Gunn and Palo Alto high schools rank in the top six California high schools in average SAT scores, according to data to be reviewed by the Palo Alto Board of Education tonight.
But the schools fall short of their goals in boosting college-prep rates for minority students.
The board will review charts and statistics on high school academic achievement prepared by William Garrison, the district's director of assessment and evaluation .
Garrison measured statistical progress against two of the district's "strategic plan goals" – making sure at least 85 percent of all graduates meet entrance requirements for California's public universities by 2012; and boosting the percentage of minority graduates who meet those requirements by at least 50 percent.
The district has met the first goal.
Garrison's data shows that 85 percent of the district's 2010 graduates met UC/CSU entrance requirements, compared with only 76 percent of 2009 graduates.
Results are mixed on the second goal of upping college readiness for Hispanic and African-American students, who comprise about 11 percent of high school enrollment.
This year, 46 percent of African-American graduates and 50 percent of Hispanic graduates met the UC/CSU entrance requirements – up from 43 percent and 34 percent in 2009. However, the 2009 numbers were worse than those for the class of 2008.
Palo Alto lags several high-achieving California high schools on the college-readiness measure, including San Francisco's Lowell High School and San Marino High School, where more than 90 percent of 2008 graduates met UC/CSU requirements.
SAT scores for the class of 2010 averaged 1947 – 1942 at Gunn and 1951 at Paly.
District-wide, the average score was 635 in Critical Reading; 672 in Math; and 640 in Writing.
Those compare with statewide averages of 501 in Critical Reading; 516 in Math and 500 in Writing, and slightly lower averages for the nation as a whole.
This means that a student ranking in bottom quarter in Palo Alto would still rank in the top 25 percent of students when compared with their statewide or nationwide peers.
In other business tonight, the board will hear a report on the first year of the three-year pilot Springboard to Kindergarten program.
Board members also will review new 2010-2011 enrollment numbers indicating the district has grown to more than 12,000 students this fall, with most of the increase coming in the elementary grades.
In a closed session beginning at 5 p.m., the board is slated to discuss the district's interest in acquiring the Peninsula Day Care site at 525 San Antonio Road. The 3-acre site is currently under contract with a developer who plans to build 26 houses there.
Tonight's public session begins at 6:30 p.m. in the board room of school district headquarters, 25 Churchill Ave.