Principal's Perspective

Dear Foothill Families,


Testing season is here! Already our sophomore students have taken the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) en masse and our junior students have taken the English essay component of the Early Assessment Program (EAP).


During April and May, our students in grades 9, 10 and 11 will complete the California Standards Tests (CST) in the core subject areas of English, math, science and social studies, and hundreds of our students will take rigorous Advance Placement (AP) exams in subject areas ranging from Latin to computer science. These AP tests are particularly important for the futures of our students because passing scores give them college credit.


While CST scores do not appear on student report cards or transcripts, nor do they give students college credit, these results are incredibly important for us as a school and community. It is here that we need your help as parents in supporting our efforts to encourage them to their best work on tests for which they may not feel the same extrinsic motivation to do well as they may feel for the AP tests.


The state tests are directly aligned to the California standards that we teach in our school in the core content areas. Logically, high test scores would indicate that we are providing students with a high level of instruction and that our curriculum is closely aligned to the tests. However, there are a number of other factors which come into play that affect student success on these test. Research indicates that student test taking skills, the physical environment, school demographics and the attitudes of teachers and students toward the testing program significantly impact student performance on tests.


As a school, we spend considerable time and effort in analyzing data from state test results in order to identify and understand specific areas of strength and need in our levels of student achievement. We are then able to develop and implement strategies and approaches to support even greater levels of student success and achievement. In order for us to obtain authentic data in the first place, it is critically important that all students try their hardest and do their best work to represent what they have learned in our classrooms with our teachers. 


Through our teacher collaboration time and the Professional Learning Community movement, we have made great strides in closely aligning our curriculum with the state tests and improving our instructional approaches by using best practices. High achievement and continuous improvement are consistently demonstrated at Foothill High School. Our Academic Performance Index (API), California’s measure of school academic and performance growth, stands at 878, and we hold a state ranking of 10 along with a 9 against similar schools. These results truly indicate that we have much to celebrate as we continue to make significant and sustained growth in all areas of student achievement.


Of course, much of this could not be accomplished without you, the parents of our talented students. It is your support at home and the partnership that we share in the education of your children that makes an incredible difference. High test scores and positive results manifest themselves in the strength of our school and our community. Many of you who have moved here from other places chose Pleasanton based on indicators of the strength of the school district, such as tests scores from the very tests we are preparing for at the moment.


As we prepare for the battery of tests ahead, we are once again asking for your support in encouraging your children to do their very best. With your help, we can continue to build the tradition of excellence that is the hallmark of Foothill High School.


Kia ora! (Be well)


John Dwyer