Fritsch Elementary a 5-star school under state’s new ranking system

Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal

Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal

Fritsch Elementary School received five stars, the highest score available in the state’s new ranking system, according to results released Friday by the Nevada Department of Education.

“I’m so happy for our staff; they’ve worked so hard,” said Principal Mary Garey. “We are a five-star school. It just gives me goose bumps every time I say it.”

As of May, 37 states had received waivers to replace the school-accountability system known as Adequate Yearly Progress under the federal No Child Left Behind law, which was enacted in 2002.

The Nevada School Performance Framework, approved in 2012, defines the state’s shift away from AYP to a system in which schools earn a rating of one to five stars.

“It’s still a system of accountability, so schools are required to still provide as high a level or higher than was expected from the No Child Left Behind system,” said Richard Stokes, superintendent of the Carson City School District. “It takes a more comprehensive snapshot of the whole school. That’s what I like about it.”

Garey described the Adequate Yearly Progress system as a “line in the sand.” Either students met a given level of proficiency or they did not. And entire schools could fail if one sub-group, such as special-education or students learning English as a second language, failed.

Under the star ranking system, elementary schools are ranked based on student growth, subgroup performance gaps and attendance rates, while high school indicators are based on student proficiency, subgroup performance gaps, growth, graduation, college and career readiness and attendance rates.

“If you have kids who are not making the grade, but they’re growing, you don’t get penalized for that,” Garey explained. “Now, they’re taking a closer look at that achievement.”

Eagle Valley and Carson middle schools earned four stars each, while the remaining schools received three stars.

Silver State Charter High School and Middle School each received a single star. Carson Montessori School, also a charter school, earned four stars.

“We are thrilled with the way we deliver education at our school,” said Jessica Daniels, principal of Carson Montessori. “Our students still love learning and are excited about it.”

Throughout the state, 112 schools received five stars, 91 received four, 271 earned three, 100 were deemed two-star schools and 19 received one star.

Some schools, such as Pioneer High School, were not rated because they serve an alternative population of students that’s too small for results to be able to be calculated accurately.

The Nevada Department of Education plans to have a system in place to rank those schools for the 2013-14 school year, according to a news release.

Garey announced the results to her staff Friday during a potluck following classes on the last day of school.

“Keep those expectations high, and keep growing those kids,” she said. “We want to stay a five-star school.”

Stokes said the school district will work to have more five-star ratings in the future.

“I think this is a good place to start,” he said of this year’s results. “Obviously, we’re interested in having all five-star schools.”


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