Oasis Academy continues to achieve high honors.
For the third year in a row. Oasis Academy was rated a five-star school and deemed a reward school in both elementary and middle school. Oasis also tied with a Las Vegas school as the top performing middle school in the state.
Principal Melissa Mackedon said she is very proud of the students and teachers.
“I couldn’t be happier with the results we received this year,” Mackedon said. “Our teachers and students worked very hard and I’m just so proud of them.”
Oasis is performing in the top 5 percent of schools in the state, giving it the title of a reward school.
Mackedon believes having a small class size, the same teacher for multiple years, continued learning strategies for reading and extra instruction time are several reasons that have led to Oasis’ success.
“We recognized in other countries that outperform the United States academically have teachers that stay with their students for a few years,” Mackedon said. “It makes sense as a teacher. It allows the teachers the time to get to know each student and their strength and help them grow, they understand the students and how to get them to perform at their best.”
Teachers at Oasis continue to work with students on reading strategies, Mackedon said. She said they consistently work on comprehension, accuracy, fluency and vocabulary expansion.
Mackedon said students have made tremendous gains in math.
“There were several changes made to the schedule last year to benefit the students.” she added. “Students who needed extra help were put into small groups of five students or less with 20 minutes of extra instruction time with their teacher every day.”
Oasis’ class periods range from 75-90 minutes in math, reading and writing, Mackedon said. She said the allotted time allows students the time to learn the material and gives the teachers more than enough time to work with the students individually and collectively.
Mackedon said the students deserve all of the credit. She said the students realized passing the test wasn’t going to be easy and worked “incredibly” hard to make sure they passed it. Mackedon said the teachers also worked with the students individually on individual goals and strategies that helped make a big difference in the test results.
The achievement of the middle school is something of which to be proud, Mackedon said.
“There are cynics out there that say we receive five-star ratings because we’re able to be selective in the students that attend our school, but that isn’t true as to why we receive five-star ratings,” Mackedon said.
Mackedon gave an example stating that last year a seventh-grade class had more than 20 percent of the students on Individualized Education Program and 100 percent of the students passed the reading proficiency test.
“Now, that’s not easy to do,” Mackedon said. “For a lot of students that was the first time they have passed a Criterion Referenced Test. What helped them was having the same teacher for multiple years in a row. That teacher knew the students and how they worked. She knew what their strengths were and what they needed to work on in reading.”
Challenges will arise next year even with receiving a five-star rating three years in a row. Challenges always accompany growing numbers of students, Mackedon said. She also said this year the students will be moving away from the CRTs and now have to test with the Smarter Balance Assessment. She said the schools goal is to continue to achieve high rating even with the changing curriculum.
“I cannot thank the students, parents and teachers enough for the hard work and dedication. They’re the ones who made it happen and I’m so thankful for them,” Mackedon said.
Mackedon said more expansion might come to Oasis in the 2015-2016 school year.
“Although a high school has not formally been approved by our board of directors to open next year, the board feels this is the logical next step in our growth model,” Mackedon said. “People call the school inquiring about and suggesting that we expand to a high school on a weekly basis. The board has hired an administrator to get the high school organized and operational, hopefully in 2015-2016 school year.
“We have already started having monthly informational meetings for parents who may be interested in finding out more. The next informational night for parents is Dec. 2 from 7-8 p.m.”