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, 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.

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Nevada Ed-Watch 7/26/19

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 (2nd floor boardroom). Members of the public are invited to attend at either location. 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.

Click here for a list of all SPCSA Members.

Click here for a list of all SPCSA sponsored schools.

Friday, July 26, 2019
State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting?

Public Comment
Members of the public shared their appreciation for the leadership of outgoing SPCSA chair, Jason Guinasso. Sami Randolph was also welcomed as the new Governor’s Appointee on the board.

The Board Discussed the Transition of New and Outgoing Board Members

The board discussed the following updates to the board make-up:

  • 3 current members are not seeking reappointment
  • 3 other current members will continue serving on the board
  • Sami Randolph is a new member appointed by the Governor
  • Additional board members must be appointed by the Speaker, the Majority Leader, and the State Board of Education (as mandated by AB78)

The State Board of Education is accepting SPCSA board member applications until August 13th at 5pm. Click here to see the application.

The Board voted to have the current Vice Chair of the board, Melissa Mackedon, play an interim Board Chair role until a new Chair and Vice Chair are selected. Board roles will be determined during the October board meeting following the transition of all 9 appointed board members.

The Board Approved the Academic & Demographic Needs Assessment

The SPCSA Board approved the Academic and Demographic Needs Assessment, an evaluation of student demographic information, the academic needs of students, and the needs of students who are at risk of dropping out. 

Click here to see the presentation.

Click here to see the report.

Charter applicants are required to meet at least one of the following academic, geographic or demographic needs:

  1. Serve and ensure the academic success (performance at or above grade level) of the following student populations:
    • Students who have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
    • English Language Learners (ELL)
    • Students receiving Free or Reduced Price Lunch (FRL)
  2. Launch in neighborhoods with high concentrations of low-performing (1- and 2-star) schools in the following Clark County zip codes:
    • 89110
    • 89115
    • 89107
    • Click here to see a complete list of target zip codes across Nevada
  3. Have plans to prevent drop-outs for the following students who have been designated as at risk of dropping out of school:
    • Students who have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
    • English Language Learners (ELL)
    • Students receiving Free or Reduced Price Lunch (FRL)

The Academic and Demographic Needs Assessment will be updated annually.

The Board Approved Charter Contract Amendment Applications

 The Board approved the following requests for charter contract amendments:

  • Request for Imagine Schools at Mountain View to terminate its transportation services
  • Request for Nevada State High School to relocate its Henderson Campus and open new administrative offices

The Board Heard from Schools Formerly Authorized by the Achievement School District (NV ASD)

The board heard from the following schools that were formerly authorized by the Nevada Achievement School District:

  • Democracy Prep at the Agassi Campus
  • Futuro Academy
  • Nevada Prep
  • Nevada Rise

Each of the schools reported a smooth transition from the NV ASD to the SPCSA, with minimal impact on the families they serve.

Click here to see profiles of each school listed above.

The Board Approved the Charter Contract for Explore Academy

The Board approved a contract with Explore Academy for launch in school year 2020-2021. 

 The following conditions must be met prior to launch:

  • Explore’s founding high school campus in New Mexico (currently “A” rated) must maintain a “C” or better rating on their state’s accountability rating system.
  • The school must launch in 89030, 89031, or 89032. If the school intends to locate outside of these zip codes, a contract amendment must be requested for approval.
  • The school must complete all standard pre-opening requirements.

The Board Terminated the Discovery Charter School Receivership + Approved Reconstitution of its Governing Body 

Discovery Charter School must continue providing quarterly updates and holding regular check-ins with the SPCSA through the end of the 2020 school year.

The school has a new leader in place, plus a newly appointed board that has been vetted by the SPCSA staff.

The Board Heard an Update on Argent Prep’s Receivership

Argent Preparatory Academy provided updates to the Board, which included:

  • Acceptance of a $2.4 million offer on the final asset, a parcel of land.
  • Within 30 days of the sale, exited staff will be paid severance in full (about $90,000 total). Receiver fees and other remaining school debts will also be paid. Remaining funds will go back to the state.

The Board Heard Updates on Nevada Connections Academy

Nevada Connections Academy presented their high school operations metrics for quarter four.


  • The 2019 anticipated high school graduation rate is 67%-69%
  • 95% of students were tested, which meets state participation requirements 
  • The charter is up for renewal in the fall, which will be evaluated based on school year 2018-19 academic data (Nevada School Performance Framework results)

The Board Heard Updates on Nevada Virtual Academy (NVA)

The Board heard a quarterly update on the progress towards closure of Nevada Virtual Academy’s elementary school.


  • NVA filed a complaint with the court challenging the conditions that the Authority Board approved in 2018, when NVA’s charter application was approved.
  • NVA filed an injunction to operate under a court order without a charter contract.
  • A preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled for August 2, 2019. 

The Board Heard a Presentation About 2018-19 School Site Evaluations

Based on trends from site visits completed throughout the 2018-19 school year, the SPCSA team recommended the following opportunities to improve the site evaluation process: 

  • Prepare “campus maps” for evaluators
  • Allow more time for staff to review documents
  • Identify areas of redundancy for schools that have multiple campuses
  • Offer training on the classroom observation rubric
  • Hold office hours for school leaders and stakeholders to ask questions

Click here to download the presentation.

The Board Heard Updates from the Executive Director

The Board heard the following updates from the SPCSA Executive Director: 

  • SPCSA Board Members
    • The first board meeting with new members will be August 30, 2019.
  • Sponsorship Fees
    • The SPCSA changed its sponsorship fee to 1.25% as of August 1st (decreased by .25%).
  • New charter School Contract Applications
    • 9 applications were received 
    • Staff is working with external experts to review the applications, which will be presented to the board in November or December.
  • Charter School Contract Renewal Applications
    • 7 schools are up for renewal this fall 
    • Applications for renewal will be open October 1st through October 15th.
  • School Visits
    • SPCSA staff is developing a strategic plan for school visits this year.
  • General School Support
    • The SPCSA team is attending the Special Education Directors Meeting.

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