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El Monte raps up STAR

On April 30, El Monte Elementary, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, started their two week window of STAR assessments for the 2011-2012 school year. If you were to walk on campus, you would have seen the impressive sea of blue t-shirts bearing “El Monte Rocks the Star” written across the front. Shirts were worn by not only teachers, but other staff on campus as well, through Friday, May 11, the last day of testing.

El Monte Rocks
Carol Herbst

Linn Kissinger, Title I Program Administrator, initiated a new incentive for students to be on time and ready for testing. Each morning in the cafeteria, students waited anxiously to see what rap Mrs. Kissinger would share. Numerous mornings, parents joined their children to see the production. Mrs. Kissinger enlisted staff and students to contribute to writing the daily raps. Attendance varied between 97%-100%, so the goal was definitely accomplished!

El Monte boasts a past record of phenomenal growth on STAR assessments, with an API score of 754 in 2010, which then jumped to 796 in 2011, an increase of 42 points! Not bad, considering the reasonable goal was designated to be a 5 point increase. Christina Boman, principal, has been the driving force behind many of the programs being implemented, which are believed to have been key to student progress. Some of these programs are Board Math, Board Language, Accelerated Reader, SIPPS, and the CARES after school program.

Curriculum Associates assessments are given to students each quarter of the year, for language arts and math. Because of this, students have had lots of practice with test taking, and teachers have been encouraged to focus on what it takes to get their students to perform. Staff at El Monte are very hopeful that this year the API score will break 800, which will meet the state target goal of 800 or higher. If El Monte meets the goal of at least 5 points, it will be over 800!

Well, guess that about wraps it up! Way to go El Monte!