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GreatSchools Rating

Norma Coombs Alternative School

Public | K-5

 

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Living in Pasadena

Situated in an urban neighborhood. The median home value is $558,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,570.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
 
Last modified
Community Rating

4 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 2 ratings
2013:
Based on 9 ratings
2012:
Based on 7 ratings
2011:
No new ratings

Teacher quality

Principal leadership

Parent involvement

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81 reviews of this school


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Posted October 18, 2010

NCAS is a great school, has great teachers, a wonderful principal,families that all care for the children, and let us not forget a high API Score.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 18, 2010

This is a great school.I am not only a teacher at this school, but a parent as well.I have 5th and a 2nd grader.
—Submitted by a teacher


Posted October 18, 2010

I love it. Strong principal, strong PTSA.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 17, 2010

Norma Coombs Alternative is a fantastic elementary school. We have a dynamic principal who is a true leader. The teachers are exceptional and we have an amazing group of highly involved parents. We have a diverse student population with excellent test scores for all of our kids. A truly outstanding school!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 17, 2010

The principal and the teachers are top notch. The ceramics program, music, computer program and library are parent supported...the parent involvement is through the roof...just a fabulous place for kids to learn.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 17, 2010

Because its the best school private or public around.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 17, 2010

My daughter just started kindergarten and we have been so happy with the principal, teachers, programs and community. We are looking forward to many more years there. Hopefully my son who is 2 can attend kindergarten there too in three years!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 17, 2010

This school has an excellent principal, wonderful teachers and a great deal of parent support. All contribute to it's high academic achievement and success as a school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 17, 2010

Norma Coombs has committed teachers, dynamic Principal Leadership, Involved parents and a diverse student body. The staff/teachers work closely with the parents to ensure the success of all students. Norma Coombs provides a challenging academic environment for studenst to grow and learn.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 17, 2010

First we value the community that is cultivated at Norma Coombs Alternative School; it's unbelievable to join together with families of all different types of gifts and skills that are shared and help our children grow to reach their dreams. Second we were impressed by the teachers and staff and their ability to assist students in meeting high academic standards. Third, the leadership of Dr. Vanessa Watkins is unmatched; we could clearly see that in our visit to Norma Coombs and we have not been disappointed. Fourth, we value art education and expression and the Norma Coombs ceramics program under Ms. Rodriguez s direction is incredible. Also having music opportunities from 3rd grade on was important. Since being a part of this community over the last three years, we've also realized their high value on our school library and reading as well as the development of technology skills. Both these skills are vital to a successful future. This gives you just a small glimpse into our decision to choose Norma Coombs.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 17, 2010

The leadership is phenomenal, the teachers are excellent, and the school size is great for my kindergartner.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 17, 2010

Quality, diversity and the lion's pride!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 17, 2010

This is a fantastic school with a very good and still rising API score across all demographics!!!!


Posted October 17, 2010

Norma Coombs Alternative School is an incredible mix of top-notch administration, caring and dedicated teachers, and involved parents surrounding a diverse body of students. We are a high-performing elementary, but we also foster arts (including a unique ceramics program), science, and character-building. Our family has two children at NCAS and will enroll a third in a couple of years. Come join us!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 14, 2010

The principal, staff and teachers at Norma Coombs are outstanding! They know every student by name and put the needs of the children first. Norma Coombs also offers weekly ceramics classes, as well as computer, music, and library instruction. NCAS parents are always visible on campus, they are active, fun, and very involved. My son has made great friends at school, but so have I! Norma Coombs has some of the highest academic scores in the district, as well as many extracurricular activities and many happy children! It is the best alternative!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 13, 2010

A shining example of what Pasadena public schools can be. As parents, we had a choice between sending our kids to public or private school. After visiting the campus and meeting their dedicated principal, Dr. Watkins, we were convinced that Norma Coombs Alternative School (NCAS) was what we wanted. NCAS is a school of choice in the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD). This means that parents actively choose to send their children there (the school has no assigned neighborhood). It is also a random lottery, so NCAS draws from all PUSD neighborhoods equally. The result is a very diverse student body, both ethnically and socio-economically, which we felt was important for our children. We have found that the other positive result of being in a school of choice is that the parents are, on average, more actively engaged than at other schools.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 11, 2010

Dedicated principal that fights for her students.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 8, 2010

I used to go to this school from 4th grade to 7th grade, and I'm now a freshman in High school. When I was there I found that the teachers were great, but the students were not so great. I was the kid that EVERYONE picked no. Dr. Watkins, the principle then and now, did a good job, at dealing with the situation, but it take while for kids to respond to her methods. But it wasn't her fault, it was the students. The teachers are great at this school. I had Ms. Bell in 4th and 5th grade, but she retired, so non of my ex-teachers re there any more. but overall I had a great experience at this school, I learned a lot!


Posted June 3, 2010

This was our first year at Norma Coombs and I have to say that we have been VERY pleased. My daughter has grown so much in so many ways during this school year. Her teacher has been wonderful and fostered a great sense of learning in her students. I have also been impressed with the parental involvement at NCAS. These parents are willing to step up and conquer whatever comes their way. With all of the issues that the public school system has now , I think that our principal, Dr. Watkins, is doing a fantastic job dealing with it. There is a great sense of community at NCAS and I would recommend and encourage anyone to become a part of our school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 22, 2010

We love Norma Coombs. The biggest draws for us initially were the small student body (around 400 students) and the incredible principal, Dr. Vanessa Watkins. This public school packs a big punch when you consider its dramatically increasing academic performance, reduction in discipline issues, and rise in student respect and success. Teachers love teaching there, and Dr. Watkins has assembled and retained an incredible teaching team. Our kids have been supported and nurtured well. The student body is diverse in a number of ways, most especially racially and socioeconomically. For us this is a plus, particularly as we've witnessed our kids develop intercultural friendships and seen their appreciation for cultural differences grow. Public schools in Pasadena are on the rise because of schools like Norma Coombs!
—Submitted by a parent


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

The test results by subgroup show how the designated group of students is performing in comparison to the general population.

The API reflects year-over-year schools performance based on STAR test score results from spring 2012.

This school's
API score

836

Change from
2011 to 2012

-17

API Statewide Rank
(2012)

6 / 10

API Similar Schools Rank (2012)

5 / 10


API Growth scores over time

Did this school meet the API goal this year?
The state goal for API is 800. All schools that are below 800 are assigned an API improvement target each year.
  • This school met the state goal of 800.

API Growth scores by subgroup

In addition to schoolwide API scores, each student subgroup receives an API score.
Did this school meet all the API goals for student subgroups this year?
The state goal for the API is 800. All the student subgroups at a school that are below 800 are assigned an API improvement target each year.
  • This school did not meet all student subgroup API targets for 2012

This school's
API score

836

What is the API?
The Academic Performance Index (API) is a single number assigned to each school by the California Department of Education to measure overall school performance and improvement over time on statewide testing. The API ranges from 200 and 1000, with 800 as the state goal for all schools.
Change from
2011 to 2012

-17

Change from 2011 to 2012
Comparing the API Growth to the Base shows whether or not this school’s test score performance improved between Spring 2011 and Spring 2012. The API ranges between 200 and 1000, with 800 as the statewide goal for all schools. Schools scoring below an 800 are given at least a 5 point target for the next year.
API Statewide Rank
(2012)

6 / 10

API Statewide Rank (2012)
The API Statewide Rank ranges from 1 to 10. A rank of 10, for example, means that the school’s API fell into the top 10% of all schools in the state with a comparable grade range. The 2012 rank is based on results from tests students took in Spring 2012.
API Similar Schools Rank (2012)

5 / 10

API Similar Schools Rank (2012)
The API Similar Schools Rank ranges from 1 to 10. It shows how the school compares to other schools with similar student demographic profiles. The California Department of Education uses parent education level, poverty level, student ethnicity and other data to identify similar schools.
English Language Arts

The state average for English Language Arts was 56% in 2013.

73 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
60%

2012

 
 
65%

2011

 
 
61%

2010

 
 
71%
Math

The state average for Math was 65% in 2013.

73 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
62%

2012

 
 
69%

2011

 
 
64%

2010

 
 
77%
Scale: % proficient or advanced

About the tests


In 2012-2013 California used the California Standards Tests (CSTs) to test students in English language arts in grades 2 through 11; math in grades 2 through 7; science in grades 5, 8 and 10; and history-social science in grades 8 and 11. Middle and high school students also took subject-specific CSTs in math and science, depending on the course in which they were enrolled. The CSTs are standards-based tests, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of California. The goal is for all students to score at or above proficient on the tests.

Source: California Department of Education

English Language Arts

The state average for English Language Arts was 46% in 2013.

44 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
66%

2012

 
 
47%

2011

 
 
68%

2010

 
 
55%
Math

The state average for Math was 66% in 2013.

44 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
80%

2012

 
 
66%

2011

 
 
80%

2010

 
 
76%
Scale: % proficient or advanced

About the tests


In 2012-2013 California used the California Standards Tests (CSTs) to test students in English language arts in grades 2 through 11; math in grades 2 through 7; science in grades 5, 8 and 10; and history-social science in grades 8 and 11. Middle and high school students also took subject-specific CSTs in math and science, depending on the course in which they were enrolled. The CSTs are standards-based tests, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of California. The goal is for all students to score at or above proficient on the tests.

Source: California Department of Education

English Language Arts

The state average for English Language Arts was 65% in 2013.

53 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
79%

2012

 
 
69%

2011

 
 
70%

2010

 
 
66%
Math

The state average for Math was 72% in 2013.

55 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
77%

2012

 
 
64%

2011

 
 
82%

2010

 
 
88%
Scale: % proficient or advanced

About the tests


In 2012-2013 California used the California Standards Tests (CSTs) to test students in English language arts in grades 2 through 11; math in grades 2 through 7; science in grades 5, 8 and 10; and history-social science in grades 8 and 11. Middle and high school students also took subject-specific CSTs in math and science, depending on the course in which they were enrolled. The CSTs are standards-based tests, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of California. The goal is for all students to score at or above proficient on the tests.

Source: California Department of Education

English Language Arts

The state average for English Language Arts was 60% in 2013.

61 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
62%

2012

 
 
66%

2011

 
 
67%

2010

 
 
73%
Math

The state average for Math was 65% in 2013.

59 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
63%

2012

 
 
66%

2011

 
 
63%

2010

 
 
84%
Science

The state average for Science was 57% in 2013.

60 students were tested at this school in 2013.

2013

 
 
70%

2012

 
 
66%

2011

 
 
55%

2010

 
 
65%
Scale: % proficient or advanced

About the tests


In 2012-2013 California used the California Standards Tests (CSTs) to test students in English language arts in grades 2 through 11; math in grades 2 through 7; science in grades 5, 8 and 10; and history-social science in grades 8 and 11. Middle and high school students also took subject-specific CSTs in math and science, depending on the course in which they were enrolled. The CSTs are standards-based tests, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of California. The goal is for all students to score at or above proficient on the tests.

Source: California Department of Education

English Language Arts

All Students60%
Females62%
Males58%
African American65%
Asiann/a
Filipinon/a
Hispanic or Latino41%
American Indian or Alaska Nativen/a
Native Hawaiiann/a
Pacific Islandern/a
Samoann/a
Other Pacific Islandern/a
White (not Hispanic)81%
Economically disadvantaged45%
Non-economically disadvantaged81%
Students with disabilityn/a
Students with no reported disability64%
English learner33%
Fluent-English proficient and English only69%
Migrant educationn/a
Gifted and talentedn/a
Parent education - not a high school graduaten/a
Parent education - high school graduate36%
Parent education - some college (includes AA degree)n/a
Parent education - college graduaten/a
Parent education - graduate school/post graduaten/a
Parent education - declined to state69%

Math

All Students62%
Females57%
Males68%
African American53%
Asiann/a
Filipinon/a
Hispanic or Latino53%
American Indian or Alaska Nativen/a
Native Hawaiiann/a
Pacific Islandern/a
Samoann/a
Other Pacific Islandern/a
White (not Hispanic)75%
Economically disadvantaged50%
Non-economically disadvantaged77%
Students with disabilityn/a
Students with no reported disability66%
English learner61%
Fluent-English proficient and English only62%
Migrant educationn/a
Gifted and talentedn/a
Parent education - not a high school graduaten/a
Parent education - high school graduate45%
Parent education - some college (includes AA degree)n/a
Parent education - college graduaten/a
Parent education - graduate school/post graduaten/a
Parent education - declined to state72%
Scale: % proficient or advanced

About the tests


In 2012-2013 California used the California Standards Tests (CSTs) to test students in English language arts in grades 2 through 11; math in grades 2 through 7; science in grades 5, 8 and 10; and history-social science in grades 8 and 11. Middle and high school students also took subject-specific CSTs in math and science, depending on the course in which they were enrolled. The CSTs are standards-based tests, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of California. The goal is for all students to score at or above proficient on the tests.

The different student groups are identified by the California Department of Education; if there are fewer than 10 students in a particular group in a school, the state doesn't report data for that group.

Source: California Department of Education

English Language Arts

All Students66%
Females62%
Males70%
African American38%
Asiann/a
Filipinon/a
Hispanic or Latino70%
American Indian or Alaska Nativen/a
Native Hawaiiann/a
Pacific Islandern/a
Samoann/a
Other Pacific Islandern/a
White (not Hispanic)n/a
Economically disadvantaged55%
Non-economically disadvantaged77%
Students with disabilityn/a
Students with no reported disability63%
English learnern/a
Fluent-English proficient and English only72%
Migrant educationn/a
Gifted and talentedn/a
Parent education - not a high school graduaten/a
Parent education - high school graduaten/a
Parent education - some college (includes AA degree)64%
Parent education - college graduaten/a
Parent education - graduate school/post graduaten/a
Parent education - declined to staten/a

Math

All Students80%
Females76%
Males83%
African American77%
Asiann/a
Filipinon/a
Hispanic or Latino75%
American Indian or Alaska Nativen/a
Native Hawaiiann/a
Pacific Islandern/a
Samoann/a
Other Pacific Islandern/a
White (not Hispanic)n/a
Economically disadvantaged73%
Non-economically disadvantaged86%
Students with disabilityn/a
Students with no reported disability78%
English learnern/a
Fluent-English proficient and English only85%
Migrant educationn/a
Gifted and talentedn/a
Parent education - not a high school graduaten/a
Parent education - high school graduaten/a
Parent education - some college (includes AA degree)82%
Parent education - college graduaten/a
Parent education - graduate school/post graduaten/a
Parent education - declined to staten/a
Scale: % proficient or advanced

About the tests


In 2012-2013 California used the California Standards Tests (CSTs) to test students in English language arts in grades 2 through 11; math in grades 2 through 7; science in grades 5, 8 and 10; and history-social science in grades 8 and 11. Middle and high school students also took subject-specific CSTs in math and science, depending on the course in which they were enrolled. The CSTs are standards-based tests, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of California. The goal is for all students to score at or above proficient on the tests.

The different student groups are identified by the California Department of Education; if there are fewer than 10 students in a particular group in a school, the state doesn't report data for that group.

Source: California Department of Education

English Language Arts

All Students79%
Females82%
Males76%
African American70%
Asiann/a
Filipinon/a
Hispanic or Latino83%
American Indian or Alaska Nativen/a
Native Hawaiiann/a
Pacific Islandern/a
Samoann/a
Other Pacific Islandern/a
White (not Hispanic)n/a
Economically disadvantaged70%
Non-economically disadvantaged95%
Students with disabilityn/a
Students with no reported disability79%
English learnern/a
Fluent-English proficient and English only81%
Migrant educationn/a
Gifted and talentedn/a
Parent education - not a high school graduaten/a
Parent education - high school graduaten/a
Parent education - some college (includes AA degree)60%
Parent education - college graduaten/a
Parent education - graduate school/post graduaten/a
Parent education - declined to staten/a

Math

All Students77%
Females75%
Males78%
African American71%
Asiann/a
Filipinon/a
Hispanic or Latino72%
American Indian or Alaska Nativen/a
Native Hawaiiann/a
Pacific Islandern/a
Samoann/a
Other Pacific Islandern/a
White (not Hispanic)n/a
Economically disadvantaged66%
Non-economically disadvantaged95%
Students with disabilityn/a
Students with no reported disability77%
English learnern/a
Fluent-English proficient and English only77%
Migrant educationn/a
Gifted and talentedn/a
Parent education - not a high school graduaten/a
Parent education - high school graduaten/a
Parent education - some college (includes AA degree)65%
Parent education - college graduaten/a
Parent education - graduate school/post graduaten/a
Parent education - declined to staten/a
Scale: % proficient or advanced

About the tests


In 2012-2013 California used the California Standards Tests (CSTs) to test students in English language arts in grades 2 through 11; math in grades 2 through 7; science in grades 5, 8 and 10; and history-social science in grades 8 and 11. Middle and high school students also took subject-specific CSTs in math and science, depending on the course in which they were enrolled. The CSTs are standards-based tests, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of California. The goal is for all students to score at or above proficient on the tests.

The different student groups are identified by the California Department of Education; if there are fewer than 10 students in a particular group in a school, the state doesn't report data for that group.

Source: California Department of Education

English Language Arts

All Students62%
Females73%
Males50%
African American68%
Asiann/a
Filipinon/a
Hispanic or Latino46%
American Indian or Alaska Nativen/a
Native Hawaiiann/a
Pacific Islandern/a
Samoann/a
Other Pacific Islandern/a
White (not Hispanic)n/a
Economically disadvantaged45%
Non-economically disadvantaged95%
Students with disabilityn/a
Students with no reported disability67%
English learnern/a
Fluent-English proficient and English only70%
Migrant educationn/a
Gifted and talentedn/a
Parent education - not a high school graduaten/a
Parent education - high school graduaten/a
Parent education - some college (includes AA degree)88%
Parent education - college graduaten/a
Parent education - graduate school/post graduaten/a
Parent education - declined to state47%

Math

All Students63%
Females66%
Males59%
African American58%
Asiann/a
Filipinon/a
Hispanic or Latino58%
American Indian or Alaska Nativen/a
Native Hawaiiann/a
Pacific Islandern/a
Samoann/a
Other Pacific Islandern/a
White (not Hispanic)n/a
Economically disadvantaged50%
Non-economically disadvantaged86%
Students with disabilityn/a
Students with no reported disability67%
English learnern/a
Fluent-English proficient and English only65%
Migrant educationn/a
Gifted and talentedn/a
Parent education - not a high school graduaten/a
Parent education - high school graduaten/a
Parent education - some college (includes AA degree)81%
Parent education - college graduaten/a
Parent education - graduate school/post graduaten/a
Parent education - declined to state46%

Science

All Students70%
Females75%
Males64%
African American74%
Asiann/a
Filipinon/a
Hispanic or Latino54%
American Indian or Alaska Nativen/a
Native Hawaiiann/a
Pacific Islandern/a
Samoann/a
Other Pacific Islandern/a
White (not Hispanic)n/a
Economically disadvantaged56%
Non-economically disadvantaged95%
Students with disabilityn/a
Students with no reported disability74%
English learnern/a
Fluent-English proficient and English only75%
Migrant educationn/a
Gifted and talentedn/a
Parent education - not a high school graduaten/a
Parent education - high school graduaten/a
Parent education - some college (includes AA degree)88%
Parent education - college graduaten/a
Parent education - graduate school/post graduaten/a
Parent education - declined to state57%
Scale: % proficient or advanced

About the tests


In 2012-2013 California used the California Standards Tests (CSTs) to test students in English language arts in grades 2 through 11; math in grades 2 through 7; science in grades 5, 8 and 10; and history-social science in grades 8 and 11. Middle and high school students also took subject-specific CSTs in math and science, depending on the course in which they were enrolled. The CSTs are standards-based tests, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of California. The goal is for all students to score at or above proficient on the tests.

The different student groups are identified by the California Department of Education; if there are fewer than 10 students in a particular group in a school, the state doesn't report data for that group.

Source: California Department of Education

Breaking down the GreatSchools Rating

GreatSchools Ratings for this school are based on 2012-2013 test results. Use the breakdown ratings below to compare types of students at this school. Learn more »


Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
Hispanic 41% 52%
Black 31% 6%
White 16% 26%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander 9% 11%
American Indian/Alaska Native 1% 1%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 1% 1%
Two or more races 1% 3%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Student subgroups

  This school District averageState average
Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program 99%N/A55%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Teacher experience

  This school District averageState average
First-year teachers 0%N/AN/A
Source: CRDC, 2011-2012

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School basics

School Leader's name
  • Jennifer Smith Jackson
Fax number
  • (626) 798-4687

Resources

Extra learning resources offered
  • Title I Schoolwide program (SWP)
School leaders can update this information here.

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2600 Paloma Street
Pasadena, CA 91107
Website: Click here
Phone: (626) 396-5660

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