Frontier High earns 47-point gain

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Oxnard Union High School District earned double-digit point increases in its Academic Performance Index at all seven schools for the 2011-12 school year.

Adolfo Camarillo High School again ranked as the No. 1 school in the district, while Frontier High School showed the most growth.

A school’s API is a number that ranges from 200 to 1,000 and is calculated from the results of statewide tests. The district’s overall API is 748, a 25-point increase from last year.

Superintendent Gabe Soumakian said the rise is a clear indication of the district’s evolution.

“This is really amazing data,” Soumakian said. “This is systemic growth. Whatever we’re doing is impacting all our schools.”

The announcement of the scores was made Oct. 11 in the theater at Pacifica High School in Oxnard.

Soumakian said the higher score is due to the efforts of the teachers in the district. He said the staff has provided excellent standards for students.

“You expect athletes to perform at a high level,” Soumakian said. “Well, we expect teachers and students to perform at a high level. It’s about everyone in the district taking charge.”

The state of California sets the bar for schools at 800. Of the district’s seven high schools, Adolfo Camarillo High School had the highest score, 869. It was a 21-point increase over last year.

Frontier High School had the biggest gain—47 points—for a score of 557. Rio Mesa High School improved by 12 points to 753.

Stan Mantooth, superintendent of the Ventura County Office of Education, said scores for schools throughout the county saw significant increases, but those earned by Oxnard Union High School District were “truly stunning.”

“My hat is off to (the district),” the county schools chief said.

Soumakian lamented the lack of funding for public education.

He said California ranked 49th out of the 50 states in perpupil funding. Soumakian also said state public education has received $100 million less than it was promised in the last five years.

“The public needs to realize that we need to sustain growth,” Soumakian said. “We need some help and relief fast.”

Soumakian also announced the new Oxnard Union High School District Education Foundation. The group will work to raise funds to support the district.

Cynthia Herrera, foundation president and STEM director for Oxnard College, said her group will work hard to find more money for students.

“Without funds their opportunities are limited,” said Herrera. “They are our future leaders. They are our healthcare providers.

They are our city council members. They are our police chiefs. They are our reason for doing what we’re doing.”

Soumakian said access to education has changed his life. He said his parents were both illiterate, with his father working at a sweatshop and his mother staying at home.

“The only thing they wanted for me was to have an education,” Soumakian said. “And that’s what we want for our kids.”

Soumakian said there is room for improvement. Oxnard Union’s total score puts it just below the state average of 752. The superintendent would like to see the district reach an average of 775.

“We believe we can achieve greatness again,” Soumakian said. “This is still a work in progress. We owe it our children to set higher goals.”

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