Nicole's Note: Sep 14th

Canyon Pride!

I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear when the news about last year’s test scores were released. It was the first official year that student scores would be counted on the new Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBAC) in language arts and mathematics. Because these tests were given in a new format (on computers rather than paper pencil) and they assessed students on the newly adopted Common Core State Standards, we really didn’t know what to expect.

Canyon students exceeded our expectations and showed us exactly just how brilliant they really are! The new tests assessed students in the areas of reading, writing, listening, research/inquiry, concepts & procedures, problem solving, modeling, data analysis and communicating reasoning. They were very challenging and our students persevered through them, resulting in Canyon having the top scores in all of LA Unified!

With the SBAC, Students are given questions that require deeper thinking about a theme in literature, for example, or about the concepts of algebra or geometry. They get more or less difficult based on which ones a student answers correctly, and in theory no two students will be presented with exactly the same test. The new test also requires some written answers, in addition to the more familiar multiple-choice format.

The shift to Common Core has required students to meet tougher academic standards that emphasize critical thinking, problem solving and analytical writing. According to experts, the Common Core learning goals have changed both what is taught and how. The idea is to get students to think more deeply, solve problems and better express themselves in writing and speaking. Those objectives are reflected in the new test.

When interviewed by the LA Times about our exceptional scores, I was asked why I felt that my students scored so high. I attributed it to so many factors. Among those are teachers who are completely dedicated to ensuring that their students succeed. They set high expectations and then give their students the tools they need to meet those expectations. Teachers work collaboratively to design lessons that are rigorous, engaging, meaningful and fun. Students at Canyon are eager and motivated to learn and are given opportunities to explore and take ownership of their own learning.

Another contributing factor I believe is the sense of community and stakeholder involvement at Canyon. Every stakeholder at our school is dedicated to ensuring that our students have every opportunity possible to have a successful education. From our welcoming environment, to parent volunteers, to enrichment opportunities, we have a community who values education and always makes decisions around what is best for students.

Please help me celebrate this awesome achievement with our community! Let your child(ren) know how proud of them you are and that you recognize the hard work of the teachers and students. I am proud that we get to continue the reputation of being “the number one school in Los Angeles!”

Warmly, (while beaming with pride),
Nicole