Nevada Ed-Watch 9/13/19

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 (1st 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, September 13, 2019
State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting?

Public Comment
A member of the public requested the SPCSA board move meetings to the evening rather than during the workday to improve accessibility.

The Board Heard Updates From Schools in Receivership

  • Argent Preparatory Academy
    • Argent Prep is selling their final asset, a parcel of land, for $2.25 million. The buyer, Carson Montessori School, requested a 10-day extension to address issues with financing and acquire a Special Use Permit.
  • Quest Academy
    • Quest Academy resolved its legal and financial obligations, however is currently engaged in litigation regarding its facility.
  • Discovery Charter school
    • Discovery Charter School reported a strong start to the new school year with positive family engagement.
    • The school’s new board held their first meeting and elected a president and treasurer.
    • Click here to see Discovery’s full written update.
    • Discovery Charter School must continue providing quarterly updates to the Authority through the end of the 2020 school year.

Board Heard Updates on the Nevada Virtual Academy Litigation

Nevada Virtual Academy (NVA) filed a complaint with the court challenging the conditions that the Authority Board approved in 2018, when their charter application was approved. NVA filed an injunction to operate under a court order without a charter contract. No injunction was ordered. A trial is set for May 2020.

Board Approved Charter Contract Amendments (4-2 vote)

The following charter contract amendments were approved:

  • Oasis Academy
    • An amendment allowing for an annual increase of 24 students per year for 9-years.
  • Doral Academy of Northern Nevada
    • A good cause exemption allowing an increase in the enrollment cap from 636 students to 814 students (the total number of students currently enrolled in the school). Representatives of Doral Academy of Northern Nevada stated that they over-enrolled the school due to an administrative error– confusing the enrollment cap for the Northern Nevada Campus with the cap at another Doral Academy campus.
    • The Authority Board approved the amendment only for the current school year, to avoid impact on the students and families enrolled.
    • The Authority Board also suggested the school implements a weighted lottery process to ensure its demographic makeup is consistent with the community that it serves.

Board Approved the Charter School Performance Framework Guidance Document

The board approved the revised guidance document for the Charter School Performance Framework. The objective of the performance framework is to provide charter school boards and leaders with clear expectations, fact-based oversight, and timely feedback while protecting charter school’s autonomy for local decision-making within the constraints of state and federal laws.

Click here to see the document.

Board Approved the Site Evaluation Handbook

The board approved technical changes to the SPCSA Site Evaluation Handbook. The changes included updates based on legislation passed in the 2019 Legislative Session, plus updates based on learnings from the first year of completed site evaluations.

Click here to see the handbook.

Board Heard an Overview of the Nevada School Performance Framework

SPCSA staff presented the board with an overview of the Nevada School Performance Framework. 2018-2019 school year performance data will be available on the Nevada Report Card website on Monday, September 16.

There are 102 star ratings across SPCSA-authorized school campuses. This number accounts for single campuses that include multiple school levels (elementary, middle, and high school). Each school level receives its own star rating. 

The Board Heard Updates on Strategic Planning for the SPCSA

The SPCSA is developing a 5-year strategic plan that will outline its vision, mission, values, organizational goals, and strategies for achieving goals.

The Strategic Plan will be inclusive of the SPCSA’s Growth Management Plan, Local Education Agency (LEA) Support Plan, and Organizational Effectiveness Plan.

The SPCSA is also creating a Growth Management Plan, as mandated during the 2019 legislative session.

SPCSA staff will engage stakeholders as the Growth Management Plan is developed– which will include targeted outreach to key stakeholders, working groups with a diverse group of stakeholders, and more broad outreach through surveys.

Staff will present the Growth Management Plan and the Strategic Plan to the SPCSA board for feedback. The goal is to present a final draft to the board during the December 13th meeting.

Click here to see the presentation.

The Board Heard Updates from SPCSA Staff

  • Welcoming new board members, Mallory Cyr, Don Soifer, and Dr. Tonia Holmes-Sutton. There are still two board seats pending appointment.
  • The December board meeting will be held on December 13th.
  • 9 new school applications in this cycle
    • Applications are available online for review by the public, including a link for members of the public to provide comment regarding the application.
    • SPCSA staff anticipate bringing new charter school applications to the board for consideration during the November and December board meetings.
  • 7 charter schools are up for contract renewals. SPCSA staff anticipate bringing applications for renewal before the board in the November and December board meetings.

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Nevada Ed Watch 6/28/19

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 (1st 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, June 28, 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 provided testimony to Board members regarding:

  • Concerns about severance pay not received by staff following the closure of Argent Preparatory Academy. 
  • A representative from the City of Henderson shared input to suggest including overcrowding as part of the needs assessment within the SPCSA growth management plan.

The Board Approved Charter Contract Amendment Applications

The Board approved the following requests for charter contract amendments:

  • Request for facility consolidation of two Quest Academy campuses– the Alexander campus and the Northwest campus (for a combined enrollment of 600 students)
  • Request for enrollment to include only students 16 years and older at Beacon Academy
  • (Conditional Approval): Request by Leadership Academy of Nevada to operate independently from their contracted Educational Management Organization (EMO). This was approved on the condition that the curriculum is approved by the Department of Education. 

The Board Heard an Update on Discovery Charter School’s Receivership

Discovery Charter’s receiver shared a quarterly update with the Board, including the following highlights:

  • A list of proposed Board Members
  • There are two leaders covering administrative duties until the Board vets and approves a new school leader.

The Board Heard an Update on Argent Prep’s Receivership

Argent Preparatory Academy’s receiver shared updates to the Board, which included continued challenges with selling one of the school’s facilities. Once the facility is sold, funds will become available to pay severance to exited staff.

The Board Heard an Updates on Nevada Virtual Academy (NVA)

The Board heard a quarterly update on the progress towards closure of Nevada Virtual Academy’s elementary school– scheduled by the end of the 2018-2019 school year. Updates included:

  • NVA filed a complaint 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. They are pending court hearing.
  • NVA approved litigation against the SPCSA.
  • SPCSA is hopeful that contract is executed by June 30th, despite court injunction.

The Board Approved the Academic and Organizational Performance Frameworks 

Academic Performance Framework

SPCSA staff proposed an Academic Performance Framework to take effect July 1, 2019. The SPCSA framework aligns with the Nevada School Performance Framework (NSPF), and will inform high stakes decisions and possible interventions. The framework includes four key indicators to determine a school’s performance:

  • NSPF Star Rating – 60 points
  • Geographical Comparison – 25 points
  • Diversity – 15 points
  • School Progress – no point value

Click here to download the presentation.

Organizational Performance Framework

SPCSA staff provided information to the Board about the Organizational Performance Framework to take effect July 1, 2019. The framework assesses whether an educational organization is effectively operated. Staff held listening sessions and working groups to collaboratively develop the framework. They also plan to host staff orientation sessions to walk through its implementation.

Click here to see the ratings scorecard. 

Click here to see the technical guide.

Click here to see the presentation.

The Board Heard Updates on the Academic and Demographic Needs Assessment 

Staff provided a preview of the Academic and Demographic Needs Assessment. In compliance with AB462 (requiring the SPCSA to establish a plan to manage the growth of charter schools)– by July 30th, the SPCSA must prepare an evaluation of student demographic information, the academic needs of students, and the needs of students who are at risk of dropping out. It was noted that needs may change over time with a constantly evolving public school landscape. This evaluation will inform authorizing decisions and be updated annually. 

The Board discussed the public input process and the requirement to seek input from local school districts. 

Click here to see the presentation.

The Board Heard Updates on the Growth Management Plan

The SPCSA is required to establish a plan to manage the growth of charter schools (including new schools, expansions, grade level expansions, and charter renewals). The plan considers statewide student performance, including data for specific groups and subgroups, and the academic needs of students in different geographic areas of the state. 

Staff introduced an approach to develop a Growth Management Plan by January 2020. The plan will be informed by the Academic and Demographic Needs Assessment (discussed above). 

Click here to see an overview of the plan.

The SPCSA will present an update at the August Board meeting, and present a draft in November.

The Board Heard a Legislative Recap

The Board heard a recap on 2019 legislative action that impacts public charter schools, including the following highlights: 

  • AB219: Requires schools in the bottom 30% of performance with English Language Learners to create plans for improvement. Additionally, English Language Learners will receive access to state assessments in any published language provided.
  • SB321: Transitioning Nevada Achievement School District (ASD) schools to the SPCSA. This bill voids charter contracts as of July 2020. New contracts will be initiated under authorization of the SPCSA.
  • SB451: This bill allows for variable length contract renewal at the discretion of the SPCSA, between 3 and 10 years. 
  • SB441: Provides for separate regulation of virtual charter schools. SPCSA staff is working with the Department of Education on developing virtual charter regulations.
  • SB543: Replaces the 52 year old Nevada Plan with a student centered funding formula. The Nevada Plan is the approach by which the legislature allocates and distributes funds to School Districts across the state. 

Click here to see the full recap.

The Board Heard Staff Reports

  • Executive Director:
    • A total of 12 focus groups have been conducted with stakeholders. Highlights from those conversations include:
      • School leaders and board chairs discussed challenges and priorities. Major themes were around funding and budgeting, high quality talent acquisition and retention, and school safety.
      • Regarding the relationship between the SPCSA and schools themselves, schools shared the importance of understanding the unique context of individual schools, maintaining open and ongoing communication, transparency and consistency in messaging, common goal alignment, and clear expectations with support.
    • The SPCSA is in the process of filling two vacant positions. The new positions, effective October 1st, are focused on data and assessments and support staff.
  • Finance and Operations Team: 
    • The SPCSA is in the process of completing FY19 grant reporting. 
  • Authorizing Team:
    • Conducted 18 site evaluations and completed reports for 18 schools.
    • Staff is working with the school support team to track completion of next steps that come from site evaluations.
    • Staff is receiving training on classroom observation rubrics and criteria.
    • Staff is in the final stages of drafting a schedule for the FY19 school year to present to the Board.
  • School Support Team:
    • Staff conducted enrollment growth adjustment and pre-enrollment adjustment audits.
    • Staff conducted a collaborative Title 1 program review.
    • Staff is supporting schools with data reporting.
    • Several SPCSA members will attend the National Charter School Conference in Las Vegas June 30-July 3.

Long Range Board Calendar Updates:

The long range calendar format was updated to include all 12 months, plus the following additions: 

  • Requirements as a result of the passage of AB462
  • New school applications and renewals

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Nevada Ed-Watch 11/30/18

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.


Friday, November 30, 2018
State Public Charter School Authority – Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda 

What happened at this meeting?

Public Comment

The Board heard comments from parents and students speaking in favor of renewing the middle school and high school campuses of Nevada Virtual Academy.

The Board Approved the November 2, 2018 Meeting Minutes

The Board moved forward with approval of the previous meeting minutes with two notations. First, that there be a few grammatical edits, and second, that previously requested transcripts for two agenda items be attached as an addendum.

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

The staff shared key updates (summarized below) on their activities since the last Board meeting. The Chair noted that this will be a regular addition to the monthly Board meetings.

  • The Authorizing Team shared a new map that shows the location of all SPCSA approved charter schools. Click here to see the map.  The authorizing team also provided an update on the performance framework that is expected to be brought forward in a future meeting. The team also shared that two applicants withdrew from this authorization cycle and will re-apply at a later time.
  • The School Support Team shared details of the four (4) campuses opening next Fall (school year 2019-20): American Leadership Academy, Legacy Traditional School Southwest, Nevada State High School Southwest, and Pinecrest West Henderson. A memo will be written and shared with the Clark County School District Board of Trustees on the exact locations and projected student enrollment. The team also shared that they have conducted a school site visit at every campus since February 2018, and have offered a number of technical assistance items including training on the McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Act (related to the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness).
  • The Finance & Operations team provided an update on the SPCSA office move in Clark County, which is expected to occur in April 2019.
  • The Legal team shared that they are working with TenSquare to determine how to move forward with a significant amount of student records that they have in hand as a result of Argent Prep closing. The legal team also shared that they are continuing to work with the Nevada Department of Education on how to best participate in Special Education Due Process complaints. Lastly, the team shared an update on the search for a new SPCSA Executive Director. The Board agreed to extend the timeline to ensure the pool reflected the best candidates.

The Board Heard an Update on the Implementation of Charter School Authorizer Regulations (R131-16)

The staff provided an overview of the implementation of charter authorizer regulations, because this was the first academic year they have been in place.

Click here to see a copy of the regulations.

The Board Heard a Report on the School Year 2017-18 Enrollment and Performance Information

The staff provided the Board with a review of the SPCSA portfolio schools enrollment and performance by race/ethnicity and subgroup designation, as compared to the State performance averages. The data show the SPCSA met or exceed the state average in student performance in all categories except for students designated as Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL). The Chair requested that the data be used to inform the performance frameworks (discussed in item 4).

Click here to see reference materials for enrollment information and to see the full performance report.

Click here to read about this in the Nevada Independent.

Click here to read about this in the Nevada Current.

The Board Approved an Informational Memo to Submit to the Legislative Council Bureau (LCB)

The Board has a deadline of December 7th to provide a memo to the Legislative Council Bureau (LCB). The approved memo will be submitted on Monday, December 1. The memo provides responses to questions sent from LCB to the SPCSA following the October 24, 2018 Interim Finance Committee meeting.

Click here to read about this in the Nevada Independent.

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

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Presents to the Board on Local Education Agency status and Considerations

Dr. Canavero gave an overview of SPCSA as a potential Local Education Agency, including background on why this is an issue: The U.S. Dept of Education gives federal dollars to States. States then distribute those dollars to LEAs. LEAs are generally school districts, but could also be individual charter schools. More detailed and concrete information about the SPCSA gaining LEA status will be provided in December.

The Board Received a Presentation on a Revised School Site Evaluation Protocol and Timeline for Implementation

Staff provided an update on the work that has been done to date to establish a protocol and process for school site evaluations. This information will be brought to the Interim Finance Committee at their next meeting in response to testimony and information previously provided by to the Interim Finance Committee by the SPCSA staff.

Click here to see the full presentation.

Fifteen school site evaluations are scheduled for the remainder of the 2018-2019 school year and will begin in January 2019. Staff emphasized that although they engaged stakeholders (including schools) for feedback, stakeholders had no influence on how they would be held accountable.

Board Approves Nevada Virtual Academy Middle & High Schools– Only for Renewal with Conditions

Staff provided its recommendation to the Board to approve Nevada Virtual Academy’s middle and high school campuses with conditions, including capping enrollment until the schools can demonstrate sustainable academic results, and that the middle school enter the contract under a “Notice of Concern.”

Click here to see the full recommendation.

Nevada Virtual Academy elected to close their elementary school campus due to poor performance.

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

Board Approves Contract Amendments for Pinecrest Academy & Mater Academy of Nevada

The staff shared approval recommendations for the two proposed contract amendments that allow the two campuses to acquire facilities before the end of the calendar year.

Click here to see the full recommendation.

Discussion on Long Range Board Calendar

The Board identified additional dates to meet to ensure time to review Executive Director candidates.


Potential Future Items:

  • TenSquare to report on status of litigation with Argent Prep Academy
  • Further discussion and deliberation of Local Education Agency status
  • Discussion of the timing and process for selecting the next Executive Director

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