Las Vegas Sun

February 1, 2015

Currently: 47° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account


10 surprising facts about the School District’s new school ranking system

Neighborhoods with median home values exceeding $128,000 guaranteed to have three-star or higher elementary, middle schools

Interactive Map: Each dot represents a Las Vegas elementary or middle school. The darker the dot, the higher its school ranking. Each polygon represents a ZIP code in Las Vegas. The darker the shape, the higher the area's median home price (4Q 2011). Click on each element to see how many stars a school has, or how much the median home values are in a neighborhood.

The more affluent neighborhoods are generally more likely to have the best schools in the valley, according to a Las Vegas Sun analysis of Clark County school ranking data released last month.

The Clark County School District became the first district in Nevada to implement a school ranking system when it launched its “School Performance Framework” in late February. The framework ranks Las Vegas elementary and middle schools on a one- to five-star scale, with the highest performing five-star schools showing the most academic growth and proficiency. (High school rankings are expected to be released next month.)

Below are 10 of the Sun's main findings after looking at school rankings and median home prices across the Las Vegas Valley.

Disclaimer: School attendance zones don't match up with ZIP codes. The Sun used ZIP codes because there are no data for median home prices for attendance zones. Students also have a form of school choice with open enrollment programs, magnet and charter school options – but most Las Vegas children attend their neighborhood schools.

    • If you buy a house in the most affluent neighborhoods in the valley – the top quarter of ZIP codes where the median home price exceeds $132,250 – you’ll have nearly eight times the odds of having a four- or five-star school in your area than the poorest neighborhoods in the valley – the bottom quarter of ZIP codes with median home values under $68,106.

    • If you’re among the half million Las Vegans living in a ZIP code where the median home price exceeds $128,000, you are guaranteed to have at least a three star or higher elementary or middle school in your neighborhood.

    • While there are a few four- and five-star schools located in poorer neighborhoods – schools such as Hewetson Elementary – the county’s highest performing schools are less prevalent in these areas than in more affluent neighborhoods.

    • The median home price for the entire Las Vegas Valley is $107,000. That means half of the homes in Las Vegas cost more than that, the other half less.

      Of the 170 elementary and middle schools located in ZIP codes where the median home price is less than the Valley median, just 18 percent are four- or five-star schools.

      In contrast, there are 108 elementary and middle schools located in ZIP codes where the median home value exceeds $107,000. Nearly half – 46 percent – of those schools are four- and five-star schools.

    • Two neighborhoods – in Henderson and Spring Valley – each have three five-star schools, the most of any areas in the Las Vegas Valley.

      Henderson ZIP code 89012 has five-star elementary schools Lamping, Twitchell and Vanderberg. The median home price in this neighborhood is $160,000.

      Southwest Valley ZIP code 89147 has five-star elementary schools Bendorf, Hayes and Roger Bryan. The median home price in this neighborhood is $115,000.

    • ZIP code 89104, located in the eastern Valley, has three one-star schools, the most of any area in the Las Vegas Valley. Those one-star schools are Innovations Charter elementary and middle schools, and Fremont Middle School. The median home price in this ZIP code is $59,000.

    • There are 217 elementary schools and 59 middle schools in the School District's school ranking system.

      The rankings for Clark County elementary schools are distributed fairly evenly, with one-third of schools being four- or five-star schools, one-third of schools being three-star schools, and the last third being one- or two-star schools.

      On the other hand, the rankings for Clark County's middle schools are skewed lower. Nearly 90 percent of Clark County middle schools are three-star or lower. There are only seven four-star middle schools and zero five-star middle schools.

    • The majority of the School District’s top five-star schools are located in the wealthier, outer suburbs of the Las Vegas in neighborhoods such as Summerlin and Green Valley. Fewer five-star schools are located in the older, urban core of the Valley.

      The average school ranking for schools in Summerlin is 4.4. The average school ranking for schools in Green Valley is 3.8.

    • There is a significant positive correlation between median home price and the number of stars a school has, according to UNLV sociology professor Shannon Monnat, who did a statistical analysis of the School District's school ranking data and median home price for the Sun. This means that as the median home price increases, so does a school's ranking.

      The correlation is "statistically significant," Monnat added. That means that there is a high level of confidence that this relationship between median home price and school rankings is repeatable and accurate.

    • In a survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors last year, 75 percent of respondents said the quality of public schools in one's neighborhood was very or somewhat important when considering the community they wanted to live in.

    Join the Discussion:

    Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

    Full comments policy

    Previous Discussion: 2 comments so far…

    Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

    Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

    1. Why in the world would it be surprising that schools in the best areas are rated higher than those in the 'less desirable' areas?

      the unstated but insinuated notion that someone or some entity might have brought pressure to bear on CCSD to inflate the numbers in some instances.

      The 'Star System' is not inherently reformative or informative; it's a 'feel good', dumbed-down, highly manipulated & airbrushed snapshot aided by smoke & mirrors.

      Mr. Jones, is THIS your big 'plan'???

    2. Please Require the School System to Publish Numbers where students are measured against National and International Standards. Their Competition for Jobs will not be limited to the West or East side of the Valley. Then establish the Superintendent Bonuses accordingly, instead of some possibly fictitious rating system created by and for the Central Office.