The Orange County Register’s education team recently produced its first assessment of the county’s 388 elementary schools. The Register’s education team evaluated each campus based on 26 performance measures to calculate the “2009 Best Public School” rankings. The Register consulted Orange County Superintendent of Schools William Habermehl in selecting the data to include in the analysis. All data for the Register’s elementary school ranking came from the state Department of Education. A school’s Academic Performance Index weighed heavily in the overall ranking, about one-sixth of total score.
Bonita Canyon Elementary, which opened in Irvine in 1977, ranked first atop the Register’s first-ever list. Teachers at Bonita Canyon attribute a big part of their success to parent involvement and community support. More than 80 percent of parents join the school’s PTA, and many are regular volunteers and donors. Bonita Canyon boasted an API score of 966, the second highest in the county.
Irvine Unified ranks as the top district for elementary schools. All schools in Irvine Unified received medals, with 13 of 20 earning gold. Every school with an API of 877 or higher earned a medal. Thirty-six Gold Medal schools have an API score higher than 900. These schools stand out above the rest for their ideal mix of academic performance, physical fitness, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, and other factors.