NePAS school rankings cause for celebration at Norris: Norris earns a Top 5 rank in Reading

NePAS school rankings cause for celebration at Norris: Norris earns a Top 5 rank in Reading

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The State of Schools Report and accompanying “Report Card” on schools were released last week by the state of Nebraska’s Department of Education.   The report culminated with the inaugural release of “NEPAS” or the Nebraska Performance Accountability System, which ranks school districts and buildings among their peers statewide based on total student performance on state testing.  The state tests or “NeSA” exams are standardized multiple choice measures of student performance on the grade-level state standards for reading, mathematics, and science. 

Norris cracked the Top 5 in total district performance in Reading with the fifth highest overall student percentage proficient across all grades tested for any district in the state. 

“We were in the Top 10% of all districts in the state in at least one major performance indicator at every level – Elementary, Middle & High School,” said Superintendent Dr. Skretta.  While the rankings were a new component of the November scores release, according to Dr. Skretta “These results contain no surprises, since we were provided district and grade-level results for state testing earlier in the fall.  The only new facet is how Norris falls in a comparative index of all school districts in the state.”  Dr. Skretta said that “The rankings provide some external affirmation to our teachers of a job well done and to our students for their excellent effort in showing what they know.  We will examine comparable schools  and their performance rankings to see what, if anything, we can learn from them on furthering student achievement.”

At the High School level:

High School Principal Ryan Ruhl noted, “Norris High School continues to score above the State Average on all NeSA tests and graduates a high percentage of its students, substantially eclipsing state averages on this important measure of life readiness.”  

Data indicates a difference in classes from year to year but also, continues to aid us in determining the best direction of instructional practice. Improvement is expected every year in all areas. Areas of focus for improvement are: 1. analysis and probability 2.  continued growth in vocabulary and comprehension and 3. expanding the “inquiry” based practices in Science.

At the Middle School level:

Top Scores: Based on NeSA scores from 2011-2012 school year, Norris Middle School ranks 10th in reading and 24th in math across the state in grades 6 – 8 – this among nearly 250 districts!  Students in grade 8 were also administered state writing and science assessments.


Principal Mary Jo Rupert noted that, “Last year’s 7th grade class ranked #1 in the EMC conference in both reading and math, 95% of students proficient in reading and 89% of students proficient math.  We had forty-eight middle school students achieve perfect scores on one or more of the NeSA assessments.”


Despite the outstanding results, she sees room for continued improvement: “We have not reached 100% proficiency for all students in any grade or content area.   The largest achievement gap is in 8th grade math, where 21% of the students were not proficient in math based on the grade-level standards.  Our scores for special education students in reading fell short in meeting AYP for the 2011-2012 and we will redouble our efforts in that area to remediate students’ skill deficits.”

At the Elementary Level:

Elementary Principal Dr. Bob Brandt noted that Norris students ranked in the top half in the state in growth from 2010-11 to 2011-12 in both reading and mathematics, an exceptional achievement given how highly the students ranked already in overall performance.

The Elementary grades were ranked 15th out of 249 districts reporting Elementary level results in reading, meaning Norris Elementary students were in the 94th percentile in the state for reading performance, a very impressive accomplishment.

Targeting areas for improvement, Dr. Brandt noted that Norris Elementary’s Science status was the building’s lowest among the areas tested – but still in the top third in the state.  Dr. Brandt indicated that ongoing science curriculum work and a newly adopted health curriculum will help students target enhanced outcomes on next year’s tests of the state standards. 


The State of Schools report card is released annually by the Nebraska State Department of Education and is compiled based on results from the preceding year's test scores and other achievement indicators.  The searchable database for districts and schools across Nebraska can be accessed via