcing that THS was on the “Persistently Low-Achieving Schools” list created rumors of shutting down the school, firing the THS principal, firing half of the THS teachers, or converting THS into a charter school.
According to the State Department of Education, schools on the low achieving list would have to implement one of the changes toward progress and the ability to receive grant money toward improved achievement.