MOORPARK – “Test to Ten” is a motto that paid off for Moorpark High School after it scored a pair of 10s in annual state academic rankings, apparently the only Ventura County comprehensive high school ever to do so. The State Department of Education last week released school-by-school rankings from a low of 1 to a high of 10, derived from a school’s Academic Performance Index scores on a scale of 200 to 1,000, with 800 being the state goal. Moorpark High scored 808 points – based on last year’s testing results – earning a set of 10s when compared with schools statewide and schools with similar student demographics. A 10 means a school is in the top 10 percentile, and 1 represents the bottom 10. “We have reached the top of the mountain this year and we’re proud of that,” said Anna Merriman, the school district’s assistant superintendent of instructional services. “We’re not pointing at other school districts and saying ‘Ha, ha, we’re doing better than you.’ But we have done some exceptional things to get our kids to close the achievement gap. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE‘Mame,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ composer Jerry Herman dies at 88 “It certainly takes effort on everyone’s part to accomplish this task. It’s something that’s been going on for years.” Moorpark High was the only comprehensive high school countywide to receive the honor, Ventura County Superintendent of Schools Charles Weis said. Foothill Technology High School in Ventura and Santa Susana High School in Simi Valley scored 10s, but they are both magnet schools. It marks the first time a Ventura County comprehensive high school has accomplished the feat, Weis said. “I can’t recall another high school being 10/10,” he said. “It’s really quite an accomplishment. It shows that a comprehensive high school can reach that elite status. I hope it’s a challenge for all high schools to do the same.” Last April, just before students engaged in another round of accountability testing, teachers posted signs with an inspiring message all over school: “Test to Ten,” Principal Kirk Miyashiro said. The school reached the benchmark score of 800 last year. In 2004, Moorpark High posted 777 – a 23-point gain from 2003. “My first goal was to break 800,” Miyashiro said. “My second goal was that they rank 10/10. I said, ‘Hey, folks, we can do this. We’re close … just knocking on the door.’ We pushed last year.” Miyashiro, who was named principal of the 2,450-student campus in 2004, succeeded Merriman. He has always said that scoring well on federal and state tests tops his priority list. Since 2003, the school ranked 9 and 10, respectively, in the statewide rank and similar schools rank. Merriman said the school’s performance is the result of a districtwide effort, including teachers and administrators, students and parents. However, it is the teachers who make the effort to go the extra mile – often giving up their breaks to help struggling students. “Our teachers have taken the attitude that whatever it takes, they’re going to do,” said Merriman, who headed the school for six years before taking the job at the district office. “It’s something they’ve always believed they could do.” Miyashiro attributed the success to teachers and staffers, saying they align the curriculum with the state standards. They also evaluate the test results to find out what’s the next step to help each child do better. “Teachers here have been working on things like standards before they were required by state,” he said. “Moorpark called them learning objectives. “We needed to have items or benchmarks as learning objectives. That started the wheel rolling. Our teachers were already ahead of the game.” School board member David Pollock credits the school’s achievement to smaller learning communities, established by Moorpark High School in 1995 and instituting a more intimate school setting. The school created three academies – health and science, business and freshman honors. “I frequently hold up Moorpark High School as a model for the state,” Pollock said. Angie Valencia-Martinez, (805) 583-7604 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!