Nevada Ed-Watch 11/1/19

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.

Click here for a list of all SPCSA Members.

Click here for a list of all SPCSA sponsored schools.

Friday, October 4, 2019
State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting?

The Board Heard about Changes to the Public Comment Process

Rather than holding public comment for all agenda items until the end of each board meeting, the process was updated to allow members of the public to comment after each agenda item. 

Staff Presented Updates on the Development of the SPCSA Strategic Plan & Accompanying Growth Management Plan (in accordance with AB 462)

SPCSA staff presented updates on proposed language on the vision, mission, and values of the State Public Charter School Authority for board feedback. The board discussed the inclusion of “innovation” as a component of the vision statement.

The board also heard the SPCSA staff’s proposed five-year goals:

  1. Provide families with access to high quality schools
  2. Increase the diversity of students served by SPCSA schools 
  3. Ensure that every SPCSA student succeeds – including those from historically underperforming subgroups 

The board discussed the inclusion of attendance metrics in the goals. 

SPCSA staff proposed four (4) overarching strategies to achieve these goals:

  1. Proactive Oversight
  2. Strategic Growth 
  3. Expanded Support 
  4. Reward Progress

Staff will present more specific actions aligned to each strategy above at the next board meeting. 

Click here to see the Strategic Planning presentation. 

Click here to see the draft Growth Management Plan. 

SPCSA staff will present a final draft of both the full Strategic Plan and the Growth Management Plan for approval at the December 13th board meeting. 

Public Comment: A school leader shared concerns about needing more time to build a school culture before receiving a star rating for the first year of operation. Another school leader shared concerns about performance ratings for alternative schools.

Upcoming Milestones

  • December 13th: Review and board approval of final Strategic Plan and Growth Management Plan 
  • January 1st: Growth Management Plan submitted to the Nevada Department of Education and the Legislative Commission on Education

Board Heard a Presentation about SPCSA-Sponsored Shining Star Schools

SPCSA staff recognized the nine (9) state-designated Shining Star schools that are authorized by the SPCSA. A Shining Star school is a high-performing school serving a high percentage of students in poverty. A high-performing school is  defined by achieving a 4 or 5-Star rating on the most recent Nevada School Performance Framework.

Click here to see the Shining Star schools presentation.

The board also heard a presentation from teachers, students, and school leaders at Mater Academy of Nevada Mountain Vista Campus and Mater Academy of Nevada Bonanza Campus on its academic performance (both campuses were recognized as Shining Star schools).  

Click here to see the Mater Academy presentation.

The Board Approved Charter Contract Renewals for Mater Academy and Beacon Academy

SPCSA staff recommended renewal of Mater Academy of Nevada’s contract for a 5-year term beginning July 1st, 2020. 

Click here to see the Mater Academy charter contract renewal recommendation.

SPCSA staff also recommended renewal of Beacon Academy of Nevada for a six-year term, beginning July 1, 2020.

The board heard the following remarks about Beacon Academy from SPCSA staff:

  • Beacon is the only school operating under an Alternative Performance Framework due to the unique population it serves
  • Beacon continues to serve credit deficient students and seeks expansion to serve more students who are credit deficient

Click here to see the Beacon Academy charter contract renewal recommendation.

Board Approved New School Application Process

SPCSA staff provided an overview of the process for new charter schools to apply for authorization under the SPCSA. For the Summer application cycle, new charters must submit Letters of Intent to apply by March 15th. 

The updated version of the application requires an applicant to demonstrate alignment to the SPCSA’s Demographic Needs Assessment, in addition to the school’s Academic, Operations, and Financial plans.

Click here to see the presentation.

SPCSA Executive Director’s Report: 

Report Highlights:

  • 7 schools submitted requests for contract amendments, which will be brought to the December board meeting.
  • 18 school site evaluations were conducted last year, with 42 remaining to complete. 
  • Student demographic and enrollment data for SPCSA schools is anticipated in December.

The Board Discussed Updates to the Board Calendar

The board added a meeting on December 17th, when they will review nine (9) pending charter applications. The regular December board meeting is scheduled for December 13th. 

Click here to see the long-range calendar, including 2020 meeting dates. 

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