Nevada Ed-Watch 9/25/20

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.


Clark County School District Board of Trustees 

What is the Board of Trustees & what are they responsible for? The CCSD Trustees are publicly elected decision-makers for the school district. They are responsible for providing oversight to the Superintendent and establishing District-wide policy. Trustees are accountable to work with their communities to improve student achievement.

Click here to learn more and see a list of current Trustees

Click here to find your Trustee District

How often does the Board of Trustees meet? Trustees meet twice per month (second and fourth Thursdays) at 5pm at the Edward A. Greer Education Center (Board Room): 2832 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, NV 89121.

Click here for a full list of Trustees meetings and agendas

Click here to visit Hope For Nevada’s #NVEd Calendar

Can community members engage at Trustee Meetings? Decision-making bodies benefit greatly from hearing public input and multiple perspectives. Community members can sign up to speak after the agenda has been posted– by calling the Board Office at (702) 799-1072 at least 3 hours before the scheduled meeting, or signing up in-person at the beginning of the meeting. Prior to each agenda item being voted on, speakers can share their perspective after the Board’s discussion and prior to the vote.


Thursday, September 24, 2020

Clark County School District Board of Trustees Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting?

Public Comment

Members of the public submitted comments online. Public comment was not read directly into the record, and rather an oral summary of each comment was provided to Trustees.

  • Click here & here to view public comment submitted on agenda items.
  • Click here & here  to view public comment submitted on non-agenda items.

Trustees Approved Consent Agenda 

Highlights: 

Trustees Approved Contract for Professional Learning and Coaching Services 

The contract with the National Center on Education and the Economy Center on System Leadership provides for the purchase of National Institute of School Leadership programming, which provides professional learning and coaching services for schools. Trustees discussed the critical need to ensure that teachers and administrators are representative of the diverse student population, including the need to prioritize educators of color for leadership opportunities. 

Click here to view the contract reference material. 

Trustees Heard Presentation on 2020 SPCSA Charter School Applications 

In accordance with Assembly Bill 462 of the 2019 Legislative Session, the State Public Charter School Authority notified the Clark County School District of charter school applications under consideration in the Clark County geographic footprint. The potential schools reviewed by CCSD staff included Eagle Charter School of Nevada, Las Vegas Montessori Charter School, Pioneer Technology and Arts Academy, Sage Collegiate Academy, and Wallace Stegner Academy. CCSD staff contended that none of the potential schools meet standards for approval. 

Click here to view the presentation. 

Trustees Approved Notice of Intent For Changes to District Zoning Policy 

Changes to Regulation 7111, District Attendance Zoning will come before the board for approval at the meeting on October 22. 

Trustees Approved Employment Agreement 

Trustees approved an employment agreement with Fikisha Miller as Chief Negotiator and Assistant General Counsel for the district. Trustees welcomed Fikisha Miller and expressed that they would like the needs of Trustees to be prioritized by Counsel. 

Click here to view the agreement. 

Trustees Heard Update on the CCSD’s COVID-19 Response

Health Information: The COVID-19 response update included a presentation from Dr. Fermin Leguen, Acting Director of the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD). Dr. Leguen outlined the factors SNHD is tracking with regards to opening schools, based on CDC recommendations and guidance. Factors include both the COVID-19 positivity rate for CCSD students and staff and the 14-day community infection rate. A memo provided by Superintendent Jara stated that though positivity rates continue to decline, there is still high risk present with regards to reopening school buildings for face to face instruction. Trustees requested ongoing updates of positivity rates and other health-related factors that contribute to the decision to reopen school buildings. At this time, there is no recommendation for schools to reopen. 

COVID-19 Testing: Educators will have access to free COVID-19 testing through the Task Force for Educator’s Safety & Screening (TIES). Trustees discussed concerns about requiring employees to participate in testing and the implications related to confidentiality. CCSD General Counsel is finalizing program details, but does not anticipate that participation in testing will be required. Student testing was not discussed. 

Connectivity & Participation:  According to CCSD, 226,093 devices have been distributed to students and 13,443 families have been connected to the internet via the Family Support Center. With regards to enrollment, CCSD is at 97% of expected enrollment, approximately -9,300 students. 

Student Online Safety & Mental Health: CCSD has launched increased controls on GoGuardian, the IT security program connected to all CCSD distance learning accounts and devices. The program includes content firewalls and the ability for educators to monitor web pages students are accessing while logged in to their CCSD account. Additionally, Beacon, a suicide prevention tool, has been incorporated to GoGuardian to support student mental health. Trustees requested additional detailed information on student and employee mental health be presented at an upcoming board meeting. 

Student Instruction: For the first three weeks of school, between 300,100 and 305,000 students have accessed Canvas, the district’s Learning Management System (LMS). CCSD staff outlined challenges related to Canvas implementation, including information continuity for families  and training for teachers on uploading grades. With regards to special populations, students with disabilities are being provided with assistive technology and learning supports on a case by case basis. English Language Learners (ELLs) are receiving additional support with interactive Google Classrooms, and educators are being provided with coaching and resources to support students learning English. Trustees requested additional information on ELLs and the accommodations being provided to students. 

Assessments: Students in grades 3-10 are participating in the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) formative assessment from home. CCSD staff encouraged teachers to utilize MAP results as one of multiple data points for tailoring instruction for students. Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) assessments are being conducted for qualifying third graders in person, and Child Find (special education assessments) are occurring in person on an appointment basis. ELL assessments are also being conducted by appointment at school sites — approximately 3,000 students are left to be tested. 

Trustees directed the Superintendent to ensure that the update at the next board meeting includes information on how the central office is being responsive to concerns of employees, students, and parents. Additionally, Trustees would like to review information on other districts’ school building reopenings and to revisit the details of the hybrid plan for the return to school buildings. 

This was not an action item. 

Click here to see the presentation. 
Click here to read about this in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. 


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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.

Highlights:

  • 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.

Highlights:

  • 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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Nevada Ed Watch 6/27/19

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.


Clark County School District Board of Trustees 

What is the Board of Trustees & what are they responsible for? The CCSD Trustees are publicly elected decision-makers for the school district. They are responsible for providing oversight to the Superintendent and establishing District-wide policy. Trustees are accountable to work with their communities to improve student achievement.

Click here to learn more and see a list of current Trustees

Click here to Find your Trustee District

How often does the Board of Trustees meet? Trustees meet twice per month (second and fourth Thursdays) at 5pm at the Edward A. Greer Education Center (Board Room): 2832 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, NV 89121.

Click here for a full list of Trustees meetings and agendas

Click here to visit Hope For Nevada’s #NVEd Calendar

Can community members engage at Trustee Meetings? Decision-making bodies benefit greatly from hearing public input and multiple perspectives. Community members can sign up to speak after the agenda has been posted– by calling the Board Office at (702) 799-1072 at least 3 hours before the scheduled meeting, or signing up in-person at the beginning of the meeting. Prior to each agenda item being voted on, speakers can share their perspective after the Board’s discussion and prior to the vote.


Thursday, June 27, 2019

Clark County School District Board of Trustees Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting?

Public Comment

Members of the public provided testimony regarding the decision to eliminate the dean position in the Clark County School District.

Trustees Unanimously Approved the Consent Agenda

Consent agenda highlights:

  • Approval of a settlement for $500K (click here to read about this in the Las Vegas Review-Journal). 
  • Grant applications and Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs), including:
    • Immunize Nevada
    • NSHE participation in FAFSA
    • English Language Learner programs

Trustees Approved Members of the Sex Education Committee

The Sex Education Committee is charged with reviewing the content and materials to be used in units of instruction on the human reporductive system, STDs/STIs, and sexual responsibility. The committee also makes recommendations to the Superintendent, who then makes recommendations to Trustees. 

The approved committee members are:

  • Medicine/Nursing: Diane Elmore (District A)
  • Counseling: Laura Deitsch (District E)
  • Religion: Dr. S. S. Rogers (District C)
  • Teacher: Jessica Maleskey (District A)
  • Parents: 
    • Erin Bilbray Kohn (District F)
    • Jodi Thornley (District B)
    • Bonnie Pruneda (District B)
    • Stephanie Valdez (District E)
    • Stephanie Zinna (District G)
  • Pupil: Arianna Ophir (District E)

Trustees Heard Updates from the Superintendent

Superintendent Jara provided a presentation to Trustees about recent budget changes. In addition to the $17 million savings from the removal of the dean position– a total of $7.4 million dollars will be reduced from the 2019-2020 budget from the following departments:

  • College, Career, Equity and School Choice Office 
  • Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Unit 
  • Legal Services

Click here to see the presentation

Click here to read about this in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Alternative options (in lieu of cutting the dean positions) were to eliminate:

  • Magnet programs
  • Performing arts
  • Athletics and athletic transportation
  • Transportation for secondary schools
  • Transportation for all students except those who the district is federally required to transport  

Superintendent Jara also provided information on school safety initiatives that will take effect following the removal of all dean positions. Student safety efforts for the 2019-2020 school years include:

  • 4 new canine officers 
  • An additional Resource Office for all high schools
  • A reserve officer program
  • Two staff training programs: Trauma 101 and De-escalation 

Additionally, two new student support positions have been introduced:

  1. Student Success Project Facilitator 
  2. Student Success Coordinator

These positions will be posted on June 28th, and principals can begin interviewing on July 3rd.

Trustees Approved Updates to CCSD Construction Bids Policy (7210) and the Purchasing Authority Policy (3311)

The construction bids policy addresses major differences that have occurred between construction bids and the final costs.

The following updates were made to the construction bids policy:

  • Changing the designee from Assistant Superintendent to the Chief of Facilities
  • Construction change orders cannot cumulatively exceed 3 percent of the original contract for new construction
  • Changes in services cannot cumulatively exceed 5% of the original contract.

Click here to see the policy.

Corresponding changes were made to the Purchasing Authority Policy

Board Approved Contract for COO and Chief of Staff

The new CCSD Chief Operating Officer is Michael Casey. Click here to see the contract. 

The new CCSD Chief of Staff is Christopher Bernier. Click here to see the contract.


Potential Future Agenda Items:

  • Feasibility of creating an Advisory Committee made up of in-school staff to advise the Superintendent.

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