The Ed-Watch series is designed to increase access to information on decisions being made regarding public education in Clark County and Nevada.
Nevada State Board of Education
What is the State Board of Education & what are they responsible for? The Nevada State Board of Education adopts regulations based on Nevada laws, which are passed down to individual school districts in Nevada to implement. The Board has 11 total (7 appointed and 4 publicly elected) members.
How often does the State Board meet? The Nevada State Board of Education meets once per month on Thursdays at 9:00AM. Click here to see the 2021 Board Meeting Schedule. Click here to visit Hope For Nevada’s #NVEd Calendar.
Can community members engage at State Board Meetings? A time for public comment is provided at the beginning (for agenda items) and at the conclusion (on any matter) of each Board meeting. Members of the public may provide public comment in writing via email; public comment will be accepted via email for the duration of the meeting and shared with the State Board of Education during the public comment periods. Public comment may be emailed to NVBoardED@doe.nv.gov.
Thursday, January 28, 2021
Nevada State Board of Education Meeting
What happened at this meeting?
Members of the public provided public comment regarding:
- Score range changes for Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) to allow for consistency with other educator groups in the Nevada Educator Performance Framework (NEPF)
- Concerns about the impact of proposed K-12 budget on students
- Support for Felicia Ortiz as President of the State Board of Education
- Concerns around data presented on attrition carry over dollars
- Support for the needs of blind and visually impaired students
Vice President’s Report: Introduction of New Board Members
The Board’s Vice President Mark Newburn welcomed three new members to the board:
- Tim Hughes, District 1
- Katie Coombs, District 2
- Dr. René Cantú, District 4
The new members had already taken their oaths of office, attended the December State Board of Education meeting, and attended a learning workshop regarding the profile of learning. The new board members expressed their excitement to join the board and move Nevada education forward.
Click here to learn more about the Nevada State Board of Education members.
Recognizing Inspirational School Employees (RISE) Award
- The RISE Award was established in 2019 by the U.S Department of Education (The Department) to honor classified school employees who provide exemplary service to students in Pre-K through high school. As outlined in the process for nominating school employees, The Department “invites the governor of each state and the chief executive of the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Outlying Areas to nominate up to two classified school employees by November 1 annually.” In Nevada, nominations were sent to Governor Sisolak who selected two out of five finalists to represent Nevada for nomination to The Department. The two finalists are:
- Kim Ruiz, an instructional aide for Humboldt County School District. Her work in modifying curricula supporting the Comprehensive Life Skills program at Winnemucca Junior High School allows differently abled students, including students who are non-verbal or parapalegic, to fully participate in STEM courses.
- Victor Garcia-Mendez, who is currently one of four English Language Learning paraprofessionals. He is credited with creating the iCAN initiative to support parents and guardians of English Language Learners.
The three other finalists were also recognized:
- Kass Woods, Instructional Aid at Virginia City Middle School in Storey County School District
- Isabella, Instructional aid at Kermit R. Booker Elementary School in Clark County School District
- Danielle Buckaloo, Instructional Aide at Humboldt County School District’s Albert M. Lowry High School
Click here to learn more about the Governor’s RISE Award nominees. The winner will be announced by the U.S. Department of Education in Spring 2021.
Nevada History Teacher of the Year
- Educator Kristen Tester, a teacher at Winnemucca Junior High School in Humboldt County, was recognized as Nevada State History Teacher of the Year by Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History for her outstanding instruction and leadership in American History.
- The Superintendent shared that many rural school districts have already completed vaccinations of educators and staff that wish to participate. As outlined in Nevada’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program Playbook, Nevada State Immunization Program (NSIP) has solicited information and feedback from state agencies, including the SBOE. The SBOE has provided to the health district a list of staff members that would like to participate in the vaccination–staff members that work inside of a building are prioritized in the list.
Commission on School Funding Update
- The Commission on School Funding, which oversees the development of Nevada’s new K-12 public school funding formula, is scheduled to reconvene on Feb 4th and 5th. The Superintendent shared that the Commission continues to have engaging and thoughtful conversations around optimal funding including the definition and steps to reach optimal funding for education in Nevada. At its next meeting, the Commission will also have its third conversation about revenue sources that may be able to support optimal funding.
- The Nevada Legislative Session begins on Monday, February 1. The Legislative Counsel Bureau has shared that meetings will begin virtually with only lawmakers, staff, and a small number of media allowed in the building. Meetings will be streamed live via Zoom and the Legislature’s YouTube channel. The SBOE continues to have meetings with legislators as they look at bills that have been proposed, and is continuing to host meetings with parent organizations, PTAs, labor organizations, and other advocacy groups to gain an understanding of context across the state.
- The SBOE also continues to have conversations about bills filed by the Governor on behalf of the SBOE, including bills related to pandemic emergency plans, work-based learning and Perkins 5, open meeting laws requirements to increase collaboration between education providers, licensure, school disciple, and better streamlining of the work with commissions and task forces.
The Nevada 2021 State Teach of the Year
- Juliana Urtubey, a learning strategist at Booker Elementary School, was named Nevada’s 2021 Teacher of the Year. Urtubey is also 1 of 4 finalists that will represent Nevada in the National Teacher of the Year competition, the first time the state has had a national finalist since the 1960s. The Superintendent shared enthusiasm for Urtubey’s candidacy and representation of Nevada.
Board Elected New President and Vice President
State statute NRS 385.030 stipulates that after electing new members to the board, the State Board of Education must also elect one of its members as President. The President and Vice President of the SBOE are voted to a two-year term and have the same responsibilities as all board members. The President’s additional responsibilities include attending external meetings, discussing and planning board meeting agendas, and delivering the President’s Report. The Vice President stands in for the President when they are not available.
The board elected Felicia Ortiz as President of the SBOE (5-2) and Mark Newburn as Vice President. (6-1).
Board Approved Consent Agenda
- Approval of Humboldt County School District’s Work-Based Learning Program Application
- Approval of the Biennial Class Size Reduction Report on class size ratios for the fiscal years 2020 and 2021
- Approval of the recommendation to re-license Greater Las Vegas Academy, a private school in Clark County, for a two-year period
The Board unanimously approved the consent agenda as well as a request to remove Item 7a, Possible Approval of Instructional Materials, from the vote for further review.
Board Heard Update on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Workgroup
The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Workgroup of the Nevada State Board of Education (SBOE) was created to address equity issues across the state. The workgroup last met January 7th to close out their accomplishments with technology initiatives and to discuss next steps. The workgroup will be looking into how to increase access to STEM and college level courses in Nevada. Member Tim Hughes volunteered to join the workgroup.
Board Heard Presentation on Federal Coronavirus Relief Funding
Nevada is allocated funds under the following Cares Act funding sources:
- $117,185,045 under Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) for instructional support & family wraparound services
- $26,477,349 under Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) that allow flexible funds to provide emergency support
- $50,000,000 under Assembly Bill 3 (2020) to support deficits as a result of the loss of in-person intensive instruction
- $10,000,000 under Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) for public health expenditures
Nevada is allocated the following funds under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act:
- $477,322,438 under ESSER II for instructional support & family wraparound services; allocation of ESSER funds is informed by Title 1A methodology and can be spent on all students, 10% of which can be used for statewide activities.
- $31,385,542 under GEER II that allow flexible funds to provide emergency support; GEER II includes a portion of funds reserved for emergency assistance to non-public schools (EANS) funds.
Click here to view the Federal Coronavirus Relief Funding presentation.
Board Discussed the Nevada Addendum to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Consolidated State Plan for the 2020-2021 School Year
In response to COVID-19 in March 2020, the Nevada Department of Education received approval from the U.S. Department of Education to waive the following Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requirements for the 2019-2020 school year:
- Administering federally required assessments
- Accountability and school identification
- Report card reporting provision related to certain assessments and accountability
In October 2021, The U.S. Department of Education released a COVID-19 state plan addendum for state education agencies (SEAs) to amend specific aspects of their state ESEA Consolidated State Plan for the 2020-21 school year. Those changes give SEAs the ability to delay timelines aligned to student learning progress, equity, and accountability for schools in need of improvements.
The NDE will propose to again roll over star ratings and accountability data for the 2018-2019 school year under the The Nevada State Performance Framework (NSPF). New star ratings, and associated accountability measures, were not assigned for the 2019-2020 school year. Schools will be provided with the total number of points they received towards the categories that make up their star rating.
- Addendum Part One:
- Elementary, Middle, and High School Academic Achievement: Measurement of 2019-20 interim progress goals will be paused until 2021-2022.
- Academic Growth Closing Opportunity Gaps: As each of these indicators requires two years of consecutive data, these metrics will not be calculated.
- Graduation Rate: Since Nevada was able to report on graduation rates last year, there’s no anticipated change in this measure.
- English Language Learner (ELL) Proficiency: Since Nevada successfully completed its ELL reporting, there is no anticipated change in this measure.
- School Quality and Student Success Indicators:
- Chronic Absenteeism: NDE is proposing the chronic absenteeism rate not be calculated for 2020-21 and that no index points are assigned and no incentive points are applied.
- Academic Learning Plans and Grade Sufficiency: Data is available from the 2019-20 school year; no change in calculation.
- Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) and Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI): NDE is proposing that there be no new identifications for the 2020-21 school year.
- Addendum Part Two:
- School Identification – CSI and ATSI: No identification of new schools for the 2020-21 school year.
- School Identification – TSI: NDE is proposing to submit a waiver not to identify TSI.
- Exiting Schools from Identification: CSI, ATSI, & TSI – Submit addendum to delayed timeline one year.
Click here to view the presentation.
Board Heard Information on the Blue Ribbon Commission for a Globally Prepared Nevada
The purpose of the Commission is to make recommendations to adjust our current policy framework to meet today’s learning conditions. The commission examines multiple state laws and recommendations with the goals of recommending revisions. Members of the commission include parents, students, district leaders, higher education, community, and Nevada legislators.
Additionally, the board heard from Dr. Andrew Yoxsimer, principal at Incline High School in Washoe County, who has implemented competency based learning (CBL) for students. Grading in a CBL system is based on students demonstrating mastery of the content. The principal shared that the transition to CBL has allowed for a focus on learning, rather than grades, to better grasp what a student knows or has learned. Incine is in its second year of a 5-year transition plan to CBL. The school has experienced some challenges in the transition plan, including the impact of COVID-19 and distance learning on educator professional development and the development of proficiency scales and seat time.
Click here to view the presentation.
Board Heard Presentation on Addressing Youth Needs and Nevada School Wellbeing Surveys
The Nevada School Wellbeing Survey was offered as a free resource for local education agencies (LEAs) statewide to assist in gathering student, family, and staff voice regarding current challenges they may be facing, with the goal of helping LEAs plan for a successful second half of the school year. LEAs were most interested in receiving feedback on five key categories: mental health, basic needs, conditions for learning, engagement, and supports for social emotional learning (SEL). There were 8,890 total respondents, which included 3,002 students, 3,518 families/caregivers, and 2,370 staff. The presentation outlined key takeaways as well as next steps for the Nevada Department of Education, which include providing reports to LEAs and schools, assisting districts and school leaders with interpreting the results, and working with partners in schools to identify resources and supports for school communities.
Click here to view the Nevada School Wellbeing Survey presentation.
The Address Youth Needs Survey was administered to identify youth educational and mental health needs across the state during the pandemic, share resources to address the needs, and inform current and post-pandemic educational delivery. There were a total of 1,306 respondents, including community members, district personnel, school administrators, teachers, and parents and families. The most important education issues shared by respondents include communication among school/teachers/students/parents, quality of distance education, safety of children at school, and socio-emotional health of students.
Click here to view the Address Youth Needs Survey presentation.
Board Heard Overview of 2019-2020 Nevada Educator Performance Framework
The annual performance of school administrators, teachers, teacher-librarians, and other licensed educator professions (OLEP), is measured by the Nevada Educator Performance Framework. Performance is measured against the three (3) categories listed below, varying by “weight,” or how much a category will impact the overall rating. Based on total scores, teachers, teacher librarians, school administrators and OLEP’s are ranked overall as:
- Highly Effective
Additionally, the board approved a recommendation by the Teachers and Leaders Council, who is responsible for reviewing NEPF data, to utilize historical score ranges for teachers and building administrators to be used for all educator groups for the 2020-2021 school year.
Click here to view the presentation.
Board Approved Recommendations to Support Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Blind, and Visually Impaired Children
Senate Bill 203 was signed into law in 2019 following the 80th Legislative Session to improve services for the language development of children who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or visually impaired. SB203 requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction to establish within the NDE the Advisory Committee on Language Development for Children Who Are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Blind, or Visually Impaired who makes recommendations to the SBOE on criteria. Board members approved six recommendations developed and presented by the committee:
Click here to view the presentation.
Board Heard Presentation on Nevada Class Sizes & Educator Workforce
One year ago, the NDE began working with Data Insight Partners in order to understand the current state and impact of Nevada class sizes. Data Insight Partners presented findings that included data spanning 20 years from districts and agencies. The report focused on answering five questions:
- What is the biggest threat to academic gains our students have made?
- According to the report, teacher shortage is the biggest threat to academic gains. The recommended class size as established by the SBOE is 15 for grades 1-3 and 25 for grades 4-12. Last year, 374,424 students, which represents approximately 87% of all students in Nevada or every 9 in 10 students, were in a class larger than the recommended size.
- How many teachers does Nevada need?
- Nevada’s total teacher count is 19,527. A total of 2,133 additional teachers are needed in grades 1-5 and 930 in grades 6-12 to meet SBOE recommendations, conservatively. The national average of students to teachers is 14:9. To meet the national average, Nevada needs almost 10,000 more teachers.
- Do students have equitable access to teachers?
- Data Insights Partners defines an experienced teacher as a teacher with 3 or more years of experience. In Nevada’s grade 1-3 classes, white students have the most access to experienced teachers but larger class sizes; Hispanic and Black students have smaller class sizes but less access to experienced teachers. White students are 30% more likely to have an experienced teacher.
- In grades 4-6, white students have more access to experienced teachers than black students.
- In grades 6-12, Asian and White students have the most access to experienced teachers but larger class sizes.
- In general, Black and Hispanic students have smaller class sizes but less experienced teachers.
- Is access to experienced teachers associated with disparate student outcomes?
- In the class size report, 5-star schools are shown to have larger class sizes but more access to experienced teachers while 1-star schools have smaller class sizes but less access to experienced teachers, indicating that access to experienced teachers is associated with disparate student outcomes.
- What obstacles does Nevada face?
- Nevada ranks second from the bottom in the national educator pipeline. The average state has three program completers, while Nevada is only putting out about 1.5 program completers for every 1,000 students. The national pipeline is shrinking and Nevada’s pipeline is not expanding at the rate to make up for the drop in the national pipeline. Due to the shrinking pipeline, Nevada is reliant on other states to prepare approximately 60% of its teachers.
Click here to view the presentation.
Future Agenda Items
- Follow up presentation on student well-being
- Results of data being collected from districts on the impact of distance learning
Sign up to receive a notification when a new Ed-Watch post is published: