Lake schools win high marks on standardized tests |

Lake schools win high marks on standardized tests

William Ferchland
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune file / All three Douglas County Schools at the lake received a "high achieving status" as part of the state's Adequate Yearly Progress model.

Once again, the three Douglas County schools at Lake Tahoe earned high marks for its scores on standardized tests.

Zephyr Cove Elementary, Kingsbury Middle and Whittell High schools were named as “high achieving” and grouped with only 13 percent of the 613 public schools in Nevada in earning the distinction, according to the Nevada Department of Education, which released the results Tuesday.

All 13 schools in Douglas County School District met the requirements for the state’s Adequate Yearly Progress model on standards-based reading, writing and math tests given to students in grades three to eight. High schoolers are also included in the testing group.

“It’s very good news,” said Carol Lark, who is entering her first year as superintendent of Douglas County. “I wish I could take credit. I’ll tell ya this is an outstanding school district.”

In addition, two elementary schools – Jacks Valley and Pinion Hills – along with Douglas High School were able to get into the high-achieving status for the first time.

“The bottom line is the front line and that is teachers delivering curriculum,” Lark said.

There are five designations: “exemplary,” “high achieving,” “adequate,” “watch” and “in need of improvement.”

“Exemplary” and “high achieving” were adopted three years ago to recognize good schools.

Since that time, the three lake schools have earned the status of “high achieving.” Last year, Whittell High School was one of five schools in the state with “exemplary” status.

Nevada’s Adequate Yearly Progress complies with mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act. Both require all students in all schools be at least proficient in English, language arts and math by the 2013-’14 school year.

The state is required to increase its proficiency requirements for the 2007-’08 school year.

“Schools and school districts need to remain vigilant in implementing and evaluating school improvement efforts,” said Keith Rheault, superintendent of public instruction in Nevada.

Schools are judged as a whole and by student subgroups as well as how many students are taking the tests, attendance and graduation rates. If a school doesn’t meet even one requirement, then Adequate Yearly Progress has not been met and is designated to the “watch” list (if it happens for one year) or “in need of improvement” if it fails to meet the same area for subsequent years.

Fifty-five schools were placed under the “watch” category while 223 were designated as “in need of improvement,” according to the Nevada Department of Education.

Fourteen schools have been in the “in need of improvement” category for four straight years, meaning “their school districts must prepare a plan to restructure the school,” the department stated.

Lark knows the bar for academic achievement will continue to rise as the 2013-’14 school year approaches.

“It’s going to be a continuous challenge but one to strive for,” she said.

In the meantime, Lark recommended parents should congratulate their children and teachers for a job well done.

“Congratulate those students and thank those teachers and we’ll just move forward,” she said.

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