Friday, April 23, 2010

MEDIA ADVISORY -- See Student Test Stars In Action

MEDIA ADVISORY from the San Diego Unified School District, April 23, 2010


WHAT: A Tierrasanta high school takes STAR Wars approach to prepping for
standardized tests, engaging students and getting results. By de-mystifying
the test and what it's for and devoting resources to helping students
prepare, school officials get great buy-in from students.

WHEN: 11 a.m., Wednesday, April 28

WHERE: Serra High School gym, 5156 Santo Road (92124). School: (619)
496-8342. Parking on west side of campus.

WHAT: This is testing time in schools all over San Diego. These tests can
determine whether or not a school is labeled "failing" by the federal
government. Serra takes an innovative -- and fun -- approach to the annual
rite of spring that is standardized testing. Capping off weeks of academic
preparation, Serra throws a big football-style pep rally complete with
cheerleaders. There will be skits, raps, and other tension-releasing fun.
Possibly even a STAR Wars light-saber duel.

Serra students sometimes face challenges reaching the benchmark achievement
levels. It is a Title 1 school that educates many students whose parents are
active duty military and in war zones. Therefore the increase in student
achievement as well as a winning approach to academics are both worth the

WHY: A great vehicle to show the inside of how one school makes
accountability work for its students.

There are some 5 million California public school students right now taking
or about to undertake these federally-mandated and state-mandated
standardized tests. Serra does more than just give its students sharpened
No. 2 pencils. It spends weeks gearing up for the testing, tutoring and
counseling students. The event brings the whole school together to focus on
boosting standards.

And it works. In 2008, Serra's STAR Wars comprehensive approach increased
API score by 66 points. This was the largest growth of any comprehensive
high school in the history of San Diego Unified School District.

The pep rally caps the preparation for the test. Come join in the serious


Mike Jimenez, principal, (858) 496-8342,

Operations Supervisor Jeff Thomas (858) 496-8342 x-202,

Lisa Petrillo, SD Unified Communications, (619) 725-7747,

Students, teachers and counselors will be available for interviews

More information and a Serra High student-produced video about testing
available on the SDUSD Website at

# # #

Jack Brandais Communications Department San Diego Unified School District
(619) 725-5570 (Desk) (619) 607-0477 (Cell)

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