Official MDUSD & Clayton Valley Charter High School API Results Released

August 29, 2013 16:38 pm · 100 comments

The California Department of Education has released the 2013 Accountability Progress Reports for California public schools.

The following is from the Mount Diablo Unified School District:

Similar to many schools and districts in the state, some of our schools reported a decline in students’ performance on the California Standards Tests.

However, these results are not unexpected.

During the release of STAR results on August 8, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson noted that the slight decline in scores across the state reflected the ongoing budget reductions and the transition to the Common Core State Standards.

In Contra Costa County only 4 of the 18 districts saw an increase in their Academic Performance Index this year.


In the just released Academic Performance Index (API) rankings, many Mt. Diablo schools are performing at increasingly higher levels. The goal of all California schools is to achieve an API score of 800. 35 of our 48 schools met school wide growth targets and 18 of them met all school wide and subgroup growth targets. 12 schools made double digit gains. Overall, the district API declined 3 points from 794 to 791.

One of the elementary schools with the School Improvement Grant (SIG) made substantial growth again: Bel Air improved 29 points following a 58-point gain the previous year. Also a SIG school, Meadow Homes improved 17 points.

We are especially proud of the following schools that made double-digit gains from their 2012 base API. Bel Air improved 29 points from 730 to 759. Gregory Gardens improved 23 points from 797 to 820. Meadow Homes improved 17 points from 708 to 725. Mt. View improved 15 points from 808 to 823. Silverwood improved 33 points from 815 to 848. Wren Avenue improved 11 points from 756 to 767. Ygnacio Valley Elementary improved 15 points from 762 to 777. Sunrise improved 14 points from 446 to 460. Pine Hollow Middle improved 20 points from 786 to 806. Mt. Diablo High improved 10 points from 669 to 679. Summit Necessary Small High improved 88 points from 436 to 524. Olympic Continuation High improved 132 points from 483 to 615.

District-wide, 7 elementary schools scored above 900; 11 elementary schools, 6 middle schools, and 2 high schools scored between 800 and 900. Below is a list of all schools/programs and the API growth from 2012 to 2013:

Click on the image below to view the scores for EVERY school in the district:


CLAYCORD NOTE: Clayton Valley Charter High School, which isn’t part of the Mount Diablo Unified School District, went from 774 points in 2012 to 836 points in 2013, which is a gain of 62. Their goal was to only gain 5 points during their first year as a charter high school.

Crossroads High (alternative) was -93 and Prospect High (alternative) was -84.

Frequent Claycord commenter and MDUSD insider “Doctor J” sums up some of the other scores:

MDHS increases 10 API points to lead the District Comprehensive High Schools increases and meets schoolwide APY but not subgroups. YVHS, under Sue Brothers, plummets 19 points and doesn’t meet any AYP growth targets.

Oak Grove Middle School dives -26 points combined with last years drop of -38 points, for a total of -64 points in two years under So Cal transplant Principal Lisa Murphy Oates. Did not meet any AYP growth in either year. And in 2012/13 she had a SIG grant for additional instruction.

Sun Terrace Elem, under Hayward USD transplant Principal Kristan Martin-Meyer sunk a whopping -68 API points, and not meeting any AYP growth. Combine that with last years fiasco of recently resigned Principal Gretchen Jacobs loss of -38 points and Sun Terrace has lost -106 API points in two years !!

Silverwood had an API increase of +33 to lead the Elementary schools meeting all AYP growth. SIG school Bel Air was not far behind with +29 and also met AYP growth. Combined with last years +58 API jump, Bel Air has increased +87 API points in the last two years under the SIG Grant.

Other Cohort 1 SIG schools did not fare as well: Rio Vista lost -26 API points, and Shore Acres lost -9 API. However, Cohort 2 SIG school Meadow Homes spiked +17 API points and met all its AYP.

Living in Claycord August 29, 2013 at 4:48 PM

And that ladies and gentlemen, is why making CV into a charter school was an outstanding idea. I hear Northgate wants to do the same thing. Seems to be the only way to get your kids a decent eductation out here.

Dumb Down The Test August 29, 2013 at 5:02 PM

What the heck they teach to the test and still there’s an overall decline. No wonder colleges complain.

How is it most high school graduates these days have a hard time explaining difference between simple and compound interest and can’t explain the steps in order to balance a check book? But they can recite verbatim more than you would ever want to know about global warming.
Will be interesting to see what the dropout rate was for the last school year 2012-2013.
Dropouts for 2011-2012 school year numbered 66,523.
Maybe district and school administrators should get their pay docked for every kid that drops out, bet that would have an effect.

El Dorado Middle August 29, 2013 at 5:09 PM

El Dorado Middle School dropped (-17). Looks like the school could use a new principal. From what I hear the parents and teachers would welcome a change.

Claycordian August 29, 2013 at 5:13 PM

The reason that CV Charter went up so much is that they no longer include the students who would be dragging the scores down, such as non English speakers, special education, and out and out trouble makers.

TeamUSA August 29, 2013 at 5:17 PM

I wish CV was a charter when I attended. I remember my Senior year, the year we didn’t have STAR testing, the school principal bribed students to bring up their STAR test scores. The reward? A brand new iPod.

This charter school presents no such insentive, yet here we are…

Shark4ever August 29, 2013 at 5:25 PM

I wonder how much growth Holbrook would have continued to make if it wasn’t closed. Sounds like Sun Terrace should have been the one closed!

old concord August 29, 2013 at 5:33 PM

Good job and thanks for all the hard work all you people did to make CVCHS better . Hope the knowledge will be blessed with wisdom to use it . We the people of the U.S. have dropped them in a pile of crap to start life but that’s the way we voted . Right ?

Richardsfamily August 29, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Good Job Clayton Valley and Mt. Diablo High.

If you look at the other area districts, Walnut Creek San Ramon, Alcalanes, Orinda etc they all loss big too…kinda wierd…

MDUSD Board Watcher August 29, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Claycordian #4,

Gary E. is that you? Long time since you’ve posted on this board.

Heather August 29, 2013 at 5:45 PM


Your analysis of CVCHS is completely wrong, and clearly not based on data. Look at the actual data. There are subgroups within the data for Socioeconomically Disadvantaged, English Learners, Disabled students. CVCHS did really great raising the API for EVERY subgroup, including English Learners. For example, the API of English learners increased 69 points, and the API of Students with Disabilities increased 77 points. As for the trouble makers, I don’t have any evidence that they kicked them out ( and I doubt you do either), but if they did, great. Keep the charter school for kids who are there to learn.

@old concord August 29, 2013 at 5:52 PM

The thanks should go to the kids at CVCHS. They were the ones who were tested.

Miss Diagnosis August 29, 2013 at 5:55 PM

Scores dont mean anything, as a previous ommentor said, clayton bary charter school no longer has to include special ed and other groups that might bring down scores. Who knows if those kids are actually smarter.

Richardsfamily August 29, 2013 at 5:57 PM

Shark4ever, Holbrooks 836 probably would have been 900 by now, they way that school was run, that is totally possible…stupid district…

There it is August 29, 2013 at 6:10 PM

That’s what happens when the teachers and principals bribe students to do good. The teachers literally answered questions students had during the test and basically took the test for them. Clayton Valley Charter is a fake school that I personally cannot stand. Smug people.

Anonymous August 29, 2013 at 6:30 PM

I remember years ago my daughter (who was in second grade at the time) came home after a day of STAR testing to tell me the decimal multiplication problem her teacher taught her the day before was on the test. She was so excited to get it right. They hadn’t even begun to learn multiplication yet, let alone multiplication with decimals. It’s amazing what just one more correct answer will do for your test scores. The scores are meaningless.

Anon August 29, 2013 at 6:37 PM

#14. I hope you have proof of that.
I could say the same thing about 3 schools from a few years ago but I can’t prove it so there it is.
Just be happy and let the students be proud

Former Holbrook Family August 29, 2013 at 6:56 PM

Shark4Ever and RichardsFamily,
My thought exactly. What a shame they closed Holbrook,which was on it’s way up, only to force all those students into Wren and Sun Terrace which are getting worse and worse.We tried Wren for less than a week, before we got a transfer. I wouldn’t send my child to either of them.

When I was requesting a transfer for my child, I told the guy in Student Services at the district office, that same thing, and he told me he didn’t think Wren and Sun Terrace had lower scores than Holbrook. How was he even working in Student Services and did not know that.??

anon August 29, 2013 at 7:01 PM

go silverwood, skyhawks rock!!!!

Rollo Tomasi August 29, 2013 at 7:01 PM

Oh the irony! Look at the frequency of spelling and grammatical errors from people commenting on the quality of public education.

Hopefully in the future we can do gooder.

mtzman August 29, 2013 at 7:13 PM

@There it is #14, I guess when you raise your scores 62 points in one year, you’ve earned the right to be a little smug. As for those who claim CVCHS doesn’t have English language learners, special ed kids or troublemakers, you are just flat wrong. Check the data. The scores for ELL and special ed students went up even higher than the school overall.

Julio August 29, 2013 at 7:14 PM

In the years my kids have been in charter schools there have been no trouble-makers. They don’t make the grade through the initial qualifications. In other words are not accepted.

Doctor J August 29, 2013 at 7:29 PM

@#17 Holbrook He just got a big promotion — and used to be a principal — now he is a director. I will bet that makes you feel warm and fuzzy.

CVCHSeaglegirl August 29, 2013 at 7:54 PM

To:there it is// Personaly i think your thinking the wrong way.I’m a student at CVCHS and they didn’t bribe us, they simply encouraged us to do better by giving us a week to study,look for things,and help us get better.Also another thing, before we could even start our test they clearly said “we cannot give any answers even related to the question on the star test.” In the end we jumped up more than any other school in the “MDUSD.” One last thing we are not “smug people” we are people who give change in everyones life,making more buildings for students so we could bring MORE in.So please…If your going to talk about something have some facts in it…seems that you aren’t from clayton valley because an eagle would know whats right or wrong 🙂

Skyhawks :) August 29, 2013 at 7:56 PM

Go Silverwood. So glad my son is a student here!! He was in SunTerrace but his first day of kindergarten his teacher managed to lose him when school let out the first day. My son was found a mile from that school and had been shoved and pushed to the crosswalk by parents and older students and did what his 5 year old mind thought was right… just follow everyone. His teacher did not seem to care and when we asked her where he was she said oh he is around here some where. Needless to say he was immediately taken out of that school and placed at silverwood the very next day. Thank goodness. Silverwood is an excellent school and we would not want him anywhere else. Keep up the great work!!! My advice shut Sun Terrace down before they do worse to someones kid.

Anonymous August 29, 2013 at 8:49 PM

You can’t compare CVCHS scores this year to a year ago without taking a closer look at the changes in student population, demographics, etc.

mika August 29, 2013 at 8:57 PM

so are these scores a good or bad reflection on the SASS office? and what the heck happened at Northgate?

ANNONeeemoose August 29, 2013 at 9:28 PM

SO #25, ok, so what is it? What are the differences… ? Go.

Matt August 29, 2013 at 9:38 PM

Congrats to all of the Students and Faculty at CVCHS…This should quiet all the Negative people that were hoping that the Charter will fail…. There are still many that Talk behind the backs of the Quality People that have helped in making HUGE CHANGES AT CVCHS…..Hopefully those people will leave soon because they dont deserve to be a part of something this special….GREAT JOB CVCHS!!!!

Always Right August 29, 2013 at 9:53 PM

I hope Concord High goes charter. It has always been a good school, but
scores over the past few years have been on a decline. We could do so much better with Charter schools and vouchers.

Phoenix August 29, 2013 at 9:58 PM

For several years Holbrook and Sun Terrace were part of a Mt Diablo Achievement Team, involved in Professional Learning Communities and test scores were improving each year. I do not know why the district made the choice to close Holbrook, but students from there went mostly to Sun Terrace and Wren. The year this happened, Sun Terrace got new students; parents and students who were upset their school closed, and a principal who came in and made changes over the next two years that in many cases negatively affected the school community. Programs were eliminated, teachers did not receive the support they needed and the overall community was unhappy.

When Kris Martin-Meyer was hired she needed to earn the trust and respect that had been previously lacking and try to rebuild the Sun Terrace Community which she has done. The staff feels connected again and although no one person can make everyone happy all the time, the number of complaints to the district office has decreased significantly this year

This year’s scores are not the result of hiring this new principal, but rather the past few years catching up. Sun Terrace has many extremely dedicated, hard-working teachers and a great new principal . Sun Terrace will shine again!

Claire August 29, 2013 at 10:03 PM

Nice to read Mt. View has some of the highest scores.

I went there in the 60’s.

Very nice neighborhood. Hope it still is…….

still anon August 29, 2013 at 10:08 PM

I believe in you Sun Terrace! Go for the Gold!

Anonymous August 29, 2013 at 10:27 PM

@Annoneeemoose #27
I haven’t studied the differences and I don’t intend to. You might get a clue if you look at the number of students in each of the categories. But, chances are, the Administration at CVCHS knows how the student population changed from last year to this year and know it wasn’t better teaching that improved test scores.

Rollo Tomasi August 29, 2013 at 11:11 PM


You seem to believe the success at CVCHS is attributable to something other than an improved educational environment. If you have information that leads to such a conclusion, bring it on. Otherwise, pull your pants back up and get away from mommy’s computer.

NoStandardTesting August 29, 2013 at 11:16 PM

Standardized testing should go away. Testing only shows how well someone can take a test, not how smart the child is. If you teach the child how to take the test, they will most likely do well on the test. Our kids are not learning how to think on their own. Teachers spend so much time teaching their students how to take tests, they don’t really get a chance to really teach. I have personally never paid attention to these test scores. I’m not going to let the test scores tell me how smart my child is.

As far as the test scores for CVCHS, CVCHSeaglegirl said it; the teachers gave them lots of time to study and get ready for this test. Basically, the teachers wanted their students to study hard for this test. Doesn’t mean that the students are any smarter that any other kids at any other high school in the District or that the teachers are better. It only means that they studied better this year than last year.

With all that extra District money, they should have done well. Hope you still have that valet parking at your events….

Scared of El Dorado August 29, 2013 at 11:22 PM

our elementary school child has two more years before going there and we are scared. The rep is massive drug and violence issues worse than any high school. We are thinking of moving to private or another school if we can. Sad for Westwood, too. Since new Principal is from El D.

Keith August 29, 2013 at 11:50 PM

@Scared of El Dorado-36

You’re acting like El Dorado is in the south side of Chicago.

Chill out!

Parent of CVHS Grads August 30, 2013 at 1:00 AM

I read the minutes of CVCHS governing board and committee meetings. There was a CV teacher who had taken on the task of researching ways to raise their test scores. Raising test scores was imperative because falling test scores is one of the few reasons that a charter can be revoked. The teacher had researched the rules for STAR testing and discovered that the rules don’t require you to test every student. He said they could identify the students who had scored the worst the year before and not allow them to take the test. He had calculated how many points their score would go up if they did that.

The minutes also reflect other ideas that were discussed such as printing test scores on transcripts so that colleges would see them and requiring acceptable test scores to get credit for a class. I have no idea which, if any, of the ideas were adopted or what other ideas were discussed or implemented. But it is apparent that CVCHS was looking at ideas to raise test scores that weren’t dependent on students having a better grasp of the material.

Getting student to take the test seriously has been a longstanding problem at Clayton Valley and other high schools. Students know the test results are meaningless for them personally. It doesn’t make the slightest difference in a student’s future if he scores well or scores poorly. Frustrating school administrators, many students take the opportunity to do “bubble art” on their test sheets or randomly fill them in. It was a particular problem at the old Clayton Valley and resulted in the school getting a lower API score than its demographics suggested. Perhaps CVCHS has found a way to motivate students to take the test seriously.

Comparing Clayton Valley Charter’s test scores to the test scores of the old Clayton Valley is comparing apples to oranges. The student bodies are not the same. The charter accepted students from outside the Clayton Valley attendance area. Typically, charter schools attract the higher performing students from lower income schools in an area. Parents see a way to get their child into a “better” school without incurring the cost of moving to a more expensive neighborhood. That leads to a rise in scores for the charter and a drop for the other schools.

CVCHS almost certainly has a different mix of special education students. As noted in the FCMAT report, conversion charter schools typically lose special education students to the larger school district (MDUSD) because the larger district is able to provide a more robust Special Ed program than the charter. Part of the cost to the district for the charter conversion included moving a Special Ed classroom from Clayton Valley.

Just sayin August 30, 2013 at 6:09 AM

@ Rollo……”Gooder”…..too funny

GetTheFactsStraight August 30, 2013 at 6:24 AM

#23 EagleGirl: I am so happy to see an example of the pride most of the CVCHS now have in their school. I know a number of kids that are seniors this year and have experienced the school pre and post charter. There is a major difference in their attitude and thus a major difference in the results. More pride in academics; less violence. More pride in sports; less drugs. A few years ago (pre charter), my wife and I attended a parent night for incoming freshman. The presentation was from an exhausted administrator that spoke in a flat, uninspired tone and basically said, we will do our best to make sure most of them graduate. That was it. What a change. I will be pulling for DLS tonight at the game due to family ties, but just barely.

Anonymous August 30, 2013 at 7:33 AM

@Rollo Tomasi-
Sorry to disappoint, but I understand statistics better than most – no doubt better than you. The scores don’t change that much in one year due to a “better teaching environment.” Why don’t you look at the demographics and report back. Otherwise, ask your Mommy to help you pull your pants back up.

The one girl from CVCHS who posted said they got a week to study. Somebody should look into that. What did they study? Perhaps it was the questions on the test if the teachers received them in advance.

Rollo Tomasi August 30, 2013 at 7:57 AM


DVC huh? Fabulous. Does a bowl of soup come with that? I’m sure “your” proud of “you’re” higher education.

CW August 30, 2013 at 8:28 AM

What happened at Hidden Valley and Bancroft to cause such big drops in scores? The other top-performing district-run elementary schools like Strandwood, Sequoia, Monte Gardens, Walnut Acres & Mt. Diablo in Clayton changed very little from last year.

Numbers Gamer August 30, 2013 at 8:31 AM

Those test results are meaningless. Let’s face facts. You have a question with four answer choices. If you have ever read one of the tests you see that two answers, possibly three are ridiculous. An example: What is ten multiplied by ten.
(a) 0
(b) 10
(c) 100
(d) -50

This is the kind of choices that are there. To boost your scores you need only practice finding the wrong answers. You can boost your scores 20-25% just on that trick alone.

The object of testing is to show content knowledge. There is only one way to prove that. Do not use multiple choice tests. Students who have to fill in answers, like they did in olden days, either know the material or do not.

If you take schools with poor language levels, whether due to cultural differences or kids who have been taught how to not learn, a problem since schools went to the numeric rubric on non-excellence, you will find many do not understand the most basic of questions. I have sat in classrooms watching kids texting the class away. The lessons are not inspiring, no fault to the teachers usually, and getting a kid to read a book is a challenge by itself.

The bottom line is that funding and tests are tied together. They should not be. Motivated students learn better and comprehend better. If you plan on testing content knowledge then test that, not a child’s ability to guess with a built in 1:4 odds of success.

Another point that needs to be made is despite gains in test scores (every year there are gains somewhere in the district) the dropout rate remains terrible. The percentage of college entrants requiring remedial classes is terrible. The number of college dropouts is terrible.

Everyone wants their child to do well. Isn’t it time to give them an education system that actually works?

@Facts August 30, 2013 at 8:32 AM

@Facts and @Anonymous 42

I attended last years CVCHS Lottery, and it is actually completely RANDOM, I promise you. Each name was placed on a piece of paper and pulled at random. Some rather poor students that I know got very good lottery numbers, and some outstanding students were picked nearly last. I have a child that attends the school, and the student demographics have not changed substantially – the 10th – 12th graders at the charter school really were the 9th – 11th graders at the non-charter school. There were a few more 9th grade transfers from out of the area, but they are not screened based on academic records AT ALL.

Rollo Tomasi August 30, 2013 at 8:34 AM


“Perhaps it was the questions on the test if the teachers received them in advance.”

Perhaps you’re a child molester, but without facts or evidence to support it, nobody should make that accusation or even the intimation, should they?

I’m not the one questioning the validity of the test scores. Again, if you think the results smell bad, investigate them and report back. Otherwise, pound sand.

@Facts August 30, 2013 at 9:55 AM

This is only the second year of the charter–all kids who live in this area are allowed to attend. All kids who were there before it became a charter–are still there. Get a grip.

Grammar Cop August 30, 2013 at 9:59 AM

@ TeamUSA #5,

Yeah, I guess you do wish CV had been a charter…”insentive”?

@ eaglegirl #23,

Um, yeah, it’s great you have some pride and all that, but if YOU’RE going to tout YOUR acdemic achievements, then YOU should really learn the proper way to contract YOU + ARE.
Hint: It’s not “your”.

Yes, I know it’s a common mistake, but one that makes you look very ignorant.

como August 30, 2013 at 10:02 AM

What I heard from some parents gave me concerns. For example, some students from Diablo View who took Algebra were not allowed to take Geometry in 9th grade even if they maintained A throughout, only because they did not pass the test CVCHS gave out.
These parents told me that kids were placed in classed which were below their academic level, and that is why the test score went up.
It might sound ok to some people, but in my opinion some of the kids definitely get benefit by being challenged.
The students will be left behind when it comes to applying for universities because they did not take challenging classes.
Most universities prefer students getting B in challenging classes than getting A in easy classes. I hope the school officials are thinking about the students college placements, too not just STAR test scores.
Also, do not forget CVCH starts way earlier than other public schools(by two weeks), so they have more time to study for tests. All the public schools which are required to take this kind of test should start around the same time of the year.
I am afraid the school is only trying to boost test scores now just to look good.

CVCHS Mom August 30, 2013 at 10:22 AM

I know first hand that students with poor grades still can go to CVCHS. My son was failing almost all of his classes prior to the school becoming charter. He was not bumped from any preference list. He is now a senior and well on his way to graduating thanks to all the extra attention he received to bring his grades up. Saturday school, online summer school, after school tutoring and open communication. Before CVCHS was charter my son was an afterthought, no one seemed to care he was failing except me. Now all his teachers, and the administrators all keep an eye on his grades and hold him accountable instead of turning a blind eye.

Doctor J August 30, 2013 at 11:02 AM

The unfortunate irony of the schools with the poor test results, is that the District has known about the API/AYP results for more than three weeks through their vendor Key-Data — and NO CORRECTIVE ACTION has been taken through adjusting personnel. Yet MDUSD has started the year with two principalships VACANT for which they did not start to advertise until August 9: Woodside Elem, and Sequoia MS. Jim, from the other blog, posted a quote from yesterday’s CCT about a Richmond charter: Richmond College Prep, located in the Iron Triangle area of Richmond, scored an impressive, 33-point jump in its API score, from 795 to 828.
“Our population is 100 percent students of color — 50 percent African-American and 50 percent Hispanic,” said Founder David Rosenthal. “Why is this school’s API 828, with African-Americans scoring 833, when other schools in the area are scoring in the 600s? The answer is leadership and a complete focus on educating children.”

@como August 30, 2013 at 11:06 AM

@como 50

The Geometry Readiness test that CVCHS gave out was equivalent to the test the school district gave out to determine which Algebra 1 students should go on to Geometry in high school. My child took both tests and said that they were extremely basic. If a child did not pass the test, they probably don’t have a firm grasp of Algebra.

Doctor J August 30, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Need another example ? Stockton Unified’s 7 SIG schools all soared. Saturday school ? Rose Lock why haven’t you thought of that ? Please, for the children’s sake, take off your blinders and put children first with the BEST instructional leaders in MDUSD leading their schools instead of filling out paperwork in SASS.

Doctor J August 30, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Who has Rose Lock placed in charge in SASS of supervising the SIG schools grants ? Lisa Boje, a transplant from Stockton Unified, who left not exactly under the best of circumstances. Tell us Lisa, what happened in 2012/13 at Rio Vista and Oak Grove MS ?

como August 30, 2013 at 12:10 PM


Thank you for the insight. I am not here to argue by the way, I wrote something that some moms told me. They also said students from Pine Hollow were not even allowed to take that test, is it true ?
Do you know how many % of Diablo View students who took the test actually pass ? Those moms I talked to said only 10%, it seems low.
As far as the readiness test goes, I do not think the district requires that in all high schools(at least it was not the case in my son’s school)We were just asked to submit his transcript or a middle school’s Math teacher’s recommendation.

como August 30, 2013 at 12:34 PM

My kids actually went to a charter elementary school, which has a very high test score, but I did not feel the teachers were helpful or they did anything special like CVCHS(summer school, Saturday school, tutoring etc…).
What I saw was high level of parents’ involvement in the school.

@como 56 August 30, 2013 at 1:08 PM

@como #56

I don’t think that could be true about Pine Hollow students not being allowed to take the Geometry readiness test. I know some Pine Hollow students who were even allowed to enter Algebra 2 at CVCHS as Freshmen. I don’t know what the percentages are for Diablo View students, but maybe Delta View didn’t do the best job teaching Algebra?

My child attended one of the best middle schools in the area, and it was really easy to get an A in Algebra. All of the tests were multiple choice, so you could just plug in the answers and see which one worked – it didn’t require mastery of the material or attention to detail to get an A. That being said, I was told the Geometry readiness test for CVCHS was basic even by those standards.

Also, at my child’s middle school they administered the district Geometry Readiness Exam to all Algebra 1 students. I think the various district high schools have different policies in terms of whether and how they would use the results.

Doctor J August 30, 2013 at 1:28 PM

Lest we think the only incompetence is in SASS, this Judge blasts the Special Education administration and staff calling their actions egregious. Thanks for the link from an anonymous poster at the “other blog”.

como August 30, 2013 at 1:52 PM

@como 56

Thank you again for the insight. I wonder where that information even came from then, maybe the moms I talked to were angry that their children did not pass the test or something…
That is why I like Claycord, I can get more detailed information.
Wow, that Algebra class seems very easy !! My kids had to write everything down including the process. Everything was graded.
But the result was so many students got C and below.

Richardsfamily August 30, 2013 at 6:18 PM

Phoenix give me a BREAK!
Teachers weren’t happy? Who cares do you need to be happy to able to do your best job? Blame Holbrook parents who just want what they had at Holbrook Elementary, a great school. Our students that transferred from Holbrook were/are academically prepared, hence our 836 API when we were closed.
“When Kris Martin-Meyer was hired she needed to earn the trust and respect that had been previously lacking and try to rebuild the Sun Terrace Community which she has done.”
That’s something a union teacher who has been a teacher way to long would say. So you think that your trust and respect must be earned before you will wholly participate in your paying job?
The fact the former Principal Dieli at Holbrook Elementary was offered the principal job at Sun Terrace but refused it because of an unfavorable “staff” at Sun Terrace says it all. Holbrook Teachers refused to work at Sun Terrace for the same reason. They felt that the then current inflexible teachers in place and the environment was not conducive for real positive academic change. Why do you think they all went somewhere else? Why do you think many of our students assigned to Sun Terrace have asked for transfers. Don’t believe me in all this just call Rose Locke.

Your “staff” at Sun Terrace needs to rethink its strategy, whatever it is, a drop of 106 plus points should be for you a clear indication that changes need to be made and made soon.

Richardsfamily August 30, 2013 at 6:21 PM


Anon August 30, 2013 at 6:35 PM

@dr j #55. Regarding Rio Vista – they had a very large change in their Special Ed population when three SDC classes were moved to Bay Point from other schools in the district. If you look at their data on the CDE website that does not have the CMA results you will see that almost 15% of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students are not reported. That 15% is the group of kids who are in full time special education classes. Without those scores added to Rio Vista’s API their scores would have been much higher. There were 2nd grade SDC students who took the standard test (as required) and they made up a large portion of their FBB score. (The special ed population more than doubled in size, most in full-time programs, and this caused a 145 point drop in that subgroup.). It is a shame that during their last official year of SIG their population changed so greatly and made it difficult to see the true measure of their work. I am sure that over time these students would have benefitted greatly from the programs thar Rio Vista has put into place.

It is further horrible that the SDC classes got moved again this year to Shore Acres due to the boundary changes and the increase in the number of classes at Rio Vista. The special Ed parents should be outraged that their students keep getting moved around and are not able to continue to grow with a school.

Anon August 30, 2013 at 6:37 PM

Heh, I should know not to type long response on a mobile device. Sorry about the typos.

Sick and Tired August 30, 2013 at 7:31 PM

It must be so nice to be Dr. J and have all the “true” information about MDUSD. She must feel so proud to have all the answers. Too bad she doesn’t have what it takes to use her real name.

@ClaytonMama August 30, 2013 at 8:02 PM

The CVCHS teachers received a $1,000 stipend for their “miraculous” test score improvement AND they tested the very students that their stipend depended on in their own classroom – without proctors. So, they studied for a week before the test? You bet they did … They studied the test questions – schools receive testing materials way before the test …wake up Claycord

anonymous here August 30, 2013 at 8:07 PM

I have to say Clayton Valley Charter has been an all around positive experience. My son comes home with 2 to 3 hours of homework every night. Guess what, he does it. He studies for tests. He works hard as do many of the students at Clayton. They are held accountable for their academic success. I am not surprised that the test scores have gone up. The teachers, the administartion, the students and the parents all really care that the charter succeeds.

Rollo Tomasi August 30, 2013 at 8:20 PM


Pretty serious accusations. Do you have any proof, or are you just another petty, pathetic troll who hates that others work harder and are more successful than you?

@ClaytonMama August 30, 2013 at 9:44 PM

@#66 … Lol – ask a CVCHS teacher – they will corroborate.

FormerHolbrookFamily August 30, 2013 at 10:04 PM

@66. I don’t know about this past year, but the year before, the Pine Hollow students definitely took the math entrance exam. My son was an 8th grader then and took it

FormerHolbrookFamily August 30, 2013 at 10:07 PM

Sorry, that should actually be directed @como. #56

Parent of CVHS Grads August 30, 2013 at 10:31 PM

I’m reaching back into my memory as my children have already graduated from high school, but I do remember my children taking some sort of math placement test while they were at Pine Hollow Middle School. I think it was purely advisory and their 8th grade teacher signed off on which math class they took in 9th grade.

Rollo Tomasi August 30, 2013 at 10:40 PM


That’s what I thought.

@ClaytonMama August 30, 2013 at 10:45 PM

@Rollo Tomasi- commentt #69 was intended for you

@ Scared of El Dorado August 30, 2013 at 11:16 PM

The students and teachers are good, it is the principal. He can not be trusted. I will not let my son go there because this principal is the worst I have seen/met.

Gregory Hile August 31, 2013 at 12:00 AM

@ClaytonMama #66, as a teacher at CVCHS I can indeed confirm that teachers and other staff received bonuses several months after the STAR testing took place, but it wasn’t for their “miraculous” test score improvement. There was nothing miraculous about it. It was a lot of hard work on the part of every stakeholder – teachers, administrators, staff, students and parents alike. When the teachers pulled the trigger to convert to a charter we promised high standards of rigor, relevance and relationships. That promise was taken seriously and everyone delivered.

I can also assure you that students did not study for a week before the test. They studied for the entire year before the test. That’s what they were there for – to learn the material – and they did their job all year long.

Students also did not receive the test questions in advance. The state monitors schools administering standardized tests. Recall, if you will, the recent stories about high schools throughout the state being caught allowing students to use cell phones and social media to photograph test materials and in some egregious cases test questions. As a new charter school, CVCHS was selected for special on-site monitoring by the state and proctors, in fact, were present throughout the testing period. I can attest to the fact that my classroom by CVCHS administrators and by the state proctor while tests were being given.

The state does make available release questions from past tests. These are made available to all schools and they are routinely used as study guides for the test. Many CVCHS teachers utilized the release questions to review older material for the test, myself included, but they are not the actual test questions and this has been an ongoing practice in all schools for many years.

To answer some of the other misconceptions on this thread, yes, CVCHS starts school a couple of weeks before MDUSD but that doesn’t give us more time to prepare for the test. By law, the STAR test has to be given within a window of time around the 85th percentile in the school year. So if a school starts two weeks earlier than another school, its STAR test will be roughly two weeks earlier than the other school.

Another misconception is that CVCHS did not have English language learners, special ed or troublemakers in the school population. That is totally false. What CVCHS did was work especially hard with these populations to elevate their performance, and, in fact, their scores improved higher than the overall rate. In multiple high school districts like MDUSD, the so-called troublemakers can be transferred to one of the continuation or necessary small high schools like Olympic and Crossroads. CVCHS doesn’t have these schools to send the troublemakers to, so we worked hard to prevent them from being troublemakers in the first place. We increased attendance rates, kept students in school, and sent them to Saturday School and other interventions when they needed it. In short, we didn’t let them be troublemakers.

To the one who wrote about multiple choice tests being meaningless, you have some valid points. Please know that the multiple choice STAR tests and current state content standards are being phased out and being replaced by the Common Core. This is a whole other discussion, but you will be pleasantly surprised when you see the standardized testing become far more rigorous.

I am extremely proud of what all of us accomplished last year at CVCHS and I look forward to even greater success this year and in the future.

still anon August 31, 2013 at 12:52 AM

DR. J: GO AWAY!!!!!!!

cmcbride August 31, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Some of the claims being made on this board are just not true. Any student that is in the CVCHS district gets priority admission into the school, just like in most other school districts. If space is available, other students can transfer in. Before the charter school, there probably wasn’t much of a problem transferring in because there was space. If there wasn’t enough space (like at my daughter’s new school over in WCCUSD), there is a first come / first serve wait list. I think this is standard practice in CA public school districts.

The lottery is actually considered to be more fair by many, because being first in line doesn’t give you an advantage, and a lot of kids that may want to attend CVCHS just might not have parents that have the time / resources to make it on the right day to be first in line.

Facts about CVHS 2012 and CVCHS 2013 API scores:
– 1317 students took the test in 2012, 1393 in 2013 – 76 MORE students.
– There were actually two fewer “white” students taking the test, and 78 MORE students in “non-white” categories taking the test.
– 16 MORE socioeconomically disadavantaged, 4 MORE students with disabilities, 20 MORE Hispanic or Latino students took the test
– 24 more Asians / Filipinos took the test
– The largest increases in scores were among socioeconomically disadvantaged students, english learners and students with disabilities.
– The smallest gains were among Asian and Filipino students (which represented 1/3 of the additional students taking the test, so the score increases weren’t driven by having more Asian students).

Perhaps some of the commenters on this board also don’t understand the distinction between a conversion charter school and a non-conversion charter school. Non-conversion charter schools also run lotteries, but the downside is that they siphon off more of the better students from other schools, negatively impacting their test scores. Conversion charter schools just don’t have that much capacity to make such a big impact on test scores of other schools.

My son is a member of the first graduating class at CVCHS, so I watched the amazing change that happened there last year. He was so much more focused on his academics and also played football under the new coach, where I watched an amazing transformation of a lazy unmotivated boy into a responsible young man who is now off to a four year college.

I think the STAR scores went up just because the kids actually cared and tried to do their best. I don’t actually think it is because they all learned so much more in less than one academic year. The school robocalled us the week before the test and asked us to encourage our kids to do well, make sure they had a good breakfast, etc. I don’t think it is unfair for the school / teachers to take an interest in how the school appears and encourage students to do their best. That was the problem with CVHS, the complacency and disinterest by many of the teachers and administrators.

Now, I’m sure somebody will have some correction to these “facts”. Bring it on!

Anonymous August 31, 2013 at 11:01 AM

@Rollo Tomasi #47
Sorry to disappoint again. But, I am only offering some possible reasons for the increase in scores. If you take a basic statistics course (and I recommend you do because you obviously need one) you will understand that correlation does not mean causation. In other words, the fact that CVCHS is a charter school this year and wasn’t last year doesn’t mean that conversion had anything to do with the improved score.

I have analyzed the District’s test scores in the past. I have even provided information to Disability Rights Advocates to help them better advocate for children with special needs who were dropping out of the math assessments at an alarming rate. The information is available through the Department of Education and I think you should perform your own analysis as I have many times before.

You are overly sensitive and emotional whenever someone questions CVCHS’ test results. Perhaps you have children at the school or you teach at the school. If you have a vested interest, you really should do yourself and your student(s) a favor and dig deeper.

Have you ever noticed how the District’s math scores drop as you move from elementary school to middle school and high school? Why are our students so capable of learning math in elementary school and not capable as they move on to middle and high school?

The District will proudly showcase the improved scores for this elementary school or that high school but will never candidly explain why kids who were advanced or proficient in elementary school are dropping a category or two by the time they reach high school. If our children are dropping scores as they move on in school, children in some other districts are improving as they move from elementary to middle to high school. If the District really cares about educating children, it will bring this problem to the forefront and engage parents to help find a solution to this pervasive problem.

Teacher@CVCHS August 31, 2013 at 2:26 PM

Are you kidding me? Last year at CVCHS was the hardest year of my life! Not a new teacher, but part of the 20% new teachers hired on last year, I taught Saturdays, tutored during lunch and after-school, called/emailed home when students weren’t turning in quality work, attended at least a 504 or IEP meeting a week and came home exhausted every single night. Our staff is 100% committed to the students’ ability to succeed in college and career. It’s not about our test scores; we want to prepare these kids for the 21st century. We had department collaboration meetings where we focused on best practices and increasing students’ subject knowledge. We had professional development which focused on researched based strategies that help students learn (note-taking, reviewing, critical thinking, etc..) When it was time for STAR we reviewed (which is what we did at my previous high performing district and every district should be doing), we talked about the importance that they do their best. We had state auditors in our room watching our every move from how we distribute tests to proctoring in our room and had NO security breeches (unlike the other schools listed in the article that came out about a month ago). It wasn’t rocket science but it was HARD WORK and the only thing that got us through was the encouragement from administration, positivity from each other, caring involved parents and a year long process of getting these kids to believe in themselves! Any school can do this if they all just rally together and CARE. It really is that simple.

What did you expect? August 31, 2013 at 2:32 PM

Clayton Valley Charter got millions more in funding when it converted to a charter. That additional money was taken out of MDUSD’s budget and given to CVCHS. That is how CVCHS was able to afford the summer session, the online classes, the additional tutoring, and bonuses they gave the teachers. It is also why schools for the rest of us suffered even more.

As noted by Mr. Hile, the teacher who posted at #76, CVCHS spent time drilling students on past STAR tests. That alone will raise test results without the student learning anything more. It’s the basic principle used by all those expensive SAT prep classes. It’s the same reason students who take the SAT multiple times usually raise their scores. Practise testing will raise the score on any standardized test by a lot.

mtzman August 31, 2013 at 2:42 PM

@Anonymous #79, if I had such a hollow grasp on statistics and such a condescending attitude about it I guess I would want to be anonymous, too. You are absolutely correct that correlation does not equate to causation in theory. And, in theory, you are correct that the fact that CVCHS is a charter school this year and wasn’t last year doesn’t mean that conversion had anything to do with the improved score. However, the next step is to locate the factors that did lead to the improved score and you’ve got nothing other than the conversion to point to. As has been repeatedly pointed out to you, the demographics of the student population did not change significantly. In fact, the students at CVCHS were pretty much the same students who attended CVHS. The numbers of ELL and special ed students who took the test actually increased.

Sounds like you’re the one who is overly sensitive and emotional whenever anyone celebrates CVCHS’s success. You don’t have to dig deeper to see how wrong you are. You just need to open your eyes and stop being so ignorant.

Rollo Tomasi August 31, 2013 at 3:23 PM


I find it comical that people like you love to talk about the “millions” taken from MDUSD by the charter. Why is it that you never want to mention the fact that the expense of staffing and maintaining CVHS was REMOVED from the MDUSD budget?

The charter receives state funding equivalent to what is mandated for high school students. This was not happening under MDUSD, because Eberhart and his cronies were diverting more funds to elementary schools than should have been. Until the MDUSD makes personnel cuts starting at the top and working down, MDUSD high schools will continue to operate with less funding than the state mandates. Of course, public employee unions make sure the status quo remains in place.

mtzman August 31, 2013 at 3:28 PM

@What Did You Expect #81, I’m not going to get into the old debate about funding except to say that CVCHS got what it was entitled by law to receive, no more and no less. What was significant was that we spent it wisely.

As for drilling students on past tests, you missed the part where I said that was a routine practice that most schools have been doing for years. With regard to the release questions, I followed the same practice that I have always done, which was to spend a few minutes in class for about a week prior to the STAR test going over the material. I even used the same bank of prior test questions that I have used for years because those are the questions the state released and they are several years old. Students, like all human beings, retain knowledge when they repeatedly engage it. It was simply a review session and, yes, I’m sure it did raise test scores just as it always did. That was the whole point, but the huge increase in test scores had little to do with repeating the same things we have always done. What made the difference was the change in attitude among all the stakeholders and all the hard work everyone did.

Guy Dudebro August 31, 2013 at 4:01 PM

You got schooled by #79 Rollo, pardon the pun.

Rollo Tomasi August 31, 2013 at 4:50 PM


If you had stayed in school and stopped sniffing glue, you’d know better.

@mtzman August 31, 2013 at 5:51 PM

I studied statistics at UC Berkeley, and completely agree with mtzman #82. Anonymous #79 seems to have no statistical insights based on the actual CVCHS data, nor any specific knowledge of CVCHS and how it works.

Phillip August 31, 2013 at 6:55 PM

@teacher #80….

Minor point- but it’s “breaches”, not “breeches” when used in this manner…

I have a question….. Does MDUSD have any responsibility with respect to maintenance of the school?

Been Down That Road.... August 31, 2013 at 8:17 PM

@Phillip #88–that is a very loud and resounding “NO”! Under MDUSD stewardship the school facilities and grounds had fallen into disrepair. There was garbage everywhere, dead grass and plant material, graffiti and tired, rundown buildings. That is not an environment that anyone can be proud of and it showed in the attitudes of students and the perception of the community. By using old-fashioned sweat equity (volunteers), hiring outside vendors to maintain landscaping and beginning necessary repairs on the buildings, students, staff and the parent and broader communities are all building a strong sense of pride in their school. This translates to a strong desire to achieve and succeed–that’s the expectation for every student and they are rising to it admirably.

Regardless of all the negativity here and elsewhere, the CVCHS community knows exactly what’s happening–it’s frankly been inspiring to watch and be a part of. And, as Teacher #80 pointed out, there isn’t anything happening that couldn’t happen on any campus across the District or the state if the stakeholders wanted it bad enough.

What Did You Expect? August 31, 2013 at 8:28 PM

Gregory Hile/Mtzman,

I agree. CVCHS got exactly what the law said it was entitled to for funding.

The law said that CVCHS would get more money than MDUSD was getting to educate a student. And the law also said that the state would not pay the difference. MDUSD would have to pay the difference. So CVCHS got millions of dollars more to educate the students of CV and the students of MDUSD got millions of dollars less.

And now you’re giving yourselves handsome bonuses with the money you took away from all the other students in MDUSD. Sweet.

Riddle me this. Do you ever, in the middle of the night, feel just a tiny bit guilty about calling the MDUSD leaders liars when they were the ones telling the truth about the finances and you were the ones lying? About accusing them of financial fraud and calling for the DIstrict Attorney to investigate because they must be cooking the books if the figures show the charter will cause a financial loss to the district?

No? Well, enjoy that bonus money. You teachers did make it clear right from the start that your primary goal was to pay yourselves more. Congratulations. You succeeded.

@ What Did You Expect? August 31, 2013 at 10:41 PM

The district was the one that was not up front. Did you go to any of the board meetings? The district’s legal counsel tried to tell the public that CVCHS would not get any lottery money if they went charter. Well that is not true. They do not get it in their first year but will be getting both the first and second year totals this year. That is just one of the misleading statements made by the district to prevent this charter from happening. It was good for all students not just the charter students. Now all the other schools have a blueprint to change their if they want to do the work. Have you heard of any school or student who has lost services because of the district receiving less? No because it is not true. The district needs a shake up. They did make some moves in that direction by getting rid of two clowns: Rolen and Lawrence. Oh and yes the TEACHERS do deserve more $$$.

What did you expect? September 1, 2013 at 1:00 AM

#91, The bonus money that was given to the CVCHS teachers should have been used for the education of the students in MDUSD.

The Clayton Valley teachers aren’t very good at doing research so they didn’t understand where the extra money for a charter school would come from when they first started the effort to convert to a charter. They thought it would come from the state. But it doesn’t. The state forces the district to pay the extra money for the charter school. When MDUSD pointed that out, the CV teachers couldn’t admit they were wrong. They kept accusing MDUSD of lying.

MDUSD was not lying. The State Board of Education agreed that MDUSD was telling the truth. They agreed that it is financially devastating to a district the size of MDUSD when a high school converts to a charter school. But their hands were tied. They said the legislature needs to change the laws.

MDUSD was not lying. The state experts in education finance (FCMAT) took another look at the numbers last fall. They said the loss to MDUSD will be between $1.7 and $3.4 million. Before you say “But that doesn’t include the savings from not operating the school”, I can assure you that the good folks from FCMAT did not forget to include the savings. It’s right there in the report.

Phillip September 1, 2013 at 8:18 AM

@been #89….

Thanks – but I’m still not clear….

1. Does the district own the property now?
2. What is the district responsible for at the maintenance level?
3. Does the district have any input as to what is done to the facilities/property?

Or is this ALL now the responsibility of the school alone? I haven’t seen anything that points it out it out clearly…..

What did you expect? September 1, 2013 at 9:56 AM

Phillup I can answer part of your question. Yes, MDUSD still owns the property. State law governing charter schools says that MDUSD can charge CVCHS rent based on square footage. CVCHS and MDUSD negotiated an annual rent of $302,557. That information was contained in the FCMAT report.

mtzman September 1, 2013 at 10:07 AM

@What Did You Expect #92, tell you what, why don’t you complain instead about the severance pay, attorneys fees, recruitment fees and other expenses that had to be incurred by the MDUSD having to fire the superintendent and general counsel. You’ve made the same misleading and inaccurate financial argument about CVCHS so many times already and have been proven wrong each time it isn’t funny. Give it up!

What did you expect? September 1, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Mtzman, Read FCMAT report for yourself. It spells out the dollars and cents very clearly. CVHS converting to a charter causes a financial loss to MDUSD. Read the reporting from the Contra Costa times on what the state Board of Education members had to say about the financial impact to MDUSD. I know you don’t want to believe it, but it’s the truth.

I agree with you that firing the superintendent and general council was a total waste of MDUSD money. The school board members who voted for it won’t get my votes next time. I disagree with the CVCHS board’s decision to give you more money. But, I, as a taxpayer and voter, don’t get to vote for who’s on your board. I have no say over anything that goes on there even though you are a public school paid for with my tax dollars and you are the neighborhood high school for Clayton and a chunk of Concord.

Phillip September 1, 2013 at 11:43 AM

@what did you expect #94…..,

Understood thanks. So it seems to me that, if they’re “renting” from MDUSD, the “owner” (MDUSD) still has to approve any capital work there?

Sorry if I seem a little dense about this, but I’m relatively new to the area and I’m wondering how and who is ultimately responsible for maintenance and new work there….

Is there some kind of published agreement that says who does what?

Gregory Hile September 1, 2013 at 12:57 PM

@Phillip #97, yes, the relationship is essentially one of landlord and tenant. There is a written agreement and I am sure you could obtain a copy from either CVCHS or MDUSD that spells out the terms.

What did you expect? September 1, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Good questions, Phillip. I don’t know the answers. Keep in mind that the relationships between charter schools and school districts are regulated by lots of rules and regulations, so what might apply in a commercial setting might not apply here.

If there is a written agreement between CVCHS and MDUSD, it’s possible that the MDUSD board voted on it at some point. If that is the case, you might be able to look back over the old school board meeting agendas and find an attachment that contains the agreement. it was probably done in late spring or early summer of 2012. The agendas and attachments are online.

Here’s another clue for you. CVCHS is entitled to a share of any bond money that MDUSD voters approve for facilities improvements. CVCHS decides what the money will be used for at their school. MDUSD does not decide for them.

Phillip September 1, 2013 at 3:18 PM


Thanks very much…..


Been Down That Road.... September 1, 2013 at 6:03 PM

@What did you expect #99–Sheesh…someone took an overdose of their bitter pill today! Perhaps you should put as much time and attention into creating a better school for YOUR kids as you put into casting manipulated numbers and inaccuracies out to those of us who have decided on a different course for our community. Frankly, even if MDUSD had started making positive and meaningful changes the day we submitted our charter petition (which they obviously did not), there’s no way my own children would have benefited in time. CVCHS has completely changed their culture and increased the rigor of their academics in one year due to hard work and a complete focus on the student. That’s the kind of change I, as a parent, can get behind and support!

@Philip #97–The agreement you’re looking for is the Prop 39 agreement. It was finalized mid-year last year. Through this agreement, CVCHS can do many things on their own–paint, landscape maintenance, etc. Any capital improvements must be approved by MDUSD–including ALL the Measure C expenditures (bond money that EVERY tax payer voted in and will pay for).

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