Crediting hard work and an effort to improve testing procedures, teachers and students at Golden Eagle Charter School are celebrating a large jump in their 2010 Academic Performance Index scores.

“Our API went up 48 points,” from 682 last year to 730 in 2010, said Golden Eagle’s director Shelly Adams. “We’re excited... we’ve been working hard to help kids build their skills, particularly with math and language arts.”

Because Golden Eagle has more than 300 students from throughout Siskiyou County – many who are home schooled and do not attend classes at a school site – it was a challenge to get them all in for testing, Adams explained.

“This year we made an effort to get each student tested by someone they’re familiar with... it took more work, but it paid off because they were more relaxed,” she said.

Children enrolled in Golden Eagle can attend classes at one of their five sites, including an enrichment site in Mount Shasta.

On Friday, a group of students met for a Lego Robotics class, an elective which strengthens science and computer programming skills.

Students in the class work on challenges doled out by the The First Lego League, a hands-on program based on real world scientific problems.

In December, the students will be attending a First Lego League event, where they’ll compete with the Lego robot they programmed themselves. They’ll also have to give a presentation and display a project of their own. This year, the Lego League’s theme is “Body Forward – Where Technology Meets Medicine.”

“It’s cool to build a robot and then program it,” said 11 year-old Brenden Short, explaining that a Lego structure is built around a robot so it is able to perform various tasks.

“The programming is the best part,” 10 year old Abraham Barr said. “It’s really fun.”