Nevada Ed-Watch 3/11/19

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 (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.

Monday, March 11, 2019
State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting?

The Board Heard Staff Reports From Each Team (Authorizing, School Support, Finance & Operations & Legal)

The Authorizing Team provided the following updates to the Board:

  • Academic Performance Framework & Organizational Framework
    • The workgroups on each of the frameworks have met once and will continue to meet over the next few months.
    • Both frameworks will be completed by June and implemented in school year 2019-20.

  • Changes to the Nevada School Performance Framework (NSPF) for school year 2018-2019 
    • The Nevada Department of Education is implementing changes to the NSPF, which will be released in the Fall. Note: the NSPF workbook with more details will be released in April 2019.
      • The team updated the Board on 3 key areas that will be updated:
        • Changing the business rules around how long a child must be enrolled in order to count towards a school’s performance data.
        • Rating schools that have low ‘N’ counts, or schools that don’t have tested grades.
        • Readjusting the penalty structure for schools that don’t meet the 95% participation requirements.
  • Site Evaluations
    • The team completed 9 SPCSA school site evaluations since January 22nd. They will have 10 visits completed by end of the week, and 6 visits remaining for March-April. On average, the team has completed 1 site evaluation per week.
  • Revolving Loan
    • The team provided an update regarding lending funds to schools for costs approved in the charter application, such as preparing for the first year of operations and recruiting talent.
      • The loan application deadline is Friday. Any charter school under any authorizer can apply. Funding decisions will be made in May.
  • New Charter Applicants
    • There is 1 applicant currently in the charter application process.
    • 11 Letters of Intent to apply for charter authorization have been submitted to-date for the current application cycle. The deadline is Friday, March 15.

The School Support Team provided the following updates to the Board:

  • Site Visits
    • The team conducted 10 school site visits this week. The purpose of these visits is to discuss providing technical support to ensure school success, specifically around special programs like Individualized Education and 504 Plans, and services for English Language Learners.
  • Conferences and Trainings
    • The team attended crisis prevention institute training.
  • Technical Support for Schools
    • The team is continuing to work with schools to facilitate solutions to parent concerns, and support schools to meet Nevada Department of Education reporting requirements.

The Legal Team provided the following updates to the Board:

  • Executive Director Search and Recruitment
    • The Board interviewed candidates for the Executive Director position on March 8, selecting 3 finalists to forward to the Governor for final review and appointment.  The letter to the Governor is currently being drafted.

The Board Heard 2019 Legislative Updates

The SPCSA has jointly filed SB78 with the Nevada Department of Education. The bill includes consolidating and combining the SPCSA and the Nevada ASD in an effort to increase equitable access to high quality charter schools for all students.

Click here to see the bill and the amendments.

Click here to see a technical summary of the proposed revisions to AB78.

Click here to see the proposed Conceptual Amendment to AB78.

The SPCSA is also tracking the following (click the links to access each bill):

  • AB70: Related to Nevada Open Meeting Law
  • AB168: Related to student discipline
  • AB 213: Allows for public charter school students to obtain their driver’s licenses at age 14 under certain circumstances
  • SB57: Related to school safety
  • SB89: Related to accountability for public schools
  • BDR 34-392: Related to separate regulation of online public charter schools. Discussion on BDR 34-392 included:
    • The Board has done a lot of accountability work regarding virtual schools, with some success. They expressed that having an additional accountability tool would be helpful.
    • The Board also expressed support for schools that are open to all students and are serving them well, and facing consequences, (including closure) if they are not.

The Board Heard a Staff Presentation About the Charter Amendment Process and Proposed Updates

The SPCSA currently has 11 different amendment applications that are specific to different types of amendments (i.e. expanding enrollment to new grades or school name changes).

The staff proposed streamlining the charter amendment process to just one application that is broken down into multiple amendment categories (i.e. facilities, enrollment, and academic).

There will still be a high expectation of quality in applications, two amendment cycles, and an option for schools to submit good cause exemptions.

Click here to download the presentation.

The Board Heard a Staff Presentation About the SPCSA Strategic Planning Process

Staff members informed the Board that the SPCSA’s current Strategic plan will expire in 2020. The staff will present a formal timeline in June or July to establish a new strategic plan over the next year.

Click here to see the current plan.

Future Items:

  • July: Presentation on accountability measures for schools
  • August: NSPF Primer
  • September or October: NSPF Results

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