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Birmingham High School's API Scores Suffer Without Daniel Pearl Magnet School

Since the two schools separated last year, Birmingham slips 12 points to 653.

Birmingham Charter Community High School saw significant drops in its 2010 Academic Performance Index scores, which were released last Monday. Birmingham scored 653 this year, a 12-point plunge from 2009, according to the online California Department of Education report.

For 56 years, Birmingham was a public high school, part of District One of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). On July 1, 2009, the LAUSD Board of Education voted to allow the high school to become a charter school under the name Birmingham Community Charter High School.  This is the first year that Birmingham High has taken the California Standardized Test (CST) as a charter school.

"The [Daniel Pearl] Magnet School used to send 513 kids here to take CSTs with our students," Birmingham High's Principal, Marsha Coates, said. "Then they chose not to go charter with us, so their scores were not combined with ours. They were the higher-achieving kids."

The Daniel Pearl Magnet School earned an API score of 776.

The Academic Performance Index (API) is based on students' test results in the Standardized Testing and Reporting program and the California High School Exit Exam for grades 10 through 12. API scores range from 200 to 1,000 points.  This year 46 percent of California's schools achieved the statewide API target of 800 points.

"My goal [for this year] is to increase student achievement and bring up our CST scores," Coates said.  "We weren't as successful as we hoped, and we expect our students and teachers to do better."

The API scores may not have been crowning moment for Birmingham High, but Coates reported to a full-house Parent Teacher Student Association meeting (PTSA) that they have had a very "successful opening" since school resumed on Aug. 16. 

Birmingham opened its doors with a full, initial enrollment of 2,650 students, 23 new teachers, no furlough days and reduced class sizes. Already, they've had two football games, club meetings, thriving social learning community membership and a 100-plus PTSA turnout.

Back To School Night is scheduled for this Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

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