Nevada Ed-Watch 2/15/19

The Ed-Watch series is designed to increase access to information on decisions being made regarding public education in Clark County and Nevada.

Nevada State Board of Education

What is the State Board of Education & what are they responsible for? The Nevada State Board of Education adopts regulations based on Nevada laws, which are passed down to individual school districts in Nevada to implement. The Board has 11 total (7 appointed and 4 publicly elected) members.

How often does the State Board meet? The Nevada State Board of Education meets once per month on Thursdays at 9:00AM. Click here to see the 2019 Board Meeting Schedule. Click here to visit Hope For Nevada’s #NVEd Calendar.

Can community members engage at State Board Meetings? A time for public comment is provided at the beginning (for agenda items) and at the conclusion (on any matter) of each Board meeting. There is a time limit of three minutes per speaker. Members of the community providing testimony must fill out a visitor card, available on-site the day of the meeting.

Click here for a list of all State Board Members.

Friday, February 15, 2019
Nevada State Board of Education Work Session

What happened at this work session?

Board Hears from Members of the Public About State Superintendent of Public Instruction Job Description

The major themes of public input included:

  • A commitment to diversity
  • A commitment to high level of accountability to all students
  • A balance between understanding national and local education issues, including tribal sovereignty

The parent groups HOPE for Nevada and RISE Up Nevada identified the following as their number 1 priority for the search from the job description: Has successfully met the challenges of leading a large organization dedicated to ambitious goals, high standards, and continuous improvement and can articulate a clear vision of quality education with documented evidence of consistent, positive results.

Click here to view the job description.

Board Approves a Hiring Subcommittee of 5 Board Members:

The 5 approved members are:

  • Member Newburn, chair
  • Member Ortiz, vice chair
  • Member Holmes-Sutton, parent rep
  • Member Hudson, voice of teachers
  • Member Carter, member from the north

The subcommittee is working with the HR office a the Department of Education to ensure a robust search for a new Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The following timeline was outlined for next steps:

  • March 1st: deadline for applicants to submit their applications
  • March 5th: subcommittee meeting to select qualified candidates to be interviewed.
  • March 12th: at the State Board meeting, qualified candidates will be interviewed and 3 finalists will be selected to be submitted to the Governor’s office for final selection.

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Nevada Ed-Watch: 2/15/19

The Ed-Watch series is designed to increase access to information on what decisions are being made regarding public education in Clark County and Nevada.

State Public Charter School Authority (SPCSA)

What is the SPCSA & what are they responsible for? The SPCSA sponsors and oversees public charter schools across the State of Nevada. The Authority consists of seven appointed members responsible for overseeing educational and operational standards, and holding sponsored schools accountable to the academic achievement of students.

How often does the SPCSA Board meet? SPCSA members meet once monthly (three times in June)– on Fridays.

Click here for SPCSA meeting schedule and materials.

Can community members engage at SPCSA Board Meetings? All meetings are held publicly at the Nevada Department of Education building in Carson City and the Nevada Department of Education building in Las Vegas (2nd floor boardroom). Members of the public are invited to attend at either location. A time for public comment is provided at the beginning (for agenda items) and at the conclusion (on any matter) of each Board meeting. There is a time limit of three minutes per speaker. Members of the community providing testimony must fill out a visitor card, available on-site the day of the meeting.

Click here for a list of all SPCSA Members.

Click here for a list of all SPCSA sponsored schools.

Friday, February 15, 2019
State Public Charter School Authority – Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting?

The Board Heard Staff Reports From Each Team (Authorizing, School Support, Finance & Operations & Legal)

The Authorizing Team provided the following updates to the Board:

  • Site Evaluations:
    • Staff has participated in 15 hours of training for conducting site evaluations and conducted 5 site evaluations to date (on schedule to complete half of portfolio school site visits by the end of the semester).
    • It was noted that during focus groups, families at every school that received a visit report being happy with the decision they made to enroll their student in that school. Strong school culture at each school was also recognized.
    • A common opportunity for growth identified was around increasing instructional rigor.
  • School Applications:
    • The team is following up with schools that submitted a Letter of Intent to launch, but didn’t apply for authorization.
    • Reflections shared with schools that provided feedback were around schools needing to establish internal deadlines and requesting training on topics like Human Resources best practices, student recruitment, and funding.
  • Academic & Organizational Performance Frameworks:
    • The team held three 90-minute listening sessions with about 18 individuals to collect stakeholder input regarding SPCSA Performance Frameworks (both Academic and Organizational). Here’s what they heard:
      • A strong preference not to make the Academic Framework complicated, and not to duplicate the Nevada framework (NSPF)– rather, to look for complementary measures of performance.
      • A need to find a way to measure progress of students year-over-year.
      • Ensuring Organizational Framework standards are clear, simple, and avoid duplication from other components of the Frameworks.
    • Staff stated that the listening sessions are the first of many conversations. The Authorizing Team acknowledges that input from school leaders are necessary and welcomed. Next step is for attendees to participate in working groups (at least monthly) to continue developing the Academic and Organizational Frameworks.
    • Goal is for the framework to be updated and presented to the Board in June.
  • Focus on Schools updates
    • The team wants schools to share best practices with each other more regularly, and would like to hear from at least 6 schools in 2019 about what’s working. They also want to hear best practices across school types, like traditional district schools and other charters not sponsored by the SPCSA.
    • The team also wants to hear specifically from schools that have shown significant improvement, but are not ranked as 4- and 5- stars. The team talked about working with the press, the Charter School Authority of Nevada (CSAN), and other entities like Teach For America.

The School Support Team provided the following updates:

  • Provided training to school staff about how to validate graduation rates.
  • Attended school support site visits, trianings, and conferences about student engagement, Title I, and special education.
  • Engaging in ongoing communications with schools to provide technical supports around addressing parent concerns and providing guidance on state reporting.

The Finance and Operations Team provided the following updates:

  • Staffing– a new administrative assistant was hired.

The Legal Team provided the following updates:

  • Due Process Complaints– continuing to monitor issues with individual schools related to special education.
  • Executive Director Recruitment
    • Interviews will be conducted on March 8th with the 6 finalists. Then, the Board will select 3 candidates to be sent to the Governor for final selection.
    • Working with HR team to do reference checks and organize the interview process and questions.

Click here to see a summary of team updates from the previous board meeting and the 6 finalists (1/18/19).

Updates on Legislative Session and Status of Assembly Bill 78 Language

Staff provided an update regarding the 2019 Legislative Session and Assembly Bill 78. Staff stated that SPCSA staff is in close contact with Gov. Sisolak’s team and with education committee leadership.  

  • Legislative Updates:
    • AB78 – The SPCSA and Nevada Department of Education bill has undergone major revisions and now includes 5 major themes:
      • Ensuring that schools are serving all students, including special education and homeless students
      • Accountability of authorizers in ensuring that all annual reporting requirements are being met. This already exists in regulation, but they would like to specifically include in statute.
      • Giving SPCSA regulatory authority. Currently, the SPCSA does not have the authority to adopt its own regulations.
      • Clarifying that the SPCSA is the Local Education Agency (LEA) for their schools that are not currently designated as an LEA themselves.
      • Consolidating and combining the SPCSA and ASD, specifically in an effort to increase equitable access to high quality charter schools for all students.
  • Note: ultimately, all of these changes are up to the legislature to approve and are not final unless the bill passes.
  • Going forward, legislative updates will be provided to the Board in a written summary format. The team will work on a process to provide the Board with periodic updates between board meetings.

Board Hears Updates About the Beacon Academy of Nevada

SPCSA staff provided the Board with information regarding Beacon Academy’s performance under the Alternative Performance Framework.

Beacon Academy only serves high-need students, including students who are credit deficient, adjudicated, on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), or have been habitually disciplined.

Click here to see the Beacon Academy 2017-2018 Report Card.

Click here to see the presentation.
Click here to read about Beacon Academy in the Nevada Independent.

Board Hears Quarterly Update From Discovery Charter School

The Discovery staff, their receiver, and their principal shared updates on the topics below on the second year of receivership:

  • Student enrollment and population
  • Lottery
  • Performance

The team is currently engaging in a process to identify a permanent operator for the school. They are also currently performing a feasibility study to assess the potential of adding 9th grade.

Board Heard Updates About the Closing of Nevada Virtual Academy

School staff met with families and provided a closure timeline, including a communications plan. They also provided an overview of progress of non-elementary grades.

Click here to see the presentation.

Board Heard Updates on Responses to the Interim Finance Committee

Staff provided the Board updates about responses due to the Interim Finance Committee (IFC) on February 1, 2019. SPCSA understands that there is one more report due to IFC regarding these questions before August 1st. Staff will bring the report before the Board in a draft form for input prior to submission.

Click here to see the Legislative Letter of Intent.

Public Comment

  • One local charter school leader talked about a positive experience during their site evaluation by the SPCSA. The school leader cited that the evaluators spent a significant amount of time in the classroom, debriefing with administrators, and facilitating focus groups with parents.
  • Announcement that February 27-28th is Public Charter School Days at the Capitol, which includes presentations and a policy dinner and reception with lawmakers.

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Nevada Ed-Watch 2/14/19

The Ed-Watch series is designed to increase access to information on what decisions are being made regarding public education in Clark County and Nevada.

Clark County School District Board of Trustees 

What is the Board of Trustees & what are they responsible for? The CCSD Trustees are publicly elected decision-makers for the school district. They are responsible for providing oversight to the Superintendent and establishing District-wide policy. Trustees are accountable to work with their communities to improve student achievement.

Click here to learn more and see a list of current Trustees

Click here to Find your Trustee District

How often does the Board of Trustees meet? Trustees meet twice per month (second and fourth Thursdays) at 5pm at the Edward A. Greer Education Center (Board Room): 2832 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, NV 89121.

Click here for a full list of Trustees meetings and agendas

Click here to visit Hope For Nevada’s #NVEd Calendar

Can community members engage at Trustee Meetings? Decision-making bodies benefit greatly from hearing public input and multiple perspectives. Community members can sign up to speak after the agenda has been posted– by calling the Board Office at (702) 799-1072 at least 3 hours before the scheduled meeting, or signing up in-person at the beginning of the meeting. Prior to each agenda item being voted on, speakers can share their perspective after the Board’s discussion and prior to the vote.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Clark County School District Board of Trustees Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting?

Trustees Unanimously Approve the Consent Agenda

Consent Agenda Highlights:

  • Contract approval to demolish old Bishop Gorman campus on Maryland Parkway to allow for building of new facility for Global Community High School.
  • MOU between CCSD and Jewish Family Services Agency to implement a Foster Grandparent Program.
  • Approval of a $1.2 million settlement to three families. No further details are provided. Click here to read about this in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Trustees Adopt Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) Assessment for Grades K-8 to be Administered Three (3) Times Per Year

Trustees voted to approve a contract to administer the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment for all students in Kindergarten through 8th Grade three times per year.

Teachers will receive professional development and training in test administration, data analysis, communicating with students about their progress.  

The MAP assessment will takes 1-2% of instructional time to implement (98% of instructional minutes are not spent on testing).

Trustees noted in the discussion that this assessment data will follow kids if they move schools, and expressed support following conversations with teachers and principals.

Policy Language Updates

Trustees accepted $1,000 for the Board’s annual Susan Brager Occupational Education Scholarship.

Minor updates were made to two policies (click to see the updated policy language):

Trustees vote 6-1 to approve an MOU with Clark County to Discuss the Shared Use of Outdoor Spaces on School Properties for Events

The MOU will allow CCSD to engage in discussion with the County to implement a small pilot program of 5 schools to test sharing outdoor spaces on school property for use by the County. CCSD acknowledges that use of these spaces must be unique to each school in order to address safety and other concerns, rather than implementing uniform rules for all school involved. Some schools already have facilities use agreements with the community, and the superintendent stated that this would be a formalization of that process.

The district has set aside $35,000 to support the pilot program. Funds are set aside to cover any potential damages, and to provide stipends to schools for employees to conduct paid duties such as lock/unlock gates and/or supervise activities.

There were a number of concerns addressed by Trustees, based on conversations with principals and other staff. Those concerns included:

  • Supervision
  • Scheduling
  • Liability
  • Damage
  • Trash
  • Maintenance/upkeep of land
  • Safety

Supt. Jara assured Trustees that each of these issues will be addressed on a school by school basis.

Five (5) Trustees voted to move forward under the conditions that principals are heavily involved in the process, and that Trustees remain informed about discussions and progress.

Public Comment:

  • Member of the public hopes that West Las Vegas will be included, stating that there are few fields and parks to access in the neighborhood.
  • Principal requested that the MOU not be signed in order to allow for more time to gather input from principals.

Click here to see the MOU.

Trustee Reports

Trustees voted unanimously on staff recommendations to reconstitute, including receivership, due to chronic low performance at two charter schools authorized by CCSD: 100 Academy of Excellence (Elementary School and Middle School) and The Delta Academy (Middle School and High School).

  • The Florence McClure women’s prison program has started. Click here to see a summary of the November 8th, 2018 Trustees meeting, when they heard a presentation about the program.
  • Harvard Doctoral Students in the Educational Leadership program students are studying magnet school diversity, improving recruitment and retention of students to magnet schools, the district reorganization, and Social Emotional Learning. They will provide Trustees with a report including the best research on these topics.
  • Strategic reallocation of Title I funding: Superintendent Jara provided an overview of the strategic decision to shift the Title I funding eligibility from 40% to 60% FRL. The superintendent stated that the historical 40% allocation diluted resources and limited opportunities to intensify resources where they are needed most. States across the country place the requirement at 75%. Trustee concerns were raised about changing the requirement, but the discussion was tabled because it was not an agenda item.
  • New regional superintendents introduced themselves. Click here to read about this in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Public Comment:

Members of the public provided testimony to Trustees regarding:

  • Member of support staff thanked CCSD employees who helped resolve a previously raised concern, and Superintendent Jara for hearing from support staff and working on solutions to issues that impact them.
  • Parent expressed concerns about a child’s exposure to mace at school, resulting in an ER visit and $10,000 in medical bills. The parent alleged that the police report was falsified.
  • Concern about employees affected by the adjustment to Title I funding eligibility– from serving student populations of 40% poverty to 60% poverty.
  • Community member expressed the need for more African American representation on  committees that the Board of Trustees are appointed to.
  • Educator expressed support of increased per-pupil funding, hopes to see Trustees advocate for it at the legislature.
  • Concerns about the lack of diversity among the CCSD leadership team.
  • Educator requests Trustees lobby for changes to the Nevada star rating system to alter how school performance is measured.

Potential Future Items:

  • Discuss alignment between new regional superintendents and the district reorganization.

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