THURSDAY, AUGUST 29, 11:30 AM —— The Byron Union School District will be celebrating today as Excelsior Middle School (EMS) state testing scores revealed that the school made a 48 point jump in it’s API Score (Academic Performance Index), to an impressive 833. The middle school has struggled for many years to top the 800 mark, and this year they did so beyond expectations. EMS staff members shared that the combination of new leadership at the school (principal Kelly Basmagian), along with an improved culture of student and parent commitment, has had a great deal to do with the boost in test scores.
The API score is the cirrent method used b the State of California to compare schools and ensure state standards are being met. The STAR test system that is used to determine API will be replaced in 2014 by the new Common Core Standards, recently adopted by 48 states as the new standardized testing. The new testing will be dramatically different in method. New teaching techniques and test taking techniques are being employed this year in preparation for the Common Core transition.
Both Discovery Bay and Timber Point Elementary Schools are California Distinguished Schools, but both fell in API scores this year. A disappointment to many, but still ranking these schools among the best in East Contra Costa County.
Discovery Bay Elementary was one of 35 schools statewide nominated this year for a National Blue Ribbon Award, the highest honor a school can achieve. Blue Ribbon winners will be announced in September.
The Byron Union School District (BUSD) has new leadership at almost every level. The district welcomed new superintendent, Debbie Burnette, during the summer break. A few weeks before the start of the school year, Discovery Bay School welcomed a new principal, Keri Van de Star. Excelsior principal, Kelly Basmagian, and Timber Point principal, Tom Jones, are also relatively new to the district – both hired in the last two years.