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? The SPCSA sponsors and oversees public charter schools across the State of Nevada. The Authority consists of nine 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? SPCSA members meet once monthly– on Fridays.
Click here for SPCSA meeting schedule and materials.
Can community members engage at SPCSA Board Meetings? All meetings are 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). Members of the public are invited to attend at either location. A time for public comment is provided at the conclusion of each agenda item and at the conclusion 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.
Alternatively, public comment may be submitted in writing at firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 13, 2019
State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting
What happened at this meeting?
Board Heard a Presentation from Mater Academy of Northern Nevada
Mater Academy of Northern Nevada’s leadership team, Board President, students, and staff presented the components of their school model that led to their Shining Star School status in the 2018-2019 school year. Highlights included the importance of attendance initiatives, increased learning time, data analysis, and parent outreach.
Shining Star Schools are high-performing (4 or 5 star schools) that serve a high percentage of students who qualify for Free or Reduced Lunch.
Click here to see the presentation.
Board Recognized ESEA Distinguished Schools
Two SPCSA authorized schools were designated as Nevada ESEA Distinguished Schools, Democracy Prep at the Agassi Campus Middle School and Mater Academy of Northern Nevada Middle School. Each school was recognized for excellence in serving special populations of students.
Board Approved Final SPCSA Strategic Plan & Accompanying Growth Management Plan
SPCSA Staff shared updates to the Growth Management Plan and SPCSA 2019-2024 Strategic Plan goals based on feedback provided from the Board. Staff shared the final versions of the following goals:
- Goal 1: Provide Families with Access to High Quality Schools
- Goal 2: Ensure That Every SPCSA Student Succeeds – Including Those From Historically Underserved Student Groups
- Goal 3: Increase the diversity of students served by SPCSA schools
Board Approved Charter Contract Amendments
The SPCSA board approved the following amendment applications:
- Doral Academy of Nevada – Acquisition of currently leased Doral Academy Pebble Campus via bonds
- Pinecrest Academy of Nevada – Acquisition of currently leased Pinecrest Cadence Campus via bonds
- Signature Preparatory – Modification of enrollment cap
- Mater Academy of Northern Nevada – Increase of enrollment cap
- Mater Academy of Nevada – Addition of grade levels 9-12 opening in August 2020; Approval of financing to acquire currently leased Bonanza Campus
- Sports Leadership and Management Academy of Nevada – Modification of enrollment caps for current school year and 20-21 school year; acquisition request to purchase a facility
- The board did not approve a request to expand to new grade levels (K-5), citing concerns around current grade levels served performance and a lack of evidence.
- Members of the public provided comment on the value of SLAM’s model and staff commitment to students and families.
- Doral Academy of Northern Nevada – addition of distance education courses; amendment to enrollment cap through the use of a weighted lottery process to diversity the demographics of the schools population; facilities expansion on existing property
Board heard Updates from Discovery Charter School, Quest Preparatory Academy, and Argent Preparatory Academy
Discovery Charter School: The Board was presented with a written report providing updates to the status of the school under its new governing body. Discovery provided updates that included school leadership structures, the Board of Trustees, and curriculum and instructional resources. The Board also heard an update on and a plan Discovery’s PERS outstanding balance, which will take approximately 11 months to pay off.
Click here to see Discovery Charter School’s written report.
Quest Preparatory Academy: The Board heard information from SPCSA Staff about significant financial performance concerns, including the longtime financial sustainability of Quest Prep’s finances. Quest’s receiver discussed financial concerns, conflicts of interest related to board governance, and facilities costs that led to receivership. The receiver shared that under receivership, Quest eliminated a variety of financial liabilities, increased teacher pay, and improved the quality of school leadership – which translated to increased student outcomes for students.
The renewal application will be heard at the January 31, 2020 SPCSA board meeting.
Argent Preparatory Academy: The receiver provided updates on the remaining property awaiting sale subsequent to the closure of Argent’s closure.
Board Heard a Presentation from Nevada Connections Academy on Possible Renewal
Nevada Connections is requesting charter renewal for grades 6-12, however is not seeking renewal for their elementary grades.
Nevada Connections community members, including staff, discussed the importance of the school’s social emotional programming, suicide prevention, and the importance of flexible programming for transient students and families. The Board raised significant concerns around the lack of academic growth and academic performance, particularly in math. The Board also inquired about family engagement, postsecondary pathways and workforce preparation. The Board suggested that staff continue to explore best practices to increase academic performance.
The board will vote on their request at the January board meeting.
Click here to view the presentation.
SPCSA Executive Director’s Report:
- Overall SPCSA enrollment has increased in the 19-20 school year. There was also an increase in diversity amongst student demographics across racial and socioeconomic subgroups.
- The SPCSA graduation rate increased by over 7 percentage points to 77.8%, and there were increases in almost every student group except for Native American Students and English Language Learners.
- Charter School letters of Intent for submission January 15, 2020 include 13 letters of intent from applicants in September.
- The Authority provided an update on the hiring of a new Data and Assessments staff member. There are 4 current vacancies, which the Authority is working to fill.
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