Valley High School in Las Vegas was, on Thursday, designated as a “high-achieving turnaround” school under the USA federal No Child Left Behind Act, a distinction reserved for schools that had failed to meet the law’s academic requirements for three years before demonstrating high achievement. Reasons for the change are attribited to:
* The enthusiasm of the Principal
* Improved morale among staff
* After-school tutoring
* More individual planning for students
* A greater emphasis on literacy, fundamental skills and the state proficiency exam.
Staff stability and the longevity of the program (since 1999) seem to be treated as almost afterthoughts but both these factors are crucial in achieving this level of turnaround. Quality of teaching is clearly linked to staff morale, and teaching to the test is again clearly a factor, which belies the whole purpose of assessment.