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Top Administrators Ousted at Antelope Valley High School

The five are being replaced for failing to sustain improvements in students' test scores.

May 29, 2003|Karima A. Haynes | Times Staff Writer

All five administrators at Antelope Valley High School in Lancaster will be replaced July 1, marking the beginning of a concentrated effort to revamp the troubled campus.

The action results from a state audit that cited the school leaders' inability to improve student academic performance on statewide standardized tests during a two-year period, officials said Wednesday.

Principal Mark Bryant, Assistant Principal Lisa Oates, Dean of Students Cary Johnson and vice principals Kathryn Stanley and Jeff Ferrin will be reassigned to other district schools and replaced from within the district, Assistant Supt. Tim Azevedo said.

"We are trying to make something positive come out of this situation," Azevedo said, "which is to raise the kids' scores and move forward."

State Department of Education auditors delivered their findings and corrective actions to Supt. David Vierra on Friday after a weeklong review of academic, administrative and parent relations programs at the 2,500-student campus in the High Desert community about 50 miles north of Los Angeles, Azevedo said.

Vierra will present the full report to the Antelope Valley Union High School Board of Trustees on Wednesday, he said. It will detail the problem areas and give specific recommendations for improvement. The auditors will monitor progress at the school every three months, said Wendy Harris, director of the department's School Improvement Division.

Antelope Valley High was one of 24 California schools identified by state education officials in March that would undergo audits and possibly face tougher sanctions for their failure to meet growth targets on statewide test scores.

The other schools in Los Angeles County were Blair High in Pasadena and four in the Antelope Valley: Antelope Valley High and Wilsona Elementary in Lancaster and Tamarisk Elementary and Palm Tree Elementary in Palmdale. No schools in Orange, Riverside or Ventura counties were included.

Harris said the audit reports for all two dozen troubled schools will be released in the next few weeks.

State records show that Antelope Valley High had a base Academic Performance Index score of 545 in 1999, rising to 563 in 2000, falling to 554 in 2001 and to 529 in 2002.

The school's failure to improve its test scores for two consecutive years prompted California education officials to order the audit, Harris said.

"Ideally, what you are trying to do is have the best match between leadership and the improvement needs of the school," Harris said.

At Antelope Valley High, there was an air of uncertainty among students and faculty, Azevedo said.

"There is concern because for the most part the administration was well-liked," he said.

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