Palm Crest

Debra Cradduck, from second left, congratulates Palm Crest Elementary's Solenn Matuska, far right, after winning the district's spelling bee contest in February. Palm Crest received top scores in a survey released last week. (Cheryl A. Guerrero / Staff Photographer)

Palm Crest Elementary School appears to be leading the pack among La Cañada Flintridge public schools.

Although all three La Cañada Unified School District elementary schools received high marks in a survey of parents, teachers and students released last week, the campus on Palm Drive received several top scores.

Ninety-two percent of parents said Palm Crest creates a caring and supportive environment, compared to 87% at Paradise Canyon and 82% at La Cañada elementary schools.

Likewise, 96% of Palm Crest teachers said they enjoyed their job, compared to 91% at Palm Crest and 87% at La Cañada.

Finally, 88% of Palm Crest students reported that they believe their teacher really cares about them, compared to 77% at both La Cañada and Paradise Canyon.

District administrators pointed out that all the schools got strong positive feedback, and didn't want to make too much of the differences.

“The delivery of quality programs and services at the three elementary schools is fairly consistent,” said Supt. Wendy Sinnette.

“We're fairly pleased that there were comparable scores at our three elementary school sites.”

But, Sinnette added, “We don't want to solely focus on the celebratory feedback.”

She and other school leaders want to focus on areas where the district did not perform as well to make improvements.

The survey asked participants to rate statements about the quality of the schools on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 meaning they strongly agreed.

While La Cañada High School parents offered a 4.1 rating for the statement, “The school does a good job of preparing my student for college,” they offered only a 3.5 — below the overall survey average of 3.7 — for the statement, “The school does a good job of teaching my student math skills.”

Parents at La Cañada High School 7/8 offered a 4.2 for the statement, “The school is a safe place for my student,” but a 3.5 for, “My student feels comfortable asking his or her teachers for help.”

Parents at the high school and middle school expressed concern about bullying, with 7/8 parents offering a 3.9 and high school parents a 4.3 on the statement, “My student has been a victim of bullying at this school during this school year.”

School principals and district officials are now outlining plans to respond to the data and identify ways of making improvements in relatively weak areas.

“We believe that the surveys were highly successful that way,” Peterson said.

“We believe that it can be an effective tool for creating action plans.”

The survey is available at www.lcusd.net.