What Kids Deserve with Billions of Federal Dollars for Nevada Education

Opportunity 180 is committed to a community North Star where every kid in Nevada is able to graduate from high school, college and career ready, with the tools to determine their own future. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the challenges facing Nevada’s students, especially those with the least access to quality schools. However, the recently passed American Rescue Plan will deliver nearly 1.5 billion dollars in one-time funds to support our students and schools. This is a crucial moment for Nevada to reshape its education landscape, make sustainable policy improvements, and set ourselves on a path for educational excellence. That is why Opportunity 180, along with more than a dozen leading education organizations, published a letter detailing several high-impact areas to guide the use of federal dollars across public education in Nevada. Opportunity 180 is also committed to transparent and accessible data that drive further discussion, policy, and action to improve outcomes for kids. To that end, we believe it is necessary to have clear and detailed outcomes for the impact of these federal funds. We will look to track and report on the following metrics to ensure we are effectively moving the needle when it comes to improving education opportunities for our community’s kids.

Flexible Implementation
  • Annual school and school district budgets are balanced prior to the allocation of federal dollars and posted for public review.  
  • District-wide activities allow for a site-based implementation based on community needs and student data. 
Equity-Focused Academic Supports to Close Learning Gaps 
  • Students who are the furthest behind as of the end of SY20-21 will grow a minimum of 1.5 years per year; all of the other students will grow at least 1 year, per year SY21-22 and SY22-23
  • % of students who take advantage of summer school and out-of-school time learning opportunities. 
  • Student achievement differences between students classified as “at-risk” and those classified as not at risk decrease by at least 25%.
Caring for the Whole Child
  • Increase in % of students who have access to on-demand mental health services.
  • Increase in % of school building staff trained in recognizing and supporting students who may be grieving or have experienced trauma. 
  • Decrease in # of student suicides and students who report thinking of suicide.
Safe and Secure In-person Learning Environments
  • % of students who identify they feel safe in their learning environment. 
  • % of staff who share they feel safe in their work environment. 
  • % increase of teachers retained in SYs 21-23. 
Support for Remote Learning
  • The total number of families who request access to remote instruction have access to the tools and resources necessary to successfully participate in learning. 
  • % of educators who share they have been provided meaningful, rigorous, practicable professional learning on the successful delivery of remote instruction. 
Family and Community Communication and Connection
  • % of families who indicate they feel clear on their students’ educational opportunities (remote and in-person).

This one-time infusion of funds is an incredible opportunity to make lasting change for Nevada’s students and we are eager to continue to engage in meaningful dialogue with our local and state leaders to help shape the impact. This is a community-wide challenge and deserves community-centered solutions– which start with being clear and consistent about what is working and what is not. In partnership with our colleagues, we will push for transparency throughout the process through regular reporting, accurate data, and trackable results, all of which should be made readily available to Nevada families. Separately, Opportunity 180 will also monitor and publish available results against the metrics listed above. 

Education and our kids’ future is a community priority so be sure to check out our regularly published Nevada Ed-Watch series designed to increase access to information about what decisions are being made regarding public education in Nevada. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on all things Nevada education and help us navigate this new normal together.

Nevada Ed-Watch 4/23/201

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? Considered one of Nevada’s school districts, the SPCSA sponsors and oversees public charter schools. 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? The SPCSA typically meets one a month, generally on Fridays. 

Click here for SPCSA meeting schedule and materials.

Can community members engage at SPCSA Board Meetings? While all meetings of the SPCSA are typically held publicly at the Nevada Department of Education building in Carson City and the Nevada Department of Education building in Las Vegas (1st floor boardroom), all meetings are now held virtually due to the COVID-19 crisis. Members of the public may view the meeting online via the link on the SPCSA’s Public Notice web page and the agenda and any supporting materials can be found here. Public comment may be given on any agenda item at the beginning of the meeting, or public comment regarding any matter that is SPCSA-related may be given at the conclusion of each Board meeting. Members of the community giving public comment can utilize the following conference call line: 1-312-584-2401; extension 3952176# with a time limit of three minutes per speaker. Alternatively, public comment may be submitted in writing to publiccomment@spcsa.nv.gov, and any such public comment received prior to the meeting will be provided to the Authority and included in the written minutes of the meeting.

Click here for a list of all SPCSA Members.
Click here for a list of all SPCSA sponsored schools.

Friday, April 23, 2021

State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting? 

Members of the public provided comment regarding:

  • A request for the Authority to exercise their influence to end the mask-wearing mandate.

SPCSA Executive Directors’ and SPCSA Staff Report:

  • COVID-19 Update
    • On April 13th, Governor Sisolak released Directive 044 that outlines protocols for the safe return to work and school. Director Feiden explained how the Governor’s directive will affect public charter schools and the Authority.

Click here for Governor’s Directive 044.
Click here to read Director 044 updates.

  • Initiatives Related to Serving All Students Equitably
    • The SPCSA has provided school accountability technical assistance training and informational sessions for schools on the Project Aware grant. The Project Aware technical assistance working group will plan trainings focusing on topics including youth mental health, restorative justice, and the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) for school sites.
  • Update on Notice of Intent
    • In April 2021, the SPCSA collected 29 Notices of Intent to apply to launch a public charter school in Nevada, and schools intending to apply were invited to a pre-application training. Schools must submit an application by July, 15th 2021.

Board Approved COVID-19 Guidance for Schools

Under SPCSA’s COVID-19 guidance, schools are required to maintain a minimum of 3 feet social distancing for students and 6 feet social distancing for adults at SPCSA-sponsored schools, including within school buildings, on school grounds, and within school transportation vehicles for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. 

Large gatherings of 250 people or more, which require a Large Gathering Plan pursuant to Directive 044, allow schools to establish any capacity limits as an exception. The guidance also allows schools to continue with their existing sanitation protocols as determined at the school level and to make adjustments in line with any updated public health guidance.

Click here to read the full COVID-19 update.

Board Heard Overview on Federal Emergency Grant Funding

SPCSA is allocated funds under the following funding programs:

  • $4.6 million in ESSER I funding — Schools received $95.24 for each student qualifying for Free or Reduced-Price Lunch (FRL) and $85.17 for each student not qualifying for FRL.
  • Approximately $888,000 in GEER I funding.
  • Approximately $2.9 million under Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), commonly referred to as AB3.
  • $23.8 million from Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act funds, or ESSER II — Schools were allocated funding based on a straight per-pupil allocation with additional weights on enrollment as follows: 30% for FRL, 110% for IEP, and 50% for ELL.
  • Approximately $53.4 million through the American Recovery Plan, or ARP ESSER, which was signed into law on March 11, 2021 and provides several types of funding for K-12 Education.
  • The second round of GEER funding was allocated to Governors for the same purposes and with the same flexibility as the first round of funding. The SPCSA has not received any information about allocations of the second round of GEER funding, or GEER II.

Click here to read the full overview of Federal Emergency Funding.

Board Heard Public Comment from Charter School Leaders on Federal Grant Funding

School leaders from Equipo Academy, Futuro Academy, and Doral Academy shared presentations on how the schools are utilizing received funding to support students and families. School leaders also requested that SPCSA’s current ESSER II allocation methodology be reevaluated, stating concerns that Title 1 schools with a high percentage of FRL and/or high-needs students will be funded inequitably compared to CCSD schools. 

The SPCSA board recommended that SPCSA staff create a follow-up comparison that shows allocation figures of CCSD in comparison to SPCSA allocation figures.

Board Heard Presentation on the Proposed Plan For The Safe Return to In-Person Instruction

Under the SPCSA’s proposed Plan for the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction, each charter school is required to have a re-opening plan pursuant to Emergency Directive 022. As documented in the proposed plan, SCPSA will approach a safe return to in-person instruction based on the following principles:

  • Clear Guardrails and Oversight to continue establishing minimum standards, where appropriate, and conducting compliance oversight of emergency directives
  • Flexibility and Support that honors school-level decision-making while providing support
  • Consistent Communication for information sharing between the SPCSA and schools

Pursuant to the NDE’s Framework for a Safe, Efficient, and Equitable Return to School Buildings as well as the U.S. Department of Education’s ED COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 2: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students’ Needs, the plan also addresses five key areas of focus:

  • Communicating with Schools and Stakeholders
  • Establishing a Safe Learning Environment
  • Meeting the social, emotional, and mental health needs of students
  • Accelerating learning
  • Charter School Re-Opening Plans

Click here to read the full SPCSA Plan For The Safe Return to In-Person Instruction.

Board Approved Charter School Contract Amendments

The board approved two charter school contract amendments:

  • Nevada State High School was approved to defer the opening of Campus #8 under the Flagship contract to the 2022–23 school year and to be located at 4280 W. Craig Road, North Las Vegas, NV 89031. 

Click here to read the full SPCSA recommendation memo for Nevada State High School.

  • Girls Athletic Leadership School (GALS)’s was approved to relocate its campus to a new address and to reduce the enrollment cap from 270 to 160 students for the 2021-22 school year.

Click here to read the full SPCSA recommendation memo for GALS.

Board Approved Revolving Loan Applications for New Charter Schools 

The board approved revolving loan applications for three new charter schools that are planned to open in the Fall of 2021: TEACH Las Vegas, Sage Collegiate, and Las Vegas Collegiate. SPCSA shared feedback about the applications, including that the applications were compelling and complete, and that the schools demonstrated a strong plan for repayment of the loan and a need for additional start-up cash.

Click here to read the full SPCSA recommendation memo for Teach Las Vegas.
Click here to read the full SPCSA recommendation memo for Sage Collegiate.
Click here to read the full SPCSA recommendation memo Las Vegas Collegiate. 

Board Approved New Charter School Application

The board approved Battle Born Academy to open in August 2022. 

Click here to read the full SPCSA recommendation memo for Battle Born Academy.

Board Heard Updates on 2021 Legislative Session

SPCSA General Counsel Ryan Herrick provided updates on education bills that the Authority is following:

  • Assembly Bill 68 – AB-68 introduces legislation by the SPCSA regarding changes to charter school application periods, charter contracts, and grade level requirements. Director Fieden presented comments on this bill at the March 18th hearing to the Assembly of Education. The bill was amended and recommended to pass as amended.
  • Assembly Bill 109 – AB-109 removes an existing statute that allows for up to 30% of charter school teachers to be unlicensed. 
  • Assembly Bill 419 – AB-419 adds governance training requirements for charter school boards and the SPCSA board; requires certain reporting by charter schools that contract with Educational Management Organizations (EMOs); requires the SPCSA to report to the Interim Education Committee on certain items. 
  • Senate Bill 126 – SB-126 requires libraries and librarians in charter schools. 
  • Senate Bill 173 – SB-173 directs emergency federal funding to summer school in order to address student learning loss. Districts and charter schools may opt-in to the program. 
  • Senate Bill 215 – SB-215 changes provisions related to distance education.
  • Senate Bill 363 – SB-363 financial reporting related to funds paid to Educational Management Organizations (EMOs).

Click here to view SPCSA’s 2021 legislative updates.

Long-Range Calendar Update

New charter applications will be brought to the May board meeting and updates on American Recovery Funding will be included in an upcoming agenda.

Click here to see the long range calendar.

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Nevada Ed-Watch 4/15/2021

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 2021 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. Members of the public may provide public comment in writing via email; public comment will be accepted via email for the duration of the meeting and shared with the State Board of Education during the public comment periods. Public comment may be emailed to NVBoardED@doe.nv.gov.

Click here for a list of all State Board Members.

Thursday, April 15, 2021
Nevada State Board of Education Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting?

Public Comment

Members of the public provided comment regarding:

  • Concerns that school principals lack autonomy
  • A need for guidance for SOTs to provide feedback on experiences with school staff
  • Concerns about the employee reassignment process

President’s Report

  • Silver State Governance Training
    • The Silver State Governance training supports boards in developing goals and guardrails to ensure that the board is focused on students and student outcomes. On April 9, 2021, the SBOE held a work session to begin drafting a new organizational vision focused on student outcomes in Nevada. SBOE will be scheduling an additional work session to continue the development of the draft. The draft vision speaks to ensuring that all Nevada students are equipped and feel empowered to foresee the future of their choosing as a result of collective efforts. SBOE will be seeking public feedback on the draft vision.

Superintendent’s Report

  • Legislative Update
    • Friday, April 9, was the deadline for bills in the Nevada Legislature to pass out of the houses in which they were entered. All six of the Nevada Department of Education’s (NDE) bills passed out of their respective houses. There were several amendments that were made to improve the bills.  Assembly Bill 265 regarding Alternative Routes to Licensure for administrators will receive no further action because it did not pass out of its first house committee pursuant to the April deadline.
  • Pupil-Centered Funding Plan Update
    • On April 7, the NDE participated in a workshop with the Senate Committee on Finance and the Senate Committee on Ways and Means to discuss the pupil-centered funding plan and is also working with the Commission on School Funding. Superintendent Ebert shared that the funding formula should provide additional transparency to the use of education funds. Currently, the Nevada Legislature is considering a phased approach to implementing the formula and the NDE anticipates it moving forward. 

Click here to read the Pupil-Centered Funding Plan Summary.

  • Blue Ribbon Commission for a Globally Prepared Nevada Update
    • SBOE is currently working with the Blue Ribbon Commission to begin implementation planning for competency-based learning.

Board Approved Consent Agenda 

Consent agenda highlights:

Board Approved Appointee to the State Public Charter School Authority Governing Board

The Nevada Department of Education is allotted two appointments to the State Public Charter School Authority (SPCSA) board. The SPCSA is the governing body that authorizes the opening and operation of public charter schools throughout the state.

The board approved a motion to appoint Erica Mosca as the SBOE designee. 

Applications for the appointment were open through March 2021 and screened by the Nevada Department of Education.  

Click here to view SPCSA appointee applications.

Board Heard Update Clark County School District’s Implementation of AB-469 (2017) 

Assembly Bill 469 (2017) required the implementation of a plan to reorganize Clark County School District following the passage of Assembly Bill 394 (2015) which provides principals with increased autonomy over schools and budgets. 

The State Superintendent of Public Instruction was given specific authority over monitoring the implementation of the reorganization. As such, the following components have been identified as necessary to be addressed by CCSD:

  • Authority to select school staff
  • Assignment of central staff to schools
  • Allocation funds to schools
  • Purchase of equipment, services, and supplies available from the district by schools
  • School carry forward of year‐end balance (e.g. school carryover funds)
  • Weighted per‐pupil funding

The Department identified the following problems to be solved by CCSD related to three of the six criteria:

  1. Complying with the requirement to grant principals control of teacher selection and placement; cases still exist where the central office assigns teachers to schools.
  2. Negotiating collective bargaining agreements with CCEA and ESEA that are consistent with the law (SB 224)
  3. Complying with the requirement to grant principals the freedom to determine which services, suppliers, and equipment to acquire; cases still exist where the central office is unacceptably constraining the range of principal choice with respect to certain services, suppliers, and equipment
  4. Providing schools precincts with access to carry forward funds early enough for schools to purchase additional personnel positions and instructional supports.

Board members discussed the need to determine the timely use of carryover dollars, the need for systems improvement to select licensed teachers, the need for solutions that help principals think outside the box to impact student outcomes, the potential for regulation that will give principals better access to carryover funds, and student outcomes-focused budget training for principals.

The Board plans to schedule work sessions with CCSD to understand its challenges and determine specific areas of support.

Click here to view the presentation.

Click here to view CCSD’s 2018 Plan for the Implementation of Actions to Finalize Compliance with AB 469.

Requests For Future Agenda Items

  • A summary of key education-related bills following the close of the Legislative session
  • A breakdown of any changes in responsibilities for the SBOE following bill decisions
  • A working session on the SBOE’s vision and goals
  • A statewide report detailing efforts on academic recovery of students related to the impact of COIVD-19

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Nevada Ed-Watch 4/8/2021

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 5 pm both virtually and at the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts High School, Lowden Theater: 875 E. Clark Avenue Las Vegas, Nevada, 89101

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. Currently, members of the public can submit comments on agenda and non-agenda items through email or voice recording. Public comment can be submitted by email to Boardmtgcomments@nv.ccsd.net. To submit a voice recording on items listed on the meeting agenda, call 702-799-1166. Voice recorded public comment is limited to 1 minute 30 seconds.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Clark County School District Board of Trustees Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting?

Public Comment

Members of the public commented in-person, through voice recorded messages, and written public comment on non-agenda items regarding: 

  • Concerns about the ongoing impact of distance and hybrid learning on student mental health, and calls to immediately open schools at 100% capacity
  • Concerns about distance learning class sizes in elementary schools
  • Requests for communications regarding 5th-grade celebrations 
  • Concerns about rules only allowing spectators at certain types of student athletics events 
  • Requests for the Open Schools Open Doors agreement to be reinstated to allow for community use of school buildings 
  • Support for fully reopening school buildings for all students starting in the 2021-2022 school year 

Click here & here to view public comments submitted online.

Trustees Approved Consent Agenda 

Trustees approved the consent agenda (6-0), with one trustee not present to vote.

Consent Agenda Highlights: 

  • Grant application to Governor’s Emergency Education Recovery Funds for the of purchase Chromebooks, iPads, and technology kits for teachers, totaling $5,700,745.46
  • Purchase awards totaling $16,633,977.15, including $7,400,000 for beverages for student meals and $73,482.00 for equipment to be used by police services to issue citations and warnings. 

Trustees Approved 2021-2022 Tentative Budget 

The tentative budget is required to be submitted to the Nevada Department of Taxation. Trustees were provided with an overview of the 2021-2022 tentative budget, presented by CCSD’s Chief Financial Officer. Currently, there are still significant uncertainties that could impact the District’s tentative budget, including student enrollment, plans for the return to school buildings, and state and federal legislation directed towards public school funding in Nevada. 

The District is early in the planning process for the allocations of the second round of federal stimulus funding approved in 2020 and is anticipating approximately $800M through the third stimulus via the American Rescue Plan. 

Trustees were also provided with an overview of the proposed phased approach to implementating the Pupil Centered Funding Plan, the updated funding formula that was passed during the 2019 NV Legislative Session. Under the current proposal, starting in the 2022-2023 school year, the State of Nevada would longer guarantee the funding that districts and local education agencies receive from local revenue sources.

The final budget will come before Trustees for approval at the May 20, 2021 meeting.

Click here to see the 2021-2022 Tentative Budget. 
Click here to see the presentation. 

Trustees Approved Notices of Intent for Policy & Regulation Changes 

Four policies related to student discipline and expulsion will come before the board at the March 13, 2021 meeting for final approval. Members of the public can submit comments or feedback on the policies prior to or during that meeting. 

Each of the policies includes general language updates to align with current district titles and names as well as legislation related to student discipline.  

Board Heard Update on 2021 Legislative Session 

CCSD staff provided Trustees with an overview of education-related bills that were heard at the Nevada Legislature. Highlights from the presentation include an update on AB255, which would change the composition of boards of trustees (CCSD does not anticipate the bill to move forward) and SB120, providing for additional accountability measures for principals and requiring associate superintendents and above to reapply for their positions every 5 years.

Additionally, Trustees were informed that legislators are considering the implementation of the Pupil Centered Funding Plan and that the District believes schools that receive Zoom and Victory funding sources should continue to be funded at that same level through the 2022-2023 school year in order to fully minimize the impact of the consolidation of categorical funding sources. Superintendent Jara shared that he is working with the legislators to ensure they do not receive less funding while the new formula is implemented. 

Click here to read about this in the Nevada Independent.

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