Nevada Ed-Watch 2/15/2022

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.


Tuesday, February 15, 2022
State Public Charter School Authority Special Board Meeting
Access the meeting agenda.

What happened at this meeting? 

Public comment 

Members of the public provided comments regarding: 

  • The school mask mandate.
  • Feedback from students about how Coral Academy has supported their education and language development.

Find written public comment here.

SPCSA Annual Overview of the State of the SPCSA

The mission of the SPCSA is to sponsor, support, and oversee “dynamic and responsive public charter schools that prepare all students for academic, social, and economic success.”

Milestones and highlights:

  • SPCSA was authorized through a bill enacted in 2011.
  • The first meeting of the board was held on February 10, 2012 and SPCSA just hit its 10-year anniversary.
  • Melissa Mackedon, the board’s Chair, and staff member Danny Peltier have served with the Authority since its inception and will be honored with a plaque.
  • There are 70 SPCSA-sponsored schools, up from 15 schools in 2012.
  • 66% of schools overseen by the SPCSA are rated as four or five stars as last reported, up from 47% in 2012.
  • SPCSA serves 55,415 students across state-sponsored charter schools, up from 10,706 in 2012.
  • SPCSA serves 11% of public school students in Nevada.
  • Pinecrest Academy – Inspirada Campus was the first Nevada charter school recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School for the category of Exemplary High-Performing in 2021.
  • The graduation rate for 2021 was 86.8% — all but one SPCSA-sponsored high school exceeded the state’s graduation rate.
  • All SPCSA student groups are exceeding their state peers in Math and ELA.
  • 72.2% of SPCSA-sponsored schools are growing the special education student group in ELA faster than the state.

Explore the presentation.

Board Heard Update on New Charter School Campuses for Fall 2022

  • Nevada State High School – North Las Vegas Campus
    • The campus was approved on June 26, 2020. In April 2021, the Authority approved a request by the school to defer opening due to COVID-19. The school anticipates opening in Fall 2022 with 100 students in grades 11-12.

Explore the Nevada State High School update.

  • Coral Academy of Las Vegas – Cadence Campus
    • Coral Cadence Campus was approved with conditions on February 26, 2021. The school anticipates serving approximately 850 students in Pre-K through 8th grade in the initial year. 50% of students that will be served will qualify for FRL.

The board heard a presentation from representatives of Coral Academy about their community engagement initiatives and recruitment strategies. Coral Academy will return with an update on these efforts at the March meeting.

No action was taken by the board on this agenda item.

Explore the presentation.

Board Approved Staff Recommendations on the Financial Performance Framework and Ratings for the 2020-21 School Year

The Financial Performance Framework is a tool utilized to evaluate a charter school’s financial well being, health, and performance as part of ongoing monitoring and the renewal decision making process. Charter schools have the autonomy to manage their finances consistent with state and federal law; however, sponsors must ensure that the schools they sponsor are financially stable. Schools that do not meet standards can be moved to the following interventions: Notice of Concern, Notice of Breach, and Notice of Intent to Revoke. 

The board approved the following recommendations brought forth by SPCSA staff:

  • Accept performance data for all schools included in the presentation.
  • Remove the active Notice of Concern for Nevada Virtual Academy as the school is meeting standards.
  • Request a Targeted Remediation Plan from Explore Academy.
  • Issue a Notice of Concern for Signature Preparatory Academy.

Explore the presentation.

Board Approved Recommendations on Charter School Contract Amendment Applications 

  • Mater Academy of Nevada – Approved (with conditions) for the expansion of Pre-K starting the 2022-23 school year at the East campus and addition of a Dual Credit program.

Explore the recommendation memo.

  • Alpine Academy – Approved (with modifications) to increase the enrollment cap for the school from 140 to 160 for grades 9 -12 and adopt a weighted lottery policy for the 2022-23 school year.

Explore the recommendation memo.

  • Pinecrest Academy of Nevada – Approved (with modifications and conditions) to increase the enrollment caps of the existing Cadence and Sloan Canyon campuses and open Pinecrest Virtual Academy for the 2022-23 school year with an enrollment cap of 80 students in the initial year.

Explore the recommendation memo.

  • Somerset Academy of Las Vegas – Approved to adjust the enrollment cap and modify grade levels from K-8 to K-5 at the North Las Vegas campus for the 2022-23 school year as well as adopt a weighted lottery policy.

Explore the recommendation memo.

Representatives of the schools were present to share updates and answer questions from board members.

Board Heard Presentation on Charter School Enrollment and Lotteries

Public charter schools:

  • Are free and open to all students.
  • Have no admission criteria. 
  • Do not discriminate in admissions processes in accordance with NRS 388A.453(6) & NAC 388A.538.
  • Have enrollment caps.

If fewer students apply than available seats, public charter schools are not required to run a lottery. If more students apply than available seats, a lottery is required.

Public charter schools conduct a two-part enrollment process for admissions:

  • An application which includes basic information (name, DOB, age, grade, contact info) prior to the lottery.
  • A full enrollment packet with detailed information (health information, IEP, EL, emergency contact) following the lottery.

Public charter schools may have preferences that give some students enrollment priority, such as siblings currently enrolled at the school, children of employees, and students within two miles of the school. The schools may also conduct a weighted lottery to give some students a greater chance of acceptance, such as students who are economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities, students with limited English proficiency, and students experiencing homelessness.

SPCSA monitors enrollment processes and application forms for compliance with SPCSA requirements and state and federal statutes.

Explore the presentation.

Board Heard Presentation on and Approved COVID-19 Update and Plan for the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction

SPCSA staff shared updates regarding:

  • COVID Mitigation Plans: Under Emergency Directive 052, schools can either draft an additional plan that sits alongside their existing plan or draft a revised plan. The plan must include 1) a policy on face coverings, 2) a COVID-19 testing program, and 3) a method for detecting, responding to, and mitigating COVID-19 outbreaks. The plan must be passed along to the Department of Health and Human Services for approval.
  • Face Coverings: Under Emergency Directive 052, face coverings are optional in school settings and charter schools may develop a policy that requires use of them. Masks are still required on all public transportation, including school buses, and schools must continue to follow quarantine guidelines.
  • Ensuring proper handwashing, respiratory etiquette, cleaning and disinfection per CDC guidelines.

Explore the Plan for the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction.

Explore the Governor’s Emergency Directive 052.

Long-Range Calendar (next 3 months):

Agenda items over the next three SPCSA board meetings are anticipated to include:

  • A presentation on emergency funds.
  • A presentation by Coral Academy in March on their progress.

Click here to see the long-range calendar.

The next Meeting of the SPCSA Board is scheduled for March 4, 2022 @ 9:00 am. 

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Nevada Ed-Watch 2/26/21

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, February 26, 2021

State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting? 

No members of the public provided comment during this meeting.

SPCSA Executive Directors’ and SPCSA Staff Report:

  • Update on Financial Performance Framework Ratings
    • Staff has sent final performance framework ratings to schools. All performance frameworks are now available to the public under the Performance Reports Tab on the SPCSA website.
  • Initiatives Related to Serving All Students Equitably
    • SPCSA is in the process of working with the Nevada Department of Education to provide schools with access to training on how to review their own discipline data. Earlier this month, SPCSA sent each school a report comparing their school’s demographics to those of district and neighborhood schools within their local communities. Schools can use the information to understand whether their school population is representative of the community.
    • SPCSA will continue to make updates to its website to make it easier for families to select a school and access enrollment, and is currently awaiting feedback from stakeholders before making an initial round of changes. The purpose of these updates is to remove barriers to access to schools.
    • SPCSA has been working to collect demographic data for licensed educators. This data shows that there is a noticeable discrepancy between licensed staff and students. 70% of public school teachers are White, while White students only make up 30% of enrollment.
    • SCPSA is seeing some opportunities to access training to all SPCSA-sponsored schools, particularly on culturally responsive practices and restorative justice.

Click here to view the update memo.

  • Project Aware and MTSS Pilot
    • Last Spring, the Authority engaged in a process with the NDE and UNR’s PBIS Technical Assistance Center to explore ways to support schools with MTSS  (Multi-Tiered Systems of Support). SPCSA has established a pilot program to support a small cohort of schools with this implementation and is currently working with 6 schools on this pilot. Project AWARE is a 5-year grant program focused on promoting equity, restorative justice practices, cultural responsiveness, social-emotional learning, and mental health awareness. Project AWARE will focus on 5 strategies.

Schools from all over Nevada will be able to participate.

Click here to view the presentation.

  • Future SPCSA Board meetings
    • SPCSA is looking to transition to an in-person component to SPCSA board meetings. A potential first step is to have board members in Southern Nevada meet in person beginning at the March meeting. SPCSA will work within constraints to make sure its board can continue to socially distance and abide by State guidance and hopes to gradually move to in-person board meetings.

Board Approved Change to In-Person Learning Guidance

  • SPCSA has seen COVID-19 test positivity and case rates decline. Vaccines are rolling out to all counties where SPCSA schools are located. In early February, Director Feiden held focus groups and through those focus groups has learned that schools have developed significant measures to mitigate COVID-19. Schools have increased in-person learning steadily over the past months. Schools continue to raise concerns about the academic development and mental health of students. On February 12, the CDC released updated guidance which includes guidance for K-12 mitigation. It emphasizes:
  • Consistent implementation of layered mitigation strategies to reduce transmission, such as correct use of masks;
  • Monitoring of indicators of community transmission to assess community risk; and
  • Implementation of a phased mitigation learning model.

On February 17, Governor’s Directive 038 was announced. The directive has two major impacts on schools:

  • Schools that have facilitated at least 20 days of in-person instruction, whether hybrid or full-time, can increase in-person learning from 50% to 75% room capacity. Schools that haven’t facilitated any in-person learning will have to do so for 20 days at 50% room capacity before increasing to 75% room capacity.
  • Schools that have facilitated at least 20 days of in-person learning (hybrid or full), can go to 3 feet distance learning. Adults are still required 6 feet from students and other adults.

The board approved a motion to lift the Authority’s additional in-person learning restrictions on flagged counties and to instead align with the Governor’s instructions in Directive 038 per Director Feiden’s recommended. Schools are responsible for their reopening plans when there are changes and must submit those plans to the NDE through the SPCSA. This ensures that the SPCSA is aware of school plans in order to answer questions that may arise from community members and families.

Click here to read the guidance memo.
Click here to read Nevada’s ROADMAP TO RECOVERY: Pre-K – 12 Education.
Click here to read Governor’s Directive 038.

Board Approved Amendments Charter School Contracts

  • Nevada Prep: The board approved a motion to grant Nevada Prep a Good Cause Exemption and approve the school’s requests, with conditions. The school is approved to:
    • Relocate to a facility at 1780 N. Betty Lane in Las Vegas.
    • Expand its grade configuration to the 3rd grade beginning in the 2021–22 school year. The school is not requesting a change in the enrollment cap for the 2021-22 school year.
    • Expand the enrollment caps for the school beginning in the 2022–23 school year to accommodate slow growth within grades 3–8.
  • The school must also complete the following two conditions:
    • Complete pre-opening process for new charter school facilities
    • Submit NWA Map results from the beginning, middle, and end of the year

Click here to read SPCSA staff’s recommendation memo.

  • Coral Academy of Science Las Vegas: The board approved a motion to grant Coral Academy of Science Las Vegas approval to expand to a seventh location, in Henderson, for the 2022-2023 school year. The school must complete the following conditions:
    • Lease or purchase a parcel on in Henderson by June 30, 2021
    • Continue to promote the school in multiple languages
    • Implement a weighted lottery system that enables the school ensure student demographics are comparable to schools in the local area.
    • Complete pre-opening process for new charter school facilities.

Click here to read SPCSA staff’s recommendation memo.

Board Heard Update on New Schools

  • Las Vegas Collegiate – Las Vegas Collegiate was conditionally approved by the Authority in December 2019 but deferred its school opening from Fall 2020 to Fall 2021. School leadership shared that they are currently looking at two facilities for the Fall opening, will be facilitating a number of community engagement strategies to grow enrollment, and have filled 50% of its open positions for hire.
  • Sage Collegiate – Sage Collegiate was conditionally approved by the Authority to open in December 2020. School leadership shared that they are working with Building Hope and have identified a potential permanent facility. The school has made an offer on the facility and is going through the process to finalize the agreement; however, the facility is not expected to be ready under December 2021. The school expects to get a temporary site proposal at a Boys and Girls Club location for Year 1 and anticipates a long-term partnership with Boys and Girls Club even after the move into the permanent building.
  • CIVICA – The Authority conditionally approved CIVICA to open in May 2020. Current enrollment is anticipated to be 340 students. School leadership shared their community engagement efforts, including hosting information sessions for families, and on-the-spot enrollment events at Maya Cinemas. CIVICA has completed its hiring with internal transferred and will begin Interviewing and hiring external candidates next week. The schools expect to see the exterior walls of the new school site going up in the next week. CIVICA has also finalized all 5 conditions that were due to the SPCSA and submitted a letter of intent to receive Charter School Program grant funds.
  • Eagle Academy – The Authority conditionally approved Eagle in January 2021  to open its campus for Fall 2021. School leadership shared that they are working on securing a facility. If unable to find a facility for the upcoming school year, the school will defer to open in 2022 and take advantage of the 18 months for board training, hiring, community outreach, and other initiatives.

Board Heard Update on Nevada Connections Academy

  • Last year, the Authority approved a 3-year contract for Nevada Connections Academy (NCA) which goes through June 20, 2023. Under the contract, the school serves grades 9-12, and enrollment for grades 9-10 is capped at 850 students. The contract further stipulates that students can enter grades 11-12 at NCA if they have matriculated through the school from the 9th or 10th grades; however, the school may not take enrollments for grades 11-12 from new students. If the school receives a 1-star rating at the end of the 2020-21 or 2021-22 school years, this will result in the school’s closure. Over the last nine months, SPCSA staff shared that they have seen the NCA’s strong dedication to improvement. NCA’s leadership gave a presentation to the Authority, reporting that Performance Framework targets are on track for this school year. The school has been working on improving feedback to students as well as webmail communications. The school also reported a completion rate of 94% for all benchmark assessments which increased from 92% in Fall 2020. The school is working to make sure students are mastering all of their courses and are providing interventions in areas needed. The school has also implemented ACT preparation for 9th-11th graders and now has a full College & Career Readiness program along with increased dual credit options. 10.6% of 12th graders are now in CTE programs, an increase from 2.6% previously.

Board Heard Update from Quest Academy

Representatives of Quest Academy provided an update on the school’s progress and transition from receivership to a full board. On October 15th, 2020, Quest transitioned to an independent board. There is currently a board vacancy that they expect to fill by April, and also anticipate adding two additional members to the board by the 2021-2022 school year. Quest is utilizing a data dashboard that enables them to monitor student learning and growth in order to stay on track to improve the star ratings of the elementary and middle schools.

Click here to see the full update provided by Quest.  

Board Approved TEACH Las Vegas Charter Contract   

The mission of TEACH Las Vegas is to create a high quality, innovative K – 12 teaching and learning environment in North Las Vegas that focuses on literacy; integrating state of-the-art technologies across the core curriculum to achieve academic proficiency for all students.

The approved contract allows TEACH Las Vegas to open a grades K-7 for the 2021-2022 school year, with an eventual growth to K-12.

TEACH’s initial application was denied in December 2020 due to deficiencies noted by staff across various domains in their application to open a school. Upon resubmission, reviewers found that the deficiencies were addressed. Board members expressed their appreciation for the specific attention made by the school to ensure their community engagement efforts were authentically grounded in the community they are looking to serve.

The contract was approved with conditions, including:

  • Provide 2020-2021 end of year data for existing schools in California
  • Submit growth data to the SCPSA at multiple points throughout the year for progress monitoring
  • Submit evidence that the school has a partnership to provide dual-enrollment courses

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

Board Heard Presentation from Academica Nevada on Diversifying School Faculty

Academica Nevada is a for-profit Education Management Organization (EMO) that provides a suite of services for establishing and supporting operations for charter schools. Academica services 24 charter school campuses in Nevada, including Doral, Pinecrest, Somerset and Mater Academies, as well as CIVICA and SLAM!.

Academica staff provided an overview of the efforts they plan to undertake in order to diversify the faculty of the schools they support to better reflect the population of students being served. Staff shared that they had not been previously aware of the need to ensure that educators are representative of the students they are serving. Efforts to address the current disparities include “diversity awareness training”, increasing opportunities for licensure for support staff, and targeted recruitment at universities with diverse student bodies.

Currently, faculty members that identify as White are over-represented at Academica Nevada schools.

Board members discussed the need to expand their diversification efforts to all staff and the need to include families from the schools in discussions and planning. Additionally, board members recommended ensuring Academica is thought partnering with other schools who are exemplifying leadership in this area.  

Click here to see the full presentation.

Board Heard Update on Strategic Plan Progress

Director Feiden provided an update on the progress to date regarding the three 5-year goals outlined in the SPCSA’s strategic plan. The board will receive annual updates related to the progress towards achieving the goals. Due to the pandemic, SBAC assessments were not administered, impacting the metrics for Goal 2, outlined below.

Goal 1: Provide families with access to high-quality schools. This goal focuses on ensuring all SPCSA schools are considered high-quality via the statewide star-rating accountability system, as well as ensuring schools are in compliance with the SPCSA’s Organizational and Financial Frameworks.

Goal 2: Ensure that every SPCSA student succeeds – including those from historically underserved student groups. Some data points aligned to these metrics are not available due to student assessments not being administered, however other data points were available that indicate this goal is on track.

Goal 3: Increase the diversity of students served by SPCSA schools. This goal focuses on ensuring English Learners, students experiencing poverty, and students with disabilities are being equitably served at a rate that is greater than or equal to statewide averages.

Board Heard Update on 2021 Legislative Session

SPCSA staff has been meeting with legislators, local school districts, and the Department of Education to align on legislation related to education in Nevada. SPCSA is tracking approximately 20 bills, with seven directly related to charter schools. SPCSA staff shared that a recent bill presentation to the Assembly Committee on Education, Assembly Bill 68, was successful and that a friendly amendment is to be incorporated in the language.


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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.


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