Meeting the Needs of Nevada Students

Four Nevada Public Charter Schools Awarded Funds to Serve High Need Students

The Federal Charter School Program (CSP) Grant is administered by Opportunity 180 to expand access to high-quality public charter schools in the neighborhoods that have the least access to quality options.

With the goal to make sure every kid in Nevada has access to quality schools that meet their needs, four (4) public charter schools have initially been awarded funding through the Great Schools for Nevada Charter School Program (CSP) Federal Grant administered by Opportunity 180. Opportunity 180 was awarded these funds in 2020 by the US Department of Education through a highly competitive application process and has since completed three rounds of awards to schools dedicated to providing quality education to kids in Nevada.

The Great Schools for Nevada grant provides funds to new, replicating or expanding public charter schools that demonstrate success or evidence-based plans to successfully serve historically underserved student populations.  Schools must articulate a clear plan to serve a student population that is greater than or equal to the average underserved student population served by the district in which the school is located. 

“Opportunity 180 is committed to ensuring every kid has access to a great school,” said Jana Wilcox Lavin, CEO of Opportunity 180.  “These schools have innovative learning models, as well as a strong focus on college and career readiness, and have demonstrated significant engagement with students, parents, and potential community partners. We look forward to welcoming them to Southern Nevada.” 

The awarded schools are:

3551 N Ferrell St, Las Vegas, NV 89032

Focus: Implementing the Explore Learning model, an educational framework that promotes student growth and responsibility while providing an individualized educational path for each student

4280 West Craig Rd Suite 102/103, North Las Vegas, NV 89031

Focus: Providing real collegiate experiences for high school students through students taking on-campus college courses and professors, giving students the opportunity to earn college credit and ease the transition to college while earning their high school diplomas 

1580 Bledsoe Ln., Las Vegas, NV 89110

Focus: A unique curriculum that prepares students for success in construction professions and post-secondary education while meeting all the Nevada Academic Content Standards (NACS), advised by leading industry associations and stakeholders to inform and fill future workforce needs and provide direct career pathways

Address TBD, serving zip codes 89156, 89110, 89115 

Focus: Providing historically underserved youth with opportunities toward financial freedom and academic success, as well as pathways to careers that enable financial independence and wealth accumulation

“Southern Nevada Trades High School is incredibly grateful for the funding from the CSP grant. It will allow us to provide increased Special Education, English Language Learning and counseling services for our students. It will also enable our faculty to engage in extensive professional development to prepare them for our unique integrated career and college ready curriculum.  We look forward to welcoming our first class of Freshmen and Sophomores to SNTHS in the Fall of 2023.”

Julie Carver, Executive Director of Southern Nevada Trades High School.

Upon submitting an application, schools were selected via a 12-week external review process, in which they were required to demonstrate their commitment to serving high-need student populations through their mission, curriculum focus, and physical location. All awarded schools will be strategically placed in areas that align to the Nevada State Public Charter School Authority’s 2022 Academic and Demographic Needs Assessment and Opportunity 180’s Priority Footprint

The Great Schools for Nevada grant aligns directly with Opportunity 180’s mission to invest in great schools and put students on track to graduate high school college and career ready. These funds will directly impact nearly 2,100 students over the course of the grant, contributing to Opportunity 180’s overall goal of ensuring 100,000 more students have access to a high-quality school by 2030.

Nevada Ed-Watch 3/6/20

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, 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, March 6, 2020
State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda 

What happened at this meeting? 

SPCSA Executive Director’s Report: 

Report Highlights: 

  • Introduction of 2 new board members: Tameka Shauntee Rosales and Lee Farris
  • Introduction of 3 new SPCSA staff members: one administrative assistant and two finance employees
  • 1 application was submitted for the Winter Cycle. An SPCSA staff approval recommendation is expected by the April board meeting
  • Former Achievement School District (ASD) schools have been transferred to the SPCSA
  • There are 4 new schools launching in Fall 2020
  • Community stakeholders can provide input on Senate Bill 441 regulations, which will ultimately be submitted to the Department of Education for a final decision
  • SPCSA launched an online platform for community stakeholders to share concerns or feedback 
  • Under the SPCSA Performance Framework, current school year data will be collected to assess  the academic, organizational, and financial performance of each school

Board Heard Mid-Year Updates from Schools that have Received a Notice of Breach

Freedom Classical Academy Elementary School, Legacy North Valley Elementary School, and Somerset North Las Vegas Elementary School provided updates to the board on their mid-year assessment results and progress against performance plans.

Click here to see Freedom Classical Academy’s presentation.

Click here to see Legacy North Valley’s presentation.

Click here to see Somerset’s presentation.

Board Heard Updates on Schools under Receivership or Previously under Receivership


  • Ardent Prep sold its property to settle final debts. 
  • Discovery Charter School was removed from receivership and had its board reconstituted at the end of the 2018-19 school year. 
  • Quest Academy, which was placed under receivership for financial mismanagement, showed improvements under its receivership. Quest staff shared a plan to remove the school from receivership and reconstitute the school’s board by next school year. 

Board Heard Updates on Beacon Academy’s Performance

The Board heard updates on Beacon Academy’s performance aligned to the Alternative Performance Framework. Beacon Academy shared information on student demographics for Alternative Education and at-risk students, specifically credit deficient students. School staff also shared updates on the school’s academic growth, college and career readiness, credit deficiency rates, graduation rates, and student engagement data. 

Beacon Academy has submitted a letter of intent to open a second campus in Clark County.

Click here to see the presentation.

Board Heard Updates from Pinecrest Academy of Northern Nevada Following its Conditional Approval

SPCSA staff reviewed the completion of the conditions for the Pinecrest Academy of Northern Nevada’s approval. 

The conditions were met related to the National School Lunch program, Weighted Lottery Policy, revised budget, and the waiver of academic fees for students eligible for Free and Reduced-Price Lunch. 

The board approved the school’s targeted student enrollment marketing plan. The school’s draft transportation plan will come back to the board for a vote during the April board meeting– pending zip code data and weighted lottery updates. The board also requested enrollment updates broken down by student demographics. 

Board Reviewed Resubmitted New Charter School Applications

The following schools’ initial applications were denied during the December 17th, 2019 board meeting. SPCSA staff provided applicants with feedback on application deficiencies, and the schools had 30 days to improve and resubmit their application. 

Alaka’i Heritage Academy  – DENIED

  • Meeting the Need: Meets the Standard
  • Academic Plan: Approaches the Standard
  • Operations Plan: Approaches the Standard
  • Financial Plan: Approaches the Standard

Click here to see the SPCSA staff’s recommendation memo.

Nevada Strong Academy – DENIED

  • Meeting the Need: Approaches the Standard
  • Academic Plan: Approaches the Standard
  • Operations Plan: Approaches the Standard
  • Financial Plan: Does not meet the standard

Click here to see the SPCSA staff’s recommendation memo.

Sage Collegiate – DENIED

  • Meeting the Need: Approaches the Standard
  • Academic Plan: Approaches the Standard
  • Operations Plan: Approaches the Standard
  • Financial Plan: Approaches the Standard

Click here to see the SPCSA staff’s recommendation memo.

Pahrump Valley Academy – DENIED

  • Meeting the Need: Meets the Standard
  • Academic Plan: Approaches the Standard
  • Operations Plan: Approaches the Standard
  • Financial Plan: Does not meet the Standard

Click here to see the SPCSA staff’s recommendation memo.

Board Approved Charter School Contract Amendment for Explore Academy

The board approved SPCSA staff’s recommendation regarding Explore Academy’s amendment request for a location change. Explore Academy was initially approved under the Achievement School District for 2019 launch, but delayed opening until 2020 under an SPCSA contract.

Staff presented information on the request to occupy a temporary facility outside of the originally approved  zip codes. The proposed temporary facility will be vacant as of June 2020. School staff and a partner realtor shared obstacles to locating a facility within the approved zip codes. The board shared concerns about increased traffic, enrollment, and lease details. 

Click here to see the amendment application.

Board Received Biennial Review of Statutes and Regulations

SPCSA staff shared information about recommendations to propose to the Legislative Committee on Education on legislation that would assist charter schools in achieving their academic, fiscal and organizational goals.

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