8 of 10 Carson schools make adequate progress | NevadaAppeal.com

8 of 10 Carson schools make adequate progress

Teri Vance
Appeal Staff Writer

School district officials are celebrating this week that eight Carson City schools met federal requirements set forth in the No Child Left Behind Act.

The results were announced at the school board meeting Tuesday evening.

“You have to know that behind the cold numbers, a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into getting this done,” said school board president Bob Crowell. “My hat’s off to all of our staff. It’s marvelous.”

Last year, all 10 schools failed to achieve what is called “adequate yearly progress.”

Superintendent Dr. Mary Pierczynski said the staff at each of the schools worked to create strategies to improve skills in certain areas, especially math.

“Some of the things we’ve been trying to do to improve instruction in the classroom have paid off this year,” she said. “We’ve constantly said we could do it.”

It may be more difficult next year to meet the requirements, Pierczynski said. Up until now, students tested have been those in third, fifth and eighth grades. Next year, students in third through eighth grades will all be tested.

In the coming year, she said, the focus will be on attendance.

“They’ve got to show up for their education,” Pierczynski said. “We find that students who don’t attend, not only don’t do well on these tests, but they don’t do well in school.”

Under the federal act passed in 2001, the general population of a school has to average a certain score on both areas of the test: English language arts and math. Each of the subpopulations must meet the same average as well.

Empire Elementary School’s general population met the requirements, but the learning-disabled group was two students shy of passing, which causes the entire school to be labeled “in need of improvement.”

This is the fourth year the school has not made adequate yearly progress.

If the school fails for a fifth year, it will be susceptible to a variety of sanctions, which include removal of the principal and staff and being under the administration of the State Department of Education.

This is the third consecutive year Fremont Elementary School has not met the federal standards.

Mike Watty, associate superintendent of instruction, said both schools have made improvements over the years.

“I think we have a good plan in place,” he said. “I’m cautiously optimistic that next year we’ll see Empire making AYP along with all the other schools.”

He said district officials are working to set up a school support team at Fremont Elementary School like the one at Empire. The team, made up of a state education official, a district representative, a principal and teacher from another school, and a parent, will work with the school to set and accomplish improvement goals.

Pierczynski said she was particularly pleased that Carson High School passed all areas in all the subgroups.

“We’re really tickled about that,” she said.

Principal Fred Perdomo returned the compliment.

“This district supports its schools with everything they need,” he said. “”This community supports the schools. It’s not just one this that makes a difference. This progress is an example of the whole process.”

Carson City’s charter school Carson Montessori also made adequate yearly progress.

• Contact reporter Teri Vance @ tvance@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1272.

Subgroups being evaluated under No Child Left Behind:

• Total school population

• Special-education students

• Limited English proficiency

• Low socioecomonic status

• Five major ethnic groups:

– American Indian

– Hispanic

– White

– Asian

– Black

Proficiency levels in Carson City:

Elementary schools:

2004-2005 2005-2006

English: 49.6 percent 54 percent

Math: 50.9 percent 57.2 percent

Middle schools:

2004-2005 2005-2006

English: 69.3 percent 68 percent

Math: 58.6 percent 61 percent

High school:

2004-2005 2005-2006

English: 83.8 percent 92 percent

Math: 63.9 percent 78 percent