Washoe School District Reveals Star Ratings for Schools

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RENO -- Fifteen Washoe County schools are performing at the highest level, based on the district's evaluation. Figures revealed by the Washoe County School District Friday also showed three schools performing at the lowest level. The schools were awarded stars based on performance. Duncan, Lincoln Park and Elmcrest elementary schools all received only one star. Clayton Middle School, and Caughlin Ranch Elementary School were among those receiving five stars. There are 89 traditional schools in the district.

"Our schools are using this as a way to improve. Our board, myself, my staff, we're using this as a way to support schools," Washoe County School District superintendent Pedro Martinez said.

The state also evaluates local schools with a five-star system. However, Martinez said Washoe County's system is stricter. In the state's evaluation, Washoe County did not have any one-star schools.

Ben Hayes, director of research and evaluation for the school district, said there are differences in the evaluations. For example, he said the state does not look at students' performance in science, while Washoe County does take science performance into account.

Martinez said federal grant money was set aside to assist schools that received few stars. He said top-performing schools would not have resources diverted. Martinez said low-performing schools may increase hours for teachers, add professional development activities and offer after-school programs.

Washoe County schools performed better than Nevada schools as a whole, according to Martinez.