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Principal: Capo High Staff Bothered by 'Disturbing' Test Scores

Principal Kevin Astor of Capistrano Valley High says his school should perform higher on the annual state API test.

It's better than the state average, but not good enough, the principal says.

When Capo Valley High scored an 832 on the statewide Academic Performance Index, Principal Kevin Astor said the school can do better. He said Capo High scored lowest out of six Capistrano Unified high schools.

The state average API score is 752.

Astor said students' performance disturbed school staff.

"We need to be confronted with the reality that all five other Capo high schools outscored us," he said.

Here is the principal's message to parents:

I am so very grateful to be starting my second year as a Capo Valley Cougar. I serve as the steward for this school – for the staff, families and over 2,500 students that walk our halls each year. We don’t always agree but have worked together to make a powerful place to learn. I am even more convinced than one year ago that CVHS is a great place to be in school. We have amazing students. I watch them think and create in ways that make me forget they are just still teenagers. I have seen compassion and talent and perseverance that many adults have never exhibited. Even in disagreement, we have students that demonstrate grace, respect and intelligence. Capo Valley is a great place to be. 

It is this very conviction that Capo is great that made it difficult for me to read our API score when it was released this fall. Capo scored an 832 – essentially stagnant from last year’s 836. What disturbs our staff is that we don’t believe that an 832 accurately captures what we are doing for kids instructionally. With this in mind, we are both bothered and challenged by this number. We need to be confronted with the reality that all five other Capo high schools outscored us. The object is not to be condemned but rather challenged to succeed at the level that our collective work, support and skill merits.

We need to look at several factors. Are we teaching what the CST exams are measuring? Are our kids learning the concepts required of them? Are they able to demonstrate what they know on a test that looks like the CST? Are our kids – especially our most advanced students – taking the test seriously and performing up to their ability? We know we can improve. We know we should improve and we will. I can assure you that our teachers are challenged by this information and it is out of challenge that innovation and improvement arise.

We have enjoyed so many great performances by our kids this year already – in the classroom, on the field and up on stage. I hope you have had the opportunity to enjoy some of these events. I am proud of my staff who cares deeply and works hard. I am proud of our community that supports and advocates for the school. I am especially proud of our kids whose efforts and achievements reflect so well on Capo Valley High School!

Pete November 30, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Well put. You seem like a pretty sharp kid. Good luck in your future. I am sure you will overcome what you WEREN'T taught at Capo.
CapoStudent December 01, 2012 at 01:42 AM
As a student I am even more upset than Dr. Astor. I came to Capo because I was told it was the best academic school I would find in the district. Sadly, within the first semester I found out half of my teachers don't teach; the other half teach to half of the class because the other half is unwilling to learn. Capo puts all its focus on its athletics and you can tell this year. Multiple teams went to CIF and our test scores dropped to an embarrassing level. I will not return to Capo at the end of the year because of its poor academics.
Capo Kid December 01, 2012 at 02:03 AM
Public unions allow incompetence and apathy - not success, not innovation. If this was a private sector employer half of the teachers would have been canned long ago. Mr. Panicci is a classic case. Also the ESL kids who are struggling because only Spanish is spoken outside of school score poorly but get into UC schools free thanks to AB 540. This won't be fixed. It is our reality.
Antoine December 01, 2012 at 04:35 AM
Could you explain what this is and how it can improve performance?
Sandy Cota December 01, 2012 at 06:23 AM
Capo Mom I think we have low scores because it all depends what the students are up to doing the days of the CST they are giving so late in the year which we all know why.The students should be ready for it by this time but, I think it dose not have nothing to do how prepare the students are it all depends on how they feel and if they are up to do this test. I think most of our kids know they will go home as soon as they are done maybe they just hurry to get done so they can go home. I have a Senior at CAPO and she is a straight A student and always gets ADVANCED on this CST TEST so I guess she is getting a GREAT EDUCATION AT CAPO because it reflects on her TEST SCORE. We GIVE A BIG THANK YOU TO ALL HER TEACHERS AT CAPO FOR HER EXCELLENCE EDUCATION WE ARE VERY PROUD OF HER..

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