Incline High receives 5-stars, elementary school gets improved rating from state
Incline High School was rated a top-notch school, again, in the Nevada Department of Education’s star ratings.
The ratings are decided by several metrics, including graduation rates, progress from English language learners, absences, science proficiency, math and reading ACT scores and percentage of students who get advanced diplomas or earn honor roll.
The high school received a 96.5% and rated higher than the district average in almost all categories, except for proficiency from economically disadvantaged students.
Principal Andrew Yoxsimer said part of the school’s advantage is its size.
“We are a small school so we get to know our students really well,” Yoxsimer said.
Last year, the school had 302 students enrolled and had a 98% graduation rate.
Yoxsimer said the teachers and staff track students’ progress and can intervene when students are struggling.
“We have a staff that really cares about the students,” Yoxsimer said.
Not only did they have a high graduation rate but the school had a 68% post-secondary preparation completion compared to the district which has less than half completion.
The high school was also rated number 3 in U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 list of best high schools in Nevada.
The other Incline schools didn’t fare as well.
Incline Elementary School and Incline Middle School both received three star ratings.
The elementary school is up from two stars in the last two years. The school’s principal Daniel Zimmerman said the school has really focused on the reading portion of the rating.
“We wanted to focus on reading and literacy because that’s the cornerstone of all learning,” said Zimmerman.
The school has created individualized learning for all the students based on their reading levels. They’ve targeted students who read at a below average level to get them reading at a higher level.
Middle school Principal Sharon Kennedy couldn’t be reached for comment but Yoxsimer doesn’t think the ratings accurately reflect the school’s success.
“We work closely with the middle school to identify students who are struggling and intervene right off the bat,” Yoxsimer said.
He said the schools are rated on different frameworks and in his opinion, the middle school rating is “too heavily weighed by standardized tests.”
“From my experience as a middle school principal, sometimes the students just don’t take the tests seriously because they impact the school but they don’t impact the students,” Yoxsimer said.
All three schools did well on the student engagement metric. All three schools got the highest possible points on attendance, with the middle school having no chronic absenteeism compared to the district’s 7.4%.
The elementary school scored three stars, and that is up from the two stars in the previous two years.
Yoxsimer doesn’t put too much weight on the ratings, saying the biggest impact they have is the community’s perception of how well the school is doing.
“The star rating is just one metric by which we’re measured,” Yoxsimer said. “I’d like to us to focus on the quality of students we’re producing in Incline.”
Zimmerman shares that sentiment.
“We want to say our kids are good people, life-long learners, good citizens; things that can’t be measured by a test,” Zimmerman said.