New State Standards, Familiar Place for Heritage Elementary Students

Heritage Elementary had traditionally been at the top of the District academically under the former state standards. How did Heritage students fare under the new, more rigorous state standards? The data is in: Heritage is still an academic powerhouse although the overall top spot is now claimed by Thurgood Marshall Elementary and Arroyo Vista Charter.

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Heritage Elementary Teacher Jessica Guinn (L), and Principal Erin Dare share a moment with this year’s fifth grade students. Last year’s Grade 5 students placed second in the District in both ELA and math.

California updated its standards and built matching assessments (tests) to shift student learning toward more complex skills. The new online tests were administered last spring. The recently released results serve as a baseline as to where students are in meeting the tougher academic standards. Heritage had the highest achieving fourth grade in the District last year in English Language Arts, with 72.5 percent of students meeting or exceeding standards.

Heritage fifth graders did even better, with 78.5 percent of students meeting or exceeding standards. Heritage had the second-highest performing Grade 5 in the District, edged out by Marshall Elementary’s Grade 5 in ELA where nearly 82 percent met or exceeded standards. Heritage fifth graders also finished second in the District in mathematics, with 66 percent meeting or exceeding the standards. Liberty Elementary’s Grade 5 was first, with nearly 69 percent of students meeting or exceeding standards in math.

The Grade 5 achievement at Heritage in both mathematics and English Language Arts is impressive, and a source of pride. Heritage Principal Erin Dare (in photo, second from left) credited a combination of factors for her school’s consistently high performance year after year.

“It is our amazing teachers who come to work each and every day, ready to teach our students,” Dare said. “We have awesome students ready to learn. They work really hard to achieve high levels of success. And we have outstanding parent support, the work they do inside and outside the classrooms is incredible. Those are the things that keep us at or near the top each year.”

That does not mean the transition to the new state standards, and online assessments was easy.

“Transitioning has been quite a journey. Learning the new standards was a foundation that we had to establish first,” Dare said. “We learned the standards, and then infused curriculum to what we thought would support the teaching and learning of the new state standards. Honestly, we really didn’t know because there was not a road map that told us we were on the right track.  So the data has been a pleasant surprise. We are happy to see that our hard work is paying off and we are thrilled with the amount of success that we’ve had with our students.”

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