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September 1, 2014

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Three more schools getting extra help through turnaround program

Updated Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 | 5:50 p.m.

The Clark County School District today announced three new “turnaround” schools: Bailey Middle School, and Manch and Mountain View elementary schools.

Starting this fall, district officials said these low-performing schools will replace some of their staff and receive additional resources over the next three years to boost lagging student test scores. All three schools are located in the northeast Las Vegas Valley.

Mountain View and Bailey will get new principals, who will be hired by April. These new principals will be able to replace up to 10 teachers and staffers at the elementary schools, and up to 15 new teachers and staffers at the middle school.

Principal Diane Lewis will remain at Manch. That’s because she has been at the school for three years and has started several new programs, officials said.

“With the right support, Dr. Lewis will be successful there,” said Jeff Geihs, the district’s academic manager overseeing turnaround schools.

Teachers and administrators replaced at the turnaround schools will be reassigned to other schools.

The new turnaround schools also will receive additional funding from the district. How much more money is yet to be determined, but officials expect it will be less than in past years: $200,000 per year for elementary schools and $300,000 per year for middle schools.

Principals will be given more autonomy over their campus budgets and can use the money for additional school resources, such as staff development or to extend the school day by 19 minutes.

“This is analogous to emergency room treatment,” Geihs said. “There is a sense of urgency. We have to own these schools and be accountable for their student achievement.”

The turnaround schools were chosen after an internal review of student test score data, the school’s star rating on Nevada’s school ranking system and one-on-one interviews with staff members, officials said.

Schools were turnaround candidates if they were designated as one-star or two-star schools with less than 42 points on a 100-point rating scale. Last year, Nevada implemented a new school ranking system, which rates schools between one and five stars, with five stars being the best.

The School District now has 14 “turnaround” schools. The district will allocate about $2 million in federal money to these schools for their turnaround efforts.

The three new schools join Canyon Springs High School, Chaparral High School, Cimarron-Memorial High School, Hancock Elementary School, Mojave High School, O’Callaghan Middle School, Roundy Elementary School, Sunrise Acres Elementary School, Sunrise Mountain High School, Western High School and Wilhelm Elementary School.

Kit Carson Elementary School, which was considered a turnaround school in the past few years, was taken off the turnaround list this fall.

All of the district’s “turnaround” schools have increased academic achievement, higher graduation rates, better student attendance and lower rates of discipline incidents, officials said. Teachers and students also report a renewed sense of school pride and a changed school culture, officials said.

“The Clark County School District is pleased with the increased achievement we are seeing in our turnaround schools, and we look forward to expanding this model with three additional schools in 2014-15,” Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky said in a statement. “With additional support, we expect these schools will improve their results, and students will be better prepared for success in college and career.”

The School District had considered nine schools as candidates for the turnaround this year, Geihs said. The six schools that were spared from drastic turnaround measures are: Bonanza High School, Dearing Elementary School, Desert Oasis High School, Herr Elementary School, Priest Elementary School and Whitney Elementary School.

These schools will still receive campus improvement plans from the district, but will not undergo any staff changes or receive additional money, Geihs said.

Here are some statistics about the three new turnaround schools, according to the Nevada Education Department.

• Bailey Middle School, near Carey Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard, had 1,205 students last school year. About 85 percent of students are minorities, and 86 percent of students are from low-income families.

Last year, 17 percent of eighth-graders were proficient in math, 21 percent were proficient in reading and 27 percent were proficient in science.

• Manch Elementary School, near Nellis and Las Vegas boulevards, had 777 students last school year. About 91 percent of students are minorities, and 77 percent of students are from low-income families.

Last year, 37 percent of fifth-graders were proficient in math, 32 percent were proficient in reading and 25 percent were proficient in science.

• Mountain View Elementary School, near Christy Lane and Lake Mead Boulevard, had 527 students last school year. About 84 percent of students are minorities, and 70 percent of students are from low-income families.

Last year, 47 percent of fifth-graders were proficient in math and reading, and 44 percent were proficient in science.

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