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Educational Acronyms

There are a lot of acronyms in education and parents/guardians often might not know what questions to ask teachers. This document is an attempt to provide a few explanations around what is occurring in our classrooms and why. This document will outline some of our most used acronyms.  

Over the last year and a half our district has been rolling out EPIC Learning. EPIC Learning is unique to Douglas County and stands for Empower, Prepare, Inspire, and Connect. Our educational system must adapt to the changing needs of our students. Our goal is to create classrooms and school systems that are more personalized to student needs, centered around solving problem solving, and taking risks. At the same time, we want our instruction to be responsive to the needs of students by creating authentic learning experiences. This philosophy of instruction is in the beginning phases of a three to five year roll out. I will continue to share out what stages of learning we are in through the school newsletter.  Data is used to drive our instruction and respond to the needs of each student. We use a few assessments throughout the year to gather this information. Below are explanations of our formal assessments along with other school programs: 

Data is used to drive our instruction and respond to the needs of each student. We use a few assessments throughout the year to gather this information. Below are explanations of our formal assessments along with other school programs: 

Measures of Academic Progress (MAP): This assessment is given three times a year in reading and math. This assessment measures student performance and growth individually and compared to like peers. We use this assessment to see how much students have learned from different time intervals such as fall to winter and winter to spring. We will mail home reports of this assessment. The scoring of this assessment ranges in the 100s and 200s. 

Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA): This assessment is our most accurate measure of students’ reading ability. This assessment is generally given three times a year in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. It can be given in the upper grades depending upon a student’s skills. This assessment measures a student’s reading fluency and ultimately comprehension. The scoring starts with an “a” for introductory reading and then follows a range of 1 to 60 with designated grade-level bench marks. End of year goals are as follows: kindergarten = 4; first grade = 16; second grade = 30. 

Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC): This is the vendor who creates our statewide assessments in reading and math for grades 3, 4, and 5. This assessment is used by the state of Nevada to determine student proficiency and growth. Each grade level is measured against their peers and this data is used to monitor and determine a school’s star rating. The star rating has been paused during the pandemic.   

Social Emotional Learning (SEL): Social Emotional Learning has become an integral part of education for all our students. SEL is the process through which our students acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop and manage emotions, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions. This learning occurs in counseling lessons, teacher instruction, and morning meetings. Morning meetings are how our students begin their day. Students share compliments, discuss how they are doing, and allows the teachers to get a good pulse on how to support students and take charge of the day. SEL is critical to supporting all our students and the wide variety of needs to come to school with.  

Standards: Standards are established by the state of Nevada and utilized by school districts to ensure that all our students in the state are exposed to the same concepts. The standards set the benchmark for what students need to know to progress to the next grade level and ultimately graduate high school. Standards are discussed with students. This helps give students ownership of what they are learning and why. You can find all the standards at You will also begin to see more standards on teacher Landing Pages and Learning Plans. 

Curriculum: Curriculum is the Nevada Academic Content Standards and often is referred to when talking about the instructional resources that are used to teach the standards. Eureka Math and Lucy Calkins Readers’ Workshop are two examples. We have created science kits that are unique to Douglas County schools. We utilize Thinking Maps and Write from the Beginning to teach and support the process of writing. All of these resources are vetted by the school district and the school board.  

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS): PBIS focuses on teaching students the expected behaviors in a positive way. We use language that explains what is expected versus what students should not do. Students are rewarded for meeting the expectations. Students that are not able to meet the expectations may receive an ODR or Office Discipline Referral. There are still consequences for unexpected behaviors and discipline occurs on a continuum.