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October 20, 2023

Laguna Beach Unified School District achieves top English language arts score in Orange County, sets stage for continual improvement with proven strategies

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. — This week, the California Department of Education (CDE) released test scores that report the percentage of students meeting state math, English language arts, and science standards statewide as measured by the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). In the Laguna Beach Unified School District (LBUSD), 79 percent of students scored proficient or above in English language arts (ELA), 69 percent met or exceeded standards in mathematics and 66 percent of students demonstrated proficiency in science standards. 

LBUSD saw a 2 percent increase in math and ELA scores and a 7 percent improvement in science scores when comparing data from the 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years, showcasing a focus on academic progress. Scores in both ELA and mathematics surpassed the Orange County average by approximately 22 percent and exceeded the California state-wide average by approximately 32 percent in ELA and 34 percent in mathematics. LBUSD takes pride in consistently achieving the highest ELA and math scores in Orange County. 

"LBUSD, much like a successful organization, establishes measurable academic progress goals for students. One of the data sets our leadership team annually reviews for continuous improvement is the CAASPP scores. While we are still analyzing the data, there is certainly cause for celebration with the overall growth achieved in all areas and the highest English language arts scores in Orange County,” said LBUSD Superintendent Jason Viloria, Ed.D. He continued, “We have placed a strong emphasis on promoting school connectedness, encouraging a strong sense of belonging among all students. As this connectedness deepens, it acts as a catalyst for academic achievement, and we expect our collaborative efforts will continue to drive growth in core academic areas."

LBUSD is committed to continuous improvement, with a specific focus on enhancing math instruction and boosting students' math scores, building upon this year's growth. The assessment is conducted annually for students in grades 3-8 and once in high school, specifically in grade 11. This means that eleventh graders undergo assessments across three distinct math courses, covering a wide range of content standards. 

Consequently, high school math performance remains a continuous priority, and additional assessments for students in grades 9 through 11 this year will assist teachers in identifying areas where additional support may be needed. Furthermore, LBHS now provides targeted support during a redesigned tutorial period, allowing students to collaborate with teachers in creating personalized goals and learning plans that cater to their needs.

“In the last few years, the math department has taken further measures to target the individual needs of all of our students. Through regular diagnostic testing, we are able to identify areas of strength and weakness to support Math achievement,” said LBHS Mathematics Teacher Lara Greco. “During class and tutorial, teachers provide targeted interventions and instruction to fill in learning gaps. Our hope is to build stronger math foundations for all of our students so that they may be more successful at LBHS and beyond,” she concluded. 

CAASPP scores and data from additional assessment tools used throughout the year guide LBUSD school teams as they identify annual priorities before the beginning of each school year. The LBUSD leadership team meets regularly to review progress toward goal areas. The district uses a multi-tiered system of support, a structured educational framework that helps meet the different needs of students by offering various levels of help and guidance based on what each student requires to learn effectively. This approach is proven to result in ongoing academic growth and the demonstration of college and career readiness.

Because CAASPP tests are given statewide, they provide an opportunity to measure the skills of all students against the same academic standards in the same way. The results provide information schools can use to improve teaching and learning and are posted annually on the CAASPP results website. Parents receive a written report of their child’s scores and can compare progress from one year to the next.

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