Nevada Ed-Watch: 06/27/22

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 once 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.


Monday, June 27, 2022
State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting
Access the meeting agenda and playback.

What happened at this meeting? 

Public comment 

No public comment was heard at this time.

SPCSA Executive Director’s Report

Highlights from the report include:

  • Initiatives Related to Serving All Students Equitably: Certain schools must submit recruitment and enrollment plans by September 30. Staff conducted their first optional virtual working session this month, with two additional sessions planned for the summer. Staff also participated in a Restorative Justice training and are planning to offer optional training this summer and in 2023.
  • COVID-19 Update: SPCSA is required to continue to maintain the Safe Return to In-Person Learning Plan  through September 30, and the Board will receive an update on plans in July.
  • Legislative Session Planning: The committee is continuing monthly meetings, and SPCSA has been engaged in the process. There are two meetings through the end of this interim period; the final meeting is an opportunity to identify legislative topics.
  • Budget: The Authority is on track to submit its budget by the end of August, and is working with the Governor’s finance office on answering requests related to staffing increases.
  • Update on New Schools Opening in Fall 2022: 
    • Coral Academy of Science: The Cadence campus is on track to open mid-August, and will be ready by mid-July to allow the school to prep for its first day. It will provide an update on recruitment/enrollment at the July meeting.
    • Nevada State High School – NLV Campus:  The campus has received its certificate of occupancy and is ready to welcome students.  
  • Language Access Plan: Pursuant to SB 318, staff must develop and biannually revise this plan providing services for constituents with limited English proficiency. The Authority is currently drafting the plan, to be posted over the summer for public comment in July. It is also working to make the website more accessible to those with limited English proficiency, including translation services.
  • 2022 SPCSA Sponsor Survey: The survey was conducted 5/11 – 6/5, with responses from 30 school leaders representing 26 of 38 charter schools. Input was measured in four areas: communication, authorizing, school support, and grants. Explore the survey results memo and the feedback survey.
  • Staffing Update: Marinna Cutler is the new Director of School Support for the SPCSA, and the Authority is filling a few additional positions to reach a total of 27 full-time staff.

Board Received a Presentation Regarding Governance Standards, Pursuant to Assembly Bill 419

The first governance standards training was held in June, with approximately 250 school board members from about 50 schools. Three additional trainings are scheduled this summer, and a process has been established to approve other organizations to provide this type of training based upon standards approved by the Authority. During the presentation, a Board member provided an overview of Standard 3: Managing Financial Resources responsibly.

Explore the governance standards here.

Board Discussed the Impact of Weighted Lotteries

Staff provided an overview on weighted lotteries and their role in improving access to educationally disadvantaged students. Such lotteries can be used in favor of identified student groups, such as those who are economically disadvantaged, those with disabilities, and/or those with limited English proficiency, among others. Seven SPCSA charters/24 campuses have a weighted lottery policy in place, with 21 campuses having more applications than seats available. Results varied from school to school and are detailed in the memo (available at the link below). Staff noted in the memo that while impact varies, weighted lotteries will not singlehandedly address the discrepancies in such demographics.

Explore the briefing memo here.

Charter School Contract Amendment Applications

Girls Athletic Leadership School was approved for changes to the school name, mission and vision, as well as modifications to academic and organizational plans and a reduction on its enrollment caps for the duration of the charter term. These changes are mostly due to terminating the contract with GALS Inc. and COVID-related recruitment strain. Its new name will be Girls Empowerment Middle School (GEMS). The school’s mission, values, and driving force will remain the same.

Explore the good cause exemption letter and the recommendation memo.

Explore Academy was approved for a reduction in its enrollment cap from 510 to 355 students and will be moving to its permanent facility this year.

Explore the good cause exemption letter and the recommendation memo.

PilotED Cactus Park Elementary was conditionally approved to remove its student transportation plan for the 2022-2023 school year and operate at a temporary location at Nevada Prep for the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year.

Explore the good cause exemption letter and the recommendation memo.

Quest Academy was approved for a reduction of its enrollment cap from 565 to 500 students for the 2022-2023 school year.

Explore the good cause exemption letter and the recommendation memo.

Strong Start Academy was approved for a relocation for the 2022-2023 school year, so all students and faculty are located in one permanent facility. The facility is the site of the 9th Bridge School, at 302 S. 9th St.

Explore the good cause exemption letter and the recommendation memo.

Young Women’s Leadership Academy was approved for a reduction of its enrollment cap from 150 to 110 students for the 2022-2023 school year.

Explore the recommendation memo.

Doral Academy of Northern Nevada was approved for an additional K-8 campus for the 2023-2024 school year, primarily serving students in 89502 and 89431 zip codes.

Explore the recommendation memo.

Explore charter applications, budgets, and additional materials here.

Board Heard an Update on Approved New Charter Schools for Fall 2022

  • Battle Born Academy: The school is approved to open, serving grades K-1 and 5-6, and will be temporarily located in the Equipo Academy facility. Thirty-eight percent of seats have been enrolled, with an additional 10% in the enrollment process. Explore the update.
  • Sage Collegiate: The school facilities are scheduled to open on time. Current enrollment is at 244, and a waitlist has started in four grade levels. Grassroots efforts have continued and ramped up through several community partnerships. Explore the update.
  • PilotED Cactus Park Elementary: All updates have been included in the charter school contract amendment application above.
  • Young Women’s Leadership Academy: The school is 61% fully enrolled, with several recruitment events coming up and in the past few months. The school continues to hire for roles in math and science, as well as other positions, and has increased teacher salaries to be equitable with wages at the local school district. Explore the update.
  • Strong Start Academy: The lease agreement on the facility has been executed, and the City of Las Vegas is in the process of purchasing the 9th Bridge building for a permanent facility.  Seventy-eight students have been enrolled thus far, and teacher recruitment continues. Explore the update.

Board Approved Revisions to the SPCSA Academic Performance Framework and Organizational Framework:

The Board approved a number of proposed changes, including those to SPCSA Academic Framework performance level rating requirements to fulfill its obligation and responsibility to provide Academic Performance Framework results for SPCSA-sponsored schools; and using a 64% Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL) Student Enrollment Rate measure rate cap when an SPCSA school or zoned district participates in the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, or CEP, to support more accurate FRL rate comparisons between SPCSA schools and zoned districts.

Explore the presentation.

Changes to the SPCSA Organizational Framework included:

  • SPCSA staff verifying state assessment participation requirements through data collection processes and NDE, and as such, removing the measure from the self-certification checklist
  • Verifying schools’ governing bodies have completed training in Nevada’s Open Meeting Law and SPCSA Governance Standards
  • SPCSA staff verifying all applicable reporting requirements called for in the Reporting Requirements Manual, and as such, removing the measure from the self-certification checklist
  • SPCSA staff verifying that a school is in material compliance with student attendance requirements and as such, removing the measure from the self-certification checklist
  • Revising language to Indicator 4, Measure 16 to clarify that “the school has no known outstanding obligations with regard to payroll, unemployment, ADA, FMLA, IRS, or other federal, state and local entities”
  • SPCSA staff verifying that a school is current with all Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) obligations and as such, removing the measure from the self-certification checklist
  • Adding language to include that all governing body members of a charter school maintain compliance with fingerprint requirements pursuant to NRS 388A.323.

Explore the presentation and supplemental materials.

Board Heard an Update on Site Evaluations for the 2021-2022 School year

All schools with a charter contract in Years 1, 3, or 5 were evaluated as scheduled, for a total of 42 site evaluations with 691 classrooms observed between September 2021 and May 2022. Identified strengths include implementing strategies aimed at closing opportunity gaps, meeting students’ social-emotional learning needs, implementing MTSS through SPCSA, and use of restorative justice practices to address behavioral issues. Challenges include opportunity gaps, regressive social-emotional behaviors, teacher shortages, post-COVID challenges like learning loss and chronic absenteeism, and serving the needs of vulnerable student groups.

Explore the presentation.

Long-Range Calendar (next 3 months):

Agenda items over the next three SPCSA board meetings are anticipated to include:

  • Safe return plan updates
  • New charter school applications
  • Academic Performance Framework

Explore the long-range calendar.

The next Meeting of the SPCSA Board is scheduled for July 29, 2022 @ 9:00 am. 

Sign up to receive a notification when a new Ed-Watch post is published:

Nevada Ed Watch: 5/20/2022

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 once 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, May 20, 2022
State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting
Access the meeting agenda and playback.

What happened at this meeting? 

Public comment 

Members of the public shared comments regarding retention of students of color and additional staff training as well as matters of student safety and substance use at Legacy Traditional School.

SPCSA Charter School Governing Body Governance Standards.

The board will return to this agenda item during the June 27 meeting.

Explore the SPCSA Governance Standards.

SPCSA Executive Director’s Report

Highlights from the report include:

  • Initiatives Related to Serving All Students Equitably: Last month the Authority voted to require certain schools to submit recruitment and enrollment plans by September 30, 2022.  The plans must include specific strategies aimed at serving a student population representative of the school community, particularly those qualifying for free and reduced lunch. SPCSA staff issued guidance to the selected schools for developing their plans, with a suggested process that includes a data review, root cause analysis, and identification of strategies. Three optional virtual working sessions will be offered to support the schools with this process.
  • COVID-19 Update: Governor Sisolak formally ended the COVID-19 State of Emergency effective Friday, March 20. All SPCSA-sponsored schools, except those approved as fully distance learning schools, will return to in-person learning. Emergency substitutes will be phased out in Washoe and Clark Counties for the 2022-23 school year but will be permitted in rural communities. The provision that allows a registered nurse to oversee the COVID-19 testing lab for SPCSA schools will expire with the State of Emergency. The SPCSA is looking for a certified director with the approved credentials to continue to keep the lab open. If they are unable to hire one, SPCSA staff will transition schools to other COVID testing programs. The Safe Return to In-Person Learning Plan will remain in place through September 30, 2023.
  • New Charter School Applications: Charter school applications are due between April 15-30 each year. This year, five applicants applied, including four schools in Clark County: Mind Your Books (K-8), Rooted School (9-12), Southern Nevada Trades High School (9-12) and The Village High School (9-12). The fifth school, Method Schools of NV, withdrew their application. The next step will include external review of the applications with recommendations brought to the Authority in August. Full applications are posted on the SPCSA website and are open for public comment. One member of the Authority requested first year enrollment for the new schools, which will be available in the posted applications’ enrollment tables.
  • 2022 Sponsor Feedback Survey: Last week, SPCSA launched its annual sponsor feedback survey to SPCSA-sponsored charter school leaders, which measures dimensions such as communications with SPCSA staff, the authorizing functions, and school and grant administration support functions. The survey will remain open for one month. The results will be shared at an upcoming meeting. Thus far, 11 respondents have taken the survey.
  • Update on New Schools Opening in Fall 2022: 
    • Battle Born Academy will open with 240 students in grades K, 1, 5 and 6.  The Authority approved the school’s temporary location. With necessary modifications on track, the certificate of occupancy is expected by July 8, 2022. 
    • Sage Collegiate will open with 224 students in grades K-5. Work is being completed on the facility, but construction timelines are tight, so the school is working on contingency plans. 
    • PilotED – Cactus Park Elementary will open with 351 in grades K-4. The school is working to close the gap in enrollment paperwork.  Work is being completed on the facility, but construction timelines are tight, so the school is working on contingency plans. 
    • Young Women’s Leadership Academy will open with a planned enrollment of 150 across grades 6-9. 
    • Strong Start Academy is opening K-2 with 180 students. Through a partnership with the City of Las Vegas, the school will open in the City’s three Pre-K centers and then to partner with the City to transition to a single site facility long term. 

      Each school is on track to open in Fall 2022. In early June, enrollment audits will be conducted, which will result in initial funding.  Per pupil funding will be reconciled for schools in November.  Additionally, from a facility perspective, schools will be required to provide evidence of temporary or permanent certificate of occupancy after which SPCSA staff will perform walkthroughs of the facilities.

Charter School Contract Amendment Applications

Discovery Charter School requested a good cause exemption and received approval to acquire the current facility at Hillpoint Campus to accommodate a waitlist exceeding 220 students.

Explore Discovery Charter School’s good cause exemption request and charter amendment application.

Eagle Charter School was approved for a new location at 2025 East Sahara, which is located in the previously approved zip code of 89104. The school anticipates the majority of enrollment to come from this zip code. A Restaurant Depot is currently located in the facility. 

Explore Eagle Charter School’s good cause exemption request and charter amendment application

Additional materials including each school’s budget and SPCSA recommendation memo can be found here.

Board Approved Revolving Loan Application for Sage Collegiate

Sage Collegiate provided SPCSA staff with a business plan and budget which indicated they would have sufficient funds to make the repayments. Based on this analysis, SPCSA staff recommended approval of the loan, according to repayment terms in the memo.   

Explore the Sage Collegiate recommendation memo and revolving loan request.

Board Approved Good Cause Exemption for Pioneer Technology & Arts Academy Nevada

The board approved PTAA Nevada’s request for a good cause exemption to submit a new charter school application outside of the usual application window. Recent revisions to administrative code NAC 388A.260 changed the deadlines for new charter applications from two charter application windows to a single window in April of each year.  The code also gives the SPCSA authority to accept an application outside of the annual window upon request and for good cause.

PTAA would submit notice of intent by May 30, 2022, and would then submit an application toward the end of August 2022, which would come to the Authority for approval in December 2022.  Staff found good cause to approve submission outside of the April window, also noting that submitting next April would generate approval too late to open in Fall 2023 as planned.  

The board also heard updates on ongoing litigation. PTAA filed two lawsuits against the Authority – one of which will be dismissed, and no action will be taken on the second in the next 30 days.

Members of the board shared thoughts on the school’s decision to move forward with a new application as well as the need for both the school and the Authority to reflect on their own process and that the process be balanced on both sides. 

Explore the PTAA recommendation memo and request for good cause exemption.

Long-Range Calendar (next 3 months):

Agenda items over the next three SPCSA board meetings are anticipated to include:

  • Calendar updates due to virtual meetings – the June meeting will be on Monday, June 27 and the August meeting will be on Monday, August 29.
  • Amendment applications on the June meeting agenda.

Explore the long-range calendar.

The next Meeting of the SPCSA Board is scheduled for June 27, 2022 @ 9:00 am. 

Sign up to receive a notification when a new Ed-Watch post is published:

Nevada Ed-Watch: 4/15/22

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 once 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 15, 2022
State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting
Access the meeting agenda and playback.

What happened at this meeting? 

Public comment 

Public comment was provided on FMLA and personnel concerns.

SPCSA Executive Director’s Report

Highlights from the report include:

  • Student Equity: Last month, Nevada Prep presented its transportation plan, and this month, the Board will hear about how Beacon Academy serves students with special needs. The agency is continuing discussions around recruitment and enrollment plans to serve certain student populations and promote equitable learning environments.
  • Impacts of COVID-19: The focus is on ensuring schools have access to testing, and schools continue to evolve their COVID plans.
  • Legislative Updates: At the Interim Finance Committee, the SPCSA shared routine adjustments to grant amounts and requested two additional positions, both of which were approved.
  • Budget Prep: The agency is working on budget preparation for the next fiscal year.
  • Annual Enrollment Count: Last year’s annual enrollment data had errors identified; none were specific to SPCSA, but they are working to incorporate those minor technical corrections in SPCSA documents.

Board Heard an Update on Beacon Academy of Nevada

Beacon Academy of Nevada discussed its alternative school model, which offers at-risk high school students with a personalized education plan that provides the support and flexibility for students to graduate high school. 95% of its students fall into a high-need category. The school currently has 95 students and operates on continuous enrollment and have not turned away any students at this point. The school was accredited by COGNIA in 2022, as well. Staff provided updates on credit earning rates, graduation rates by cohort, and next steps for the school.

Explore the presentation.

Board Approved Amendments to Charter School Contracts

Beacon Academy of Nevada requested a good cause exemption and received approval to accelerate financing for its East campus.

Explore Beacon Academy’s good cause exemption letter and charter amendment application. The budget workbook, amortization schedule, and the enrollment workbook can be found here.

Girls Athletic Leadership School (GALS) was approved for a change in its charter management organization. It was approved to formally separate GALS Las Vegas from GALS Inc. and terminate its CMO agreement.

Explore the GALS recommendation memo and Notice of Termination of Contract with GALS Inc.

Battle Born Academy received approval for a temporary location for the 2022-2023 school year, at 4201 E. Bonanza Rd., Las Vegas, NV 89110.

Explore the Battle Born Academy recommendation memo and good cause exemption letter.

Board Heard an Update on Approved New Charter Schools for Fall 2022

Battle Born Academy: The school has secured a temporary facility and has submitted an updated budget, as well as received approval for an SPCSA revolving loan. Enrollment has reached about 50% and is expected to rise with the announcement of the temporary location. The school hired an Operations Director in March, as well as a full-time counselor, and is still looking for professionals in the fields of special education and ESL.

Explore the update from Battle Born Academy.

Sage Collegiate: The school is 59.4% enrolled and will begin canvassing the community in May. The facility is on track to open for the 2022-23 school year but are working on contingency plans. The school is hosting a career fair with several other charter schools on April 23.

Explore the update from Sage Collegiate.

PilotED – Cactus Park Elementary: Enrollment for the school is at 40%, and the faacility is two weeks ahead of schedule. It is 80% staffed for admin and leadership positions, 13% for teaching positions, with additional interviews taking place this month.

Explore the update from PilotED.

Young Women’s Leadership Academy: The school is 60% enrolled, with recruitment events continuing throughout April. They are also making progress with staff recruitment efforts.

Explore the update from Young Women’s Leadership Academy.

Strong Start Academy: The school is 90% enrolled in kindergarten, and 20% in Grades 1 and 2. Upcoming recruitment marketing will focus on Grades 1 and 2, and the school has established a weighted lottery system, should enrollment exceed capacity. Vendor contracts have been executed, and the City of Las Vegas is in the process of transferring funds and has also made an offer on a permanent facility. At an upcoming City Council meeting, the school will move to increase the number of board seats to nine, to ensure each ward served by the school is represented.

Board Approved a Recommendation for School to Submit Recruitment and Enrollment Plans

SPCSA presented a recommendation for schools to submit recruitment and enrollment plans in progress of increasing populations of FRL, ESL, and IEP students served. The recommendation presented included focusing on the FRL student group, as this population represented the greatest disparity, and identifying schools by comparing school FRL percentage to local district schools with the largest FRL rates. Schools making adequate progress (at least 25% increase in the enrollment of students who qualify for FRL in the prior year) were removed from the list. This process resulted in 14 schools being identified to submit recruitment and enrollment plans.

These enrollment plans include staff issuing guidance to the identified schools. Plans would need to be submitted in September 2022 and should detail recruiting and enrolling students who quality for FRL (but the schools can also explore other student groups). Strategies in the plan should fall under at least one of the following categories:

  • Raising awareness
  • Ensuring the school provides a welcoming and supportive environment for all learners, or
  • Increasing the likelihood that such students are selected through the enrollment process.

SPCSA staff will provide feedback and regular updates, and schools will implement plans and provide SPCSA staff with data regarding the effectiveness of those strategies.

Board discussion included questions on monitoring, other state models, and school feedback on the process.

Explore the recommendation memo and SPCSA FRL data.

Board Heard an Update on the SPCSA Growth Management Plan

Staff held a meeting with a community working group to review the current version of the Growth Management Plan. The updated plan will be brought to the Board in June.

Long-Range Calendar (next 3 months):

Agenda items over the next three SPCSA board meetings are anticipated to include:

  • The Growth Management Plan
  • Enrollment and staffing data reporting for new schools

Click here to see the long-range calendar.

The next Meeting of the SPCSA Board is scheduled for May 20, 2022 @ 9:00 am. 

Sign up to receive a notification when a new Ed-Watch post is published:

Nevada Ed-Watch 03/04/2022

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 once 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, March 4, 2022
State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting
Access the meeting agenda and playback.

What happened at this meeting? 

Public comment 

No public comment was provided.

SPCSA Executive Director’s Report

Highlights from the report include:

  • COVID-19 updates: Some schools are still requiring masks, while others have lifted the mask mandate. SPCSA is working on a plan, but at this time, schools are determining their masking requirements.
  • Emergency funds: 38 charter schools have requested emergency funds.
  • Next cycle: There are 14 letters of intent from September that are carrying into the next cycle. Nine letters of intent were received in January. There were 23 total letters of intent in the April cycle.

Explore the letters of intent.

Board Heard an Update on Focus on Schools: Nevada Prep Charter School Transportation

NV Prep discussed school transportation. More than 50 percent of the school’s students ride the bus, and they currently have two (with an additional two buses planned). Currently, charter schools receive no transportation funding from CCSD. The school posed requests and recommendations for assistance with more systemic solutions regarding student transportation equity.

Explore the presentation.

Board Heard an Update on Nevada Connections Academy

The school will be entering its renewal cycle by this summer, with the decision to renew by the SPCSA by the end of 2022.

Current enrollment for the school is 1,316 students, with continuing growth. The school’s performance framework target is a three-star rating and 56 total points across all indicators. The school recently held four ACT boot camps for students. Various student engagement initiatives also continue.

Explore the presentation.

Board Heard an Update on Approved New Charter Schools for Fall 2022 – Coral Academy of Science

Prior to the lottery, 1,793 applications with the Cadence Campus had been submitted for 1,850 open seats. 607 new applications have been received since the February 15 Authority meeting. Final enrollment counts will take place in October.

Community outreach for the 2021-2022 school year included door-to-door routes, flyers, phone calls, media coverage, and bilingual support for various outreach initiatives.

Explore the presentation.

 Board Heard an Update on Approved New Charter Schools for Fall 2022

  • Battle Born Academy: The school began hiring in December and had 60 applicants for 11-12 positions. Enrollment is currently 55 applications, with another 200 interested. There is a delay in a permanent facility, but the school is exploring additional partnerships, including one with Discovery Children’s Museum. No delay is expected regarding school opening.
  • Sage Collegiate: The school met its lottery for third grade, and has a wait list in three grade levels (kindergarten, first, and third). From the most recent parent/guardian survey, transportation remains a barrier for some students. The school’s facility partner is expected to close on the property located at 4100 W. Charleston Blvd., with renovations commencing soon thereafter. The school is on track to meet its July 18 TOC deadline with the authorizer.

Explore Sage Collegiate’s update.

  • Cactus Park: The school has a groundbreaking event in two months and is in the process of hiring. The school is also exploring potential partnerships for funding and enrollment, board governance training, and talent strategy.
  • Strong Start: The school has confirmed its principal/executive director and has received a $1 million grant from the City of Las Vegas. The school has started its application window and lottery approval with the SPCSA, and is working on finalizing a permanent site.
  • YWLA: The school is currently 41 percent at lottery with 60+ scholars. The lease has been finalized for the facility and are currently building a hiring pipeline.

Board Heard an Update on Charter School Recruitment and Enrollment Plans

In 2019, the SPCSA adopted a five-year strategic plan that centers on a vision of equitable access to high-quality public charter schools for Nevada students. Three goals were established regarding that plan: 1) provide families with access to high quality schools; 2) ensure that every SPCSA student succeeds, including those from historically underserved student groups; and 3) increase the diversity of students served by SPCSA schools. While the SPCSA has seen progress towards these goals, it continues to serve a disproportionately low percentage of students in three student groups – students qualifying for free and reduced-price lunch (FRL), students identified as English Language Learners (ELL), and students with disabilities (IEP).

SPCSA recommends requiring certain schools to develop and submit a recruitment and enrollment plan to supplement additional strategies it has implemented to address these discrepancies. It has proposed focusing on one group at a time, beginning with FRL students, as this has the greatest discrepancy. Proposed strategies include comparing each school’s FRL rate to each school in the district; identifying the schools with the most significant FRL rates; identifying the 25 percent of schools that have the most significant gaps in FRL rates compared to the local district; and removing any school that had at least a 25% increase in the FRL rate from the 2021-21 to 2021-22 school years. SPCSA anticipates that 10-15 schools would be identified to submit and develop a recruitment and enrollment plan.

Explore the briefing.

Board Heard an Update on Emergency Grant Funding

In June, NDE provided the SPCSA and other local educational agencies with allocations for approximately two-thirds of the anticipated ARP ESSER funding. The SPCSA allocated this funding to each charter holder based on a straight per-pupil allocation, plus a supplemental allocation for each charter holder with greater than 40% of students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch reflected in the October 2020 data.

SPCSA staff is considering allocation methodologies for the remaining one-third of the funds. Proposed approaches include carrying over the existing methodology from the first two-thirds of the ARP ESSER funding or exploring a set aside for some of the remaining funds to schools most impacted by a reduction in per pupil funding in the Pupil Centered Funding Plan transition.

Through Assembly Bill 495, the Legislature allocated an additional $15 million from the ARP Act Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds (CSFRF) to Title I charter schools. SPCSA staff have been in frequent communication with the Governor’s Finance Office regarding the timeline and process for allocating these funds.

Explore the briefing.

Board Heard a Presentation and Update on the SPCSA Growth Management Plan

SPCSA is required to provide an update for the Growth Management Plan every two years.

The 2022 Growth Management Plan will include gathering input with community working groups on March 30, 2022; meeting with school districts and NDE; and discussion with the Board in March, with possible action at the May Board meeting.

Staff members identified opportunities for revision, including updating enrollment and academic data; conducting a new survey for existing charter holders regarding possible future growth; summarizing key actions by the Authority in the last two years to further strategic goals; reevaluating existing policies and procedures; and considering opportunities for direct engagement with stakeholders to better identify community needs.

SPCSA Board comments were made regarding the importance of outreach and working groups to the plan revisions.

Explore the Growth Management Plan presentation.

Long-Range Calendar (next 3 months):

Agenda items over the next three SPCSA board meetings are anticipated to include:

  • The Growth Management Plan
  • Overview of the renewal process
  • Amendment applications

Click here to see the long-range calendar.

The next Meeting of the SPCSA Board is scheduled for April 15, 2022 @ 9:00 am. 

Sign up to receive a notification when a new Ed-Watch post is published:

Nevada Ed-Watch 2/15/2022

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.


Tuesday, February 15, 2022
State Public Charter School Authority Special Board Meeting
Access the meeting agenda.

What happened at this meeting? 

Public comment 

Members of the public provided comments regarding: 

  • The school mask mandate.
  • Feedback from students about how Coral Academy has supported their education and language development.

Find written public comment here.

SPCSA Annual Overview of the State of the SPCSA

The mission of the SPCSA is to sponsor, support, and oversee “dynamic and responsive public charter schools that prepare all students for academic, social, and economic success.”

Milestones and highlights:

  • SPCSA was authorized through a bill enacted in 2011.
  • The first meeting of the board was held on February 10, 2012 and SPCSA just hit its 10-year anniversary.
  • Melissa Mackedon, the board’s Chair, and staff member Danny Peltier have served with the Authority since its inception and will be honored with a plaque.
  • There are 70 SPCSA-sponsored schools, up from 15 schools in 2012.
  • 66% of schools overseen by the SPCSA are rated as four or five stars as last reported, up from 47% in 2012.
  • SPCSA serves 55,415 students across state-sponsored charter schools, up from 10,706 in 2012.
  • SPCSA serves 11% of public school students in Nevada.
  • Pinecrest Academy – Inspirada Campus was the first Nevada charter school recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School for the category of Exemplary High-Performing in 2021.
  • The graduation rate for 2021 was 86.8% — all but one SPCSA-sponsored high school exceeded the state’s graduation rate.
  • All SPCSA student groups are exceeding their state peers in Math and ELA.
  • 72.2% of SPCSA-sponsored schools are growing the special education student group in ELA faster than the state.

Explore the presentation.

Board Heard Update on New Charter School Campuses for Fall 2022

  • Nevada State High School – North Las Vegas Campus
    • The campus was approved on June 26, 2020. In April 2021, the Authority approved a request by the school to defer opening due to COVID-19. The school anticipates opening in Fall 2022 with 100 students in grades 11-12.

Explore the Nevada State High School update.

  • Coral Academy of Las Vegas – Cadence Campus
    • Coral Cadence Campus was approved with conditions on February 26, 2021. The school anticipates serving approximately 850 students in Pre-K through 8th grade in the initial year. 50% of students that will be served will qualify for FRL.

The board heard a presentation from representatives of Coral Academy about their community engagement initiatives and recruitment strategies. Coral Academy will return with an update on these efforts at the March meeting.

No action was taken by the board on this agenda item.

Explore the presentation.

Board Approved Staff Recommendations on the Financial Performance Framework and Ratings for the 2020-21 School Year

The Financial Performance Framework is a tool utilized to evaluate a charter school’s financial well being, health, and performance as part of ongoing monitoring and the renewal decision making process. Charter schools have the autonomy to manage their finances consistent with state and federal law; however, sponsors must ensure that the schools they sponsor are financially stable. Schools that do not meet standards can be moved to the following interventions: Notice of Concern, Notice of Breach, and Notice of Intent to Revoke. 

The board approved the following recommendations brought forth by SPCSA staff:

  • Accept performance data for all schools included in the presentation.
  • Remove the active Notice of Concern for Nevada Virtual Academy as the school is meeting standards.
  • Request a Targeted Remediation Plan from Explore Academy.
  • Issue a Notice of Concern for Signature Preparatory Academy.

Explore the presentation.

Board Approved Recommendations on Charter School Contract Amendment Applications 

  • Mater Academy of Nevada – Approved (with conditions) for the expansion of Pre-K starting the 2022-23 school year at the East campus and addition of a Dual Credit program.

Explore the recommendation memo.

  • Alpine Academy – Approved (with modifications) to increase the enrollment cap for the school from 140 to 160 for grades 9 -12 and adopt a weighted lottery policy for the 2022-23 school year.

Explore the recommendation memo.

  • Pinecrest Academy of Nevada – Approved (with modifications and conditions) to increase the enrollment caps of the existing Cadence and Sloan Canyon campuses and open Pinecrest Virtual Academy for the 2022-23 school year with an enrollment cap of 80 students in the initial year.

Explore the recommendation memo.

  • Somerset Academy of Las Vegas – Approved to adjust the enrollment cap and modify grade levels from K-8 to K-5 at the North Las Vegas campus for the 2022-23 school year as well as adopt a weighted lottery policy.

Explore the recommendation memo.

Representatives of the schools were present to share updates and answer questions from board members.

Board Heard Presentation on Charter School Enrollment and Lotteries

Public charter schools:

  • Are free and open to all students.
  • Have no admission criteria. 
  • Do not discriminate in admissions processes in accordance with NRS 388A.453(6) & NAC 388A.538.
  • Have enrollment caps.

If fewer students apply than available seats, public charter schools are not required to run a lottery. If more students apply than available seats, a lottery is required.

Public charter schools conduct a two-part enrollment process for admissions:

  • An application which includes basic information (name, DOB, age, grade, contact info) prior to the lottery.
  • A full enrollment packet with detailed information (health information, IEP, EL, emergency contact) following the lottery.

Public charter schools may have preferences that give some students enrollment priority, such as siblings currently enrolled at the school, children of employees, and students within two miles of the school. The schools may also conduct a weighted lottery to give some students a greater chance of acceptance, such as students who are economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities, students with limited English proficiency, and students experiencing homelessness.

SPCSA monitors enrollment processes and application forms for compliance with SPCSA requirements and state and federal statutes.

Explore the presentation.

Board Heard Presentation on and Approved COVID-19 Update and Plan for the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction

SPCSA staff shared updates regarding:

  • COVID Mitigation Plans: Under Emergency Directive 052, schools can either draft an additional plan that sits alongside their existing plan or draft a revised plan. The plan must include 1) a policy on face coverings, 2) a COVID-19 testing program, and 3) a method for detecting, responding to, and mitigating COVID-19 outbreaks. The plan must be passed along to the Department of Health and Human Services for approval.
  • Face Coverings: Under Emergency Directive 052, face coverings are optional in school settings and charter schools may develop a policy that requires use of them. Masks are still required on all public transportation, including school buses, and schools must continue to follow quarantine guidelines.
  • Ensuring proper handwashing, respiratory etiquette, cleaning and disinfection per CDC guidelines.

Explore the Plan for the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction.

Explore the Governor’s Emergency Directive 052.

Long-Range Calendar (next 3 months):

Agenda items over the next three SPCSA board meetings are anticipated to include:

  • A presentation on emergency funds.
  • A presentation by Coral Academy in March on their progress.

Click here to see the long-range calendar.

The next Meeting of the SPCSA Board is scheduled for March 4, 2022 @ 9:00 am. 

Sign up to receive a notification when a new Ed-Watch post is published:

Nevada Ed-Watch 1/28/2022

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, January 28, 2022
State Public Charter School Authority Special Board Meeting
Access the meeting agenda and playback.

What happened at this meeting? 

Public Comment

Members of the public shared comments regarding:

  • Inquiries about why Argent Preparatory Academy (formerly Silverstate Charter School) was closed, the impact of the school closure on students and families, how funds for the sale of the school building will be utilized, and severance pay for the school’s staff.
  • Concerns about delayed grant reimbursements that are still pending from last Spring and how this impacts the financial performance framework standing of schools.
  • Support for the opening of Pioneer Technology & Arts Academy Nevada and the benefit of its STEM, workforce preparedness, and college readiness programs for students.

Find written public comment here and here.

Executive Director’s Report

  • Initiatives Related to Serving All Students Equitably –
    • SPCSA has prepared enrollment comparison reports for each school. The reports are expected to be sent out early February. In the last two years, SPCSA has provided each school with a report of their demographics compared to the District and neighborhood schools. SPCSA staff is planning to bring a proposal to the board to require schools with significant disparities in their demographics to develop a recruitment and enrollment plan to better serve a representative population. More information will be shared in March. 
    • SPCSA conducted a training for schools on lotteries, including enrollment preferences and weighted lotteries, in an effort to ensure schools are serving their local communities.  Staff will provide an overview of the meeting in February.
  • COVID-19 update – Most SPCSA-sponsored schools have remained fully open and in person. Some schools had transitioned to virtual for a short period of time but were successfully able to return to in person learning. Changes across schools due to updated COVID guidance by the Nevada Department of Health & Human Services include reduced quarantine periods and guidelines for schools to introduce a ‘test to stay’ strategy if they have sufficient capacity to manage that approach.

  • Legislative Update –
    • On February 3, SPCSA will present information to the Interim Finance Committee regarding emergency funds that have been allocated to the SPCSA. The SPCSA will also submit two semi-annual reports regarding two new positions that were allocated during the 2021 Legislative session for the site evaluation team. 
    • SPCSA is expected to be invited to meet with the Legislative Committee on Education on the 3rd Wednesday morning of each month now through August to discuss a range of topics. The meetings also generally include updates from the Nevada Department of Education, Nevada Association of School Superintendents, and the SPCSA.
    • As of December 15, 2021, SPCSA had to submit a report regarding the evaluation of governing bodies of EMOs along with the actions taken by the authority of schools that received 1-2 star ratings.
  • Update regarding Regulation R043-21 – As of December 21, 2021, SPCSA will facilitate one application cycle per year instead of two. Applications are due April 30 with letters of intent due on January 30. Staff committed to touching base with all the applicants and notified them that all the letters of intent will automatically carry to the April cycle. SPCSA will provide an update next month on the number of letters of intent submitted.

  • Argent Preparatory Academy update – School closure was initiated in 2016 because of academic and financial reasons. The building was sold in 2018 and Joshua Kerns was named as receiver. SPCSA will expect full accounting and settling of the affairs of the school and its ‘wind-down’ by the end of the month. Settling of the affairs includes the severances that are still unpaid. The closing report delivered by Joshua Kerns will occur at the March meeting. 

Board Heard Update Regarding Charter School Contract Amendment Applications

  • Eagle Charter Schools of Nevada – The 2021 opening of Eagle Nevada has been deferred. With the current address, the necessary construction will not be completed by June. There is a condition that the lease will need to be executed by May 1. Additionally, Eagle will open with an enrollment cap of 540 students in its first year rather than 640 students.

Explore the Eagle Nevada recommendation memo.

  • Elko Institute for Academic Achievement – Elko Institute is seeing steady increase with its enrollment and is currently housed in a warehouse. The school received a more than $8 million loan for the new location which includes a new gymnasium. 

Explore the Elko Institute recommendation memo.

Board Heard Update on Approved New Charter Schools for Fall 2022

  • Battle Born Academy – Battle Born is scheduled to open for grades K, 5, and 6 this Fall. The school location was approved by the city in January 2022. The school currently has 37 applicants for enrollment and celebrated a number of grants received. 

  • Sage Collegiate – Sage is scheduled to open K-5 with over 200 students in year one. The school will be located at the former Elk’s Lodge on West Charleston Blvd and will open in August. Over 100 students are enrolled. Sage’s lottery will take place in February at the West Charleston Library. 

Explore the Sage Collegiate update.

  • PilotED Cactus Park Elementary – The permit for the school location has been completed. PilotEd Cactus Park is a recipient of the Great Schools for Nevada Charter School Program (CSP) Grant. SPCSA approved the school’s updated lottery policy. The school is currently meeting enrollment thresholds and has job postings on its website.

  • Young Women’s Leadership Academy (YWLA)  – YWLA is scheduled to open this Fall, serving 150 students in year one. The school’s enrollment policy was submitted for approval. YWLA is currently in their enrollment window with 20% of enrollment met. 

  • Las Vegas Collegiate – Las Vegas Collegiate was approved at the December 2019 SPCSA board meeting and later approved for deferral to open in 2021. Due to facility challenges, the school  was approved to instead open in 2022. The school did not meet location conditions and in November 2021 the board moved to a dissolution plan. Any funds and furniture that was purchased will be moved to another charter school. 

Explore the Las Vegas Collegiate recommendation memo and dissolution plan.

Board Heard Recommendations and Voted on Resubmitted New Charter School Applications

  • Strong Start Academy – Strong Start was approved to open with conditions that include submission of an updated lottery policy, evidence that the executive director has been hired, evidence of contracts and key service providers; evidence of a facility, and evidence that school has transportation support.

Explore the Strong Start Academy application report.

  • Pioneer Technology & Arts Academy Nevada (PTAAN) – PTAAN’s application was denied (4-3) based on factors including that student feedback was mostly from private school populations, partnerships were still in their initial stages, lack of evidence/support of parent outreach and engagement, concerns and lack of clarity for formal hiring of a school leader, and concerns about the facility.

Explore the PTAAN application report.

Board Approved Recommendations on the SPCSA Financial Performance Framework

The Financial Performance Framework is a tool utilized to evaluate a charter schools’ financial well being, health, and performance as part of ongoing monitoring and the renewal decision making process. Charter schools have the autonomy to manage their finances consistent with state and federal law; however, sponsors must ensure that the schools they sponsor are financially stable. In the process of renewing or not renewing a charter school, sponsors must determine whether the school is not only academically and organizationally sound, but also financially viable.

Approved recommendations included:

  • Accept performance data for all schools included in the presentation.
  • Remove the active Notice of Concern for Discovery Charter School as the school is Meeting Standard.

Explore the Financial Performance Framework presentation.

Explore the school performance data and recommendation memo.

Board Approved Recommendation on the SPCSA Organizational Performance  Framework

The  SPCSA Organizational Performance Framework (OPF) sets forth agreed upon expectations of performance and compliance. The Framework measures SPCSA-sponsored charter schools under five areas of focus: 1) Education Program, 2) Financial Management & Oversight, 3) Governance & Reporting, 4) Students & Employees, and 5) School Environment. Schools must reach 80% or higher on a 20-point scale in each of the five focus areas to rate as “Meets Standard.”

The board approved staff recommendation to accept the 2021–2022 Organizational Framework results as presented, and delegate to SPCSA staff the authority to provide final results to governing boards of each charter school in the coming weeks. 

Explore the Organizational Performance Framework presentation and school ratings.

Board Approved 2022 SPCSA Academic & Demographic Needs Assessment

The Academic & Demographic Needs Assessment is an evaluation of student demographic information, the academic needs of students, and the needs of students who are at risk of dropping out. When reviewing charter school applications, the Authority must consider the degree to which the proposed charter school will address the needs identified in the Needs Assessment. The SPCSA board first approved the needs assessment at the July 26, 2019 meeting. SPCSA is required to update the Needs Assessment by January 31 of each year.

Proposed revisions for 2022 include updated definitions, additional student groups such as the homeless and foster population, language around barriers to access related to transportation, updates to data metrics, inclusion of data and information on newly opened SPCSA-charter schools, and language emphasizing partnering with the community intended to be served.

The board approved the 2022 Academic & Demographic Needs Assessment with one technical change related to maps.

Explore the 2022 Academic & Demographic Needs Assessment.

Board Approved the Annual Report to Nevada’s Department of Education

Director Feiden shared that expectations for the report include a list of schools, SPCSA strategic vision, and an outline of federal grant dollars passed through to SPCSA sponsored schools.

The board approved the annual report with additional financial information to be approved in February.

Explore the report.

Long-Range Calendar (next 3 months)

Agenda items over the next three SPCSA board meetings are anticipated to include:

  • A “State of the SPCSA” presentation to be given during the February 15 board meeting. 

Explore the long-range calendar.

Sign up to receive a notification when a new Ed-Watch post is published:

Nevada Ed-Watch 12/3/2021

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.


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, December 3, 2021

State Public Charter School Authority Special Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting? 

Board Heard Overview of the Organizational and Financial Performance Frameworks

In addition to the Academic Performance Framework, the Authority reviews each school’s financial and business/operations health aligned to the Financial and Organizational Performance Frameworks. The authority rates schools across these frameworks to ensure they are in compliance with laws, regulations, and the Authority’s policies. These are taken into consideration for charter school contract renewal. Schools that do not meet standards can be moved to the following interventions: Notice of Concern, Notice of Breath, and Notice of Intent to Revoke. 

Schools will receive their preliminary rating reports in mid-December, with a full presentation of results coming before the Authority board at the January 28th meeting. 

Click here to view the presentation. 

Board Heard Overview of SPCSA Student Demographics

Presentation highlights on SPCSA enrollment rates:

  • Total enrollment in SPCSA-authorized schools for the 2021-22 school year is 55,415 students, a 4.1% increase over the prior school year, making the SPCSA Nevada’s 3rd largest Local Education Agency (LEA) behind Clark and Washoe Counties.
  • 43% of students in SPCSA-authorized schools are eligible for free or reduced lunch. 
  • Enrollment in SPCSA-authorized schools increased for students identifying as Asian, Black/African American, Two or More Races, or Hispanic/Latino, as well as for students qualifying for free and reduced lunch (FRL), students with disabilities (IEP), and English Language Learners (ELLs).
  • Enrollment decreased for students identifying as White.
  • Despite increased enrollment in student groups, when compared to the State, the SPCSA enrolled fewer students identifying as Hispanic/Latino, FRLs, IEPs, and ELLs, though the agency is making progress toward that goal.

Click here to view the presentation on student demographics.

Click here to view 2021-22 student enrollment data by school.

Board Heard Graduation Rates for SPCSA Class of 2020-2021

The 4-year graduation rate for students who graduated from SPCSA schools in May or June of 2021 was 86.8%., with 16 SPCSA schools reaching a graduation rate of 95% or higher. SPCSA students across all racial/ethnic categories, FRL, IEP, and ELL outperformed their peers across the state. 

Click here to view the presentation on graduation rates.

Click here to view 2020-21 graduation rates by school.

Board Approved Charter Renewals 

The following schools have been renewed for a six-year term: 

The following schools have been renewed for a four-year term: 

Board Approved Changes in Enrollment Lottery Policies for Schools

Futuro Academy Elementary & Equipo Academy Middle School may enter into an agreement that allows Futuro Academy students preference in the enrollment lottery at Equipo Academy.

Pinecrest Academy of Nevada will implement a weighted lottery giving 5.0 preference for students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. Click here to view the recommendation memo. 

Founders Classical Academy will implement a weighted lottery giving 3.0 preference for students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch, and a weight of 4.0 for students with disabilities. Click here to view the recommendation memo.  

Board Approved Battle Born Academy’s Application for Revolving Loan Fund

Loans via the SPCSA’s Revolving Loan Fund are provided to schools for year 1 start-up funds aligned to NRS 388A.435(2)(a), “preparing a charter school to commence its first year of operation.” Battle Born Academy’s Revolving loan fund application for $124,000 was approved by the authority board. The school is required to pay the loan back via 24 payments beginning in year two of operations at an interest rate of 3.25%.

Click here to view the Battle Born Academy recommendation memo.

Board Approved Updates to Plan for the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction 

The Plan for the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction was initially introduced in and approved in June 2021 as a requirement to receive federal funds to facilitate the reopening of schools during the pandemic. One condition of the requirement is that plans are revisited regularly. The key changes to the document are aligned to updates to testing and masking protocols, which have changed or expanded since the initial plan was adopted. Additionally, the Authority will review and provide an update to the plan at a minimum of every six months.

Click here to view the plan. 

Academic & Demographic Needs Assessment

The SPCSA is conducting its 2022 Academic and Demographic Needs assessment, which prioritizes the needs that the SPCSA will look for schools to meet in order to be approved. SPCSA is gathering input from various stakeholders including a community working group, school districts, and the Department of Education

Board Members provided input to Authority staff on what to consider in the needs assessment including foster and homeless youth, zipcodes that only have traditional district options (with consideration of available facilities), and transportation needs. Board members also discussed the need for schools to not only have plans for how they would serve students with needs, but also demonstrate that they are recruiting and serving those students.

Click here to view the needs assessment presentation. 

Click here to view the 2021 Academic and Demographic Needs Assessment.

Board Heard a Presentation on SPCSA’s Grant Monitoring Protocols

The SPCSA facilitates two types of oversight monitoring: 1) Authorizing Oversight related compliance with state and federal statutes, school performance monitoring, and site evaluations; and (2) Federal and State Program Oversight related to compliance with state and federal regulations; monitoring grants for effective use and implementation, and onsite grant evaluations.

Pursuant to 2 CFR § 200.332, SPCSA responsibilities include ensuring grant sub-awards are clearly identified for the schools; evaluating the risk of noncompliance of each school; monitoring schools to ensure grants are used as authorized; ensuring schools are audited; and taking enforcement action when necessary to help schools comply with federal statutes, regulations, and sub-award terms and conditions.

SPCSA facilitates risk-based monitoring, differentiated monitoring based on the context of each school and the likelihood that the school will have a compliance or performance issue. For example, schools with lower risk receive less monitoring, which allows the SPCSA to be more efficient. SCPSA monitors the use of grant funds by schools to ensure health in the areas of student services and well-being, sound financial stewardship, and legal compliance.

Click here to view the grant monitoring presentation.

Long-Range Calendar (next 3 months)

Agenda items over the next three SPCSA board meetings are anticipated to include:

  • Financial and Organizational Performance ratings
  • Charter school application resubmissions
  • Contract amendments related to expansions
  • State of the SPCSA
  • Updates from schools slated to open for the 2022-23 school year
  • Interim legislative session updates

Click here to view the long-range calendar.

Nevada Ed-Watch 11/5/2021

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.


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, November 5, 2021

State Public Charter School Authority Special Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting? 

Public comment: 

Members of the public provided comment on the following: 

  • Support for the approval of the application for Rooted School. 
  • Support for the model and potential outcomes aligned to Rooted School. 
  • Support for the approval of Pioneer Technology and Arts Academy (PTAA) Nevada.

Authority Held Regulatory Hearing on Update to Proposed Charter School Applications

The Authority is making changes to SPCSA regulations aligned to the submission of potential charter school applications and letters of intent. Changes include a shift from two application cycles annually to one, to be open between April 15 and April 30. Additionally, the change shifts letters of intent (LOIs) to submit an application to being due 90 days prior to the application submission, rather than 120 days. It also makes changes to the requirements outlined in the LOI, specifying information about the school, including proposed zip codes and any intention to work with a charter management organization or an education management organization. 

The approved changes will go before the legislative commission for final approval, at which time the changes will go into effect. 

Click here to view the changes. 

SPCSA Executive Director’s Report:

Report highlights:

  • Review of Plan to Return to School 
    • Upon the reopening of schools during the pandemic, SPCSA was required to develop and post a plan that was adopted at the June 25, 2021 meeting. Federal requirements indicate the SPCSA must seek input on whether to revise the plan every six months. Staff is currently reviewing their plan and anticipate minor updates. They encourage members of the public to provide input and feedback to staff. An updated version of the plan will be presented to the Authority board at the December meeting. 
  • Initiatives related to Serving All Students Equitably
    • Implementation of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support  (MTSS)
      • There are currently 23 schools in an MTSS implementation cohort to support the integration of MTSS into schools with fidelity. Staff is also preparing deep dives into school restorative justice plans alongside an expert partner.
  • COVID-19 Update
    • Since the start of the school year, there have been 791 COVID-19 cases for students on and off-campus, resulting in approximately 2,000 students/educators being impacted by quarantine or closures. 
    • The SPCSA will work with state and local health agencies upon the rollout of additional vaccines for children now that they have been approved by the FDA. 

Board Approved Charter School Contract Amendment Applications

  • Sage Collegiate Charter School – Approved 
    • Sage Collegiate Charter School’s amendment to add additional grades for their year one opening was approved by the Authority. Sage Collegiate will now open with grades K-5 rather than K-2. Click here to view the staff memo. 
  • Eagle Charter Schools of Nevada – Approved 
    • Eagle Charter Schools of Nevada’s amendment to move their school’s location to the 89110 zip code was approved by the Authority. The relocated facility is located in an area of need as identified by the SPCSA. Click here to view the staff memo. 

Board Reviewed Six 6) New School Applications for Approval or Denial

SPCSA staff presented information to the Board about new school applicants, followed by Board discussion and an opportunity for each school to present before the Board.

Pilot Ed Cactus Park ES: Approved with conditions 

Cactus Park ES was approved with the following conditions:

  • By January 1, 2022, and before the school begins accepting student applications, provide an updated lottery policy that complies with Nevada Revised Statutes and Nevada Administrative Code.
  • By February 1, 2022, identify and onboard at least one additional board member who has experience and expertise in finance.
  • Provide a quarterly report to SPCSA staff during the incubation year on the status of fundraising and grant awards as well as a description of any impacts to the school’s budget.
  • Provide updates regarding the newly established CMO.
  • Clarify terms of the consulting agreement to detail specific services to be provided during the incubation year, as outlined in the incubation plan and scale strategy.
  • Complete the SPCSA pre-opening process for new charter schools.

Click here to view the Cactus Park ES staff report.

Young Women’s Leadership Academy (YWLA): Approved with conditions 

YWLA was approved with the following conditions: 

  • By January 1, 2022, and before the school begins accepting student applications, provide an updated school enrollment policy that makes clear that any student, regardless of gender, may apply and enroll at the school.
  • By March 1, 2022, YWLA will submit board-approved procurement policies.
  • By July 1, 2022, YWLA should submit a long-term facility plan to SPCSA staff for review to ensure that the school has sufficient space beyond year one of operations.
  • By July 1, 2022, YWLA Las Vegas enters into a memorandum of understanding with one or more community colleges, state colleges and universities to offer dual credit courses pursuant to NRS 389.310.
  • By July 1, 2022, YWLA Las Vegas provides a signed attestation by both the lessor and YWLA Board Chair confirming that the proposed year one facility and organization will not exercise any control over the educational program of the charter school, pursuant to NRS 388A.090.
  • Complete the SPCSA pre-opening process for new charter schools.

Click here to see the YWLA staff report. 

Strong Start Academy: Denied

The SPCSA staff did not recommend the application for Board approval. The Board concurred with staff’s recommendation not to approve the application due, in part, to concerns regarding proposed vendors relationships that are underdeveloped and lack of clarity regarding how elements of the proposed academic program can be executed.

Click here to see the Strong Start Academy staff report. 

Wallace Stegner Academy: Denied

The SPCSA staff did not recommend the application for Board approval. The Board concurred with staff’s recommendation not to approve the application due, in part, to the timeline for hiring the school principal and potential cash shortages in the first year of operations.

Click here to see the Stegner Academy staff report. 

Pioneer Technology and Arts Academy (PTAA) Nevada: Denied

The SPCSA staff did not recommend the application for Board approval. The Board concurred with staff’s recommendation not to approve the application due, in part, to concerns regard the engagement of proposed board members and the process for selecting and hiring the principal.

Click here to see the PTAA staff report. 

Rooted School – Clark County: Denied (5-3) 

The SPCSA staff did not recommend the application for Board approval. The Board concurred with staff’s recommendation not to approve the application due, in part, to concerns about how the academic plan will be executed and the financial viability of the school.

Click here to see the Rooted School staff report. 

Long-Range Calendar (next 3 months:)

Agenda items over the next three SPCSA board meetings are anticipated to include:

  • Focus on Schools Update  

Click here to see the long-range calendar.

Nevada Ed-Watch 8/27/2021

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.


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, August 27, 2021

State Public Charter School Authority Special Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting? 

SPCSA Executive Director’s Report:

Report highlights:

  • SPCSA staff and Authority board member update
    • Following the close of Member Kirner’s term on July 30, 2021, SPCSA is excited to welcome Javier Trujullo to the board. Member Trujillo was unable to attend the August 27 meeting and will be in attendance October 1. SPCSA is in the process of filling one vacancy and hiring for five new positions which are authorized to begin October 1.
  • Initiatives related to Serving All Students Equitably
    • SPCSA staff recently participated in DEI training. Two of the training sessions were also available to school staff.
    • The SPCSA Focus on Schools agenda item will continue at the October 1 meeting. Under this agenda item, SPCSA invites schools that share about their initiatives regarding equity.
  • Update on the Summer Cycle for New Charter School Applications
    • SPCSA is in the process of reviewing nine applications that were submitted during the summer application cycle. Capacity interviews with the schools have been scheduled. All nine applications are posted on SPCSA website along with a public comment form for each. SPCSA anticipates bringing recommendations for all nine applications to the November 5 board meeting.
  • Nevada Legislative Session Interim Period Expected Reporting and Presentations
    • During the Legislative Session Interim Period, SPCSA has been engaging with Legislative Committees and anticipates participating in the Interim Education and Interim Finance Committees. As part of their committee commitments, SPCSA will  also provide semi-annual site evaluation reports.
  • Proposed Regulatory Changes (Nevada Administrative Code 388A.260)
    • SPCSA is contemplating proposed changes to its application process and timeline in a forthcoming workshop. Members of the public will be invited to join in person or virtually. A regulatory hearing will follow.
  • COVID-19 Update
    • Most SPCSA-sponsored schools have opened for their first day of school. The earliest first day opening was Aug 5 and the latest is September 7. 
    • SPCSA is continuing to engage with schools to keep in touch and share and gather information. School liaisons are also in place who help to report updates from schools back to SPCSA on a monthly basis.
    • Schools continue to report positive COVID-19 cases in students and staff, in aggregate, that occur at SPCSA-sponsored school sites.
    • SPCSA staff is focused on expanding COVID19 testing on school sites.  With the support of the Department of Health and Human Services, SPCSA is in the process of setting up a mobile testing option that schools can take advantage of. Trained testing staff will go to schools every week.

Board Approved Charter School Contract Amendment Applications

  • Oasis Academy

The SPCSA board approved a request by Oasis Academy for a good cause exemption to enable the school to pursue acquiring the facility they are currently leasing at 920 W. Williams Avenue in Fallon, Churchill County. The school building is located adjacent to Western Nevada Community College’s Fallon Campus. Oasis’ enrollment for the 2020-21 school year was 689 pupils. Acquisition of the current school building will allow Oasis to double its space and create cost savings while doubling capacity of the school. Approval is subject to the condition that the school submit monthly updates on the status of acquiring the building and to amend relevant ERC or the termination of this acquisition option.

One board member who is on staff at Oasis Academy recused themselves from voting.

Click here to see the Oasis Academy recommendation memo.

  • Nevada Prep
    • Nevada Prep was approved to occupy a new permanent facility on Betty Lane in North Las Vegas. That facility had experienced delays which consequently delayed the start of school. The school is offering programming at DISCOVERY Children’s Museum for families that were counting on having their children back in school in August. The Certificate of Occupancy for the Betty Lane building has come through and the school is expected to open on September 7.

With the opening of Nevada Prep on September 7, the board did not find a reason to vote on this agenda item.

Board Approved Proposed Updates to the Site Evaluation Process 

The SPCSA conducts school site evaluations for the purpose of exercising oversight, monitoring schools, gathering feedback from schools, and document progress to goals in school charters. Site evaluations focus on 1) academic performance, 2) each school’s organizational effectiveness, and 3) each school’s commitment to its charter and the charter contract.

To continually improve site evaluations, the SPCSA implements annual improvements to the site evaluation process based on feedback from schools. The board approved the following five proposed changes to its site evaluation process: 

  • Randomization of Staff Focus Group participants
    • Ensures that focus groups are not composed of individuals that are both staff and staff/parents within the school as this is not representative of the staff body.
  • Reduce Redundancies of items requested and better align the review of documents
    • Ensures SPCSA is not requesting information from schools that is already documented by the SPCSA.
  • Improve the level of high-quality data collection and reporting
    • Looks for clear data alignment so that there are several sources of data collected to back up information presented in site evaluations
  • Increase the number of classroom observations conducted at each school
    • Previously, 2-3 site evaluators were assigned per school with a minimum of one class observation per grade level. The number of classroom evaluations will be increased so that the data will be more representative of all of the classrooms in the school.
  • Three ways of increasing our differentiation processes
    • If a school has previously received a strong recommendation or a difficenity on a recent site evaluation, SPCSA will follow it up with routine progress checks every three months to ensure recommendations are addressed and to document and collect evidence.
    • Any school identified as having a star rating of 2 or below or those with a Notice of Concern or Notice of Breach will automatically undergo a full site evaluation every year until there is improvement.
    • Schools with a 4- or 5-star rating per recent NSPF data will undergo an abbreviated site evaluation, forgo the focus group portion, and receive limited classroom observations during their third year of charter.

Click here to view the Site Evaluation presentation.

Board Discussed Governance Standards for Sponsored Charter Schools 

Assembly Bill 419 (2021) requires each charter school sponsor to establish standards for the governance of sponsored charter schools. SPCSA staff reviewed research on effective boards governance from location and national standards and studies. Staff conducted three focus groups with the board members of sponsored schools. 13 of the 38 SPCSA-sponsored schools participated in these focus groups. The focus groups centered around three questions:

  • What are the most important functions/responsibilities of charter school boards?
  • What topics are most important for charter school boards to discuss in board meetings?
  • What are the characteristics of effective charter school boards?

Based on research and focus groups, SPCSA staff drafted the following six governance standards for board review:

  • Focus on Student Growth, Achievement and Social and Emotional Wellbeing
    • This standard is about setting goals for student outcomes, monitoring progress, and using data to inform decisions.
  • Manage Financial Resources Responsibly
    • This standard is about making sure the school is financially healthy short- and long-term.
  • Ensure Strong Leadership and Effective Partnerships
    • This standard focuses on strong leadership and ensuring partners (including CMOs, EMOs, and other vendors) are providing quality services that meet the needs of schools.
  • Ensure an Effective, and Well-Run Organization
    • This standard focuses on meeting legal and compliance requirements, open meeting law, bylaws, and organization and operational performance such as emergency preparedness.
  • Operate in Service of your School Community
    • This standard is about operating transparently and responding to the needs of the communities served.
  • Act Strategically
    • This standard focuses on the school’s strategic plan, mission and vision, and board governance.

Board members shared feedback including the need to streamline clear Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on board responsibilities, ensuring clarity of the role of the SPCSA, imbedding governance standards in site evaluations, supporting school boards in meeting the governance standards,  and providing training for school boards.

A final version of the draft governance standards is expected to be presented to the board at the October 1 meeting.

Click here to view the draft governance standards.

Long-Range Calendar (next 3 months:)

Agenda items over the next three SPCSA board meetings are anticipated to include: 

  • A final governance standards document.
  • A plan to provide an update on SPCSA’s ESSER Grant, Part A application, due September 10.
  • A Focus on Schools agenda item.
  • A substantial focus on academic standards.
  • Remarks from leaders of schools that are under Notice of Breach will speak to us about the school’s academic performance and plans and strategies for the coming year.
  • Remarks and progress updates from leaders of new schools slated to open in Fall 2022, including Battler Born Academy, Eagle Academy, Las Vegas Collegiate, and Sage Collegiate.
  • Annual Count Day data and demographic data.
  • Graduation rates, application renewals, contract amendments.

SPCSA board requested a future agenda item on Special Education funding and its impact on schools. Click here to see the long-range calendar.

Nevada Ed-Watch 7/30/21

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, July 30, 2021

State Public Charter School Authority Special Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting? 

Public Comment #1

Members of the public provided comment regarding: 

  • Concerns about cuts to federal charter school funding and charter schools that utilize for-profit services not being eligible to receive federal funding.
  • CSAN is planning a best practices seminar on September 24th, and they are looking for presenters who would like to share about any topic they feel their school does well.
  • Concerns over rising COVID-19 cases and students returning to school.
  • Concerns over distance learning program options for students who do not want to return to in-person learning. 
  • Concerns over masking mandate.  

Click here to view public comments submitted online.

Consent Agenda Highlights: 

SPCSA Executive Directors’ and SPCSA Staff Report:

Report highlights:

  • Over the past year, the Authority has worked to support schools in their efforts to serve all students equitably and uphold the SPCSA’s values of equity and diversity. Some of the steps taken to date include: 
    • updates to Site Evaluations,
    • updates to the charter school contract amendment & renewal application, 
    • increased accessibility to equity data 
    • Meetings and discussions around 1) efforts to increase access to quality professional development on restorative justice, culturally responsive practices, and diversity, equity and inclusion; 2) opportunities to reduce information and access barriers for historically underserved student groups; and 3) data regarding the demographics of staff in comparison to demographics of the student body.
    • SPCSA-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion training 
  • The Authority received nine complete new charter school applications. These applications should be posted to the SPCSA website next week and will likely be discussed at the November meeting. Click here to view applications. 
  • SPCSA staff and Authority board welcomed a new member, Erica Mosca 
  • The SPCSA has outlined their Annual Initiatives for the 2021-22 school year. 
    • Annual Reporting and Document Management 
      • Reevaluate and re-tool the SPCSA’s processes and systems for collecting and disseminating data, information and reports to meet statutory and regulatory requirements as a charter school sponsor and local educational agency. 
    • Library of Resources 
      • The SPCSA will develop a library of resources that is constantly accessible to schools, which includes guidance documents, manuals, FAQs and training videos. 
      • Five new staff will be added to the SPCSA: two staff members will be site evaluators, two staff members will be education programs (one for grants and one for fiscal), and one staff member will be a grant project analyst.
      • A newsletter explaining best practices for educators was mentioned as the initial steps to better connect charter schools. 
    • Click here to see initiatives. 
  • Governance Standards for Sponsored Charter Schools.
    • Per Assembly Bill 419, the SPCSA must establish governance standards for their sponsored charter schools and provide training on the governance of charter schools. Each member of the governing body of a charter school must also complete training before the opening of the school and every three years thereafter. 
      • Research is currently underway to develop governance standards. Focus groups will be held during the end of July and early August to gather input. The standards will be brought forward at the August 27, 2021 board meeting and brought back to the authority for final approval in October. Click here to see governance standards. 

Board Heard COVID-19 Update

SPCSA staff provided the Authority with an update regarding issues related to COVID-19, including COVID-19 mitigation measures for the 2021-22 school year.

  • COVID-19 mitigation measures are delegated to charter school sponsors. The SPCSA recommends that schools follow all CDC guidance and any guidance from local health officials. 
  • On July 27, the CDC released guidance, recommending that both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear masks in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission. In accordance with Emergency Directive 045, Nevada automatically adopts the latest CDC guidance. 
  • As of now, mask requirements for students nine years of age and younger are not required to wear masks, although there may be changes to these requirements. 
  • All charter school employees in Clark County are required to wear face coverings while at school regardless of vaccination status. 
  • There are distance education options for students. The minimum requirements state that schools are required to provide distance education for students who have medical conditions that keep them from participating in person and students who have to quarantine. 
  • Testing: antigen rapid testing may possibly be used for screening this year, as well as a mobile testing unit. 
    • The funding for this testing comes from the federal government and will be implemented by the Department of Health and Human Services. 
  • Click here to see the update. 

Board Approved Charter School Contract Amendments

  • TEACH Las Vegas has been approved to reduce enrollment from 325 to 150 for the 2021-22 school year. 16 classrooms at their location will be subleased to Explore Academy. Additionally, the school will postpone their transportation plan until the 2022-23 school year. Click here to view the staff recommendation memo.  
  • Girls Athletic Leadership School has been approved for  the use of a short-term contingency facility at the Boys and Girls Club in the event that GALS does not have a Certificate of Occupancy for their new school site at 4220 South Maryland Parkway by August 3, 2021. This request was made to ensure GALS is able to maintain their August 9th start date. Click here to view the staff recommendation memo. 

Board Heard Update from Nevada Connections Academy

Aligned to their charter agreement, Nevada Connections Academy provided an update on their progress to improve their Star Rating from one to three stars in three years. NCA has invested in reading, math, and ACT prep and are implementing a new grading framework. NCA is also offering three graduation pathways aligned to college and career readies, including AP/Honors courses, CTE pathways, and dual enrollment with Truckee Meadow Community College.

Click here to view the full presentation.

Board Heard Updates from Quest Academy

Quest Academy provided a brief update regarding their governing board, academic performance, and financial performance. Moving forward, Quest Academy will shift to quarterly board updates. 

Click here to see the full update. 

Board Heard Updates from Discovery Charter 

Discovery Charter currently has 538 enrolled students and no current staff vacancies. They have implemented ACE and GATE programs and have a reopening plan in place. Moving forward, Discovery Charter School will shift to quarterly board updates. 

Board Heard Updates from CIVICA Nevada Career & Collegiate Academy

CIVICA Nevada Career and Collegiate Academy has 546 students registered and no staff vacancies. Construction on their school building is almost complete, and they will soon be able to receive their certificate of occupancy. 

Click here to see the presentation. 

Board Heard Overview of Charter School Renewal Process

SPCSA staff provided the Authority with an overview of the charter school renewal process

Click here to see the full presentation, including information and data used to make renewal recommendations and the SPCSA staff approach to recommendations. 

Board Heard Proposed Regulatory Changes to Charter School Applications

SPCSA staff is considering shortening the length of notice for Letters of Intent from 120 days to 90 days. Additionally, staff is considering moving from two application windows to a single application window each year. Prior to any formal regulatory changes, the SPCSA would hold a regulatory workshop as well as a regulatory hearing, and any regulatory changes approved by the Authority would ultimately be subject to approval by the Legislative Commission.

Click here to see proposed regulatory changes. 

Long-Range Calendar

  • August meeting: proposed changes to site evaluation process, proposed governance standards presented 
  • October meeting: review of academic performance, discussion of how ESSER funds are being used 
  • November meeting: new charter school applications reviewed 

Click here to see the long-range calendar.

Sign up to receive a notification when a new Ed-Watch post is published: