Hoopa High School Only Humboldt County School to Boost Test Scores

Hoopa Valley High School boosted its academic performance by 18 points on the state’s scale while other high schools in Humboldt County lost up to 25 points. School administrators credit the students for working harder and the staff for improving collegiality on campus. / Photo by Vonice Nelson, Two Rivers Tribune.

Staff Credits Students, Administration Credits Staff

By Allie Hostler, Two Rivers Tribune

The poorest performing high school in Humboldt County boosted its Academic Performance Index (API) score by 18 points, a phenomenal achievement according to Hoopa Valley High School Vice Principal, Matt Levesque.

The growth doesn’t meet the state-wide performance goal—yet. But, it does show that Hoopa is doing something right, especially when scores are compared to the decline in test scores throughout the rest of the county.

One Hoopa High student scored 100 points higher than he did in the year previous.

“The students are not 18 points smarter,” Levesque said. “They are working 18 points harder.”

Levesque believes Hoopa High students are more inclined to try harder on their tests taking time to read and answer the questions rather than fill in bubbles aimlessly. He credits their new found effort to the cohesiveness of the staff and the ever-improving school climate. And no, he’s not talking about the weather. He’s talking about an improved sense of community on campus.

The Department of Education expects each California High School—charter schools are not included—to reach an overall score of 800 by the year 2012. Scores are measured by the California Standardized Test and the California High School

Exit Exam. In 2008 and 2009 Hoopa High was scoring in the 660 range.

Now that Hoopa High hit the 700 mark, they’ve set a new goal for the 2011-2012 academic year—725.

“When I said we’re going to hit 700, everybody thought I was crazy,” Levesque said. “But, once you get them trying as hard as they can, there is no limit to the possibilities. We’re way ahead of where I thought we’d be collegially.”
Although he’s optimistic, Levesque admits getting to 800 this academic year is a long shot. But continued growth over time is doable.

“There is mutual respect here on campus. Everybody gets it and is on the same page. Either by accident or by design, we are doing something right,” he said.

The Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School District Superintendent, Mike Reid agrees. “The scores show the diligence of the High School staff to increase the rigor of the comprehensive program,” Reid said. “Kid’s may interpret that as being harder, but the staff’s collaborative efforts are revealed sometimes through state accountability and student performance. There is much more focus at Hoopa High and the leadership is working with the staff setting common goals and using the strategic plan of the district to guide their effort.”

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