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Garrett earns five-star rating

Garrett Junior High School has been recognized as a five-star school by the state.

“We’re the only five-star school in Boulder City, and our students are the toughest age. … It’s awesome,” said Garrett Principal Jamey Hood of the recognition.

A five-star rating means that a school is superior and exceeds expectations for all its students, as well as demonstrating superior academic performance and growth with no opportunity gaps.

This star system uses community stakeholders and school performance factors to rank the elementary and middle schools in the state.

It was created by the Nevada School Performance Network and gives schools a numerical score and star rating, from one to five stars, with one being the worst and five being the best. Because the system is starting in phases, the scores released in 2017 are “informational only,” according to the Nevada Department of Education.

Garrett earned 90.89 out of a possible 102 points and is one of only 10 middle schools in the Clark County School District to earn the five-star distinction.

The ratings are based on academic achievement, growth, English language proficiency, closing opportunity gaps and student gaps.

Hood said one of the ways the school was able to achieve this rating is through its staff.

“I believe it is because one of my best qualities is I hire well,” she said. “We have great teachers. … I’m a firm believer that you give them what they need and get out of their way and let them do their job.”

She also cited the support of parents and the community.

“Because of the parent support and community support, all the schools in Boulder City should be a five-star,” she said.

King Elementary School was given a three-star rating, and Mitchell Elementary was not ranked because it does not have the required data for a rating. It has students in kindergarten through second grade, and some of the data covers students in third through eighth grades.

“An adequate rating is better than an inadequate rating,” said King Principal Anthony Gelsone. “However, even if we were five-star, we are always working to improve what we do. We utilize all the data that determines our star ranking. We continue to earn a high level of points in our students that pass the test and are then considered proficient. An area that we lose many points in is the area of growth. A vast majority of our students continue to be proficient from year to year.”

“In the fall of 2017, the Nevada Department of Education culminated 18 months of work to update the Nevada School Performance Framework and establish a starting line for Nevada’s pursuit to become the fastest-improving state in the nation,” said Greg Bortolin, public information officer for the Nevada Department of Education.

Bortolin also said this year’s star ratings are informational, as requested by district officials, so that schools would have a year to transition into a new rating system, which replaces one put into place in 2014.

“We anticipate that the next star ratings will be issued on Sept. 15 that will include high schools,” he said.

According to the Nevada Department of Education, the new rating system is based on more rigorous standards and has a renewed emphasis on student growth, a commitment to students from all backgrounds succeeding and added measures of English language proficiency and school climate.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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