EAST WHITTIER – Loud cheering filled East Whittier Middle School’s Student Activity Center as 85 East Whittier City School District students were recognized for perfect scores on at least one of the new California standardized tests.

The exam included English language arts (ELA), mathematics and science. The first two tests are administered to grades three through eight, however, the science test is given to fifth- and eighth-grade students. Created by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, the ELA and math tests assess writing, critical-thinking and problem-solving skills far beyond the scope of California’s previous standardized tests.

East Whittier Middle School student Daniella Gonzalez was awarded a trophy for perfect scores on all three tests – the only student in the District to receive the prestigious award. Six students received plaques for perfect scores on two of the tests and 78 students received certificates for perfect scores on one test.

“My family pushed me to study and supported me through it all,” Gonzalez said. “I was nervous at first, but I finished the test and I got a great score and now I’m excited to be here and receive this very special award.”

During the recognition ceremony, students were called to the podium by their school principals and were handed their awards by Board President Dimitri Elbling and Superintendent Mary Branca.

“Our students are performing so well and we are incredibly proud of them,” East Whittier City School District Superintendent Mary Branca said. “Our rigorous academic program aims to help our students achieve success, as our team of hard working teachers ensures that each student reaches and surpasses state standards.”

The District credits its rising scores to its frequent monitoring of student progress, which calls for teacher and administrator review of language arts and mathematics every six to eight
weeks. In addition to classroom teachers, each school has an English learner lead teacher that serves as a liaison with the staff to share student data, properly place students in their language programs, and monitor their progress.

“We are very proud of the performance of our students,” said Gabriela Tavitian, East Whittier City School District assistant superintendent of educational support services. “We are also proud that as a District we outperformed the state and the county in ELA, math and science.”