Lakeside Douglas schools get high marks |

Lakeside Douglas schools get high marks

William Ferchland

The three Douglas County lake schools – Zephyr Cove Elementary, Kingsbury Middle and Whittell High – scored distinguished marks in criteria related to No Child Left Behind.

The sites, along with Pau Wa Lu Middle School in Carson Valley, achieved “high achievement” status in a report released Monday from the Nevada Department of Education.

Only 12 percent of Nevada’s 568 schools reached the “high achievement” mark last school year, the report stated.

“My hat’s off to all those staff members at the lake and elsewhere to make sure we develop in the world of No Child Left Behind,” said Douglas County Superintendent John Soderman.

Janie Gray was hired as Whittell’s principal before last school year to stress academic standards and evaluate teachers. The workload was so great that Gray asked the board of education to create a vice principal position.

“I am very pleased of course that Whittell High School and the sister schools were designated as high achieving,” Gray said. “I believe it is an award that recognizes the high expectations we hold for student performance and students certainly rose to the expectations.”

By the 2013-14 school year, all students must be “proficient” in areas of math, English, language arts and science, which will be introduced in 2006. Tests are used to measure various students’ progress. If goals are not met in all areas, then the entire school fails.

The status of “exemplary” and “high achievement” are new this year, said Soderman, who chaired a group of Nevada superintendents in helping create the new classifications. Officials wanted to recognize good schools while identifying underachieving sites.

According to the state education department, a school obtains “high achievement” status by meeting two categories: exceeding criteria levels in English language arts and math and reducing the number of students who were below proficient scores on state tests. “Exemplary” status, which 12 Nevada schools received, is granted when schools reach both categories.

The three lake schools scored above required levels for English and math.

The district received more good news when three valley schools – Carson Valley Middle, Scarselli Elementary and C.C. Meneley Elementary – were lifted from the “watch list.”

A total of 103 Nevada schools were on this list, meaning they failed to meet all mandates for adequate yearly progress.

Douglas High School wasn’t as fortunate. Soderman said the school failed on the special education subgroup because of two students missing academic requirements.

The result was DHS joining 121 other Nevada public schools that are “in need of improvement.”

Soderman said Douglas County schools in this category are now instituting or modifying their improvement plans to achieve the improvements required by No Child Left Behind.

– E-mail William Ferchland at

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