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September 21, 2010 > Sunol Glen USD scores second highest API in Alameda County

Sunol Glen USD scores second highest API in Alameda County

By Alyson Whitaker

Photo by Alyson Whitaker

When the numbers were announced, there was a mixture of joy and pride. A 23-point increase in the Sunol Glen USD API score to 909 brought the one-school district to the number two district spot in the county-second only to Piedmont's score of 925.

Parents, staff, and students alike are thrilled with the number. The district has the philosophy of educating the "whole child." Academics play a key role at the school, but staff members also work to ensure that kids can be kids. Art, music, computer lab, and other enriching programs are incorporated into the daily curriculum.

Over the past few years the small school has grown in popularity. Seventy-five percent of the student population comes from neighboring districts. Many are drawn to the small-school appeal, and a desire for their students to participate in the "extras" that have been reduced or eliminated altogether from so many districts in recent years from a lack of funding. Having a strong academic program makes the school even more appealing. The school has capped enrollment at 270, and current enrollment is almost at that level. All grades now have a waiting list, and some students now in attendance were on the list for nearly two years.

The STAR test in the spring is an important indicator of what students are learning throughout the year, and is the standard used for ranking schools throughout California. The state urges all schools to be above 800. Yet many schools struggle to meet that minimum requirement.

Principal/Superintendant Molleen Barnes credits the fabulous staff for the achievement. "Through careful and ongoing assessment of students' abilities and their learning styles, our teachers really do implement individualized teaching plans for each student." Early intervention helped pull students up to the "proficient" and "advanced" levels.

This is Barnes' fourth year at the district. "I am extremely proud of the staff. I feel extremely fortunate to work with the staff, parents, and community. As a cohesive unit, we are working together to create this amazing school environment. I truly believe this is what has made our school as successful as it is!"

Barnes and the staff had hoped to reach the 900 benchmark by 2011. A year ahead of schedule, now the staff is excited to see what levels can be reached in the years to come.

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