Henderson ‘turnaround’ school gets partner to address off-campus issues

It’s a common refrain among educators: If the students aren’t here, I can’t teach them.

Resolving that predicament is the focus of a new effort this year at Robert Taylor Elementary School in Henderson, where administrators are seeking to push aside the issues kids face in physically getting to school every day to give them their best chance to succeed academically.

Last year more than 20 percent of the 670 students at the school — about 147 children — missed more than 18 days of instruction, earning them the label of “chronically absent.” That compares with a districtwide rate of about 12 percent.

The absenteeism contributed to a distinction that the school at 144 Westminster Way, near Boulder Highway, would rather not have: It was the only Henderson school to receive a one-star rating — the lowest ranking — in 2016-17 from the state.

The school only scored 13 out of 102 possible points on the rating scale, which also placed it among the bottom five elementary schools in Clark County. New data from the 2017-18 year is expected in the first two weeks of September.

It’s will be a startling point for Principal Kimberly Basham, who arrived at the school last year with marching orders to fix the problem.

School with a ‘reputation’

“This school always had this reputation, and I never really understood until I came here,” she said in an interview last week.

To understand what was going on, she pulled the census data for the 89015 zip code. It was great data, not the sort of financial and demographic numbers that would normally be associated with a low-rated school.

But when she looked more closely she saw that many of her students come from an area within the zip code that indicated they are living in poverty, as many of their families have for generations.

This spring, Taylor Elementary became a “turnaround” school, meaning the district is boosting support and providing new leadership in an effort to turn the academic tide.

The school also is getting assistance from the national nonprofit Communities in Schools, which provides a one-stop shop to help students, families and schools attack the underlying causes of absenteeism that can eventually lead students to drop out.

Some days that means providing shoes or alarm clocks. On others, it can mean sitting with a single mother to fill out a job application or signing up a student for free health care services. It’s all done in the name of making it to graduation.

“Dropping out is a process,” said Jennifer Bulloch, a coordinator with CIS who oversees the elementary school programs for the Southern Nevada branch. “Dropping out is all the things that have led up to ‘I can’t do this anymore.’”

Communities in Schools

Sixty-three schools have partnered with CIS since the organization launched in Nevada in 2004, 48 of them in Clark County.

The latest data from the organization shows that 88 percent of CIS students graduate high school, and 97 percent are promoted from one grade to the next. Overall, attendance at CIS schools has increased 75 percent, behavior has improved 83 percent and academic performance has risen 85 percent.

It also estimates that every $1 invested in the program creates $11.60 in economic benefits for the community.

Robert Taylor is the first Henderson school to partner with the program, which it is paying $57,900 for out of federal Title I dollars earmarked for schools serving low-income populations.

CIS provides an on-site coordinator to its partner schools. That person runs a resource room, where students can get shoes, clothing, food, hygiene and cleaning supplies. It is open to all students at the school.

The coordinators also work individually with some of the neediest students, providing counseling and other support services. Or they can run small group sessions if multiple students are facing similar issues.

Ultimately coordinators are instructed do “whatever it takes” to help the school reach what it calls ABC goals, which are attendance, behavior or coursework based.

Meghan Vargo is the CIS coordinator at Robert Taylor. Vargo, who previously worked at a middle school before joining CIS, will serve as Basham’s point person for the program but also will be able to tap into a vast network in Southern Nevada.

If a student needs something that Vargo doesn’t have, for example, she can reach out to her peers and share resources or contacts to other community organizations that might be able to help.

“The greatest need of this demographic is community resources” like health care and job services, said Vargo.

Basham was an assistant principal at Sunrise Acres Elementary School before taking the job at Robert Taylor, which gave her an opportunity to see firsthand the difference CIS can make. She made getting the organization involved at her new school a priority.

“CIS is one of those organizations that partners with everyone. They don’t say no,” she said. “Unfortunately, our kids need basic things. They go and find it.”

Deeper issues

While Basham’s kids need basics, the needs go deeper. By her calculations, about 10 percent of her kids are struggling with some type of mental illness. That includes some who have received diagnoses and others who have exhibited suicidal tendencies.

For example, Basham said she had to ban manual pencil sharpeners because students were breaking the plastic and pulling out the metal razors inside — the pieces that actually sharpen the pencil — and using them to harm themselves.

That’s another area where CIS can help by partnering the students with the counseling resources they need, she said.

The school is also trying to solve generational issues. Many students’ family members don’t have jobs, are struggling with addiction or don’t understand the value of an education, any of which can have affect a student’s performance in the classroom.

While it’s not in her job description to worry about those issues, Basham says it’s the reality educators face: to educate students, you’ve first got to mitigate the outside problems.

Like getting kids to school.

Sometimes the fix is a simple as a pair of shoes.

Contact Meghin Delaney at 702-383-0281 or mdelaney@reviewjournal.com. Follow @MeghinDelaney on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Group helping stranded motorists during power outage
A group of Good Samaritans are offering free gas to people in need at the Glendale AM/PM, during a massive power outage near Mesquite on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen falls at Las Vegas parade
U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen of Nevada fell and injured her wrist at the Martin Luther King Day parade in Las Vegas on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. (Nathan Asselin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tate Elementary shows academic progress after categorical funding
Students at Tate Elementary in Las Vegas has benefited from a program to boost education funding in targeted student populations, known as categorical funding. One program called Zoom helps students who have fallen below grade level in reading. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Three Square helps TSA workers
Three Square Food Bank donated over 400 care bags to TSA workers affected by the government shutdown Wednesday, filled with food, personal hygiene products and water.
Las Vegas furniture store donates to Clark County firehouses
Walker Furniture donated new mattresses to all 30 Clark County firehouses in the Las Vegas Valley, starting today with Station 22. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Holocaust survivor on acceptance
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, talks about the most important message for people to understand from her life and experiences.
Holocaust survivor speaks about telling her story
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, tells of opening up about her experiences during Sunday’s event at Temple Sinai.
Jesus Jara State of the Schools address
Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara delivers his State of the Schools address on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Michael Naft sworn in to Clark County Commission
Michael Naft, chosen by Gov. Steve Sisolak to be his replacement on the Clark County Commission, was sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas police piecing together details of fatal shooting
Six hours after the fact, Las Vegas homicide detectives worked to reconstruct the scene of a shooting early Jan. 7 that left one man dead in the southeast valley. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dyer Lawrence explains college football playoff system proposal
Las Vegan Dyer Lawrence has a new idea for a college football playoff system that includes a unique scheduling component called National Call Out Day. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death row inmate Scott Dozier found dead in his cell
Nevada death row inmate Scott Dozier is dead. Dozier’s death ends his legal odyssey, which began in 2007 when he was convicted in the 2002 murder of Jeremiah Miller, but does little to clarify what’s next for Nevada’s death penalty.
I-15 southbound near Primm closed after ‘major crash’
A rollover crash Saturday morning involving at least nine vehicles on southbound Interstate 15 near Primm caused an hourslong traffic delay. Traffic was backed up to Sloan, live traffic cameras show. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death Valley visitors deal with shutdown
Visitors staying at the Furnace Creek Campground were forced to move from the campground following health and safety concerns due to lack of resources during the partial government shutdown at Death Valley National Park in Calif., on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. Richard Brian Las Vegas Review-Journal @vegasphotograph
Half of homicides in Henderson for 2018 domestic violence related
Lt. Kirk Moore of the public information office of the city of Henderson police department speaks to the Review-Journal in Henderson, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Henderson saw a slight increase in homicides in the past year. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak stops by Las Vegas Boys and Girls Club
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak kicks off his tour to Carson City, which will take him from Las Vegas, through Tonopah, and up to the capital city. First stop is the Downtown Boys & Girls Club.
Certificates for renewing wedding vows in Clark County
The Marriage License Bureau in Clark County began issuing a Certificate of Vow Renewal to married couples who are renewing their wedding vows on Jan. 3, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas flu season better than last year (so far)
Dr. Fermin Leguen, chief medical officer and director of clinical services at the Southern Nevada Health District, said there were 24 flu-related deaths at this point in the flu season. No deaths have been reported so far this year. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The Las Vegas Valley’s First Baby of 2019
The first 2019 baby in the Las Vegas Valley was Melialani Chihiro Manning, born at 12:10 a.m. at Henderson Hospital. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas NYE Fireworks - VIDEO
The full show: A spectacular view from the rooftop of the Trump International Hotel as 80,000 pyrotechnics illuminated the Las Vegas Strip at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks by Grucci choreographed launches from the Stratosphere, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.
Snow in Henderson on New Year's Eve morning
Light snow flurries in Anthem Highlands in Henderson on Monday morning, the last day of 2018.
Sources: Henderson Constable may face more charges
Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell may face additional charges ... stemming from his spending of county funds, sources said. Mitchell was indicted earlier this month on five felony theft and fraud charges ... after a Las Vegas Review-Journal story questioned his spending. But grand jury records show even more extensive spending including ... an $800 dinner at steakhouse ... nearly 200 atm withdrawals mostly at gambling establishments ... and even Disneyland tickets. But his attorney plans to ask a judge to dismiss the charges.
Las Vegas NYE Restrictions and Enhanced Security
If you are planning to celebrate New Year's Eve on the Las Vegas Strip or Fremont Street, be aware that you are not allowed to bring backpacks, coolers, strollers or glass. There will also be an increase in security to ensure safe celebrations across town.
Catholic Charities serves up 53rd annual Christmas dinner
Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada and more than 100 volunteers served 1,000 Christmas meals to Southern Nevada's homeless and less fortunate. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @kmcannonphoto)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jeffrey Martin Added To Nevada's Black Book
Martin was one of four men convicted of theft and cheating at gambling in 2016 in Clark County District Court and sentenced to prison. The Nevada Gaming Commission voted unanimously Thursday to include Martin in the black book.
Raiders Stadium Timelapse
Construction on the new Raiders stadium continues in Las Vegas.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like