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 2020 Board Meeting Schedule. Click here to visit Hope For Nevada’s #NVEd Calendar.
Can community members engage at State Board Meetings? A time for public comment is provided at the beginning (for agenda items) and at the conclusion (on any matter) of each Board meeting. There is a time limit of three minutes per speaker. Members of the community providing testimony must fill out a visitor card, available on-site the day of the meeting.
Thursday, October 8, 2020
Nevada State Board of Education Meeting
What happened at this meeting?
Members of the public provided testimony regarding:
- Concerns about inequitable distance learning workloads for students across the state
- Concerns about the ongoing implementation of the Reorganization of the Clark County School District
- Concerns that proposed Nevada Academic Content Standards for health education do not comply with Nevada law
- Concerns over support of AJR 1 to increase mining tax to generate new revenue for Nevada that could be directed to education
- Concerns over significant drop in enrollment of English Language Learners (ELLs) and school districts’ identification of ELL students
- Vice President Newburn congratulated Juliana Urturbey as the 2021 Nevada Teacher of the Year. As a National Board Certified Teacher serving fourth and fifth grade special education students at Kermit R. Booker Elementary, Juliana Urturbey will move on to represent Nevada in the national Teacher of the Year competition.
State Superintendent Ebert report highlights:
- Response to COVID-19:
- Connectivity: The Connecting Kids Nevada initiative has reported that 12 of 17 school districts have a 1:1 ratio of students to devices and will continue to identify students with technology needs.
- Praxis: Due to COVID-19 closures, new educators completed the Praxis exam online.
- PPE: Governor Sisolak has allocated $6 million towards personal protective equipment (PPE) for school districts.
- Assessments: The United States Department of Education has directed states to administer student assessments for the 2020-2021 school year. The Nevada Department of Education is requesting flexibility around the administration of student assessments in the spring.
- Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS): The QRIS is the system used by the Nevada Department department of education to rate early childhood education centers. In 2019-2020, 51.5% of early childhood education centers were rated as “quality”. Click here to read the QRIS report.
- READ Nevada: The READ Nevada program provides age-appropriate digital books and articles to support literacy for Nevada students. Over the summer, students engaged in 3 million minutes of reading using the READ Nevada program. Click here to see the presentation
- Grants: The Department has been awarded $10 million dollars from the U.S. Department of Education to support the pipeline and capacity building for school based mental health providers including school psychologists, school counselors, and school social workers.
Board Heard Update on School Reopening Implementation
Superintendents of three school districts and a representative of the Nevada Parent Teacher Association each provided updates to the Board on the implementation of school reopening.
- Douglas County School District (DCSD):
- All DCSD elementary schools and one high school have fully reopened while all middle schools and one high school have implemented hybrid learning. The district has also developed a new online school.
- All 5,426 students have needed devices and 99% of students are connected to the internet.
- DCSD has a team of counselors, social workers, and resource officers to meet social-emotional needs of students.
Click here to see the Douglas County Presentation
- Eureka County School District (ECSD):
- ECSD schools resumed in-person instruction for all schools on August 31, 2020, following health and safety protocols. Four students continue to utilize distance learning. Enrollment data shows that 8 percent of ECSD students exited the district to engage in private school or homeschooling.
- ECSD received $16,000 in state funding to restock personal protective equipment (PPE) and other cleaning supplies.
- Distance education proved significant connectivity challenges for Eureka County due to antiquated broadband infrastructure.
Click here to see the Eureka County Presentation.
- Lander County School District (LCSD):
- Schools have opened using hybrid learning and in-person instruction with alternating days.
- LCSD purchased 460 chromebooks, with several not arriving until March, and over 40 ‘MiFi’ units which allow families eligible for free-or-reduced price lunch to receive free internet access.
- LCSD has a counselor or social worker in every school to support the social-emotional needs of the school communities.
- Challenges brought by the coronavirus outbreak has halted the district’s recruitment and some educators had to leave the profession for the sake of safety.
Click here to see the Lander County presentation.
- Nevada Parent Teacher Association (PTA):
- Family and student experience varies widely and is largely shaped at the classroom and school level. The COVID-19 outbreak has exacerbated several underlying conditions at school and at home.
- Nevada PTA received positive response from parents regarding food distribution sites, increased family-teacher communication and involvement, and online and blended learning methods.
- Parents and children continue to face challenges with distance learning, especially in special and early childhood education. Social-emotional support, accessing enrollment, and accessing adequate devices and internet for online learning are ongoing challenges. Parents are continuing to seek out school and community resources for assistance.
Click here to see the Nevada PTA presentation.
Board Heard an Update from English Mastery Council
Members of the English Mastery Council (EMC) provided an update on the status of their work as well as draft recommendations to the board for improving supports and services for students learning English as a second language in Nevada. Highlights include:
- Identifying evidence-based practices to support students learning English,
- analyzing the efficacy of the English Language Acquisition and Development (ELAD) endorsement, and
- root cause analysis to identify gaps in supports for English Language Learners
Additionally, the EMC brought forth 5 recommendations for discussion by the board. These recommendations will come back before the board at a future date for approval:
- Require all school districts to create a detailed EL plan to implement their EL policy. All districts are required to develop a district EL policy as per NRS 388.407
- Require school district EL plans to specify ELD curriculum materials and instructional methods that support language development and provide high-quality instruction that align with: – Nevada Academic Content Standards – District identified Models of Instruction/Instructional Delivery methods – Nevada ELD Standards
- Ensure that school districts properly and accurately identify EL students to avoid: – Over-identification of ELs who qualify for Special Education – Under-identification of ELs who qualify for Gifted & Talented (GATE) and other advanced programs
- Ensure that educators have access to quality professional learning opportunities to enhance capacity to understand and use curriculum, assessment measures, and instructional strategies that support academic language development and equitable access to grade level academic content
- Ensure that school districts establish procedures and regular opportunities for parents of ELs to provide feedback and recommendations on EL programs and services
Click here to see the presentation and recommendations.
Board Approved Consent Agenda
Consent agenda highlights:
- Approval of Dual Credit Requests for:
- Approval of Fiscal Year 2020 Class Size Reduction Reports
- Approval of Bus Out of Service Criteria
Board Discussed Washoe County School District Work-Based Learning Plan
The Work-Based Learning Plan outlines the requirements for credit-bearing internship programs available to Washoe County School District students. Board members raised concern about student expectations within the work-based learning plan that could create potential access barriers. The board did not vote on this item, and has directed the district to revisit the plan and address any requirements that may prevent equitable access to work-based learning programs. Some identified barriers included requirements for students to have access to transportation, daily access to email/internet, and limited behavior incidents.
Click here to see the plan.
Board Approved 2020 Nevada Academic Content Standards for Health
Nevada Academic Content Standards (NVACS) are measurable standards of what students are expected to know and do by the end of each school year. Compared to the current NVACS for Health, adopted in 2007, the 2020 proposed NVACS also meet elementary grade level standards, align to the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS), recognize diversity, and require a rationale statement for content standards and strands. The new strands are adjusted to be inclusive, comprehensive, and overarching. Board members expressed concerns over ensuring that the standards are fully in compliance with the law as well as the intent. NDE staff will return to the board with updates regarding compliance.
Board Heard Update on Commission on School Funding
In follow up to discussion at the August 27 Board Meeting, board members heard an update from the Commission on School Funding and a recommendation to the board to adopt a definition for the “at-risk” weight within the Pupil Centered Funding Formula. Based on legislation, “at-risk” may be defined as students eligible for free or reduced lunch, or an alternative definition may be adopted.
The recommendation brought to the board is to define “at-risk” as increased probability of a student not persisting to graduation with their cohort, and expand to include based on attendance, behavior, academic success, stability, and GRAD scores.
The board expressed concerns over the variables included in the definition as presented, mechanism to measure variables included in the definition, and preventing misinformation.
The board did not move forward with a vote on the “at-risk” definition and requested the Commission modify the expanded definition offered in the recommendation.
Click here to view the presentation.
Board Heard Update on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Workgroup
The purpose of the workgroup is to address systemic racism in Nevada’s education system that affects students of color, including components such as teacher diversity, discipline practices, and access to technology.
The workgroup reviewed a report on the implementation of restorative justice including the state of implementation, training, and relevant data that outlined a disproportionate number of children of color punished by disciplinary action.
Click here to view the presentation.
Board Heard Update on Nevada Accountability Portal
In accordance with the U.S. Department of Education waiver in response to COVID-19 school building closures, assessment requirements for the 2019-2020 school year were waived. This means that no new NSPF data will be provided to the public, and therefore Star Ratings, and the NSPF data that make up Star Ratings, will carry over from the 2018-2019 school year. Several areas of data were not captured and will not be reported in the Nevada Accountability portal for 2020-2021. New changes to the Nevada Accountability portal includes Per Pupil Expenditures, Professional Qualifications of Educators, and disaggregated discipline data. Reporting enhancement also includes a tool to compare schools’ key accountability data.
Click here to view the presentation.
Requests for Future Agenda items
- Presentation on comparison of Fall 2020 student performance projections and outcomes
- Presentation from students on their perspective on school instruction in the time of COVID-19
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