Where We Go From Here: Exploring NAEP Results

The latest state and district level results from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) – sometimes referred to as the Nation’s Report Card – were released on October 24. We already heard the painful reality that we, as a nation, lost 20 years of academic growth in just two short years. The local results, while not unexpected, are alarming. 

There were significant drops nationwide, and Nevada saw a similar decline. But it also shows that while kids’ academic progress suffered during the pandemic, Nevada students have been struggling far longer. So what do we do with this information? We use it to understand our baseline, and we look to it to guide us and to focus our next steps to ensure that as a state, we improve outcomes for every single kid. 

​​Why do NAEP results matter? 

  1. It is the most extensive assessment of how American students perform over time on critical skills necessary to compete in the global economy.
  2. For this most recent test, it is the first comparable national measure of how their performance was impacted during the pandemic. 
  3. It’s a strong indicator of how kids did; now it’s up to us to decide what to do now. It is our responsibility as a community to ensure kids have a fighting chance to make up ground they lost and ensure they graduate ready for college and career – whatever path they choose.

What does this data tell us? More students than before do not have general literacy or numeracy skills. When a kid can’t read at grade level by the end of third grade, they fall further behind because after that point, other subjects rely on reading to learn. This snowball effect is also experienced with eighth grade math; after this point, students are expected to use what they’ve learned for higher level math classes. The impact of these results are long term systemic issues where kids fall further and further behind, with potentially catastrophic results for students, schools, communities, and our future economy. 

Our future workforce will depend on kids being able to think critically, perform math and science functions demanded of the 21st century economy, and be able to learn new concepts and applications as quickly as our world is shifting. And with more of our students falling further behind, our state will lag in competitiveness, workforce readiness, and economic livelihood. As an example, a recent estimate from Harvard University placed the US learning loss in math at $900 billion in potential lost earnings.

In fourth grade math, only 28% of Nevada participants were at or above proficient levels, with peers like Texas performing a full 10 points – or about one grade level – higher, and Florida, performing 12 points higher. Clark County School District (the fifth largest school district in the US) fourth graders scored an average of 225 in math, compared with Miami-Dade, FL students (the fourth largest school district in the US) averaging a 241; about 1.5 grade levels above CCSD students.

In fourth grade reading, only 27% of participants in Nevada were at or above proficient levels, with Texas performing two points higher, and Florida a full 13 points ahead of Nevada.
 
Eighth grade scores provide a similar picture. The average Nevada student is just barely above basic proficiency in math, at numbers reflecting a nearly 20-year slide in achievement, but also reminding us that in the history of NAEP, Nevada students have never persistently performed as well as the national average. These are the students who will be transitioning into college and the workforce in just four (4) short years.

Eighth grade reading scores are about the same as the national average, reflecting a slight increase from 2019, with 29% of students at or above the proficient level. In eighth grade reading, Nevada outperformed Texas by four points, or nearly half a grade level, with Florida just a point ahead of us.

When we explore different student groups, achievement gaps that have long existed have widened. In the most recent administration of the NAEP, Black and Hispanic students performed worse than their White counterparts, and students eligible for free and reduced lunch fared similarly. Clark County School District is one of the most diverse student bodies in the U.S. Efforts locally to prioritize reducing these gaps, however, have not historically had a lasting impact. As we think about interventions to raise student performance, we must include measures that address these gaps on an intentional, widespread basis.

So where do we go from here? We can look to states that improved their NAEP results over time, such as Mississippi, which realized significant gains over the last decade due to a statewide strategy on literacy, higher academic standards, and aligned assessments, among other policies enacted.

We can collectively recognize that this is a pivotal moment for education in our state, and advance a common vision to ensure kids graduate from high school college and career ready, prepared to participate in the workforce and our economy. We can celebrate our wins – like the increase in eighth grade reading scores – and where we are seeing progress, but keep in mind that we have a long way to go.

And we can put every intervention on the table – from tutoring to college and career readiness, to technological infrastructure and more – to make up ground, push forward, and make sure every kid in Nevada has a chance to succeed.

This is not the time for a one size fits all, single strategy approach. This is the time for sweeping change.

Explore the Data

Note: All charts and graphs courtesy of the National Center for Education Statistics and the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Loud & Clear: Why We’re Focused on Amplifying Student Voice

We are at a pivotal moment regarding the future of our students, our workforce, our communities, and our economy – both locally and on a broader national level. With new data pointing to nearly two decades of growth in math and reading wiped away by the last two years, with student achievement gaps continuing to widen, and with ongoing concerns about the impact of current events, we must unite for student success. We have a small window of time to address large scale learning loss and the tremendous impact it has had, and will continue to have, on our state’s long-term goals. Now is the time – to try both new and existing interventions with a potential to combat learning loss and put every single kid on a path to  live the life they dream and that our economy demands.

Student voices must be heard loud and clear as we continue to make the necessary changes in an inclusive, meaningful, and impactful way and as discussions evolve into actions, policies, and practices. “Students have the biggest stake in the outcome of our approach to education and engaging them in conversations about what they need is critical,” said Jana Wilcox Lavin, CEO of Opportunity 180. “When kids have a voice in their educational experience, they can activate authentically around new ideas and practices to  ensure we keep student outcomes, and our students’ futures, as the focal point of decision-making.”

As we continue to amplify student voice, we are engaging in several upcoming events and projects. This week, on September 29th, we are hosting our annual North Star Summit, bringing together members of our community, including parents, business and education leaders, and elected officials. The purpose of this year’s Summit is to examine how broad, diverse groups of stakeholders have developed a common vision for student achievement and how they advanced key policies and practices that aligned to a vision grounded in student voice. From there, attendees will work collaboratively on identifying ideas and advancing next steps for improving educational outcomes in Nevada. Speakers include the CEO of TeachPlus, Kira Orange Jones, and “B is for Black Brilliance” CEO Shawna Wells, who will address developing and executing large-scale community activations with lasting, meaningful impact on educational outcomes for kids. We will be distilling and sharing some of the key themes and ideas from the event on this blog, so be sure to stay tuned.

Opportunity 180 is also supporting the Nevada Independent’s  IndyFest and the education-focused content on October 1-2, including the K-16 education panel and the student-led debate. Both of these programs will feature students either leading or playing a key role in the conversation around education. When we give students a seat at the table, they have new ways to shape the dialogue around their success and what it will take to get them there, as well as identify resources and practices that support their success – both academically and socio-emotionally. 

And on October 6, tune in for Flip the Script where we will welcome students from CCSD schools to interview CCSD Board of Trustee candidates in advance of the general election. This live-streamed event gives students an opportunity to develop their own questions, and then ask them to candidates seeking to represent their district. “Flip the Script gives students a direct line to candidates to share what is important to them and what they want to see in their schools,” said Wilcox Lavin. “Any opportunity to advance and celebrate student voices represents an opportunity for all of us to learn more about how we can better support kids in their educational experiences.” You can sign up to receive more information on the event here, but be sure to tune in to the livestream on our Facebook page or YouTube channel from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. on October 6. 

Keeping student voices at the forefront of these conversations and as new policies and practices are developed and shaped must be our number one focus if we are to confront the gravity of this moment and forge a new path to improve educational outcomes for every single student in Nevada. In doing so, we ensure that they are supported as they graduate from high school college and career-ready, prepared to live the life they dream.

Want to learn more about why student voice is important? Take a look at the below articles and resources, and sign the I Stand With Kids pledge to add your name to a growing coalition of Nevadans united for student success!

Meeting the Needs of Nevada Students

Four Nevada Public Charter Schools Awarded Funds to Serve High Need Students

The Federal Charter School Program (CSP) Grant is administered by Opportunity 180 to expand access to high-quality public charter schools in the neighborhoods that have the least access to quality options.

With the goal to make sure every kid in Nevada has access to quality schools that meet their needs, four (4) public charter schools have initially been awarded funding through the Great Schools for Nevada Charter School Program (CSP) Federal Grant administered by Opportunity 180. Opportunity 180 was awarded these funds in 2020 by the US Department of Education through a highly competitive application process and has since completed three rounds of awards to schools dedicated to providing quality education to kids in Nevada.

The Great Schools for Nevada grant provides funds to new, replicating or expanding public charter schools that demonstrate success or evidence-based plans to successfully serve historically underserved student populations.  Schools must articulate a clear plan to serve a student population that is greater than or equal to the average underserved student population served by the district in which the school is located. 

“Opportunity 180 is committed to ensuring every kid has access to a great school,” said Jana Wilcox Lavin, CEO of Opportunity 180.  “These schools have innovative learning models, as well as a strong focus on college and career readiness, and have demonstrated significant engagement with students, parents, and potential community partners. We look forward to welcoming them to Southern Nevada.” 

The awarded schools are:

3551 N Ferrell St, Las Vegas, NV 89032

Focus: Implementing the Explore Learning model, an educational framework that promotes student growth and responsibility while providing an individualized educational path for each student

4280 West Craig Rd Suite 102/103, North Las Vegas, NV 89031

Focus: Providing real collegiate experiences for high school students through students taking on-campus college courses and professors, giving students the opportunity to earn college credit and ease the transition to college while earning their high school diplomas 

1580 Bledsoe Ln., Las Vegas, NV 89110

Focus: A unique curriculum that prepares students for success in construction professions and post-secondary education while meeting all the Nevada Academic Content Standards (NACS), advised by leading industry associations and stakeholders to inform and fill future workforce needs and provide direct career pathways

Address TBD, serving zip codes 89156, 89110, 89115 

Focus: Providing historically underserved youth with opportunities toward financial freedom and academic success, as well as pathways to careers that enable financial independence and wealth accumulation

“Southern Nevada Trades High School is incredibly grateful for the funding from the CSP grant. It will allow us to provide increased Special Education, English Language Learning and counseling services for our students. It will also enable our faculty to engage in extensive professional development to prepare them for our unique integrated career and college ready curriculum.  We look forward to welcoming our first class of Freshmen and Sophomores to SNTHS in the Fall of 2023.”

Julie Carver, Executive Director of Southern Nevada Trades High School.

Upon submitting an application, schools were selected via a 12-week external review process, in which they were required to demonstrate their commitment to serving high-need student populations through their mission, curriculum focus, and physical location. All awarded schools will be strategically placed in areas that align to the Nevada State Public Charter School Authority’s 2022 Academic and Demographic Needs Assessment and Opportunity 180’s Priority Footprint

The Great Schools for Nevada grant aligns directly with Opportunity 180’s mission to invest in great schools and put students on track to graduate high school college and career ready. These funds will directly impact nearly 2,100 students over the course of the grant, contributing to Opportunity 180’s overall goal of ensuring 100,000 more students have access to a high-quality school by 2030.

Designing & Launching the Learning Environments of Tomorrow

Opportunity 180 has launched applications for the second cohort of its Design to Edrupt (ODE) Fellowship, to begin January 2023.  The fellowship looks to disrupt the current education landscape and ensure every kid graduates college and career ready by identifying and supporting a diverse pipeline of leaders to design and launch tomorrow’s learning environments. These learning environments are applicable in both district and charter schools. 

During the Explore phase of the Design to Edrupt fellowship, participants assess, explore, and develop their leadership readiness to design and launch a new learning environment, like a new school or program, co-create their vision for education alongside students and families, and explore multiple pathways and strategies to launch their idea.

“Opportunity 180’s Designed to Edrupt was the catalyst that shifted my thinking of leadership and entrepreneurship. I left Explore with greater capacity to fulfill my role as a school leader,” said Cesserly Rice, a member of the first cohort. “I have also developed a stronger drive and tools to launch a program for impact in education. It was truly time well spent.”

The successful fellowship strategy was originally designed and launched in Denver, Colorado in 2017 by Moonshot edVentures. Over the last five years, Moonshot has supported nearly 100 leaders through five cohorts, with >85% identifying as people of color and >65% identifying as women or non-binary. About half of their fellows are currently founders, executive directors, or school leaders. O180 was selected by Moonshot to adapt the successful fellowship to specifically serve Clark County in addressing the deep disparity between the student population and the teachers and leaders that are present in our schools. Its first cohort of five diverse leaders presented their program and school concepts at the conclusion of the experience in May 2022 (learn more about them here!). 

Through a variety of workshops with education leaders and experts, information sessions that explore both professional and personal development, a national school visit, and the program’s Showcase event to community leaders and stakeholders, fellows gain deep understanding of themselves and their goals, strategies, and plans for launching their school or program. 

“The fellowship not only exposed me to other change-minded professionals with a passion for improving education, but it also introduced me to entrepreneurs and experts who have either done the work themselves or who have helped others who have,” said Mike Taack, another alumnus of the first cohort. “If you are serious about getting the tools and experiences needed to start (or continue) down the path of starting a charter school or an educational program, this is an opportunity that you cannot afford to miss.”

The fellowship seeks applicants who demonstrate:

  • New ideas and unique ways to improve outcomes for students and families.
  • A deep belief in the power of community, family, student, and teacher input to co-create a learning environment.
  • Cultural competency, including a sense of commitment to anti-racism,  unpacking bias, developing a vision with integrity, and creating the systems that improve learning outcomes for underserved communities.

“With over 20 years of classroom teaching experience, I have had the opportunity to participate in numerous professional development activities over the years. But none have been as impactful on my growth, professionally and personally, as the Design to Edrupt Fellowship,” said Dr. Jeff Hinton, an alumnus of the first cohort. “It wasn’t always easy,  but it was always worth it.” 

Want to learn more? 

Applications open September 1, so be sure to check the website for updated information on application instructions and a direct link to the application once live. The priority application deadline is September 30, 2022,  with the final deadline being October 14, 2022. The program begins in January 2023.

If you know someone who would be a great candidate for this fellowship, click here to complete the referral form. Those who refer candidates who are accepted into the first phase of the application stage will receive a gift card!

Individuals interested in learning more are encouraged to attend an information session. Click here to RSVP.

  • Thursday, September 8, 2022 – 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. (Virtual)
  • Tuesday, September 20, 2022 – 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. (In-person, at Opportunity 180’s offices – 732 S. 6th St., Ste. 200D, Las Vegas, NV 89101)
  • Thursday, October 6, 2022 – 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. (Virtual)

Strengthening Parent & Family Voices in Education

Opportunity 180 announced four grantees for its inaugural Family Power Impact Grant totaling $1.8 million over multiple years, with the goal of providing support for family-focused organizations dedicated to education, programming and capacity-building to increase families’ voices in education. This first-of-its-kind grant opportunity will give organizations capacity to  develop programs, events and outreach tools to keep families engaged with their students’ educational experiences as the 2022-2023 school year begins.

According to the national leader in investing in family voice, the Flamboyan Foundation and its “Family Engagement Matters” publication, family engagement leads to increased student achievement rates, higher graduation rates, reduced absenteeism, better student-teacher relationships and more cultural competence — all of which can have significant results on long-term student achievement and success. Creating these opportunities to support family voice is a critical component of engaging the community towards a North Star of ensuring every kid graduates from high school college and career ready.

“Opportunity 180 is committed to elevating student and family voices to ensure students are at the center of solutions to educational challenges,” said Jana Wilcox Lavin, CEO of Opportunity 180. “Through the Family Power Impact Grant, we are supporting organizations that will bolster student and family voices and provide meaningful, targeted resources to support diverse communities, increase understanding and communication, and ultimately have an impact on student success.”

The four grantees are: 

  • Parent Leadership Team of Nevada, which will use grant funds to form their own 501(c)(3) organization and deepen their impact on our community, as well as provide training, volunteer materials, and programming to support their efforts in developing and organizing families seeking better educational outcomes for their children, particularly in immigrant and under-resourced communities in Southern Nevada 
  • No Racism in Schools, which will establish its first two programs, Kids Corner (a mentorship and life coaching program) and quarterly workshops for families and other community stakeholders, as well as build capacity for future growth and family engagement efforts
  • Power2Parent, which will bolster its team in support of its education, training, and communication initiatives with parents, including effectively advocating for children through Parent Leadership Academy training and building family connection points through new and expanded programming
  • Rise Up Nevada, which will use its grant to expand its Project 3E (Engaged, Equipped, & Empowered) to provide data-driven support and education to families, as well as promote a culture of continuous improvement through engagement and advocacy.

“The Nevada Parent Leadership Team (PLT) believes that parents are the first link in the chain of their children’s success. Our team works hard so that immigrant, emerging bilingual and low-income families benefit and learn that education is the best equalizer. The Nevada Parent Leadership Team wants to build an organization focused on informing, empowering, organizing, and advocating for families seeking better educational opportunities for their children,” said Selene Lozado, Founder and Executive Director of the PLT. “We are grateful to be part of a diverse cohort of grantees who are focused on building the power of families in our community. With this generous grant, the PLT now has the resources it needs to help low-income families (regardless of race or language) provide the tools so these families can change their children’s future through education.”

Please note, funding cannot be used for lobbying activities, and funding is not an Opportunity 180 endorsement of specific issue areas on which the project or organizations are focused.

Supporting Schools, Supporting Teachers:

New Grant Program Invests in Great Ideas for High-Quality Teacher Retention and Recruitment

As part of our North Star – ensuring every kid graduates from high school college and career-ready – Opportunity 180 invests in great schools and educators providing educational experiences that give students a foundation for their success. 

A major challenge that schools face today is an ongoing teacher shortage, and moreover, a shortage of teachers a TNTP study calls “Irreplaceables.” According to the study, “Teachers of this caliber provide more engaging learning experiences for students and help them achieve five to six more months of learning each year than students of low-performing teachers – academic results that can be life-changing.” 

Therefore, to further the pipeline of quality teachers in Clark County and build the conditions that support and strengthen them, we are thrilled to announce four grants totaling nearly $500,000 to be used specifically to recruit and retain high-quality teachers, with an emphasis on ensuring more teachers represent the backgrounds of their students and cultivating more “Irreplaceables” right here in Southern Nevada. The grants begin this summer. 

“This is the first time Opportunity 180 has awarded these types of grants, and we are so proud to do so with four of our partner schools: Democracy Prep at the Agassi Campus, Futuro Academy, Nevada Rise Academy, and TEACH Las Vegas,” said Jana Wilcox Lavin, CEO of Opportunity 180. “These grants will be specifically directed towards initiatives that give educators and school leaders the resources they need to teach effectively, stay in Nevada schools, and help our kids graduate from high school college and career-ready.”

These four schools are located in economically disadvantaged areas of the Las Vegas Valley where the majority are students of color, underscoring the importance of ensuring teachers represent their student populations. A recent discussion at Brookings Institution’s Brown Center for Education Policy noted that diversity can be a “critical element of a quality education,” and, “one of the ways to close long-standing race-based achievement gaps is to expose more students to teachers who look like them.” Working to intentionally address representation and voice will impact academic outcomes for these students, making it an important focus for teacher retention and recruitment efforts in these historically marginalized communities. 

To cultivate these high-performing learning and working environments, the grantees will incorporate new, as well as tried and tested, ways to recruit, develop, and retain high-quality teachers at their campuses, including:

  • Creating and incubating an induction and mentoring program to promote growth and development of teachers early in their teaching careers. 
  • Connecting instructional design opportunities through peer mentoring, classroom observations and feedback, coaching on formative assessments, and case/lesson studies on instructional design
  • Providing additional pathways for teachers to be cultivated into administrative and leadership roles
  • Engaging staff in various professional development opportunities, including coaching, curricula development, and a mini-residency program
  • Providing performance-based retention incentives to teachers
  • Working with organizations to set aside time for dedicated time on a regular basis for educators to help formalize development tools and programs geared towards collaboration

Creating conditions for great teachers to stay in classrooms and cultivate engaging learning experiences and environments is a critical piece to improving student outcomes, as well as ensuring that teachers represent their student populations. These grants will pilot retention strategies that keep our “Irreplaceables” in the classroom, demonstrating firsthand that great teachers and great ideas make way for great schools and better student outcomes.

Congratulations to Democracy Prep at the Agassi Campus, Futuro Academy, Nevada Rise Academy, and TEACH Las Vegas on this exciting funding opportunity. Stay tuned for more updates on these programs as we share learnings, progress, and outcomes!

Opportunity 180 Partners with Surge Institute to Launch Program in Southern Nevada

The Surge Academy, a national program that develops, elevates, and unites leaders of color within the education and youth-serving space, will be expanding to two new cities in 2022: Las Vegas and Philadelphia.

Designed by the Surge Institute, the Surge Academy program provides an intensive leadership experience, packed with powerful content that explores executive skills such as finance, strategic planning, and change management. In addition, throughout the program, fellows engage in a deep and unflinching dialogue about personal growth, trauma, and the true state of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the United States.

Mathew Mauricio Rojas (IND ‘21), an alum of the program and Assistant Professor of Practice at Relay Graduate School of Education, shares what he gained.

“Because of my experience with the Surge Academy, I now am a fuller version of myself,” Rojas said. “I feel confident in my leadership and don’t feel like I am asking for permission to be who I am becoming. I am now surrounded by people who believe in me and see me for who I was, am, and hope to be and know they will be there to support me.”

In September, thanks to a partnership with Opportunity 180, Surge will also start recruitment for a Las Vegas Surge Academy, which will develop, elevate and unite leaders in the city, as well as all of Clark County, Nevada.

“In an ongoing effort to strengthen and accelerate the pipeline of education leaders who represent the diversity of Southern Nevada, we are thrilled to partner with the Surge Institute team to provide the opportunity to launch the Las Vegas Surge Academy,” said Jana Wilcox Lavin, CEO of Opportunity 180. “The Academy is a momentous step forward in building out the region’s educational ecosystem to better reflect that diversity, and will have a significant impact on students, families, and our community.”

Originally launched in Kansas City, the six-month fellowship has grown into a signature program of the Surge Institute. To date, the Surge Academy has graduated three cohorts, two in Kansas City and one in Indianapolis respectively, totaling 44 leaders who have transitioned into Surge’s National Alumni Network of more than 200 leaders of color. More recently the Academy has kicked off a new cohort in Indianapolis and launched a new fellowship experience in Washington D.C.

Upon graduating from the Surge Academy, fellows maintain a deep connection to the Surge national movement, united in the purpose of building an equitable future for communities of color.

To learn more about applying to the Surge Academy, visit the Surge Academy homepage. Applications for the Las Vegas cohort will open in the fall.

Sign up for the Surge Institute’s Quarterly Newsletter and follow the Surge Institute and Surge Academy on social media to stay informed about upcoming events, news, and related developments.

About The Surge Institute:

The Surge Institute is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was established with a simple but important mission to develop and elevate leaders of color who create transformative change for children, families, and communities. Founded by Carmita Semaan in 2014, the organization was designed to empower emerging diverse leaders to change the landscape of education by providing them with a unique, authentic leadership development experience. To learn more about The Surge Institute, please visit: www.surgeinstitute.org

Design to Edrupt: Fellowship program helps educators turn ideas into action with a mission toward equity

To bring the change that our kids deserve, it takes a team of dedicated leaders who are willing to shift the standard approach to learning. 

Engaging students in thinking big about new learning experiences during Student Design Day

To further support educators across the  fifth most diverse and dynamic school district in the nation, Opportunity 180 launched a new fellowship that will provide focused support to five underrepresented educational leaders across Clark County, with a goal to launch new learning environments for students. The combination of diverse leadership and the build out of equity-based learning models through this fellowship will help to launch new schools, modify the current education environments, and provide new opportunities for educators, students, and their families. 

The 2022 Explore Cohort for the inaugural “Design to Edrupt” fellowship was built from Moonshot edVentures which was designed and launched in Denver, CO in 2017. The fellowship is an investment in educational design, and presents new strategies for learning while aiming to ground these approaches in the needs of students and families. 

Following the main core values of the fellowship—respect, trust, love, equity, collaboration, and paying it forward—fellows will experiment with learning environments they co-create with students and families, in order to design a new school or an internal program for students in Clark County. The participants chosen are among teachers, school administrators, and nonprofit members from across the county.

“Fellows will use the liberatory approach to design-thinking and listen to what students and families need,” said Tamara Shear, Senior Director of Great Schools Portfolio. “(They will) use this practice to design a learning environment that meets those needs and disrupts the traditional education system.”

The liberatory approach is an equity-centered practice that creates opportunities for the equity practitioner and the designers. Together, they will build skill sets that will enable them to develop a new approach to designing learning environments. Some of those examples include practicing empathy and problem-solving to help others understand their equity values, awareness, and reflecting on the impact of one’s beliefs and biases. 

The fellows for the program were selected based on the following criteria: Entrepreneurial Mindset, People Leadership, Strategic and Operational Leadership, and Instructional Leadership. Fellows also will have access and opportunities to connect with local leaders that are interested in supporting them on their journey to launch their  school program or learning environment. 

We are honored to announce the 2022 Explore Cohort for the Design to Edrupt Fellowship: 

Cece Rice – Principal and Business Owner

Venture: Educators of Color Alliance (Educator Support Program) ∙ Projected Launch Date: June 2022 ∙ Grade Level(s) Served: Educators in years 3-5 of their career ∙ Target Geography: Las Vegas Valley

Cesserly Rice is the current principal at Nevada Rise Academy in Las Vegas, with a Masters in Educational Administration. She served in several leadership capacities over the past six years, including K-8 instructional coach, director of achievement, and assistant principal. She also worked with a local Alternate Route to Licensure program that prepares aspiring educators to fill roles as teachers across the Las Vegas Valley. Through this work, CeCe discovered her inclination and desire to develop and support educators.

Jeff Hinton – Teacher and Consultant

Venture: Entrepreneurial and Leadership Academy of Las Vegas (Charter School)  ∙ Projected Launch Date: TBD ∙ Grade Level(s) Served: 9-12 ∙ Target Geography: Las Vegas, Nevada

Dr. Jeff Hinton is a blogger, writer, and video content creator. He believes that all students are uniquely special and are capable of learning deeply through relevant, hands-on, student-centered approaches that fosters high cognitive demand, creativity, and a love for learning.

Joseph Orosco – Teacher and Non-Profit Founder

Venture: Warriors of Light Family Inc. (Program) ∙ Launch Date: August 2020 ∙ Grade Level (s) Served: 8-12 ∙ Target Geography: East Las Vegas

Joseph Orosco is the Founder and Executive Director of Warriors of Light Family Inc., in Las Vegas. He is also a Mathematics Teacher at Equipo Academy, where he teaches an Algebra 1 curriculum he created. Joseph completed his Undergrad at Trinity College with a dual B.A. in Urban Studies and Engineering Science, followed by his Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Joseph also serves as a foster parent and received several awards such as SIC Community Award, Coca-Cola Scholar, and NBA Latino Night Awardee.

Kendrick Kumabe – Educator and Business Owner

Venture: Champions Classical Leadership Academy (Private or Charter School) Projected Launch Date: August 2024  Grade Level(s) Served: K-2  Target Geography: North Las Vegas 

With more than 20 years of experience in the field, Kendrick Kumabe is a distinguished member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., a historical association launched by African Americans, and is currently serving as the President of the Nevada African American Administrators and Superintendents Association, Teachers Chapter. 

He is the acclaimed author of “Coaching Young Champions: Social Emotional Learning Considerations for the Virtual/Hybrid Educator”; and is also the founder of Kenzumi Education Consulting, LLC. 

Kendrick is now serving as the President of Superior Substitutes, a Las Vegas based education staffing firm committed to filling critical teacher shortages in underserved communities. 

Mike Taack – Educator and Community Outreach Coordinator

Venture: Western Youth Leadership, Engagement, and Empowerment School (Middle School) ∙ Projected Launch Date: TBD ∙ Grade Level(s) Served: 6-8 ∙ Target Geography: Central Las Vegas

With more than 12 years of experience in the education field, Mike Taack is a graduate of Clark County School District and a two-time graduate of University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Before becoming an educator, Mike worked in restaurants and insurance companies. He completed his student teaching at Fremont Professional Development Middle School while working on his Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction. He immediately fell in love with both the profession and the neighborhood, and has been at Fremont for nearly all of his career. He has taught English, explorations, publications, and computer science, and has mentored many student teachers and practicum students as a part of Fremont’s unique relationship with professional development schools and UNLV.  

We can’t wait to see what the fellows in partnership with the community design and develop. We are on a journey to learn alongside. If you are interested in learning more about upcoming workshops and cohorts, please visit our website or contact Tamara Shear at ode@opportunity180.org.


Parent Leadership Team Spotlight: Gratitude

This being the season of gratitude, we wanted to take some time to give thanks to the amazing Parent Leadership Team of Nevada. The group is made up of incredibly passionate parents advocating every day for a better education for our community’s kids. This year they have seen tremendous growth and incredible accomplishments from fighting for internet access for our students to hosting an important conversation about student mental health specifically for the local Spanish-speaking community. Opportunity 180 continues to be grateful for the PLTs passion and commitment.

To shine a light on the group we asked some of its members to fill us in on what they are grateful for this year. Here is what they had to say.

Selene Lozada + Family

Name: Selene Lozada

I am married to a wonderful man and I have three children; Bryan who currently works at a car company, Jordan who is studying at college, and Joshua who is a senior at NSHS.  

I am very grateful to God for allowing me to work at Opportunity 180, an organization that has provided me with all the resources to work with the families of my community. I also feel privileged to lead such a committed and disciplined group as the PLT.  I am proud to be part of a group that is making a change in the school district.  I consider myself to be a very fortunate and blessed woman. 

Nombre: Selene Lozada. 

Estoy casada con un hombre maravilloso y tengo tres hijos; Bryan cual trabaja con una compañía de carros, Jordan quien estudia en la universidad y Joshua quien esta en su ultimo año en NSHS.

Estoy agradecida a dios por dejarme trabajar en “Opportunity 180”, una organización que me me ha proporcionado con recursos para trabajar con familias de la comunidad, También me siento privilegiado de liderar un grupo tan comprometido y disciplinado como los es el PLT. Estoy orgulloso de ser parte de un grupo que esta haciendo un cambio en el distrito escolar. Yo me considero una mujer muy afortunada y bendecida.

Nayeli Mendoza + Family

Name: Nayeli Mendoza

I am the mother of a daughter who is in the 3rd grade.

My husband and I are enormously grateful to the PLT for all the information and support we have received, which helped us feel a part of the community.

Today I am thankful for all of the blessings my family and everyone around me have received, as well as for my health, love, family, and friends.

Nombre: Nayeli Mendoza

Soy mamá de una niña del 3er grado.

Mi esposo y yo estamos enormemente agradecidos con el PLT por toda la información que hemos recibido, así como por el apoyo, cual nos ha ayudado sentirnos una parte de la comunidad.

Y este día estoy agradecida por todas las bendiciones recibidas por mi familia y todos los que me rodean, así como por la salud, el amor, la familia y los amigos

Margarita Guerrero and Luz Y. Mendoza

Name: Margarita Guerrero and Luz Y. Mendoza 

I have 2 children; Emilio who is 20 years old, and Liz who is 16. She is currently in her eleventh year at Ecta school. 

Thank you to the members of the PLT for allowing me to be a part of this amazing group.  I have learned so much and continue to value each achievement that we have accomplished for our community.

Nombre: Margarita Guerrero and Luz Y. Mendoza 

Yo tengo dos hijos , Emilio de 20 años de edad y Liz de 16 años. Ella Corrientemente atiende el 11vo grado en La escuela ECTA.

Gracias a los miembros de PLT por darnos la oportunidad de ser parte de este grupo increíble. Yo he aprendido mucho y continuo valorar cada hazaña que hemos cumplido para nuestra comunidad..

Laura Campos + Family

Name: Laura Campos

I am a full-time mom.  I have 4 children, the youngest is 1-year-old, a 7-year-old girl, a 9-year-old boy. They are all in elementary school, and my oldest son is in his last year of High School.

I thank God for the blessings that he gives me every day; my health, well-being, my family and friends

I am thankful for this great group, the PLT, who are parent volunteers and strive for a better education for their children and all the students of our city.

Nombre: Laura Campos

Soy una madre de tiempo completo. Tengo 4 hijos, el mas joven de 1 año de edad, una niña de 7 años de edad y un niño de 9 años. Todos atienden la escuela primaria. Mi hijo mayor esta en su último año de la escuela secundaria.

Le doy gracias a dios por todas las bendiciones que él nos da cada día; Mi salud, mi bien estar, mi familia y amigos.

Estoy agradecida por este gran grupo, El PLT, quienes son parientes voluntaries cuales luchan por una mejor educación para sus hijos y todos lose estudiantes de nuestra ciudad.

Mayela Camarena + Family

Name: Mayela Camarena

Mother of 4 children. 

Happy, honored, and very grateful to God for allowing me to be a mother, wife, and entrepreneur in my own home. It allows me to be consistently present in the lives of those I love the most.  

Grateful to the PLT for giving me the opportunity to work for those in need while learning at the same time.

Nombre: Mayela Camarena

Madre de cuatro niños.

Contenta, honrada y muy agradecida a dios por dejarme ser una madre, esposa y empresaria en mi propio hogar. Me deja estar consistentemente presente en la vida de los cuales amo más.

Estoy agradecida al PLT por darme la oportunidad de trabajar por los necesitados mientras a la ves yo aprendo.  

Ana González + Family

Name: Ana González

I have eight children, four of whom are students of the school district.  

I am grateful to the PLT because a lot of very important information gets to the community through our work.  My wish is that more parents will join the PLT and together we can change our school district.  I believe that the information we provide has been very valuable and will help many parents work with their children. 

On a personal note, I am very proud of each of my children and their desire for a better education. I am very happy about all the opportunities that God gave me during this year. 

Nombre: Ana González

Tengo ocho ninos, cuatro estan en el distrito.

Estoy agradecida al PLT porque mucha información llegue así a la comunidad a través de nuestro trabajo. Mi deseo es que mas parientes se unan al PLT y juntos podemos hacer cambios en nuestro distrito escolar. Yo creo que la información que proveemos ha sido de mucho valor y va ayudar muchos parientes trabajar con sus hijos. A un nivel personal, estoy muy orgulloso de cada uno de mis hijos y sus deseos de obtener una mejor educación. Estoy muy orgullosa de todas las oportunidades que dios me ha dado este año.

Yesenia Gonzales + Family

Name: Yesenia Gonzales

I am the very proud mother of 3 sons who are my reason for advocating as hard as I do.  David who is a junior will be 17 years old on Thanksgiving Day and loves to help his peers in school and started his own support group in his high school and plans to work in Forensics or be a Firefighter. Benjamin, who is in 7th grade, is 13 years old and loves Tanks and military vehicles, his dream is to one day join the Army and be a Tank engineer. My youngest, Matthew who’s in 6th grade and just turned 12 years old and is my special needs son with Autism, loves the solar system and anatomy and would love to be a Meteorologist or an Astronomer when he grows up.

I joined the PLT a little over a year ago after I saw that there was a need to help families in our community and advocate for them. First and foremost, I am grateful to God for helping me beat cancer and never giving up.  As a cancer survivor, this has given me these days which I cherish to be here for my children, they have also given me the strength to fight as hard as I do, not just for them, but also for others.  I firmly believe that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and I can attest to that.  I am also grateful for my PLT team and new friends, that although we may be small, we are mighty and have accomplished monumental things to help families in our community.

Nombre: Yesenia Gonzales


Soy la madre muy orgullosa de 3 hijos que son mi razón para luchar con fuerza como lo hago. 
David, que es un estudiante de tercer año, cumplirá 17 años el Día de Acción de Gracias y le encanta ayudar a sus compañeros en la escuela y comenzó su propio grupo de apoyo en su escuela secundaria y planea trabajar en medicina forense o ser bombero.  Benjamín, que está en séptimo grado, tiene 13 años y ama los tanques y los vehículos militares, su sueño es un día unirse al ejército y ser ingeniero de tanques.  Mi hijo menor, Matthew, que está en sexto grado y acaba de cumplir 12 años y es mi hijo con necesidades especiales con autismo, ama el sistema solar y la anatomía y le encantaría ser meteorólogo o astrónomo cuando crezca. 


Me uní al PLT hace poco más de un año después de ver que era necesario ayudar a las familias de nuestra comunidad y defenderlas. En primer lugar, estoy agradecido con Dios por ayudarme a vencer el cáncer y nunca rendirme.  Como sobreviviente de cáncer, esto me ha dado estos días que amo estar aquí para mis hijos, también me han dado la fuerza para luchar tan duro como lo hago, no solo por ellos, sino también por los demás.  Creo firmemente que “lo que no te mata te hace más fuerte” y puedo dar fe de ello. También estoy agradecido por mi equipo de PLT y nuevos amigos, que aunque seamos pequeños, somos poderosos y hemos logrado cosas monumentales.  para ayudar a las familias de nuestra comunidad.

If you are interested in joining the PLT or want to learn more, be sure to join their group on Facebook.

Continue reading “Parent Leadership Team Spotlight: Gratitude”

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.