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Monrovia School Link ~ Number 17 ~ Dec. 13, 2000

I chide the school board a lot - not that it doesn't deserve it, you understand - but occasionally I feel compelled to say something nice, though if I grit my teeth the feeling sometimes passes. One thing the board does well is recognize people. Folks need a pat on the back occasionally, and the board does it. Doing that also puts at least *somebody* in the audience, but here I go getting cynical again.
~ Brad Haugaard (brad_h@iname.com)

API SCORES ~ It's been a bit like the presidential election, but after a delay the 1999-2000 Academic Performance Index results are finally in, and all Monrovia schools easily blew past their improvement goals, exceeding them 2.8 to 4.5 times over. (Gee, the state should have forced this down our throats a long time ago!) Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Joel Shawn compared the API to the letter grade restaurants get - it communicates some information but not everything. Yeah, yeah, yeah, let's get to the numbers. Okay, following is the data, and I'm sorry if it doesn't line up neatly. It did when it left my computer. I think the post office mangled it. For reference, the state wants to get all schools to the 800 mark.

1999 2000 Times* School
--------------------------
553  607  4.50   Bradoaks
698  712  2.80  Mayflower
537  600  4.85  Monroe
531  572  3.15  Plymouth
563  608  3.75  Wild Rose
647  673  3.25  Clifton Middle
601  637  3.60  Santa Fe Middle
569  602  2.75  Monrovia High

* Number of times by which the school exceeded its improvement goal.

MAYFLOWER ~ As you can see above, Mayflower got the top score and beat its goal almost three times over, but guess what? Mayflower is the only school that doesn't qualify for the treats the state is handing out for good performance. Shawn said that while the school met its schoolwide goal, one of its subgroups, the "Socioeconomically Disadvantaged" subgroup, not only didn't do better, but actually did worse by four points. Ouch! He said he's looking into it.

BRADOAKS ~ Isn't it great to see Bradoaks getting better? It's mediocre performance has been one of my pet annoyances. (I take it personally since we share the "Brad" part of our names.)

FUSSLESS ~ With much less fuss than the national election, in fact, with unanimous votes all around, the board rotated jobs. Roger Graziani was elected board president, without, as he commented, any "dimpled ballots." Roger Carter was made vice president, and Francie Cash was elected "clerk." I don't know what a clerk is. Looks like a plain vanilla board member to me, but what do I know.

DIVERSE ~ New President Roger Graziani congratulated outgoing President Yolanda Gallardo on her tenure. He said managing to keep five diverse people working together took a lot of effort. Well, if she did it, she did an incredible job. I think I saw about as much disagreement in the past year as I could stick in my eye. Whether that's a good thing, however, I'm not at all sure.

EXIT TEST ~ Come 2004, the state said students are going to have to pass an exit test to get their high school diploma. Superintendent Louise Taylor said the "good news" is that the test ties in with the state's academic standards. The "bad news," she said, is that it's a tough test. [Gee, sounds like a double dose of good news to me.] "We'll have to get busy," she added. [Oops! I mean a triple dose.]

ODORLESS ~ The sniffer dogs (or "contraband dogs" as Board VP Roger Carter called them, though I prefer "sniffer dogs" because otherwise it sounds as if you just smuggled the dogs across the border in your hubcaps) uhhh, where was I? Ah, yes! These sniffer dogs have made three visits to Monrovia High School so far and came up empty nosed. Not a thing! No drugs, no shotguns. Clean! Must be a bit disappointing for the poor dogs, however.

RECOGNITION ~ As I said, the board does a good job recognizing people. Along with the Chamber of Commerce, it honored Instructional Aide Teresa Macias of Bradoaks School and Dr. Eilleen Logan, who has a long title about psychology and special education. It also honored businessman Mark Ferrari for starting a program for students to experience the auto repair business, Dr. Stanley Rappoport for getting a bunch of doctors together to provide health care for kids without insurance, and Marsha Coronado, Roger Menlove and Scott Salinger for putting on the annual Monrovia Arts Festival, AND...

THIRD GRADE Plymouth student Adam Soto, who won a blue ribbon from the LA County Fair Student Art Exhibit for his "textile bear," which I think means "teddy bear." It was cute. Congratulations Adam!

NEXT BOARD MEETING ~ The next board meeting is on Jan. 17, 2001 at 7:30 p.m. at the administration office at 325 E. Huntington Drive. See ya there! Right? You are coming aren't you? But it's loads of fun. Aww, come on.

Copyright (c) 2000, Brad Haugaard