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Las Vegas councilman treats high-achieving students with pizza, prizes

Quannah McCall Elementary School hopes to be a ‘turnaround school,’ says principal


Paul Takahashi

Las Vegas Councilman Ricki Barlow serves pizza to third grader Yovanni Palma, 9, and fourth grader Alejandro Aceves, 9, at McCall Elementary School in North Las Vegas on Friday, June 24, 2011. Barlow donated pizza, backpacks and bicycles to students for improving their scores on the state standardized test for reading and math.

McCall Elementary Celebration

Fourth grader Serwah Ackam, 8, opens her new backpack at McCall Elementary School in North Las Vegas on Friday, June 24, 2011. Las Vegas Councilman Ricki Barlow donated pizza, backpacks and bicycles to students for improving their scores on the state standardized test for reading and math. Launch slideshow »

Map of Quannah McCall

Quannah McCall

800 E. Carey Ave., North Las Vegas

Earlier this year, Las Vegas Councilman Ricki Barlow gave students at a North Las Vegas elementary school a special challenge.

Improve scores on the standardized Criterion-referenced Test, and Barlow would treat high-achieving students to a pizza party and prizes such as bicycles and backpacks full of school supplies.

On Friday, Barlow returned to Quannah McCall Elementary School, 800 Carey Ave., to congratulate a few dozen summer school students for achieving the highest scores in school history.

“I’m here today to live up to the end of my bargain because well over 124 students have surpassed the CRT exam,” Barlow said. “I’m very proud of these kids.”

According to unofficial CRT scores, McCall still has room for a lot of improvement, with about two-thirds of fourth- and fifth-graders passing the mathematics portion of the CRT and about half of fourth- and fifth-graders passing the reading section. In third grade, only 53 percent passed math and 34 percent passed reading.

However, this year’s scores represent a major improvement from previous years, according to Principal Maria Chairez. When she started at McCall in 2005, she recalled only 11 fifth-graders passing the reading section of the CRTs.

This year, scores improved 42 percent in reading and 56 percent in math from last year, Chairez said, adding that she feels confident McCall will meet its Annual Yearly Progress designation again on the No Child Left Behind.

“We’re very proud of our growth,” she said. “Quannah McCall is on the move. We hope to be a turnaround school in North Las Vegas.”

Students smiled as they rushed up to the stage to take a free backpack and cheered as names of the highest scorers were called out and given free bicycles and helmets.

Fourth-grader Kristen Gonzalez said she was excited for her new bicycle. Her old bike had rust and a flat tire, and was missing streamers, she said.

“I feel really good,” Gonzalez, 9, said, adding she wants to become a veterinarian someday. “When I found out my score, I was really, really proud. My parents were proud of me, too.”

Fifth-grader Guadalupe Urbina, 10, posted the second highest score in her grade this year. She said she felt encouraged by her teachers and Barlow’s challenge.

“I thought I was going to get a lower score than what I got,” she said. “I’ve been working so hard, but I never thought they would do this.”

Barlow said he planned to continue donating to schools in the future.

“I’m a product of the Clark County School District,” he said. “This is my home, where I was born and bred, so I understand the importance of giving back to the community. Someone has to take my place so I want to do my part to make sure that the future generation coming up will be in a great position to succeed.”

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  1. Thank you Councilman, i would like to see more this with other schools from your constituents' god bless

  2. Other prominent Nevada's should be trying to out do Councilman Ricki Barlow's efforts to award student achievement in low socioeconomic schools. They won't, but they sure should be.