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Van Allen Celebrates API Score
Things got a little goofy at Van Allen Elementary School on Friday.

From hula hooping teachers to chicken dancing youngsters, there was fun, laughter and celebration, all in recognition of the school's success, scoring an 862 on the API, Academic Performance Index, scale.

"Van Allen was one of the top performing schools in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties," said Principal Scott Ferreira and congratulating students and teachers alike. (Look for details of the district's API performance in a story in next week's issue.)

"Our goal was 800," Ferreira added.

He told students assembled for the celebration that their teachers work much more than the traditional school year, staying busy learning all year-round and thinking of ways to help their students succeed in the classroom.

Last year's second graders took the STAR state assessment tests for the first time and 73 percent at Van Allen were proficient in English-Language arts, compared to 58 percent statewide. In math, it was even better, with a 64 percent statewide proficiency rate far exceeded by Van Allen students, with 85 percent proficient.

Along with the numbers and percentages, Ferreira highlighted students who improved on their own scores from year to year, and encouraged them to keep working toward even higher scores.

Among the incentives - he promised to kiss a pig "on the snout" if they score above 862 and, if they get over the 900 mark, students will get to see their principal wear a 'blinged out' Van Allen Vikings shirt for Spirit Day on Fridays.

Students also got to take part in some fun dances, jump roping and hula hoop contests, won T-shirts and hats and were treated to ice cream at the end of the assembly.