Nevada Ed-Watch 1/22/21

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, January 22, 2020

State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting? 

Members of the public provided comment regarding: 

  • Support for Pioneer Technology & Arts Academy (PTAA) charter approval citing the importance of the impact of PTAA in the community.

SPCSA Executive Directors’ and SPCSA Staff Report:

Report highlights:

  • In-Person Learning Update
    • Director Feiden does not currently anticipate any changes to the in-person learning guidance. SPCSA staff is committed to bringing students back to school buildings safely and will continue to monitor transmission rates in the state, as well as any changes in the current Statewide Pause. Should the circumstances improve in the coming month, staff anticipate reviewing the current in-person learning guidance and bringing any recommended changes to the February 26 meeting of the SPCSA Board. Click here to read the full statement.
  • COVID -19 Vaccine Update
    • The Authority has worked with the Department of Health and Human Services to implement school testing sites. The Authority is working with multiple agencies to ensure educators know how to sign up for vaccines in each county. Vaccine distribution for educators is occurring in most Nevada counties, however, Clark County School District (CCSD) is experiencing challenges. Vaccine pre-registration for CCSD educators will begin on January 25th.  Click here to read the full statement.
  • Initiatives Related to Serving All Students Equitably
    • The SPCSA has made progress towards equity initiatives. The Authority has looked into school data on demographics of students served and will continue to monitor progress towards serving diverse communities. The Authority has surveyed schools on how they are providing diversity and inclusion training to their staff. Of those surveyed, 90% of respondents indicated an interest in diversity and inclusion professional development training for their staff and board leadership teams. The remaining 10% of respondents indicated that they were already receiving training. The Authority is looking into providing diversity and inclusion training in Spring or Summer 2021 and to utilize federal funding.
  • The Nevada Department of Education’s (NDE) Proposed COVID-19 State Plan Addendum to Nevada’s ESEA Consolidated State Plan for the 2020-2021 School Year
    • NDE proposes that the Nevada School Performance Framework (NSPF) be “suspended” for the 2020-2021 school year, meaning they are requesting that no new star ratings be issued for the 2020-2021 school year. Instead, NDE proposes that star ratings continue to carry over from the 2018-2019 school year, the last school year that new star ratings were issued. The NDE is also proposing a pause on calculating chronic absenteeism. The Authority has developed a memo in response to the NDE’s proposal to the federal government. Board members requested clarification on the NDE’s decision to waive the chronic absenteeism count. Click here to see the NDE’s proposal. 
  • Explore Academy Facility Update
    • The Authority has approved the building site acquired by Explore Academy and will continue to work with Explore Academy to prepare for the 2021-2022 school year.
  • Update on 2020-2021 Site Evaluations
    • The Authority has 23 more site evaluations scheduled through the end of this academic year. 

Board Approved SPCSA Financial Performance Framework Recommendations 

The Financial Performance Framework is used to determine if a school is financially viable and to inform high-stakes decisions. SPCSA staff presented information on the Financial Performance Framework indicators and how each indicator affects ratings. SPCSA staff also presented ratings for the 2019-20 school year and shared recommendations for actions to be taken, including recommendations to issue Notices of Concern to Discovery Charter School, Nevada Virtual Academy, and Quest Preparatory Academy. SPCSA staff recognized that the pandemic has created considerable challenges for schools and incorporated into their considerations for recommendations. SPCSA staff also acknowledged that these schools are working to make a stronger effort in financial performance and commended their efforts.

Some schools provided additional comments in regards to the recommendations. Highlights include: 

  • Discovery Charter School shared after receivership they inherited $367,000 in debt which was paid in full in June 2020. They also shared that their Current debt-to-asset ratio is progressing on target. 
  • Nevada Virtual Academy shared their commitment to work with the Authority to improve their debt-to-asset ratio and finances.
  • Quest Preparatory Academy shared their commitment to work with the Authority to improve their finances.
  • Honors Academy of Literature shared that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness has enabled them to improve on their status and will put them on track to address the Authority’s concerns.
  • Legacy Traditional Schools commented that bond assets should be taken into consideration when measuring the debt-to-asset ratio.
  • Signature Preparatory Academy commented on the status of their lease payment bond issue and shared that an increase in enrollment numbers will positively affect the trajectory of their financial standing. 

The board unanimously approved a motion to:

  • Adopt the Financial Framework results for SY2020-21 with exceptions to enrollment;
  • Place Discovery Charter School, Nevada Virtual Academy, and Quest Preparatory Academy on Notice of Concern under the Financial Framework results for SY20-21, and to create a financial improvement plan for these schools. 
  • Create targeted remediation plans for SY21-22 for  Doral Academy of Northern Nevada, Honors Academy of Literature, Legacy Traditional Schools, and Signature Preparatory Academy.

Click here to see the full recommendation memo. 

Board Approved Charter School Contract Amendments

SPCSA staff presented recommendations related to charter school contract amendment applications on the following schools:

  • Sports Leadership and Management Academy (SLAM) – The board approved SLAM Academy’s proposal to expand the school to include K-5 grade levels. The Authority found that the SLAM proposal qualifies with the Academic and Demographic Needs Assessment and recommended to the Board to conditionally approve the proposal subject to improvement on items of concern in pre-opening requirements. Click here to see the full memo.
  • Las Vegas Collegiate – The board approved a request by Las Vegas Collegiate Charter School to cap enrollment to 162 students, and to grant the school a Good Cause Exemption to request a temporary facility within 1.5 miles of the 89106 zip code for the 2021-2022 school year only. Click here to see the full memo. 

Board Approved Staff Recommendations for Resubmitted New Charter School Applications

  • Pioneer Technology & Art Academy (PTAA) Nevada – Denied (5-3)
    •  SPCSA staff gave an overview of PTAA’s initial application which did not meet the standard in five out of five categories according to the Authority’s application evaluation rubric. PTAA’s resubmitted application met the standard in two out of the five categories. SPCSA staff made the recommendation to deny the resubmission based on their finding that the application does not meet the requirements contained in NRS 388A.249(3). Click here to see the full recommendation. SPCSA staff shared concerns regarding the Academic Model of the high school. Board members discussed the need to ensure that school plans are articulated in their application and whether this application could be reconsidered after additional progress has been made to adjust PTAA to serve students K-8. Some board members were concerned about the precedent this would set around following the SPCSA application policy. Click here to see the resubmitted application.
  • Eagle Charter Schools of Nevada – Approved
    •  SPCSA Staff provided an overview of the initial application which did not meet the standard according to the Authorities Rubric in four out of five categories. Eagle Charter Schools of Nevada resubmission met the standard in four out of five categories. Staff made the recommendation to approve the resubmission with conditions, based on their finding that the applicant now meets the requirements contained in NRS 388A.249(3). Click here to see the full recommendation. Board members discussed the need to ensure that Eagle Charter Schools of Nevada has the ability to meet the conditions set forth. Staff from Eagle Charter Schools of Nevada shared they are aligned with conditions set forth and are prepared to apply for a deferral to the 2022 school year if the conditions are not met. Click here to see the resubmitted application.

Board Heard Annual Review of SPCSA-Sponsored Schools

Director Feiden shared the State of the SPCSA, which is used as a starting point for communication with the public. Highlights include:

  • The SPCSA sponsors  67 schools located across five counties, representing the third-largest student population in the state.
  • Throughought the pandemic, the SPCSA has supported sponsored schools to ensure every student had access to a device and internet in order to engage in distance learning.
  • SPCSA supported reported approximately 98% daily attendance and increases in graduation rates, even during the pandemic. SPCSA has adopted an academic performance framework that takes into consideration school star ratings, performance ratings, and enrollment diversity comparison to local school districts and nearby schools. 
  • SPCSA Title I schools are more likely to be 4- or 5-star schools than State average. Staff noted that the implementation of the Needs Assessment, alongside adjustments to the new school application process, has provided additional focus on serving more diverse student populations.

Click here to view the presentation.

Board Approved 2021 Academic and Demographic Needs Assessment

The Academic and Demographic Needs Assessment is updated annually by staff. Due to the academic reporting requirements impacted by the pandemic, only 11th grade ACT academic data was updated. However, enrollment data and demographic data was updated. Additional updates include a summary of the implementation of the needs assessment and district summaries.

Click here to view the report.

Board Heard School Pre-Opening Process

SPCSA staff shared the Pre-Opening Readiness Process and Checklist which includes the process and resources for SPCSA sponsored schools to open. The purpose of this document is to provide transparency to schools, manage school expectations, and outline what schools are responsible for in order to open properly and on time.

Click here to view the Pre-Opening Readiness Process and Checklist.

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

Director Feiden shared the 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.

Click here to view the report.

Board Heard 2021 Legislative Session Updates

SPCSA staff shared an overview of education-related bills and bill drafts for the upcoming legislative session.  Additionally, Director Feiden shared the proposal outlined by the Governor to implement the new Pupil Centered Funding Formula in two phases. The authority will continue to work in partnership with the Nevada Department of Education as the funding formula continues to be developed and implemented. 

Click here to view the bill/bill draft request overview.

Long-Range Calendar
Director Feiden presented additions to the long-range calendar including legislative session dates, TEACH’s application resubmission in February, and the next round of application submissions in April/May.

Click here to see the long-range calendar.


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

Nevada Ed-Watch 8/28/20

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 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 28, 2020

State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting? 

Members of the public submitted comment online regarding: 

  • Support for school reopening decision made by the Authority 
  • Concerns about the implementation of distance learning 

SPCSA Executive Director’s Report: 

Report Highlights: 

  • Update on response to Covid-19 Pandemic:
    • Director Feiden and the SPCSA granted three exemptions to distance learning for schools in Washoe County. This is contingent on Washoe County School District continuing to operate in person learning. SPCSA’s primary efforts have focused on addressing connectivity needs, coordination with health districts, school leadership support, and communication. Click here to see the full memo.
  • New Schools: 
    • Pinecrest Academy of Northern Nevada, Girls Athletic Leadership Schools (GALS), and Explore Academy have each opened as planned. Civica Nevada has submitted three of the five required conditions for opening and will provide a more formal update to the board on October 2nd. 
  • Update on Summer Cycle for Charter Applications: 
    • The SPCSA received five complete charter applications for the summer cycle. Capacity interviews have been scheduled with school teams and recommendations for approval or denial will be brought before the board at the November 6th meeting. 
  • SPCSA Performance Framework Overview: 
    • The SPCSA performance framework is a document that sets forth agreed upon expectations of performance and compliance. It is the basis for school evaluations, ongoing monitoring and intervention that informs high-stakes decisions by an authorizer. Academic and Organizational results will be available in October or November. Financial results will be available in February. Click here to see the full overview.
  • Federal Grant Monitoring: 
    • The SPCSA is responsible for oversight on federal and state grants to Nevada Public Charter Schools in order to ensure schools are considering students services and well being, sound financial stewardship and legal compliance. Schools will receive updates about SPCSA’s federal grant monitoring in September. Click here to see the full overview. 

Board Approved Quest Academy Transition from Receivership (7-0-1)

Based on the academic and financial progress of Quest Academy throughout receivership, the Board approved SPCSA staff recommendation for Quest Academy to transition from receivership to a fully constituted board, with conditions. Members of Quest Academy school community outlined upcoming board training and next steps for the school. 

Note: Member Soifer recused himself due to a business relationship with a member of the Quest Academy board and therefore abstained from the vote. 

Click here to see the full recommendation, including conditions.

Board Approved Charter School Contract Amendments 

  • Freedom Classical Academy: The board approved a good cause exemption and amendment request for Freedom Classical Academy’s acquisition of its current facility. It will not affect approved enrollment.  Click here to see the full recommendation, including conditions. 
  • Honors Academy of Literature: The board approved a good cause exemption and amendment request for Honors Academy of Literature to increase their enrollment from 211 students to 225 students. Click here to see the full recommendation. 

Board Approved Amplus Academy Contract Amendment

Staff and board members from Amplus Academy provided an academic and financial update on the progress of Amplus transitioning away from their former Education Management Organization (EMO) to an independent charter school. Based on SPCSA staff recommendation, the Board approved changes to Amplus Academy’s academic, operational, and financial plans. Highlights of the changes include: 

  • updates to curriculum and professional development resources,
  • shifts to leadership structure to devote more time to specific student groups,
  • shifts to school based human resource functions, accounting and finance functions, and student recruitment and enrollment, and 
  • significant updates to financial plan due to reallocation of funds designated for Amplus Academy’s former (EMO) to directly support students.

 Click here to see the full recommendation. 

Board Approved Changes to Site Evaluation Process

SPCSA staff authority recommended updates and changes to the SPCSA’s site evaluation including an update on the work ahead. Site evaluations offer objective feedback to schools in years 1, 3, and 5 of operation. The board approved changes to the site evaluation process, including:  

  • a statement in the handbook to address potential for bias in focus groups, 
  • decreasing the number of items schools are required to upload, 
  • implementing a presentation from school leaders,
  • revisions to classroom observation rubric, and
  • reduction of the number of staff hours used on the final report.

  Click here to see the full presentation and all updates.

Board Heard Update on Serving All Students Equitably 

Based on feedback from the board, SPCSA staff outlined actions being implemented by the SPCSA to ensure schools are serving all students equitably. In addition to site evaluation updates approved by the board in a previous item, new school applications will be revised to include questions regarding efforts to close opportunity gaps and address disproportionate discipline practices. Charter renewal applications will include questions related to restorative justice practices and plans to address disproportionate discipline practices and opportunity gaps. Additionally, SPCSA will conduct annual presentations on student outcome data, and continue the Focus on Schools series.

Click here to read the full overview.

Board Discussed Students at Risk of Dropping Out

Director Feiden provided an overview of Students at Risk of Dropping Out of School within Academic and Demographic Needs Assessment and context on how SPCSA staff are addressing the need. SPCSA board members provided additional suggestions on addressing this need and requested to continue this conversation.

Click here to see the Academic and Demographic Needs Assessment.

Long-Range Calendar

Due to the volume of anticipated agenda items, an additional SPCSA meeting will be scheduled in December.

Click here to see the long-range calendar.


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

Nevada Ed-Watch 12/17/19

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 (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 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, December 17, 2019
State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda 

What happened at this meeting? 

The Board Approved a Contract Amendment for Founders Academy

The Board approved the SPCSA staff’s recommendation for the approval of a contract amendment request related to the financing of Founders Academy’s current facility. 

The Board Heard an Overview of the SPCSA’s New School Application Process and Standards for Approval

Staff members provided an overview of the New School Application process and standards for approving schools for authorization under the SPCSA. The presentation included information about the application  evaluation process, and the importance of a proposed school’s alignment to both the SPCSA Growth Management Plan and the Academic and Demographic Needs Assessment. 

Staff members also provided an overview of the Rubric used for evaluating New School Applications.

If denied, a proposed school has 30-days from the formal notice to resubmit an application addressing its deficiencies. If denied upon resubmission, the applicant may also appeal the Board’s decision. 

Click here to see the presentation, which includes the criteria for approving and denying new schools.

Public Comment: A representative of the Clark County School District’s Office of Charter Schools provided testimony expressing appreciation for the collaborative process of the SPCSA.

The Board Reviewed Seven (7) New School Applications for Approval or Denial 

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

Summaries of each proposed school’s application approval or denial are below.

Alaka’i Heritage Academy: Denied 

The SPCSA staff did not recommend the application for Board approval. The Board concurred with staff’s recommendation and discussed concerns about the proposed arts-integration model, the incubation year budget, and plans for professional development aligned to the arts-integration model.

Click here to see the full Alaka’i Heritage Academy application report.

Las Vegas Collegiate Charter School: Approved with Conditions

Las Vegas Collegiate was approved with the following conditions:

  • Submit an updated incubation year plan that clarifies how the Board will monitor progress towards key milestones and the available supports to the proposed school leader. 
  • Provide either more detail as to how the existing staff will manage the range of administrative responsibilities in year 1 OR provide an alternative scenario that includes additional contracted support. 
  • Work with the local jurisdiction to address traffic flow and pedestrian safety during student arrival and dismissal.

Click here to see the full Las Vegas Collegiate application report.

Pinecrest Academy of Northern Nevada: Approved with Conditions

The SPCSA staff did not recommend the application for Board approval. The SPCSA Board went against Staff’s recommendation and approved the application with the following conditions: 

  • Implementation of a weighted lottery in conjunction with a targeted marketing effort and a transportation plan to ensure a student population that reflects the population of the Washoe County School District
  • Implementation of a National School Lunch Program upon school launch
  • A revised Model Budget reflecting the school’s incubation year, English Language Learner Program, and marketing plan
  • Waived student fees for those who receive Free or Reduced-Price Lunch

Public Comment: Members of the public provided testimony in support of the Pinecrest Academy of Northern Nevada application. 

Click here to see the full Pinecrest Academy of Northern Nevada application report.

Nevada Strong Academy: Denied

The SPCSA staff did not recommend the application for approval. The Board concurred with staff’s recommendation and discussed the need to refine the application and clarify the relationship between the school and the Education Management Organization (EMO). 

Click here to see the full Nevada Strong Academy application report.

Sage Collegiate Charter School: Denied

The SPCSA staff did not recommend the application for approval. The Board concurred with staff’s recommendation and discussed the potential of the school’s plan with more time for development.

Click here to see the full Sage Collegiate application report.

Girls Academy Leadership School (GALS): Denied

The SPCSA staff did not recommend the application for approval. The Board concurred with staff’s recommendation and discussed the importance of having a single-gender school in Clark County. The Board inquired about GAL’s team’s experience with students from underserved communities and what lessons they have learned from the Denver campus performance. 

Click here to see the full GALS application report.

Pahrump Valley Academy: Denied

The SPCSA staff did not recommend the application for approval. The Board concurred with staff’s recommendation and discussed concerns about the proposed school’s capacity to carry out the vision and plans for the school.

Click here to see the full Pahrump Valley Academy application report.

The Board Discussed Potential Update to its Long-Range Calendar

The SPCSA Staff and Board are considering adding a second February Board Meeting to manage the volume of anticipated application resubmissions.


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

Nevada Ed Watch 6/28/19

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 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? SPCSA members meet once monthly (three times in June)– 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 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, June 28, 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 provided testimony to Board members regarding:

  • Concerns about severance pay not received by staff following the closure of Argent Preparatory Academy. 
  • A representative from the City of Henderson shared input to suggest including overcrowding as part of the needs assessment within the SPCSA growth management plan.

The Board Approved Charter Contract Amendment Applications

The Board approved the following requests for charter contract amendments:

  • Request for facility consolidation of two Quest Academy campuses– the Alexander campus and the Northwest campus (for a combined enrollment of 600 students)
  • Request for enrollment to include only students 16 years and older at Beacon Academy
  • (Conditional Approval): Request by Leadership Academy of Nevada to operate independently from their contracted Educational Management Organization (EMO). This was approved on the condition that the curriculum is approved by the Department of Education. 

The Board Heard an Update on Discovery Charter School’s Receivership

Discovery Charter’s receiver shared a quarterly update with the Board, including the following highlights:

  • A list of proposed Board Members
  • There are two leaders covering administrative duties until the Board vets and approves a new school leader.

The Board Heard an Update on Argent Prep’s Receivership

Argent Preparatory Academy’s receiver shared updates to the Board, which included continued challenges with selling one of the school’s facilities. Once the facility is sold, funds will become available to pay severance to exited staff.

The Board Heard an Updates on Nevada Virtual Academy (NVA)

The Board heard a quarterly update on the progress towards closure of Nevada Virtual Academy’s elementary school– scheduled by the end of the 2018-2019 school year. Updates included:

  • NVA filed a complaint 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. They are pending court hearing.
  • NVA approved litigation against the SPCSA.
  • SPCSA is hopeful that contract is executed by June 30th, despite court injunction.

The Board Approved the Academic and Organizational Performance Frameworks 

Academic Performance Framework

SPCSA staff proposed an Academic Performance Framework to take effect July 1, 2019. The SPCSA framework aligns with the Nevada School Performance Framework (NSPF), and will inform high stakes decisions and possible interventions. The framework includes four key indicators to determine a school’s performance:

  • NSPF Star Rating – 60 points
  • Geographical Comparison – 25 points
  • Diversity – 15 points
  • School Progress – no point value

Click here to download the presentation.

Organizational Performance Framework

SPCSA staff provided information to the Board about the Organizational Performance Framework to take effect July 1, 2019. The framework assesses whether an educational organization is effectively operated. Staff held listening sessions and working groups to collaboratively develop the framework. They also plan to host staff orientation sessions to walk through its implementation.

Click here to see the ratings scorecard. 

Click here to see the technical guide.

Click here to see the presentation.

The Board Heard Updates on the Academic and Demographic Needs Assessment 

Staff provided a preview of the Academic and Demographic Needs Assessment. In compliance with AB462 (requiring the SPCSA to establish a plan to manage the growth of charter schools)– by July 30th, the SPCSA must prepare an evaluation of student demographic information, the academic needs of students, and the needs of students who are at risk of dropping out. It was noted that needs may change over time with a constantly evolving public school landscape. This evaluation will inform authorizing decisions and be updated annually. 

The Board discussed the public input process and the requirement to seek input from local school districts. 

Click here to see the presentation.

The Board Heard Updates on the Growth Management Plan

The SPCSA is required to establish a plan to manage the growth of charter schools (including new schools, expansions, grade level expansions, and charter renewals). The plan considers statewide student performance, including data for specific groups and subgroups, and the academic needs of students in different geographic areas of the state. 

Staff introduced an approach to develop a Growth Management Plan by January 2020. The plan will be informed by the Academic and Demographic Needs Assessment (discussed above). 

Click here to see an overview of the plan.

The SPCSA will present an update at the August Board meeting, and present a draft in November.

The Board Heard a Legislative Recap

The Board heard a recap on 2019 legislative action that impacts public charter schools, including the following highlights: 

  • AB219: Requires schools in the bottom 30% of performance with English Language Learners to create plans for improvement. Additionally, English Language Learners will receive access to state assessments in any published language provided.
  • SB321: Transitioning Nevada Achievement School District (ASD) schools to the SPCSA. This bill voids charter contracts as of July 2020. New contracts will be initiated under authorization of the SPCSA.
  • SB451: This bill allows for variable length contract renewal at the discretion of the SPCSA, between 3 and 10 years. 
  • SB441: Provides for separate regulation of virtual charter schools. SPCSA staff is working with the Department of Education on developing virtual charter regulations.
  • SB543: Replaces the 52 year old Nevada Plan with a student centered funding formula. The Nevada Plan is the approach by which the legislature allocates and distributes funds to School Districts across the state. 

Click here to see the full recap.

The Board Heard Staff Reports

  • Executive Director:
    • A total of 12 focus groups have been conducted with stakeholders. Highlights from those conversations include:
      • School leaders and board chairs discussed challenges and priorities. Major themes were around funding and budgeting, high quality talent acquisition and retention, and school safety.
      • Regarding the relationship between the SPCSA and schools themselves, schools shared the importance of understanding the unique context of individual schools, maintaining open and ongoing communication, transparency and consistency in messaging, common goal alignment, and clear expectations with support.
    • The SPCSA is in the process of filling two vacant positions. The new positions, effective October 1st, are focused on data and assessments and support staff.
  • Finance and Operations Team: 
    • The SPCSA is in the process of completing FY19 grant reporting. 
  • Authorizing Team:
    • Conducted 18 site evaluations and completed reports for 18 schools.
    • Staff is working with the school support team to track completion of next steps that come from site evaluations.
    • Staff is receiving training on classroom observation rubrics and criteria.
    • Staff is in the final stages of drafting a schedule for the FY19 school year to present to the Board.
  • School Support Team:
    • Staff conducted enrollment growth adjustment and pre-enrollment adjustment audits.
    • Staff conducted a collaborative Title 1 program review.
    • Staff is supporting schools with data reporting.
    • Several SPCSA members will attend the National Charter School Conference in Las Vegas June 30-July 3.

Long Range Board Calendar Updates:

The long range calendar format was updated to include all 12 months, plus the following additions: 

  • Requirements as a result of the passage of AB462
  • New school applications and renewals

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