Elementary school given ‘needs improvement’ grade | NevadaAppeal.com

Elementary school given ‘needs improvement’ grade

by Teri Vance, Appeal Staff Writer

Parents whose children attend Mark Twain Elementary School can choose to send them elsewhere next year under a new education reform bill.

Under the “No Child Left Behind” federal bill passed in January, schools that do not make adequate yearly progress for two years are labeled in need of improvement. Students at those schools must be given the choice to transfer.

“We feel a lot of our parents at Mark Twain are happy with what we’re doing at Mark Twain,” said grants coordinator Valerie Dockery. “We don’t expect a lot of parents to come up and ask for a transfer.”

New regulations will require states to test students in math and reading.

Low-income schools receiving federal Title I grant money will be subject to sanctions based on the state’s tests and this year, adequate progress was determined through federal TerraNova tests.

Three Carson City Schools qualify as low-income: Empire Elementary School has a 65 percent poverty level; Bordewich-Bray Elementary School has 62 percent; and 43 percent of Mark Twain Elementary School’s students are considered impoverished.

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Students at Mark Twain Elementary School showed little progress on standardized tests in the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 school years. However, they did make adequate yearly progress this year and will need to do it again next year to no longer be considered in need of improvement.

Bordewich-Bray has continued to improve for the last two years.

Empire Elementary School students made the grade in the past two years but failed this year. If scores do not go up next year, the school will also fall into the “needs improvement” category.

“They are aware of what they need to do,” said Superintendent Mary Pierczynski. “They are working very hard to make sure their school makes the improvement.”

Mary Garey, principal of Mark Twain Elementary School, is confident her school will be able to shed the “needs improvement” status next year.

“I think we have a wonderful neighborhood school,” she said. “We’re on the right track with our schoolwide plan — it just takes a little while to kick it in gear.”

A letter will go home next week explaining the situation to parents and a meeting is scheduled at the for June 5 at 6:30 p.m. to give more information.

Transferring students will be sent to Fritsch Elementary School and priority will be given to students with low performance or from low-income families. Transportation will be funded from the $800,000 Title I grant money.