Zoom and Victory Schools Demonstrating Increased Results on Smarter Balanced Assessments

Immediate Release

Carson City, NV - September 12, 2017

For Immediate Release

The most recent Smarter Balanced Assessment results add to growing evidence that Victory and Zoom school funding are resulting in significant, positive gains.

“The results we are seeing at Victory schools where these schools are outpacing similar schools with high concentration of economically disadvantaged students are another good indicator that Nevada is on pace to become the fastest improving state in the nation,” said Steve Canavero, Ph.D., Superintendent of Public Instruction. “The Victory and Zoom programs, which were two cornerstones in Gov. Brian Sandoval’s education reform agenda, are both demonstrating positive returns on the investment the state has made.”

The 2015 Legislature expanded funding for Zoom Schools, established Victory Schools, and required the Department of Education to contract with an external group to evaluate the programs. In 2017, an external evaluation presented to the Nevada Legislature recommended the continued funding given the positive, early results seen as a result of Zoom and Victory funding.

Two years after the Nevada Legislature funded the Victory schools program, elementary schools throughout the state demonstrated positive growth on the latest Smarter Balanced Assessment results.

Darryl Wyatt, Woolley Elementary Principal in the Clark County School District, said the additional funding his school received through Victory funding played a critical role in seeing his students English Language Arts (ELA) results increase 10.24 points to 51.99 percent proficiency and math scores rise 8.43 points to 39.07 proficiency.

“The additional, targeted funds allowed us to buy technology devices and software to give our students much richer, deeper content learning programs,” Wyatt said. “Additionally, our teachers received more training to continue to improve teaching these subjects. We were also able to add support staff which meant our students received additional help in the classroom.”

While Woolley’s overall gains were impressive, Fitzgerald Elementary in Las Vegas showed the greatest ELA improvement among Victory elementary schools with a 20.25 point jump to 38.76 percent proficiency. Sonja Clark, Fitzgerald’s Vice Principal, said Victory funding allowed the school to fund a reading strategist, technology, software, professional development for teachers and standards based books. Wendell Williams Elementary scored a 12.96 point increase in math to 24.56 percent proficiency. Statewide, Smarter Balanced ELA scores among Victory schools in elementary were up .87 to 33.13 percent proficiency while math scores rose 2.31 points to 27.5 percent proficiency.

The Victory program, created by the Nevada Legislature in 2015, funds 35 schools in five districts that are identified as the lowest performing schools in the highest poverty zip codes in the state. The goals of the program include reading at grade level by third grade; ensuring students are prepared to engage in a rigorous high school curriculum by the end of eighth grade and that students graduate college or career ready.

The Zoom program, which was initiated by the Legislature in 2013, targets the lowest performing schools with the highest percentage of English Learners in Nevada. Zoom programs provide high quality services and instruction designed to help English Learners become English proficient and achieve academic success. Zoom elementary schools Smarter Balanced ELA results rose 2.48 points to 32.12 percent proficiency and middle school ELA results rose .56 to 35.28 percent proficiency.

Dustin Mancl, Rowe Elementary Principal, said Zoom funding has been critical to his school’s success. Rowe, from the Clark County School District, demonstrated the most dramatic improvement of any Zoom School in the state, raising its ELA proficiency on the Smarter Balanced Assessment 14.61 points to 51.31 percent proficiency and 18.18 points in math to 42.11 percent proficiency. Mancl said Zoom funding has provided a 1,000-book library for each teacher; standards based textbooks and computer adaptive programs that provide each student 20 minutes of additional learning in both reading and math daily.

“Stabilizing our staff turnover, improving culture and climate have been critical to our success,” Mancl said. “Data is important; I meet with all 700 of our students every two weeks to make sure they are on track. Our number one priority with our teachers is using a standards based instruction. Zoom funding has really made a difference by providing our teachers with the resources they need.”


Greg Bortolin