Study Points Out Areas for Improvement in CCSD - 8 News NOW

Study Points Out Areas for Improvement in CCSD

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LAS VEGAS -- Underperforming and underfunded are some of the words used in a new study to describe the Clark County School District. The study made suggestions on how the nation's fifth-largest school district can save millions and improve.

The study looked at academics, demographics and even operations. the study examined where the district and its students are succeeding or failing. The consultants who conducted the study, Gibson Consulting Group, say CCSD has to spend $60 million to save $226 million.

It suggests spending money to buy new computer software to track teacher and student progress. They say the changing demographics of the valley have impacted education.

"In 1986 to 1987, our white student population represented 70 percent of our students, and now represents a little over 30 percent, and this has created significant academic challenges as we strive to reduce the achievement gap for some of these students," said Greg Gibson, Gibson Consulting Group.

The study found CCSD isn't setting its achievement targets high enough. CCSD was compared to three other districts with similar populations, academics and ethnic backgrounds. The districts were Miami-Dade, Broward County, Florida and Houston school districts which all had higher student achievement.

"Our peer districts are performing better with more challenging needs. They have higher economically disadvantaged student populations, their average is 60 percent and our average is 43 percent," said Gibson.

One finding was that CCSD students are not learning English as quickly as they should.

CCSD Superintendent Dwight Jones wants the district to start teaching English and literacy in kindergarten. "Ultimately, if we intervene at an earlier age, it costs the district a lot less and our chance for success goes way up." 

If the students become language proficient at an earlier age it will likely help them pass their proficiency exams and succeed in middle and high school. Jones says the district needs to shift its focus back to reducing class sizes and having excellent teachers.

"There is no substitute for a high-quality teacher in front of a group of youngsters," he said.

The study was paid for by a grant from the UCLA Dream Foundation. The study also suggests  spending money to make schools more energy efficient.

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