NDE labels school ‘good’

Makena Smith, Reporter

Classified under need’s improvement since 2015, the school has now been labeled good by the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE).

To make this decision, NDE used the state accountability system, Accountability for a Quality Education System Today or Tomorrow (AQuESTT). AQuESST has four different school classifications: needs improvement, good, great and excellent.
AQuESTT reviews Nebraska schools to see if they follow policies and procedures that department officials feel increase student achievement and outcomes.

Hard data including attendance rates, ACT scores, other standardized test scores and graduation rates were reviewed to decide classifications.

This year the school showed new evidence of improvement which got the ranking moved up.

“Sixty-four schools submitted evidence for review and fifty schools, including Bryan received the upward adjustment to their AQuESTT classification,” public information officer of NDE David Jespersen said.

The news of the improvement was given on Nov. 22, to Principal Dr. Rony Ortega and he shared with staff.

“I was elated,” Ortega said. “I was smiling. The first thing I did is, I ran to the team that helped me—there was a team of us who were putting together the evidence that we have to show the state—so I ran to them and we did like a group high five because we were just beyond excited.”

To celebrate the achievement, a luncheon was hosted for the staff.

“I’m really excited because I get to see every day how hard you guys work, and I also know how hard the teachers are trying to challenge you and make you think at higher levels,” English teacher Katherine Van Ravenhorst said.

The goal is now to achieve the ranking of great, but that will require several things, including getting the hard data up.

“For us to become a great school we’re going to ask more of our students and of our parents to help us in that hard data piece,” Ortega said. “That’s going to be the only way we become great.”