Nevada Ed-Watch 8/29/19

The Ed-Watch series is designed to increase access to information on decisions being made regarding public education in Clark County and Nevada.

Nevada State Board of Education

What is the State Board of Education & what are they responsible for? The Nevada State Board of Education adopts regulations based on Nevada laws, which are passed down to individual school districts in Nevada to implement. The Board has 11 total (7 appointed and 4 publicly elected) members.

How often does the State Board meet? The Nevada State Board of Education meets once per month on Thursdays at 9:00AM. Click here to see the 2019 Board Meeting Schedule. Click here to visit Hope For Nevada’s #NVEd Calendar.

Can community members engage at State Board Meetings? 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 State Board Members.

Thursday, August 29, 2019
Nevada State Board of Education Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting?

Public Comment

Members of the public provided testimony regarding the following:

  • Parent support for a teacher who is potentially facing licensure suspension. 
  • Education stakeholders continuing to focus on critical issues like class size reduction and increasing public education funding. 

Board Approved the Consent Agenda

Consent Agenda Highlights:

  • Licensure approval for new and renewing private schools
  • Approval of instructional materials for the Carson City School District
  • Approval of Dual-Credit courses for various school districts 
  • Approval of Beacon Academy’s Work-Based Learning application

President’s Report

The President’s Report included:

  • Recognition of Mrs. Gail Hudson of Hummell Elementary School (CCSD), who was named Nevada Teacher of the Year (Click here to read about this in the Las Vegas Review-Journal)
  • Recognition of Diana Hollander, the department’s Director for Pupil Transportation, who received the Peter J. Grandolfo Memorial Award of Excellence (Click here to read about this in School Transportation News)

Superintendent’s Report

Superintendent Ebert provided the following updates:

  • SB543 (Funding Formula) 
    • Dr. Karlene McCormick-Lee was appointed to chair the Commission on School Funding by the Governor.
    • The other nominated members of the Commission on School Funding (in alphabetical order) are:
      • Dusty Casey, Oasis Academy (nominated by assembly Minority Leader Titus)
      • A.J. Feuling, Carson City School District (nominated by the Nevada Association of School Superintendents)
      • Jason Goudie, Clark County School District (nominated by the Nevada Association of School Superintendents)
      • Guy Hobbs, Hobbs Ong & Associates, Inc. (nominated by Majority Leader Cannizzaro)
      • Dr. David Jensen, Humboldt County School District (nominated by Senate Minority Leader Settelmeyer)
      • Paul Johnson, White Pine School District (nominated by the Nevada Association of School Superintendents) 
      • Punam Mather, Punam Mather LLC (nominated by Majority Leader Cannizzaro)
      • Mark Mathers, Washoe County School District (nominated by the Nevada Association of School Superintendents)
      • Jim McIntosh, City of Henderson (nominated by Speaker Frierson)
      • Dr. Lisa Morris-Hibbler, City of Las Vegas (nominated by Speaker Frierson)
    • The Interim Finance Committee recently approved two new positions at the Department of Education to support Commission on School Funding. The commission must hold its first meeting by October 1, 2019.
    • Click here to read about this in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
    • Click here to read about this in the Nevada Independent.
  • Statewide Listening Tour
    • Superintendent Ebert and members of the Department team will be touring all 17 Nevada school districts and the State Public Charter School Authority (SPCSA) to understand their barriers and successes. Feedback heard from district and SPCSA stakeholders will inform the new State Plan for Student Improvement (STIP).
  • New Office Announcement: Office of Inclusive Education
    • This office includes the Special Education, Indian Education, and Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) departments. 

Board Heard Updates from the English Mastery Council

The Board heard a presentation about the progress the English Mastery Council (EMC) has made since its inception in 2015. The purpose of the EMC is to make recommendations to the Superintendent, State Board of Education, and the Commission on Professional Standards to ensure students learning English receive a high-quality, equitable education. Board members requested an executive summary that outlines the impact of the EMC’s recommendations on student achievement. Additionally, the board and EMC representatives agreed to increase the frequency of updates on the EMC at State Board meetings. 

During the 2019 legislative session the following updates were made to the EMC: 

  • The council meeting timeline was extended through June 2022.
  • The EMC now also focuses on students who score at or below the 25th percentile in English Language Arts proficiency (in addition to students who are learning the English language).

Click here to see the presentation. 

The Board Approved Appointees to the State Public Charter School Association Board 

The two appointees to the State Public Charter School Association board are Donald Soifer and Dr. Tanya Holmes Sutton.

The Department screened SPCSA board member applications for the board’s consideration based on the following criteria:

  1. Local public charter school board experience
  2. National public charter school board experience
  3. Instructional or administrative experience in the public charter school sector
  4. Instructional or administrative experience in the traditional public school sector
  5. Experience serving students most in need of school options

Board Heard Updates on Read by Grade 3 Initiative

The board heard a presentation on the history and most recent updates to the Read By Grade 3 initiative following the 2019 legislative session. 

Substantive updates to the Read by Grade 3 policy:

  • Grade 3 retention requirements have been removed and replaced with mandatory intervention and intensive instruction for all students who are not on grade level in reading.
  • Student reading plans will be regularly assessed to measure reading growth and efficacy of interventions.
  • Reading intervention services and intensive instruction are expanded to include all grades in an elementary school.

New appropriations:

  • Read by Grade 3 dollars will no longer be competitive. Rather, funds will be allocated across the entire state through the weighted funding formula.
  • $31.7 million is allocated in each year of the biennium (2019-2021), which is a 54.5% increase from the previous biennium.
  • Ensures that all Nevada elementary schools have an assigned literacy specialist who will work with the school principal and teachers, serve as a resource for professional development, and strengthen the skills of reading teachers to improve student achievement.

Click here to download the presentation. 

Board Approves 3rd Quarter Class Size Reduction Waivers

Currently, state law prescribes pupil-to-teacher ratios (17:1 for grades 1-2, and 20:1 for grade 3). However, due to a lack of available financial support for pupil-to-teacher ratios and other good causes, some schools were approved for variances.

In order to address the class size overages, rather than continue to approve waivers, members of the board suggested a sub-committee to address these overages and ensure that the most at-risk students are receiving quality instruction. Member Newburn will identify criteria for sub-committee participants and propose a timeline at a future board meeting.

Click here to see the report.  

Board Heard Educator Licensure Updates

The board heard from the Educator Licensure Department regarding the online licensure approval system and new licensure regulations following the 2019 legislative session.  

  • The current processing timeframe for licensure application review and approval is four weeks, a significant reduction from 2018.
  • Parent Involvement and Family Engagement Course requirement for licensure:
    • The state has developed a standardized course approval process, with 24 approved courses offered through 12 higher education institutions
    • The state is distributing a voluntary survey to teachers to understand how the course impacted their practice.
  • Expedited application processing available for spouses of active duty military members
  • Now accepting ARL programs from outside Nevada
  • Awardees of the Teach Nevada Scholarship must obtain an endorsement to teach English as a second language
  • Licensure reciprocity in Nevada for foreign teachers who have completed an equivalent program of preparation in their home country

Click here to see the presentation.

Board Heard a Presentation About School Improvement

The board heard a presentation about options within their legal authority to hold chronically underperforming schools accountable for their performance. The Nevada Department of Education has a federal mandate to hold schools accountable under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). 

Schools that receive a Comprehensive Support Intervention (CSI) designation are eligible for interventions. Schools that meet any of the following criteria will receive a CSI designation:

  • Schools performing in the bottom 5%, based on their Nevada School Performance Framework (NSPF) Index Score
  • 1-star schools
  • High schools with an average 4-year graduation rate below 67%
  • Schools that did not exit Targeted Support Intervention (TSI) designation after a three-year improvement plan 

For schools that receive the CSI designation, the following “More Rigorous Options”, or interventions, were approved in Nevada’s ESSA Plan. They are listed in order of increasing intensity: 

  • Additional State Support
  • Innovation Zones and Managed Partnerships
  • Receivership and Extraordinary Authority Districts
  • Charter Conversion
  • Closure

The board noted that though the Achievement School District is no longer in statute, there are still other avenues for charter conversion to occur. The board expressed their desire to keep all options available, but prefer to implement intervention options in order of increasing intensity.

The board will hear the final part of the presentation at the October board meeting, focusing on specific CSI designated schools.

Click here to download the presentation.

Click here to see the Nevada Ed-watch summary of the July 17th meeting, when the first part of this discussion took place (an overview of the state’s accountability system and school designations).

The Board Approved Teacher Licensure Revocation and Suspension

The board approved license revocation for one educator who was found guilty of sexual misconduct with students. The board also approved a 30-day suspension for one educator who provided inappropriate coaching for students during testing.

Potential Future Agenda Items:

  • A report to address the distribution of student scores for Read by Grade 3
  • Continued updates on SB543, including an invitation for members of the commission to the next board meeting

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