Both Oasis Academy and the Churchill County School District are seeing positive results based on the recently released Nevada School Performance Framework (NSPF) for the 2017-18 academic year that evaluates schools with rankings based on a star-rating system.
For the first time in four years, every Nevada school will have a Star Rating that includes high schools in the NSPF. Last year, the Nevada Department of Education (NDE) provided “informational” Star Ratings for elementary and middle schools as the state transitioned to the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) law.
The Star Rating, which ranges from 1 (not meeting state standards) to the highest score of 5, also includes two school-level designations: Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) and Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI).
“The CSI and TSI designations help the state and districts determine which schools and students need even more of our support and attention,” said Steve Canavero, superintendent of Public Instruction. “CSI schools are defined by their low performance and high schools with graduation rates below 67 percent. For example, CSI includes schools in the bottom 5 percent of performance of all schools. TSI schools are defined by their large gaps in the performance between groups of students. For example, if a school is not meeting the needs of their English learners, we know that’s where we need to provide extra help.”
Oasis Academy’s three levels received 3 or better Star Ratings. Both the middle and high schools earned a Star Rating 5, the highest score possible, while the elementary school had a 3.
“We’re proud of the scores, but we have some work to do,” said Melissa Mackedon, chief executive officer.
According to a state snapshot on the high school, Academic Achievement, which includes math, English and science, tallied 17.5 points out of 25 as part of the index score. The four-year graduation rate is 92.3 percent and earned Oasis a 30 out of 30 points. College and Career Readiness netted 22 out of 25 points, and Student Engagement, which includes chronic absenteeism (defined as schools having 10 percent of students missing 18 or more days) and a climate survey, earned a perfect 10.
Mackedon said the high school didn’t come in at a 100 percent graduation rate, but she said one student graduated during the summer. Chronic absenteeism came in at a low 8.6 percent, and the school’s total index score was 88.1.
Mackedon said the high school has developed a strong curriculum and offers dual credit through the Jump Start program whereby students earn college credit by taking courses from Western Nevada College.
The student-to-teacher ratio of 24 to 1 has also been a plus.
“Class size makes a big difference,” she said. “No doubt the class size helps with individual attention.”
The middle school accumulated an index score of 90.89 and had 25 out of 25 points in Academic Achievement, showing a pooled average of 62.8 percent above the state cut. Student growth came in with 26 of 30 points, and Closing Opportunity Gaps, 18 of 20 points.
Student Engagement finished with 13 of 15 points but chronic absenteeism was at 12 percent.
“We have an intense amount of individual attention,” Mackedon said of the secondary grades. “We have so many steps — check in every week, intervention goes into effect if grades or attendance slips.”
Mackedon said parent involvement also helps to ensure individual students achieve success.
Two areas, though, came in low for the elementary grades: Student Growth and Closing Opportunity Gaps. Student Growth was awarded 17 of 25 points and Closing Opportunity Gaps 6 of 20 points. Student Engagement earned bonus points for having 100 percent participation on the climate survey and a low chronic absenteeism percentage at 6.7.
Churchill County School District Superintendent Summer Stephens, who was appointed in June, said she’s interested in seeing how the student scores unfold.
“I appreciate the school board,” she said. “They are interested in the students and their achievements.”
Stephens said this is the first year the high school has received a rating compared to many of the state’s elementary schools that have been previously scored
“We’ll use this as a benchmark to see where we’re at and what the data is,” she added. “We’ll keep building where we see consistent growth.”
As the index scores revealed, Stephens said she is concerned with the high percentage of chronic absences, a trend that is prevalent not only in Nevada schools but also across the United States. Lisa Bliss, the district’s assessment coordinator, told trustees the Star Ranking will allow the school district to use scores and other data to discuss school performance plans.
Churchill County High School received a 3-star ranking with a total index score of 55. In Academic Achievement, the high school had 16 points out of 25, and the graduation rate netted 13 of 30 points. The four-year graduation rate was 78.7 percent. English Language Proficiency earned a maximum 10 points.
College and Career Readiness garnered 14 of 25 points. The school lost points in Student Engagement because of a high chronic absenteeism rate of 28.6 percent, and only 61.2 percent participated in a climate survey, which according to the state, did not meet the target.
Stephens said the Jump Start program has also been a solid program for the high school’s juniors and seniors and has helped strengthened the academics. She is also a big supporter of career technical education (CTE) and proving skills students for the workforce of the future.
Churchill County Middle School improved to a 2-star rating after having a 1-star rating for the previous academic year. The total index score was 45.5.
Academic Achievement had 8 of 25 points, and the pooled average for math, English language arts and science was 29.3 percent above the cut. Student Growth achieved 18.5 points out of 30, and English Language had 2 of 10 points.
Closing Opportunity Gaps among learners receive 10 of 20 points, and Student Engagement had an index of 7 of 15 points. Chronic absenteeism was 28.6 percent, but the climate survey met its target with 76.7 percent participation.
Numa Elementary School, which houses grades 2-5, had a total index score of 58.84 points and received a 3-star ranking.
The pooled average of math, English language arts and science was 37.9 percent above the cut and resulted in an index of 5 of 25 points. Student Growth tallied 23.5 points out of 35, and English Language Proficiency (ELP) finished with a perfect 10 points. Stephens said she was pleased with the number of ELP points Numa receive.
“Across the board, we’re seeing improving in Academic Achievement and Student Growth,” Bliss said.
Only 26.6 percent of math learners and 41.9 percent of English language arts learners met their Adequate Growth Percentile for an index score of 10 of 20 points.
Student Engagement had 7.5 out of 10 points. Chronic absenteeism was 13.8 percent, and the climate survey met its target with 86.1 percent of individuals participating.
Lahontan and E.C. Best elementary schools were not rated because two areas — Student Growth and Closing Opportunity Growth — were not applicable.
Bliss said the data is still important for those schools even though they don’t have a Star Rating. She added there’s not enough data, but the results are similar to last year’s figures.
“State information is still important,” she said, adding the proficiency rate has been fairly stable.