CSMA receives grant for Arts4Schools initiative

The Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View received a $10,200 grant from the California Arts Council’s Artists in Schools program.

The Artists in Schools program supports projects that integrate community arts resources – artists and professional art organizations – into comprehensive, standards-based arts learning projects for students.


MVLA students named semifinalists in National Merit Scholarship Program

Thirty seniors in the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District have qualified as National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalists.

The top 1 percent of applicants in the nation receive National Merit semifinalist recognition. Each year, approximately 1.5 million entrants participate in the National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, co-sponsored by the College Board. The standardized test measures critical reading, math problem solving and writing skills.


State scheduled to release test results today

The California State Department of Education has a new measurement of school and district success and is scheduled to release the baseline results of the new standardized tests today. For a chart of local results, see this article

Replacing the state’s Academic Performance Index, the state will now report student performance in greater detail using the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress.

Earlier this year, third- through eighth-grade students and high school juniors took Smarter Balanced assessments in English/Language Arts and Mathematics. The tests are designed to measure the effectiveness of the new Common Core State Standards.

Rather than a single score being assigned per school or district, reports will reflect how students performed per grade group at four achievement levels and by an average score between 2,000 and 3,000.

Test results will show the numeric score, which places the student in an achievement level of Standard Exceeded, Standard Met, Standard Nearly Met or Standard Not Met. The numeric range, which corresponds with the achievement level, grows with each grade as the grade-level skills broaden.

In addition to the numeric and achievement level, results will record even more detail with “claim” results, which gauge success in different skill areas. The claim results will rate students at either Above Standard, At or Near Standard or Below Standard, and will include information on how to interpret the standards.

English/Language Arts claims will include feedback on Reading, Writing, Listening and Research/Inquiry. Mathematics claims will feature feedback on Concepts and Procedures, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, and Communicating Reason.

“I love the idea that we report on claims,” said Sandra Mc- Gonagle, the Los Altos School District’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. “That can be important information for teachers. That is much better information than that one overall number.”

Because this marks the first year reporting results from the new tests, state and local district officials have repeated the same message: This is a baseline and not to be compared with previous years’ testing results.

“California’s new standards and tests are challenging for schools to teach and students to learn,” wrote California Department of Education officials in a report to the media last month. “Patience is required. This year is just a starting point. Parents, teachers and schools should consider this year’s results a baseline for future progress.”

McGonagle said this year’s results should be taken with a “grain of salt” but could eventually prove important to teachers and administrators when trying to personalize education in the classroom.

“It is a baseline and a data point,” she said. “What is happening in our classroom gives a much clearer view of how students are progressing and learning.”

Awaiting results

Local school districts don’t yet have the individual reports to send home to parents. Officials from the Los Altos, Mountain View Los Altos Union High School, Mountain View Whisman and Cupertino Union school districts all confirmed that they are still waiting on their individual student reports from the state.

Preliminary online data has trickled in over the summer, but many districts are waiting on the official full picture as of last week.

District administrators, who are bracing for the state to release state, county and district information this week, used the words “disappointing” and “nightmare” to describe the feeling of not having the entire picture.

School districts and the media were informed that results would be sent to districts “no more than eight weeks” after students completed the test. For local districts, that date has come and gone.

Tina Jung, information officer for the California Department of Education, said the eight-week window was always an estimated time for delivery.

Jeremy Nishihara, chief information officer for the Cupertino Union School District, said he was told reports would be delivered in September, but he doesn’t know if that is a reliable time frame anymore.

For results – scheduled to be posted after the Town Crier’s press deadline – and more information, visit

State scheduled to release test results today Graphic Courtesy of California Department of EducationIn addition to a numeric value, the results of the new state standardized tests will provide detailed “claim” results, above, designed to help teachers and students identify areas for improvement.

Graphic Courtesy of California Department of Education
In addition to a numeric value, the results of the new state standardized tests will provide detailed “claim” results, above, designed to help teachers and students identify areas for improvement.


Ventana School appoints new leader


Schools Briefs


Montclaire grads travel in the name of peace and understanding

Courtesy of the Kane Family
Caroline Kane, above left at right, participates in a group dance activity during the Children’s International Summer Villages program.

Three Los Altos students left the comforts of home this summer and returned with a completely different view of the world – not to mention a host of friends from such faraway places as Latvia, the Netherlands and Ecuador.

The students, who had just graduated from fifth grade at Montclaire Elementary School in Los Altos, attended the Children’s International Summer Villages (CISV) program, a volunteer organization with camps around the world that promote peace and cross-cultural understanding.


Foothill College hosts orientations

Foothill College has scheduled an orientation for new students 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 16 in Smithwick Theatre, 12345 S. El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills.

The event is designed to give incoming freshmen the opportunity to meet fellow students and ask questions about attending the college.


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