In the nine counties that make up the region (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma Counties) the 101 municipalities are, home to 7.4 million inhabitants, served by 177 public school districts educating 947,433 students, of which 139,000 students are African American.
We examined the results from all 177 Bay Area public school districts and reviewed their performance serving African American students and their families.
We ranked these Bay Area districts, not by the number of African-American Students enrolled or by the highest percentage of African-American students. We ranked districts by their ability to produce and prepare the highest number of African-American students for college. The college readiness of students was our highest criteria. We focused heavily on math proficiency and students readiness and perceived readiness in math and science with an interest in STEM related fields.
Here are the top 20 Bay Area school districts for African American Students.
- Gilroy Unified (Santa Clara)
- Orchard Elementary (Santa Clara)
- Redwood City Elementary (San Mateo)
- Newark Unified (Alameda)
- San Rafael City Elementary (Marin)
- Wright Elementary (Sonoma)
- Bellevue Union (Sonoma)
- Napa Valley Unified (Napa)
- Hayward Unified (Alameda)
- Mount Pleasant Elementary (Santa Clara)
- Fairfield-Suisun Unified (Solano)
- Alum Rock Union Elementary (Santa Clara)
- Franklin-McKinley Elementary (Santa Clara)
- East Side Union High (Santa Clara)
- Dixon Unified (Solano)
- Emery Unified (Alameda)
- San Francisco Unified (San Francisco)
- Jefferson Elementary (San Mateo)
- Oakland Unified (Alameda)
- West Contra Costa Unified (Contra Costa)
We looked at whether each school’s relative performance in its state reading and mathematics assessments overall. We look at overall ethnic diversity, factoring in the proportion of its student body that is economically disadvantaged.
We looked at a district’s ability to accelerate growth with traditionally under-served students as they relate to the state average. We also looked at the percentage of African-American Students in the district who met or exceeded expectations in mathematics.
Next, we compared each school's reading and mathematics assessment scores among only their historically under-served students - African American, Hispanic and low-income - with the average statewide results for these subgroups. We selected schools that outperformed their state averages.
We considered whether African American student graduation rates met their threshold and excluded schools from consideration where their graduation rates were lower than 70 percent.
Lastly, we examined a school district’s overall ranking as a US News and world reports list of California schools as the Tiebreaker.
INSIDE GILROY’S SUCCESS
With 55.2% of its African-American Students scoring at, or above proficiency in Math, we ranked Gilroy Unified is ranked #1 district for African American Students in the Bay Area. With its 11,834 students of African-American ethnicity, Gilroy Unified, ranks at the top of this list. Among its top schools the top 100 school districts in the state, Dr. T.J. Owens Gilroy Early College Academy (GECA) is ranked 23rd in California by US News and World Reports High School ranking.
Students attending GECA have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement coursework and exams. The Advanced Placement participation rate at Owens Early College Academy is 100 percent. The student body makeup is 51 percent male and 49 percent female, and the total minority enrollment is 73 percent.
REGION WIDE PERSPECTIVE
Region wide, in only 7 out of the 177 districts did African American students score at or above proficient in Math.
While the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) test scores revealed notable progress in reducing achievement gaps between students from low-income families and their better off peers, a troubling gap remains.
Results from the Fall 2018 assessments reveal a large gap in math performance region wide between White and African-American students (28 percentage points), as well as between White and Hispanic students (26 percentage points).
Gaps based on income level are even more troubling. Just 18 percent of fourth grade students eligible for free meals through the government’s National School Lunch Program (NSLP) were deemed proficient in math, while 51 percent of students not eligible scored proficient.
These findings should serve as a reminder that we need to refocus our efforts to ensure that neither ZIP code, tax bracket, nor skin color prevents students from receiving an excellent education.