Washoe releases latest school rankings

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Washoe releases latest school rankings

Martinez

Schools in Washoe County are receiving their grades for this past school year.

Schools in Washoe County are receiving their grades for this past school year. Earlier this week, the state released its school rankings and now the district has released its own.

So what are the differences between the state and the district rankings?

Both assign schools anywhere from 1 to 5 stars, mostly based on student testing. But the district's system is more rigorous. Schools either do worse or the same as they did with the state.

For example, while there were no 1 star schools in Washoe according to the state, the district actually gave 3 elementary schools that lowest rating: Elmcrest, Lincoln Park and Duncan. Just about 60 percent of schools were 3 stars or below.

Superintendent Pedro Martinez says schools that slipped or still rank low will receive extra support.

"We are reaching out to schools now as we speak and we are making sure [to see] if they need after school programs, programs on Saturdays. We are right now training our teachers for Common Core Standards. For teachers in some of those schoosl, we're offering more hours for the teachers."

One success story is Alice Maxwell Elementary: it's five star and the second highest performing school in the state, despite having the highest English Language Learner population in Nevada.

Unlike the state, the district takes into consideration science, achievement gaps between different racial groups and student growth beyond proficiency.

Ben Hayes, who's the School Accountability Officer, explains just reaching that cut off point for proficiency on a state test doesn't necessarily prepare a student to succeed in post-secondary education.

"What we found is if you get up to the advanced or exceed standard level, that really puts you on a good college ready pathway."

For schools that did well like TMCC and AACT, or middle schools Shaw and Clayton, the district will stay out of their way. Superintendent Martinez says the rankings aren't there to punish schools, but rather to identify areas of improvement and provide more transparency.