Foothill flies by 899 in state tests

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Prinipal Joe Bova congratulates students for achieving 906 API. Sobeida Curiel/The Foothill Dragon Press.

With an API (Academic Performance Index) score of 906, Foothill Technology High School has once again placed among the top 20 schools in California.

“I am very proud of our students and their hard work,” Joe Bova said of the STAR test scores. “Our students don’t really realize how hard it is to achieve at that high level.”

“We were all really excited to get 900, and going six points over that is a really big accomplishment,” commented Riki Schmitt, a junior.

Foothill has come a long way.  Though it was established in 2000, the school’s first STAR tests were taken in 2003, and the first score was a 744.  Foothill has expanded in academics as well as physical size since then.  Because of its growing prestige, 600 middle school students applied but only 250 freshmen were admitted in 2010.

According to Bova, the most improved subjects in the 2010 STAR tests were combined math scores from the upperclassmen with an improvement of 20 points from last year, and last year’s sophomores’ scores in Chemistry and World History which both improved by 6 points.

“We have an amazing group of students,” said Richard Villano, an Algebra 2 and Trig/Pre-Calculus Honors teacher. When the student body takes pride in their work it leads to good results, Villano added.

However, Bova has a new goal for Foothill students: to beat Oak Park High School. Oak Park received a 908 API this year and improved 13 points since 2009. If Foothill can manage to pass Oak Park in the 2011 STAR tests, it will reclaim its title as the highest performing high school in the county.

According to Bova, the tenth and eleventh graders last year contributed the most to our 906 status, though all the classes did extremely well.  Bova is not dressing up though, because last year’s juniors failed to reach their goal of a 90 percent pass rate on the U.S. History STAR tests, which they missed by one percent.

As promised by Bova last year, all of the sophomores, juniors and seniors this year will be going to Magic Mountain on October 11 to celebrate passing the 900 mark. 

Freshman Kinsey Thomas has a “can-do” attitude about taking the star tests.  She said she isn’t worrying about reaching 900 next year, because she knows the teachers are capable of teaching all the students the material they need in order to do well. 

“At Foothill there’s a great culture of learning. I’m always thinking of ways to get students engaged in the material,” Robin Houlahan explained.

Houlanahn believes that if students learn to think critically and are able to relate to the material, the tests will be easy. Teachers at Foothill don’t believe in teaching to the test but teaching to learn. Neither teachers or students are intimidated by the STAR test, because they are confident in themselves.

Foothill’s success may be because of its tight-knit community of parents, teachers and students.

Said Villano, “I feel fortunate to work at a school where parents and students care. It makes all the difference in the world.”

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