CCSD superintendent lays out goals to improve graduation rate - 8 News NOW

CCSD superintendent lays out goals to improve graduation rate

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LAS VEGAS -- Low test scores on the proficiency exams and students who can't read at grade level are among the major issues facing the Clark County School District, Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky said in his "State of the District" address Monday.

Although students can take the proficiency exams several times, a significant percentage fail to pass and those who don't pass don't get a high school diploma.

Skorkowsky said, he believes the failure rate is tied to how well students learn to read at a younger age. As part of his plan to improve the district, Skorkowsky wants all students to be proficient in reading by third grade.

Another issue, focuses on grading inconsistencies. Some students told a recent legislative committee they were getting higher grades than they felt they deserved and were unprepared for the next step of their education.

Skorkowsky wants to make grading more consistent from school to school. Currently an "A" on an assignment at one school may not be graded as an "A" at another school.

Del Sole High School senior Pamela Gamboa struggled early on, but now has the grades to make any parent proud.

"My grades started going up and I have straight A's," she said.

The requirements for Gamboa to get an "A" at her school may be different at another Clark County school. 

Skorkowsky told fellow educators grading changes could be on the way.

"It's not necessarily going to be harder. We just need to make sure that we are preparing students better and the grading reflects the effort they put into it," he said. "Some of our students are able to move forward through the curriculum and at a faster pace. We need to look at what's allowable and let that happen. We need to also make sure we give extra time to those who take a little bit longer."

Clark County schools still face many challenges, including falling behind when it comes to state test scores. District leaders say some students are lagging in basic skills. School trustees hope grading changes can close the gaps and give students confidence in the grades they earn.

Gamboa says grading changes are necessary to push students to do their best.

"Some people learn differently, but you also need to know if you are doing enough," she said.

Gamboa believes the extra push is what helped her get her good grades.

It's unclear when the grading overhaul will take place, but school leaders say this is a goal for the upcoming year.

Skorowsky also mentioned he would like a long-term English Language Learning program and full-day kindergarten in an effort to boost graduation rates.
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