Above average district | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Above average district

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Douglas County schools at the lake scored well above the Nevada average in four core areas in a state test administered for the first time in October.

Zephyr Cove Elementary, Kingsbury Middle and Whittell High schools achieved high scores in reading, language, math and science in the Iowa Test. It is used to compare groups of students with each other.

While the district average remained above the state average, the three lake schools scored well above or at the district average.

Zephyr Cove had all of its scores above the district average, most notably in math.

Principal Chris Perdomo attributed the impressive showing to dedicated instructors and seven competency tests administered by the district. Reading, language arts and math are the main focuses at the elementary school and proof lies in twice-a-day after school reading and math camps.

“We make sure those content areas are introduced, covered and mastered at the grade levels,” Perdomo said.

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Higher reading scores may be attributed to a program Perdomo and teachers started during lunch.

“Our teachers are involved in balanced literacy strategies by helping the students become more aware of listening, reading, speaking and writing,” Perdomo said. “Those strategies are incorporating the skills that good readers use.”

Kingsbury students scored above state average in all categories and topped the district average in reading and language arts. The school’s score was below the district average by one point in math and tied the district average in science.

Whittell High School also performed above the state average. Only math was below the district average, while science tied.

Called the Iowa Test of Basic Skills at the fourth- to seventh-grade levels and the Iowa Test of Educational Development for high school students, the test replaced the Terra Nova Test. Generally state tests run for six years, said Janice Florey, director of assessments, grants and projects for the district.

Since the Iowa test is in its first year, there is not a lot of comparative data to see if the district has improved or faltered in test scores, Florey said.

Superintendent John Soderman said he was proud of the district’s achievements but was interested in how the results relate to the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act. Soderman said Douglas County School District isn’t sure on the proficiency requirements of the act, which will require states to construct test standards in reading, math and science for tracking students’ progress.

Soderman said the nationwide average is 50. Nevada reached above 50 in its four categories for fourth-graders. Students who do not speak English and a burgeoning student population in Clark County — which includes Las Vegas — may have lowered the state average.

— E-mail William Ferchland at wferchland@tahoedailytribune.com