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Four Gilroy Schools Receive 2020 Vision Award

Ascencion Solorsano, Brownell and South Valley middle schools and Luigi Aprea Elementary School were awarded for their work in reducing the achievement gap between students.

Four local schools received the inaugural by the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) for their work in closing the achievement gap between students, and improving the proficiency of Latino students in key areas.

, and middle schools, along with, were among 22 schools honored Thursday, Jan. 19, for their work in the areas of 8th grade algebra and 3rd grade English Language Arts (ELA).

To identify recipients, the SCCOE did a countywide comparison that evaluated schools on their number of “high performing” Latino students. Results from the California Standards Test (CST) were also evaluated.

“We wanted to look at the bright stops and look at what they are doing that is working,” said Don Bolce, SSCOE director of special projects. “What we are seeing are some really promising practices in Gilroy in algebra. We are going to have to look more closely at what Gilroy is doing in 8th grade algebra.”

The goal of the 2020 Vision Awards is to reduce the achievement gap to zero by the year 2020. Latino students are an important factor in eliminating the gap because they comprise the largest segment of affected students, according to the SCCOE website.

By the Numbers

South Valley Middle School saw its achievement gap shrink from 27 percent in 2009 to two percent in 2011, and Brownell saw its drop from 13 percent to five percent in the same period.

Fifty-two percent of Latino students at South Valley scored proficient or higher in 8th grade algebra on the CST, while 74 percent of Latino students met the same requirement at Brownell.

At Solorsano, the school reduced the gap from 42 percent in 2010 to eight percent in 2011, and 64 percent of Solorsano’s Latino students scored proficient or higher on the CST.

Luigi Aprea reduced its 3rd grade ELA achievement gap from 40 percent in 2010 to 10 percent the following year. Seventy percent of the school’s Latino students scored proficient or above in 3rd grade ELA.

“You can see that [the Gilroy] schools made big jumps,” Bolce said.

Although the schools have successfully reduced the achievement gap, they need to progress by three-and-a-half to five percent per year in order to eliminate the gap by 2020, Bolce said. Gilroy educators said they know there’s more work to be done.

“We are a profession of constantly reflecting on what’s working and how can we make it better,” said Maria Walker, Solorsano Middle School principal. “It’s a constant cycle.”

Honored schools implemented an array of teaching practices to reduce the achievement gap. Practices include sharing teaching strategies, focusing on language development and working across grade levels.

To read about the teaching practices that local educators say are helping them eliminate the achievement gap by 2020, check out .

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