Concerned Parents Say:
School Board Kills The Best Thing
Going At Emery Unified
In a final unanimous blow, the Emery School Board of Trustees voted to forever shutter Anna Yates Elementary School Monday night, demonstrably, the best thing happening here at the Emery Unified School District. The clock is now ticking for Anna Yates, the gem of Emery Unified; as the doors will close on the last child in the spring of 2015 when students will be shuttled over to the high school site where the Center of Community Life on San Pablo Avenue is now being constructed.
Some parents have lamented the closing of Anna Yates comes at a time of great and building academic synergy at the school; educators internally and external parental forces have conjoined to dramatically drive up academic achievement over the last few years. The results have been reflected in the rising test scores; the Academic Performance Index (API) indicates Anna Yates has met and exceeded all the academic goals for this year, moving from an API score of 780 last year to 815 this year eclipsing the statewide API average of 788. This year's dramatic jump comes following rising scores for the last five years at the school.
Emery High School, also known as Emery Secondary School on the other hand remains mired in a morass of low morale and low achievement, well below State averages. The school has not met any of the District or State academic goals for this year. The API scores at the high school shows an actual decline from 636 last year to 635 this year.
This decline has happened amid great pronouncements to the contrary from the District about rising academic achievement at the secondary school over the last couple of years. Teachers there have complained about low morale and a recalcitrant administration profiled in a follow up audit by the National Center for Urban School Transformation earlier in the year. The report condemned the District for its poor performance at Emery Secondary School.
|Anna Yates Elementary School was recently|
remodeled at a cost of $9 million.
It was noted at the time that Measure J, the plebiscite that citizens supported in 2010 to sell the school bonds necessary to build the new school, made no mention of closing Anna Yates Elementary School, giving ammunition to those who contend that citizens and parents should have been permitted to weigh in on the wisdom of closing the school.
Concerned parents have complained as the elementary school is closed and a new facility is built co-located with the high school, the management staff, critical to the rising test scores at the elementary school, will be dramatically reduced. District officials have confirmed this, citing cost savings from such a reduction as a major reason to close Anna Yates. The closure will leave one large school with one management culture, and likely worse academic outcomes looming for Kindergarten through 6th grade children, parents say.