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Helping parents learn more about schools

Organization makes performance data easier to understand
Posted: 12:21 PM, Feb 05, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-06 07:05:15Z
Helping parents learn more about schools
Helping parents learn more about schools
Helping parents learn more about schools

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Stars, tiers, titles, language and math proficiency - with so many ways to measure school performance, it can be tough for parents to make sense of all the information.

Tameka Henry knows that struggle because in the past she had to sort through it so she could pick the best schools for her four children.

That's why she is a proponent of the greatschoolsallkids.org website.

"It is very important because you want to see how the school is performing and how your child can fit in at the school," Henry said.

That information can be hard to determine from the star ratings alone but digging deeper can cause confusion as terms like adequate growth percentile, SBAC and student engagement can sound like a foreign language to any parent.

That's where Opportunity 180 came in to make things easier to understand.

"The number one thing we think is important is making sure people have all the information," Executive Director Jana Wilcox Lavin said.

Putting data in parents hands is one of the key ways the organization hopes to increase the number of students attending high-quality public schools.

"Right now 68 percent of kids in Clark County are in schools where less than half of kids are at grade level in any subject," Wilcox Lavin said.

The organization says their vision lines up with Superintendent Jesus Jara's recently announced goal of getting rid of all one and two-star schools in the next five years.

Henry says she uses the tool to look at how the school can help her children, like her daughter who has a strong interest in science, math, and aviation.

She says the most important thing for parents to realize is you are not always bound by the district zoning, with options like zone variances, magnet schools, and open enrollment.

"You know your child better than anyone and if there is a school out there that is better for your child, apply," Henry said.

The site doesn't just give parents the ability to see how the schools are performing in key categories but also how they are performing year to year, so you can determine if it is moving in the right direction.

It also provides reports on each grade level at the school so parents are able to ask the right questions of the principals and teachers.

It also provides reports on each grade level at the school so parents are able to ask the right questions of the principals and teachers.

The website is also built to work on smartphones because Wilcox Lavin says even families without access to a regular computer typically have access to a phone and internet connection.

The group also makes school performance data available to lawmakers based on the boundaries of their districts, so those making the decisions on funding and policy are better informed.

What is Raising The Bar?

Together with parents, educators, business and community leaders, 13 Action News will lead the discussion on improving education in Southern Nevada. We will connect families with solutions that empower our community to build a foundation for a successful future. If you have a story idea, email us at raisingthebar@ktnv.com.

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