Contact: Mike Myslinski at 650-552-5324
BURLINGAME – Since 2006, low-income students at an elementary school in Chula Vista School District in San Diego County have benefited from a landmark, CTA-backed school intervention law providing proven reforms like smaller class sizes, better teacher training and more counselors at hundreds of California public schools.
Now Lauderbach Elementary has won a top state achievement award that’s more indication of the success of the Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA) program. “The teacher-led QEIA reforms are working, and this school’s academic progress is outstanding proof that proven reforms sustained over time will help at-risk students succeed,” said Dean E. Vogel, president of the 325,000-member California Teachers Association. “The teachers and students of Lauderbach Elementary are doing something extraordinary, against great odds.”
The school is one of 56 named on Tuesday as a winner of the California Department of Education’s Title 1 Academic Achievement Award. Title 1 is the largest federal education funding program for K-12 public schools in the nation and is focused on assisting schools in meeting the academic needs of students living at or below the poverty line. Targeting mostly lower-income and ethnic minority students who are at-risk, the QEIA program is the largest school turn-around program of its kind in the country.
Enacted in 2006, the QEIA law provides nearly $3 billion over eight years in extra resources to tens of thousands of at-risk public school students across California. It’s making a big difference at the 860-student Lauderbach Elementary campus, said educator Evette Ramirez, (pictured) whose literacy coach position is funded by QEIA. She is the CTA contact for the QEIA program at the K-6 school and works with colleagues to develop more relevant professional development training for them. She sees every day how the reform law’s mandates for smaller classes and other changes help students excel.
“We are able to keep our class sizes smaller because of QEIA,” Ramirez says. “It is the funding from QEIA that makes it possible for our teachers to have time to plan and to collaborate and analyze students’ work. It’s amazing to have that time. It’s been very powerful for us.”
At Lauderbach, the student population is 89 percent Hispanic and nearly 8 out of 10 students qualify for free or reduced-price meals, one indicator of poverty. Yet achievement is soaring. The school’s Academic Performance Index (API) score in 2012 was an outstanding 860, up from 849 the year before. The state’s goal for all public schools is an API score of 800. And these gains were made with about 70 percent of the Lauderbach students being English learners.
“These schools serve students facing real challenges, and they’ve risen to meet them through hard work and dedication,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said in a statement praising all 56 Title 1 schools winning the award.
See more information about the QEIA program at www.cta.org/qeiaprogress
The 325,000-member California Teachers Association is affiliated with the 3.2 million-member National Education Association.