Sonora Elementary School started the academic year with more students than anticipated, and last spring's standardized test scores have also risen, according to Superintendent Leigh Shampain.
At the start of the school year it appeared that Sonora Elementary would have 50 fewer students than it did last year. The school's enrollment has been declining for the past four years.
But instead, a surprise influx of 73 students showed up - which allowed Sonora Elementary to open up a new class for third graders and reduce class sizes. A kindergarten teacher who was working part-time is being assigned the new class, school officials said.
Including the new students, some of whom transferred to Sonora Elementary from other local districts, the school now has 662 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
In other news, discussed at a Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday, Sonora Elementary students have made gains on their STAR standardized test scores over last year.
The improvement applied to students as a whole, in addition to a subgroup classified as "economically disadvantaged," Shampain said.
For example, data from the California Department of Education shows that 55 percent of economically disadvantaged Sonora Elementary seventh graders scored at the "proficient" level or above in math. That compares positively with the rate of 31 percent for the same group last year.
Sonora Elementary's Academic Performance Index, a score summarizing overall achievement for comparison with other school districts, will be released later this month or in early October. It is calculated by test scores and the level of improvement over previous years.
Meanwhile, Sonora Elementary has worked with a private company to estimate the Academic Performance Index. Shampain said the score may rise 27 points, to 858. Statewide, the target for all school districts is 800.
Sonora Elementary Board of Trustees member Don Rolle will resign because he is running unopposed for a seat on the Tuolumne County Board of Education in the Nov. 6 election.
A special board meeting has been scheduled for Nov. 8 to appoint a replacement for Rolle on the Sonora Elementary board.