Master Teachers at Hillcrest

Big congrats to Hallie Bahr and Christina Freshl, fifth-grade teachers at Hillcrest School.  Everyone of their students last year will enter middle school proficient or advanced in reading, writing, and math. It was the most successful 5th grade cohort of any Oakland public school.

Christina Freshl

Hallie Bahr

Oakland Unified is blessed with some fantastic teachers, but not all teachers are equal. The Los Angeles Times is about to publish the names of thousands of elementary school teachers next to a measurement of their effectiveness. Teachers in LA are ticked. But how are parents and guardians supposed to choose teachers? Any principal can tell you that some teachers are more popular than others. As the LA Times noted, popular teachers aren’t always the ones whose students earn the highest scores on standardized tests.

While Hillcrest goes all the way up to the 8th grade, we looked at the 5th grade test score results released Monday for all of the Hills’ elementary schools. It wasn’t a scientific study, but all of the schools improved scores for fifth graders with the exception of Glenview. We know that standardized tests are but one way to measure schools, and not always the best way. We looked at 5th grade, because it’s in middle school that test scores begin to decline for many students. The stronger the foundation a student has at the beginning of middle school, the better. You can see test results for all grades and schools in the state here.

Crocker Highlands: English Language Arts (ELA) – 88 percent proficient or above, Math – 82 percent proficient or above

Glenview: ELA – 56 percent, Math 29 percent *

Henry J Kaiser: ELA – 84 percent, Math – 70 percent

Hillcrest School (K-8): ELA – 100 percent, Math 100 percent

Joaquin Miller: ELA – 84 percent, Math – 68 percent

Montclair: ELA – 90 percent, Math – 90 percent

Redwood Heights: ELA: 91 percent, Math – 93 percent

Sequoia: ELA – 62 percent, Math – 76 percent

Thornhill: ELA – 91 percent, Math – 91 percent

* This is a pretty steep decline from the year before (ELA – 69 percent, Math – 67 percent), so we called the school district too learn if there any special circumstances to explain it. We’ll keep you posted.