Bethany School celebrates API achievement
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Sep 06, 2013 | 3453 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bethany scores high on API
)  Bethany School teachers Nicole Kangas (left) and Amy Mullen unfurl a banner showing the 910 score the school earned on the 2012 Academic Performance Index, which was announced Aug. 29. Bethany was one of five schools in the county to score better than 900.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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MOUNTAIN HOUSE — Students danced with delight in the Bethany Elementary School quad after Principal Deborah Wingo announced on Aug. 29 that the school had attained a score of 910 on the 2012-13 Academic Performance Index.

The API measures the academic achievement of a school using state-mandated tests created in 1999. Scores range from 200 to a perfect 1,000, but the state has set 800 as the API target for all schools to meet.

Lammersville Unified School District Superintendent Kirk Nicholas called Bethany’s 910 score an “extraordinary accomplishment.”

“It’s all about the kids,” Nicholas said as he watched Bethany students dance to pop music played through a loudspeaker.

“It’s the only traditional K-through-8 (school) with a 900 score in the county. Anything over 900 is a special place to be.”

Wingo credited the achievement to the students and her staff.

She said Bethany’s API score in the 2010-11 school year dropped to 863, from 879 the previous year. She said she asked students and staff to think about whether they wanted to be the worst school in the district, and they said no.

In the following school year, Bethany’s API score rose to 899, just shy of the school’s goal of 900.

To keep students engaged, Wingo said, school leaders created themes and activities for the testing period.

One slogan was “Don’t sweat the test,” and students and teachers dressed in sweatpants and sweatshirts. For another theme day — “No time to rest, do your best” — everyone was allowed to wear pajamas to school.

Now that the school has broken the 900 mark, Wingo plans to set an even higher goal for this year.

“We make testing an event,” she said. “I’m proud of what the staff does here and proud of our kids. We’re a team, and it makes a big difference.”

She said 44 of Bethany’s 720 students achieved perfect individual scores of 600 on the 2013 tests. Second grade was the highest-scoring grade level.

According to the California Department of Education, five other San Joaquin County schools had scores of 900 or higher for 2012-13.

Primary Charter School, a kindergarten-to fourth-grade school within Tracy Learning Center, achieved a score of 928. Elkhorn Middle School, in Lodi Unified School District, scored 979. Stockton Unified Early College Academy, a high school, had a score of 923. Middle College High School, a nontraditional school on the campus of San Joaquin Delta College, and Aspire Vincent Shalvey Academy, a K-5 elementary school in Stockton, both scored 915.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or

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