Temecula Preparatory School celebrated another year of gains on its state standardized tests, keeping it atop the county.
The K-12 public charter, which is sponsored by the Temecula Valley Unified School District, achieved an overall Academic Performance Index score of 872—a gain of nine points from the previous year, according to results released Thursday by the California Department of Education.
That is two points above Temecula Valley Unified, which had an overall score of 870 making it the top unified district in the county and 161st in the state.
"TPS bolsters the overall (TVUSD) district score by achieving an API of 872," Temecula Preparatory Headmaster and Executive Director Scott Phillips said, in a news release.
"TPS actually has the highest API in the county and continues to rank among the top districts in the state," Phillips said.
In order to make a fair comparison, Phillips said Temecula Preparatory's API score is not a school score, but a district score.
"This is due to the fact that TPS is an independent K-12 charter, or, pursuant to the state reporting process a small unified district," Phillips said.
There are 1,015 students in grades kindergarten through 12th who attend Temecula Preparatory at 45777 Abelia St. in Winchester.
In the last five years, the school has been recognized twice as one of “America’s Best High Schools” by US News and World Report, and was named a 2012 California Distinguished School, Phillips pointed out.
“None of this would be possible without the efforts of our outstanding teaching staff and their love of education,” Phillips said. “This is as much of a testament to their hard work as it is to the dedication of our wonderful students.”
TPS has had an increase in its API each year for the last five years and has maintained an average of 862 for the last 10 years, he said.
However, Phillips said the school makes a concerted effort to shy away from basing the value of a TPS education on API.
“We honestly do not teach to the test, we teach a very rigorous classical education,” Phillips said. “Our teachers educate the students on how to think, not what to think and provide a foundation built on core subjects with a classical model for learning.”
The school understands there is a certain value to being able to compare a TPS education to others, he said.
"For now, the API is the easiest way to do so," Phillips said.
TPS has regularly outpaced Temecula Valley Unified, county and state SAT scores, and the percentage of students prepared for the UC/CSU system, he said.