O'Callaghan MS Works to Turn Around Student Results - 8 News NOW

O'Callaghan MS Works to Turn Around Student Results

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LAS VEGAS -- Some big changes are taking place in four Clark County schools -- changes designed to help keep kids in school and on the road to graduating.

As a turnaround school, 36 percent of students at Mike O'Callaghan Middle School are failing math and more than 50 percent are failing in reading.

Schools that receive the turnaround designation are rated low-performers receive additional resources and support to improve results. Turnaround schools all receive new principals, who have the ability to reassign and rehire staff positions.

Since being designated as a turnaround school, educators at O'Callaghan expect more.

And few understand it quite like 13-year-old student Ashton Boyer.

"Before this year, I thought (school) was just that thing I had to go to," Ashton said. "I felt like it was such a drag on my life, had no interest in it, I had no effort, but now I'm giving it a chance, because I realize what school can do for me."

Ashton was failing multiple classes. Today, the 8th grader is reading on a 12th grade level.

His principal, Belinda Jones, said she wants other students to know that more is required of them, too.

"If these kids don't know that … they don't know what's expected of them," she said.

Jones has $500,000 more in funding for extra staff, trainers for teachers and other resources she needs.

Educators are designing a plan that gets the best results for students.

"We're going to be doing a lot of data, a lot of looking at students needs, going back, filling in gaps," Jones said.

At O'Callaghan Middle School, wall art reminds students they are worth the hard work.

"It's a whole new world to me," Ashton said. "As high as I can go. Go for the best."

The other three most recent turnaround schools are Canyon Springs High School, Dr. Owen C. Roundy and Sunrise Acres elementary schools. The Clark County School District has 11 turnaround schools, designated as such after performing poorly three consecutive years.

The schools have three more years to show progress.

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