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NSD report to the public

By Staff, 10/11/19 9:56 AM

ROSSTON – Rick McAfee, superintendent of the Nevada School District, said all schools received a “C” from the U.S. Department of Education under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

This was done Thursday night at Nevada’s annual report to the public. Under the ESSA, schools are graded on five points – weighted achievement, growth score, school quality, four year graduation rates and five year graduation rates. The scores in these areas are pared down into a letter grade.

Nevada High School Principal Jason Arrington said he’s been working with the teachers and is confident the district can move from a C to a B in a few years. He told the Nevada School Board he and Nevada Elementary School Principal Tonya Pennington have been working together so they can be on the same page and move forward.

For NHS, he said, the idea is to develop a culture of continuous improvement and, he added, the school is moving in that direction as everyone is on board.

Pennington agreed, adding goals have been set for literacy plans, which is a major focus of the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) this year. Technology is being used to support the work being done in the classrooms as well.

Both NES and NHS are accredited schools, meeting all required standards set by the ADE.

Pennington told the board of the goals for improving literacy at NES. She said teachers are attending RISE training and using DIBELS data to drive instruction. They are also actively involved in Professional Learning Communities (PLC) and utilize programs such as Acellus and Moby Max in the classrooms.

Arrington said the plans at NHS are basically the same with teachers completing RISE training, implementing literacy interventions during set times during the day and being involved in PLCs. He agreed the NHS teachers are also using Acellus and accelerated reading in all classrooms to improve reading scored.

He added teachers are doing subject and cross curriculum programs to engage with one another and stay on the same page, while using supplemental computer programs to help. NHS is also implementing a leadership program among the students, using them to help tutor younger students who need help as the younger students will listen to the older students.

McAfee said Pennington and Arrington working together makes communication better and keeps everyone working in the same direction. He pointed out the state has “doubled down” on reading this year, making it the most important part of standardized testing. The idea of students helping students, he added, is a good one as it gets everyone involved in education.

The district, he said, will use EDA, state professional development and Title I funds to continue providing quality professional development for the teachers, which will ensure students of the district are being taught using the most up-to-date and best practices available.

Pennington said NES has added positive office referrals, where students are sent to the office for doing good things.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday, McAfee said, the National Honor Society will have its induction ceremony. He told the board the first parent-teacher conference will be Thursday which means the year is a fourth of the way over.

Members of the NHS, he said, raised funds and bought paint to paint games on the floor at NES for the younger students, doing all the work themselves. He pointed out a student in the eighth grade saw him picking up trash on the campus one day, asked him about it and went to his teacher asking if the class could pick up trash around the campus one day a month to help keep it looking good.