Santa Rosa Elementary sees growth in math, reading


With one of the smaller student populations in Maricopa, Santa Rosa Elementary is able to find success despite constant changes to enrollment.

Santa Rosa administrators presented their yearly information to the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board during its meeting on May 13.

The elementary school currently has 24 teachers to work with the 430 students enrolled in their school. With less than 20 students per teacher, the educators are able to spend a bit more time with each student than other schools in the district (which have as high as 30 students per teacher). However, class sizes often change with students leaving and new students coming in.

“We are one of the smaller elementary schools,” Santa Rosa Principal Eva Safranek said. “We’ve had quite a bit of in and out this year with 34 students withdrawing after the 10th day, and 45 students registering. We’ve had some grade levels where we’ve felt like it was a revolving door.”

As far as performance, Santa Rosa has seen improvements in both reading and math. At the beginning of the year, the students take a pre-test for math and reading, and a number is provided to the school to represent the number of points the students should increase by the post-test. The school then compares the post-test numbers at the end of the year to gauge success.

In reading, grades four through six were able to surpass their goal, while kindergarten through third grade did not reach the expected growth (though first and second grades came very close). The percentage of students meeting or exceeding post-test expectations was higher at Santa Rosa than the district average.

In kindergarten, 82 percent of the students met or exceeded expectations. In comparison, the district average is 73 percent. First grade also beat the average by 4 percent, while fourth grade exceeded it by 2 percent, and second and sixth grade beat it by 1 percent respectively. Only third and fifth grade were below the district average.

“We’ve made the expected growth in some grades, and we did not in others,” Safranek said. “This is an average, and we have to start looking at individual student data. We have kids that grow double the expected amount, and we have kids that don’t grow, so we need to be looking at individual students to figure out what is going on.”

In math, kindergarten, first grade, fifth grade, and sixth grade exceeded the expected growth numbers. Third grade was very close, fourth grade fell about 30 points short, and second grade did not have their finals numbers in yet. Similar to the reading statistics, the school’s average fared well in comparison to the rest of the district.

Kindergarten beat the district average by 5 percent, first grade exceeded the average by 3 percent, third grade by 4 percent, and sixth grade has the largest difference by beating the average by 9 percent. Second grade once again did not have their final data to compare, but fourth and fifth grade did not surpass the district average.

***ADVERTISEMENT***“We have grades where we need to look at what we need to do to improve those scores,” Safranek said. “In other grades, we are way above the district average. We need to look at some of the good things there as well.”

Like most schools in Maricopa, Santa Rosa also has a diverse population. The white population makes up 49 percent of the student body. The Hispanic population is the next largest demographic at 32 percent. African-Americans make up 9 percent, Asians 5 percent and Native American and Pacific Islanders the remaining 5 percent.

“Our academic focus is project-based learning with technology integration,” Safranek said. “Next year we are piloting the blended learning program for fourth through sixth grade, and we want to continue school wide technology access for all students.”