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Amargosa attendance high, Pathways testing starts Monday

Amargosa Elementary/Middle School is posting a 96 percent attendance rate, school officials said Tuesday. Principal Robert Williams told trustees faculty members are looking to take on additional pre-kindergarten students.

“My pre-kindergarten teacher wants to get as many three year olds in as possible so we can get them acclimated to school before they go to the four-year-old program next year,” he said.

The school is also trying a new approach to help with reading skills among first and second graders. Williams said the school’s reading specialist is training two classroom aides to perform reading groups with the teachers.

“It’s a half-hour reading group and the teacher and the aides each take a group of kids,” he said. “Normally there’s a reading rotation in most classrooms and we are trying to do it in a shorter amount of time, but the kids will get the same amount of time.”

Collaborative learning, Williams said, is moving forward with what he termed Learning Focused Lesson instruction.

“We’re creating lesson plans and aligning instructional goals to the standards,” he said. “We are now at a point where the teachers seem to benefit a bit more from example, than from the online course work. We are going to draw names from a hat to set the schedule for the rest of the year, where every teacher will provide an example lesson and teach it.”

The school also provides tutoring for middle school students and a few select elementary students twice a week.

During the first week of March, instructors will target third and fifth graders for reading remediation during the tutoring sessions.

These changes comes to a school working to improve classroom performance.

Last month, Amargosa was listed as one of 78 underperforming Nevada schools that could be run by the state as charter schools. Elementary schools Hafen, Floyd, Round Mountain and Gabbs, as well as Pathways High, are also on the list.

Officials at Pathways school are seeing an increase in students taking the high school equivalency exam formally known as the General Education Diploma test.

Principal Karen Hills said both juniors and seniors have displayed an interest in passing the exam early in the school year.

“The main reason is, we allow them to take a practice test that’s online first,” she said. “If they are nowhere near passing, I don’t want to take their money. I would rather put them in courses in the adult education program to get them ready to take that test. Of those students who have already taken the test, 80 percent of them have passed, which was the same as Clark County.”

Hills also said the school is now gearing up for the upcoming testing sessions beginning on Monday.

“I know at every school, it’s a scheduling fiasco,” she said. “We have three teachers at Pathways to service 152 students and we have about 55 students that need to take the math proficiency. We are really encouraging our students to do their best and we are posting their student identification numbers and which test they need to take.”

Pathways’ next graduation is scheduled for May 23.

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