Storey County schools highly proficient

Hugh Gallagher Elementary School students were already high achieving in the 2003-04 school year before receiving that ranking again for the 2004-05 year.

"We had our back-to-school staff meeting recently," said Principal Sue Moulden, who has been at the school for four years. "It was like, 'Guys, great job, you should be very proud of yourselves.' But it's not over. At this point, we have to do it again."

In 2003-04, third-graders at Hugh Gallagher did exceedingly well on reading and writing criterion reference tests: 23.2 percent more of students passed the test than required by law.

In 2004-05, after staff targeted reading skills as part of its school improvement plan, 43.7 more third-graders than required by law passed the reading proficiency, a total of 83.3 percent - far above the 39.6 percent of third-graders needed to be proficient.

"The whole premise of adequate yearly progress is that no child will be left behind," said Moulden. "We need to look at every child as an individual and get their skills up to the levels the standards are requiring.

"We don't just work with the lower level kids to bring them up. We don't want to forget those kids in the middle who are not exceeding way above but not failing, nor the kids who are high achieving. We can't leave anybody out.

"The idea is that we test each kid individually at the beginning of school in the areas of math and reading and with those test scores evaluate where each kid is," said Moulden. "We then group them appropriately and make sure the material that is being covered will hit them at their level."

Math proficiency also showed itself far beyond requirements both years. Last year, 72.4 percent of fifth-graders passed the criterion reference test, when 45.4 percent was required. Among third-graders, 61.1 were proficient when the requirement was 45.4 percent.

Also ranked high achieving in the Storey County School District in 2004-05 was Virginia City Middle School.

"Kids aren't falling through the cracks here," said Todd Hess, principal of Virginia City Middle School. "It's quite a feather in everyone's cap that all of Storey County Schools have made AYP. I personally feel the reason for this is the passion and experience of the staff here in Storey County."

The district's other two schools, Virginia City High School and Hillside Elementary School made adequate yearly progress, but in the 2003-04 school year, Hugh Gallagher, Virginia City Middle School and Virginia City High School were all high-achieving, meaning the schools significantly achieved measurable objectives in math and English-language arts.

While none of the district's four schools were high achieving in the 2002-03 school year, all four made adequate yearly progress.

More information on criterion reference tests can be found online at

n Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at or 881-1219.


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