Blame Goes Around for Poor School Performance

LAS VEGAS -- How accountable are middle schools for failing test scores at Clark County high schools? As three local low-performing high schools face major staff restructuring, 8 News NOW looks into the role middle school plays for these students.

The old saying: "The Buck Stops Here" is in play between middle and high schools in Clark County. If high schools get students who can't pass tests, are the middle schools to blame for passing them on?

Robert Gibson Middle School is making progress in getting their 8th graders ready for the next level.

"That's why you're doing Cornell note taking with summaries, that's why you do all this. It's to prepare you for high school," Linda Pineiro tells her 8th grade science class at Robert Gibson Middle School. Students are learning more than the structure of an atom, they're learning skills needed in high school. But test scores at Chaparral, Mojave and neighboring Western High Schools were low enough for Clark County School District to try major staff restructuring.

"I really don't feel that we're passing on the problem to Western at all. I think that most of my students, most of them, they're always going to be the students that do not want to follow the study rules, don't want to follow protocol. Unfortunately, it has to do with student apathy," Pineiro said.

Assistant Principal Roann Triana says she started working at the school when it was rated as one of the most violent middle schools in the country. Racial tensions have calmed down, but with 70 percent seeking free or reduced lunch, poverty is the growing obstacle.

"Finding holes in their learning and we've developed some intervention classes, just aimed at teaching basic skills," said Triana.

See how all Clark County schools performed

Low-performing Western High School is one block away. But many of Gibson Middle School's best and brightest choose not to go there, keeping some talent away from the high school.

"A lot of our kids do go to Western. A large amount of them do apply and get accepted to the magnet and CTA schools," said Triana.

For those students needing additional help, Pineiro sees one factor lacking. "Parental involvement. I have very few parent conferences, which is a real shame."


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