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High Desert : Test scores steadily rising for Lucerne Valley students

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08/14/2019 | 07:48pm EDT

Aug. 14--Lucerne Valley Unified School District's test scores have risen steadily over the last four years, and the district is among the High Desert's top five.

"We are now fifth out of 11 districts in the High Desert now," Superintendent Peter Livingston told teachers and staff at Tuesday's annual Teachers Back to School breakfast at Lucerne Valley Elementary School. "That's amazing. That's super."

Livingston showed a chart projected on a screen that told the district's improvement story. In 2016, the LVUSD had 28% of students meeting or exceeding English Language Arts standards, which put it at 10th out of the 11 area school districts. Today, Lucerne Valley is 6% higher at 34%. Meanwhile, many other school districts have either stayed the same or have seen their scores decline, according to the chart.

"This is the only district in the High Desert that has had steady growth over the last four years," according to Livingston.

Math score improvements are even more impressive for Lucerne Valley. Over the last four school years, the LVUSD has gone from 14% of students meeting standards to 23% today -- an increase of 9 percentage points.

Some grades have seen especially dramatic improvements in math, he said. "Our third grade grew 19% in math. That is excellent." Acknowledging that "change takes time," Livingston sees the Lucerne Valley USD continue to climb up the ranks.

Another sign of Lucerne Valley's scholastic health is its increased enrollment numbers. The school district dropped to a low of 669 students during the 2015-16 school year, but district-wide enrollment has continually climbed and currently stands at 769 students -- a gain of 100 students.

"You can see steady growth over four years."

Livingston credited the dedication of district staff for making the difference. "It's because of you that we're having growth," he said.

Livingston began his presentation with the district's belief statement: "We embrace being a small district where each student has a name and not just a number." That mindset fits Livingston, who grew up in a small town in Minnesota.

"I love it," Livingston said. "I love being in a small district. I grew up in a small town, so I feel at home in a small district like this."

Building on its popular FFA (Future Farmers of America) program at the high school, the district is adding several new programs this year including the California Cadet Corps and a health/medical pathway program. The Middle High School earlier added a music program and beefed up its middle school sports and other programs as an answer to community input during Local Control and Accountability Plan surveys. Last year, the district brought on board Principal Nate Lambdin, who also serves as assistant superintendent of the district, and Assistant Principal Kelly Boeing.

The elementary school, under the leadership of Assistant Superintendent/Principal Burt Umstead, also has added a number of new programs designed to improve student engagement. Ricky Anderson joins the school this year as an Assistant Administrator of Instructional Improvement and Academic Coaching.


(c)2019 Daily Press, Victorville, Calif.

Visit Daily Press, Victorville, Calif. at www.vvdailypress.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

© Tribune Content Agency, source Regional News

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