Fillmore Unified Schools Excel in State Testing

Fillmore Unified School District schools have shown increases in STAR test results, according to numbers revealed before District Trustees Tuesday night, September 1, 2009.

According to the most recent report the District English Language Arts rose to 40.6 percent passing, compared to the 2008 score of 31.1 percent. Math scores for the District this year are 35.4 percent, an increase from 31.9 percent last year. Most sub-groups showed improvement in English and math as well.

Two schools had exceptional improvement from last year. Katy Hadley, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, Curriculum and Assessment told the board that both Sespe and Piru went up in English and math. Sespe increased 10.1 percent in English and 12.8 percent in math. Piru grew 18 percent in English and 10.4 percent in math. “The staffs and principals have worked so hard to support student needs,” she said. “They should be commended.” She continued, “It is a privilege to work with the principals and the staffs.” District Superintendent Jeff Sweeney said he was pleased to hear the results.

Results for other district schools include San Cayetano School with a 3.3 percent jump in English and a 5.6 percent improvement in math. Mountain Vista was up 3.3 percent in English and down a half percent in math. Fillmore Middle School had increases in all areas, but the biggest jump was in history at 15.7 percent. Fillmore High School also had gains in all areas.

Other matters before the board included the setting of public hearings on textbooks for September 15 at 6:00 p.m. in the District boardroom. Assistant Superintendent Michael Bush presented information about the malfunctioning air conditioning systems at the middle school. Bush indicated that the air conditioners are 12 years old. They are all beginning to malfunction. He said it is more cost efficient to replace them than to repair the existing units. He estimated the district could save $25,000 per year by replacing them. The savings could be applied to the estimated cost of the project, which is $260,000.

In another matter, Bush reported that enrollment was up more than one percent than had been anticipated. One teacher has already been added at Piru. The student-teacher ratio at the elementary level is 34 students per teacher. Almost every school has reached that number in grades four and five. Bush also indicted that one teacher at the high school has reached a maximum total of 165 students. The district is going to wait until after Labor Day to see if enrollment goes up and whether another teacher can be hired.

Bush also gave an updated technology report. He stated that one tech position was reduced last year, but there are more demands by the state. The district is moving from the current data management program to Zangle, which is a teacher and school management program. Teachers are being instructed in its use for attendance and grading. He hopes that by next fall Parent Connect will be available for parents to view their students’ progress online. Bush also informed the board of Sierra High Schools’ modernization architect design and that the plans were approved.

The next regular board meeting will be September 15 at 6:00 p.m. in the District board room at 627 Sespe Avenue.