Nevada Ed-Watch 11/06/2020

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 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, November 6, 2020

State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting? 

Members of the public submitted comment over the phone regarding: 

  • Concerns about reopening guidance
  • Concerns that families opting for in-person instruction are unable to send all of their children to school due to the in-person learning limitation of 25%

Members of the public also submitted public comment online:

Click here to view Public Comment #1
Click here to view Public Comment #2
Click here to view Public Comment #3
Click here to view Public Comment #4
Click here to view Public Comment #5
Click here to view Public Comment #6
Click here to view Public Comment #7
Click here to view Public Comment #8

SPCSA Executive Director’s Report: 

Report Highlights: 

  • 2020 Summer New Charter School Application Cycle
    • SPCSA is considering four new charter school applications from the 2020 summer application cycle. Additionally, a committee has assembled to review the application for TEACH Las Vegas.
  • Initiatives related to Serving All Students Equitably
    • In October 2020, SPCSA made updates to the new charter application which includes requests for information on equity initiatives. The update includes asking schools about their efforts to close opportunity gaps and address disproportionate discipline practices, as well as provide applicant and discipline data by subgroup.

      Separately, SPCSA convened its community working group to address equity. The working group initiatives include sending a survey to schools about their Diversity & Equity training programs, preparing data to help the SPCSA look at equity through the lens of enrollment, discipline, and graduation rates, and making equity data more readily available to families on the SPCSA website. 
  • SPCSA staffing update
    • An SPCSA Administrative Assistant resigned over the summer. The Authority has hired Patricia Malloy to fill the role and expressed excitement for Malloy’s addition to the team.
  • Validated demographic enrollment data for SPCSA-sponsored charter schools for the 2019-2020 school year
    • A student enrollment count must be conducted and submitted to the Nevada Department of Education (NDE) annually. SPCSA has successfully sent enrollment data to the (NDE) for SPCSA-sponsored schools. NDE is still finalizing the data for release. SPCSA will present the data at the December board meeting.
  • Preview of the 2021 Legislative Session
    • The 81st Legislative Session will begin Feb 1, 2021. In the interim, SPCSA staff is working with the Governor’s office to prepare for the upcoming session and have participated in meetings with the Legislative Committee on Education. In accordance with procedures set up by the Governor’s office, SPCSA has submitted a proposed bill draft request that seeks to create alignment with existing statutes and regulations related to three critical areas of charter school sponsors. The proposal also outlines technical changes to ensure consistent language and structure.

Click here to view the Legislative Session memo.

Board Approved Update on COVID-19 In-Person Learning Guidance

At the August 14, 2020 meeting, the Authority approved SPCSA Recommendation to Issue COVID-19 In-Person Learning Guidance. Under the guidance, schools could previously operate under a distance education model with up to 25% in-person learning. Since then, most, but not all, schools have initiated some form of in-person learning, with a primary focus on special student populations and the youngest learners.

As of November 6, 2020, there have been 105 reported cases of COVID-19 amongst students and staff and approximately 25 people have been excluded from schools as a result. Schools have worked efficiently to conduct contact tracing and limit potential spread. In a focus group with 32 charter schools, school leaders expressed concerns around student performance and mental health due to a lack of in-person learning. 

The board approved Director Feiden’s recommendation to increase in-person learning from 25% of enrollment to 40% for schools at Mitigation Levels 1 or 2 effective Monday, November 9. Schools will not be required to operate at 40% in-person learning; rather, the recommendation will provide schools flexibility to increase in-person learning with COVID-19 safety considerations. Schools will also be required to continue to keep their opening plans up-to-date and to send those plans to the Authority. 

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

Board Approved the 2019-2020 Organizational Performance Framework Results

The  SPCSA Organizational Performance Framework (OPF) sets forth agreed upon expectations of performance and compliance. The Framework measures SPCSA-sponsored charter schools under five areas of focus: 1) Education Program, 2) Financial Management & Oversight, 3) Governance & Reporting, 4) Students & Employees, and 5) School Environment. Schools must reach 80% or higher on a 20-point scale in each of the five focus areas to rate as “Meets Standard.”

All SPCSA sponsored-schools earned at least 97% in each Organizational Performance Framework category for the 2019-2020 school year. 

The board has directed SPCSA to provide final results to the governing boards of each charter school in the coming weeks.

Click here to download the Organizational Performance Framework presentation.
Click here to see SPCSA-sponsored Charter School Performance Ratings.

Board Reviewed Four (4) New School Applications for Approval or Denial

SPCSA staff presented information to the Board about four new school applicants, followed by Board discussion and an opportunity for each school to present before the Board.

Sage Collegiate Charter School: Approved with Conditions 

Sage Collegiate Charter School was approved with the following conditions:

  • Provide an updated staffing plan and budget that addresses a scenario in which additional services are needed to meet the needs of special education students, English Learners, and students with behavior and/or social-emotional needs.
  • Provide a specific timeline and action plan for selecting and preparing a facility and engaging with the local jurisdiction by January 31, 2021.
  • Provide an updated list of proposed partnerships which also includes draft Memorandums of Understanding with each identified partner, and outlines deliverables and responsibilities of each party.

Click here to see the full Sage Collegiate Charter School report.

Las Vegas Montessori Charter Academy: Denied

The SPCSA staff did not recommend the application for Board approval. The Board concurred with staff’s recommendation not to approve the application and discussed concerns that it is unclear how the Las Vegas Montessori model aligns to Nevada Academic Standards.

Click here to see the full Las Vegas Montessori Charter application report.

Pioneer Technology and Arts Academy: Denied

The SPCSA staff did not recommend the application for approval. The Board concurred with staff’s recommendation and discussed the need to refine the application. The Board noted that the charter application does not provide sufficient evidence of community engagement or input, and expressed concerns about sufficient capacity to support an expansion in North Las Vegas.

Click here to see the full Pioneer Technology and Arts Academy application report.

Eagle Nevada: Denied

The SPCSA staff did not recommend the application for approval. The Board concurred with staff’s recommendation and discussed the need to refine the application due, in part, to a lack of community partnerships, limited outreach, and lack of a clear segregation of roles and responsibilities for school management.

Click here to see the full Eagle Nevada application report.

Long-Range Calendar

Due to the volume of anticipated agenda items, an additional SPCSA meeting will be scheduled in December.

Click here to see the long-range calendar.


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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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