North Platte school district celebrates improved rating

A chart shows the North Platte Public School District’s ratings for the past two school years. This is the second year the Department of Education has determined each district’s classification. A rating of one means the school needs improvement, two is good, three is great and four is excellent.

The North Platte school district is celebrating its move from “Good” to “Great” in the 2019 Accountability for a Quality Education System, Today and Tomorrow ratings, said Vikki Carlson, the district’s secondary director for teaching and learning.

The Nebraska Department of Education released the report on Wednesday.

Overall improvement was seen across North Platte Public Schools with North Platte High School and three elementary schools raising their level of achievement from 2017-18 to 2018-19.

The data were gathered from the 2019 spring assessment test results.

There are six tenets of AQuESTT and each school district in the state provides evidence of its comprehensive approach to those tenets.

“We are required by the state to submit what is called evidence-based analysis on each one of the six tenets,” Carlson said. “I think the important thing to note is that when the classification report comes to us then and our ratings are given to us, that is only based on three of the six tenets.”

The three tenets that all classification ratings are based on are:

» Transitions: supports for students transitioning between grade levels,

» Educational opportunities and access: Students should have access to comprehensive instructional opportunities to be prepared for postsecondary education and career goals.

» Assessment: Multiple sources should be used to measure student achievement of college- and career-ready standards.

“North Platte Public Schools really has cause for celebration,” Carlson said, “because we either maintained our classification ratings from the previous year or we actually improved in several of our schools.”

Carlson pointed out that North Platte High School’s classification moved from Needs Improvement to Good; Cody Elementary moved from Good to Great; Jefferson Elementary from Good to Great; and Lake Elementary from Great to Excellent.

The Nebraska Student-Centered Assessment System summative assessment replaced the Nebraska School Accountability tests in the spring of 2018.

Carlson said it is difficult to compare current data with previous years because the new tests are more rigorous.

Five assessments were administered: English language arts in grades 3-8; math, grades three through eight; science, grades five and eight; ACT, grade 11; and alternate assessment, grades three through eight and 11.

“I really want to stress that we are falling under those regulations to participate in those statewide assessments,” Carlson said. “But we are also very realistic in that check of our students’ ability on a standardized test.”

She added that the district knows that in and of itself that comes with challenges.

“The great thing about our district is through our continuous improvement process,” Carlson said, “we look at a number of different components that actually play into what we believe is a truer picture of how students learn in our district.”

Carlson said the district does not bank everything it does on this one-time check.

“Our job is to make sure from the beginning of the year to the end of year, from the time that they enter in kindergarten until the time that they graduate,” Carlson said, “that we’re looking at their learning continuum the whole time they’re with us.”

Carlson and Trent Benjamin, elementary director of teaching and learning, both said the district will dig into the data to come up with a plan to improve the areas that are identified as needing growth.

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