Oasis Academy earns top scores based on star-rating system

Oasis Academy received the highest scores possible in the state for its elementary, middle andhigh-school grades for the 2018-2019 school year.

Oasis Academy received the highest scores possible in the state for its elementary, middle andhigh-school grades for the 2018-2019 school year.

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All three Oasis grade levels — elementary, middle school and high school — received a five, the highest score any school in the state can receive. According to the Nevada Department of Education (NDE), each school receives a star rating for its performance on state standardized tests that determine the proficiency level of students within their core subjects. Schools receive an index score from 1-100 that is associated with a one- to five-star school rating. The NDE states the framework that determines each school’s star rating is aligned with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and uses multiple metrics to ascertain a school’s overall performance.

Executive Director Melissa Mackedon and Principal Rochelle Tisdale said the overall rating of the elementary school jumped from a three to five, while the middle and high schools finished with a five, the same score achieved from the 2017-2018 school year. Mackedon said during the 2017-18 school year, the elementary school had a number of teachers out for various reasons, and Oasis had to rely on long-term substitute teachers.

“Having (regular) teachers back in the classroom increased those instructional moments,” she said of last year’s results. “It really made a difference.”

Oasis has an enrollment of 612 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. During the evaluation period, Oasis had a 95% attendance rate, and the high school achieved a 100% graduation rate with an average ACT (American College Test) of 20.13. All three schools showed noticeable improvement in mathematics: elementary, 62.3 points; middle school, 63.2;and high school, 43.2. The scores 10 to 20 points higher than the State Public Charter School Authority average.

Mackedon said the academy relied on 90 to 120 minutes of math instruction each day.

“That made a big difference,” she said.

Tisdale said teachers were able to remediate students immediately if they were struggling with math.

This was also the first year the state’s schools received a score for science. The middle school students earned a score of 70.4 points compared to the state average of 45. The elementary school achieved 45.7 points to the state’s 34.7,and the high school had 46.2 points to t the state average of 30.5.

“We did really well in the science department compared to the rest of the state,” Tisdale added.

English language arts scores exceeded the state averages. The middle school receive 82.7 points compared to the state average of 59.6. The elementary school was 8.6 points higher than the state with 68.7 points. The high school test results showed 60 points to the state’s 53.8.

Tisdale said Oasis’s staff extensively uses collaboration, data analysis and testing scores from previous years to build on the instruction. Mackedon said a consultant has been working with teachers to examine the interim data. She said the process has also made a difference during professional development by providing pertinent training to what teachers are doing in their classrooms.

“There’s so much data and how to use that data to drive your instruction and to help target kids,” Tisdale said, adding the instruction helps students achieve their growth.”

Both Mackedon and Tisdale emphasize Oasis is not a magnet school, and there is no enrollment criteria. They said charter school must mirror the public school district more with their programs. Only when grades are full must Oasis use a lottery system for admittance.

“We’re also no longer allowed to require volunteers,” Mackedon said. “The state won’t allow that.”

Tisdale said it’s important for the community to know that Oasis Academy is a free, public charter school open to all. Furthermore, Mackedon said all upper-level high school students are dual-enrolled in classes with Western Nevada College, and 70 percent are in the Jump Start program that puts students on a specific track to earn an associate’s degree.

“Our board is very focused on academics,” Mackedon said. “They place academics above everything else.”


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