State-sponsored charter school on watch list

Steve Knight has a plan to fight No Child Left Behind's watch list.

Next week during student and parent orientations, he's going to ask parents to commit to having their students at the Carson City school on test days.

"We might have to send a taxi to the house to pick them up," he said. "The problem is, kids don't attend the school every single day."

The charter school opened in 2004-05 as one of four charters sponsored by the state. It is also one of three of those to fail to make adequate yearly progress.

"We're disappointed we couldn't get 100 percent of the kids to do the testing, and we're going to certainly do our best to get them in this year," Knight said. "The kids absolutely need to take every opportunity to pass the test(s)."

The school failed to make adequate yearly progress in six areas, five of them related to test participation. Knight said the difficulty is that many of the students aren't even on campus to take the tests because the school is long-distance-learning based.

"In the past, we had to start the test without them," he said. "This year we're going to go chase them down. It's not that they're absent, it's that they need to be there for that test. It's a catch-22 for us."

The charter school also failed to show proficiency in math. When a group of 10 students or less takes a test, as was the case in math at Silver State, the data is not released by the Department of Education to protect the students' identities.

However, to make adequate yearly progress in this category, at least 52 percent of students have to test proficiently in math. That percentage wasn't reached.

"First of all, these kids just came to us this year," Knight said. "We didn't have much chance to remediate them. We will put special emphasis on these kids to get the extra attention they need to be successful in math. Historically, it is the toughest one for any of the kids to pass."

Of the 11 public schools in Carson City, just one made adequate yearly progress under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

That was Carson Montessori School at 2210 Lone Mountain Drive. The school, sponsored by the Carson City School District, initially was put on the watch list for math, but successfully appealed that ruling. No one was available for comment at the school.

The district's 10 traditionally operated schools all failed to make adequate yearly progress. Private schools in Carson City and across the nation aren't assessed under No Child Left Behind because they don't receive public funding.

Nearby school district-sponsored charter schools showed various results under No Child Left Behind. In Washoe County, five of the eight school district-sponsored charter schools made adequate yearly progress. Sierra Crest Academy, a county-sponsored school in Douglas County, was put on the watch list.

In the Churchill County School District, Gateways to Success failed to make adequate yearly progress for the third year in a row.


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