Nevada Ed-Watch 3/19/21

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, and any such public comment received prior to the meeting will be provided to the Authority and included in the written minutes of the meeting.

Click here for a list of all SPCSA Members.
Click here for a list of all SPCSA sponsored schools.

Friday, March 19, 2021

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:

  • A request for a group of Title I charter schools to provide a presentation to the Authority at the next board meeting to share the current realities of their school communities and to discuss more strategic allocation of funds to schools that serve students and families disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

SPCSA Executive Directors’ and SPCSA Staff Report:

Report highlights:

  • COVID-19 Update
    • Director Feiden provided updates on the joint program with the Department of Health and Human Services and SPCSA for rapid testing at school sites. There are 15 total school sites approved for rapid testing beginning late March.
    • K-12 emergency education funds to date include ESSER I AND ESSER II, and pending funds from the New American Rescue Plan. SPCSA anticipates that schools can submit applications for ESSER II school funding in April and is waiting an update from the Nevada Department of Education on applications for the New American Rescue Plan allocations.  
  • Initiatives Related to Serving All Students Equitably
    • The SPCSA has provided school accountability technical assistance training and informational sessions for schools on the Project Aware grant and Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) training. The focus of this grant is to incorporate MTSS support and provide restorative justice training for school sites.
    • Plans to launch a student sub-group data initiative are underway. The authority’s goal is to analyze student data, understand trends in student subgroups that are historically low performing. They plan to hold working groups to develop a system for identifying tracking student progress, identifying students for RTI and using student data to better inform how to support student subgroups.
    • The Authority will convene a subcommittee of the Community Working Group to discuss professional development opportunities on equity, diversity and inclusion.
  • Learning Recovery Efforts
    • In April 2021, the SPCSA will release a survey for schools to understand how the SPCSA can further support schools with learning recovery for the 2021-2022 school year.
  • Special Education Enrollment Monitoring
    • Beginning in March 2021, SPCSA staff will conduct enrollment monitoring activities to understand what barriers might exist for families with students who have special needs. SPCSA staff will pose as parents of children with special needs and contact schools to inquire about enrollment. Schools have been notified in advance of this monitoring activity. Any schools identified as having barriers through these calls will be provided technical assistance by the SPCSA.

Board Approved Charter School Contract Amendments

The board approved two charter school contract amendments:

  • Eagle Nevada Charter Schools was approved to defer opening until the 2022-23 school year in order to complete facility construction.

Click here to read updates from the school.

  • Signature Preparatory Academy was conditionally approved to acquire a facility that they are currently leasing, with no impact to their enrollment cap. Signature Prep must provide SPCSA with specific financing and debt information related to the acquisition of the facility.

Click here to read the full SPCSA recommendation.

Beard Heard Presentation About Opportunity 180 and their work in public education

Jana Wilcox Lavin, Executive Director of Opportunity 180 (O180), provided a presentation to the Authority about O180’s programs related to charter school launch and identified places of alignment with the SPCSA’s work.  Opportunity 180’s vision is a shared community North Star where every public school student graduates from high school college and career ready. O180 works across five levers toward the North Star: Great Schools, Good Governance, Good Data, Engaged Community, and Great Ideas. Opportunity 180 has resources available to support prospective schools that can be found on the website:

Board Heard Update on 2021 Legislative Session

SPCSA General Counsel Ryan Herrick provided updates on education bills that the Authority is following.

  • Assembly Bill 68 – AB68 introduces legislation by the SPCSA regarding changes to charter school application periods, charter contracts, and grade level requirements. Director Fieden presented comments on this bill at the March 18th hearing to the Assembly of Education. The bill was amended and recommended to pass as amended.
  • Assembly Bill 109 – AB109 removes an existing statute that allows for up to 30% of charter school teachers to be unlicensed.
  • Assembly Bill 194 – AB194 is centered on restorative justice and discipline practices.
  • Assembly Bill 195 – AB195 creates an English Language Learner Bill of Rights.
  • Assembly Bill 253 – AB253 makes various changes to Open Meeting Law, including permanently allowing for virtual meetings. 
  • Senate Bill 173 – SB173 directs emergency federal funding to summer school in order to address student learning loss. Districts and charter schools may opt-in to the program.

Long-Range Calendar Update

New charter applications will be brought to the April board meeting and updates on New American Recovery Plan Funding will be included in an upcoming agenda.

Board members requested to have a discussion with Title I school leaders as brought up in public comment.

Click here to see the long-range calendar.

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Nevada Ed-Watch 9/26/19

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.

Clark County School District Board of Trustees 

What is the Board of Trustees & what are they responsible for? The CCSD Trustees are publicly elected decision-makers for the school district. They are responsible for providing oversight to the Superintendent and establishing District-wide policy. Trustees are accountable to work with their communities to improve student achievement.

Click here to learn more and see a list of current Trustees

Click here to Find your Trustee District

How often does the Board of Trustees meet? Trustees meet twice per month (second and fourth Thursdays) at 5pm at the Edward A. Greer Education Center (Board Room): 2832 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, NV 89121.

Click here for a full list of Trustees meetings and agendas

Click here to visit Hope For Nevada’s #NVEd Calendar

Can community members engage at Trustee Meetings? Decision-making bodies benefit greatly from hearing public input and multiple perspectives. Community members can sign up to speak after the agenda has been posted– by calling the Board Office at (702) 799-1072 at least 3 hours before the scheduled meeting, or signing up in-person at the beginning of the meeting. Prior to each agenda item being voted on, speakers can share their perspective after the Board’s discussion and prior to the vote.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Clark County School District Board of Trustees Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting?

Public Comment

Members of the public provided testimony to Trustees regarding:

  • Concerns about students not getting enough physical activity, recess, and restroom breaks throughout the school day
  • Concerns about school safety and controlled access to school buildings
  • Appreciation for the district from a representative of the Education Support Employees Association (ESEA) for hearing support staff concerns while a Memorandum of Understanding was developed
  • Concerns about a student getting expelled for bringing foam toy nunchucks to school
  • Concerns about the process for hiring educators
  • Difficulty accessing pre-K for students who are not English Language Learners 
  • Concerns about a lack of training and professional development for support staff

Trustees Heard Updates on CCSD Focus 2024 Priorities

Below is a summary of the updates presented to Trustees related to the priorities of the CCSD strategic plan (Focus 2024).

Click here to see CCSD’s Focus 2024 online dashboard.

Teachers, Principals and Staff: Human Resources

  • Objective 1: Increase the percentage of licensed teachers in the classroom. 
    • Goal (2019-20): 100% 
    • Actual (2018-19): 95.4%
    • By 2024: 100%
  • Objective 2: Increase the number of qualified teachers recruited for the selection pool. 
    • Goal (2019-20): 3,649
    • Actual (2018-19): 3,098
    • By 2024: 3,649
  • Objective 3: Increase the percentage of Critical Labor Shortage support professionals hired and decrease the number of vacancies.
    • Goal (2019-20): 0
    • Actual (2018-19): 145
    • By 2024: 0

Click here to see the Human Resources presentation.

Members of the public provided testimony regarding funding for teacher pay and benefits to attract and retain teachers. Trustees discussed capturing teacher attrition data through an exit survey process. Trustees also discussed focusing on areas like school culture and professional development to support educator retention. 

Sound Fiscal Management: Out-of-Service Buses and Bus Driver Absenteeism

  • Objective 1: Reduce number of buses placed out-of-service to reduce service delays.
    • Goal (2019-20): 21%
    • Actual (2018-19): 19% 
    • By 2024: 3%
  • Objective 2: Reduce bus driver absenteeism to improve service to students and ensure full instructional minutes.
    • Goal (2019-20): 10%
    • Actual (2018-19): 14.3% 
    • By 2024: 8%

Click here to see the Bus Service & Driver Absenteeism presentation. 

Approaches to prevent chronic absenteeism of bus drivers included:

  • Recognizing employees quarterly for perfect attendance
  • Educating drivers and staff about how student achievement is impacted by their attendance.
  • To reduce driver absenteeism caused by health-related matters, the transportation department also implemented health and prevention initiatives, such as partnering with Medicine on the Move (over 118 transportation employees received treatment so far). 

Sound Fiscal Management: Purchasing

  • Objective 1: Decrease processing time, reduce costs, and increase the competitive procurement ratio. 
    • Goal (2019-20): 80%
    • Actual (2018-19): 91%
    • By 2024: 95%
  • Objective 2: Reduce requisition processing time by increasing SAP catalog utilization to 70% within the next five years.
    • Goal (2019-20): 60%
    • Actual (2018-19): 71%
    • By 2024: 70%

Click here to see the Purchasing presentation.

Trustees discussed direct, school-level purchasing versus centralized purchasing. Centralizing purchasing for the district tends to be more cost-effective.

Trustees Approved the Consent Agenda

Consent agenda highlights:

Trustees Heard a Presentation on the Eide Bailly Internal Controls Exam Report

A representative of Eide Bailly’s forensic department presented an overview of its report of CCSD’s Internal Controls examination. 

The primary examination method used was holding interviews with 409 CCSD employees within various business and finance units as well as some schools. 

Following the interviews, 13 recommendations were made for the district. 

Click here to see an executive summary outlining the 13 recommendations.

Click here to see the full report.

Trustees discussed staff training to ensure school-level compliance with updated policies and procedures. A request was made for Trustees to receive regular updates on each recommendation.

Trustees Heard a Presentation on Open Book Website

Open Book makes CCSD financial information easily accessible to the public. 

The Open Book website includes access to external audit results, the final budget of the fiscal year, and videos explaining topics related to the District’s finances. The site also has tools that show strategic budgets by school and accounts payable (payments to vendors).

There will be a Facebook Live video walk-through of Open Book on October 8th from 4:00-6:00 PM. 

Click here to see the presentation.

Click here to go to Open Book.

Trustees Approved a Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) Between CCSD and the Education Support Employees Association (ESEA)

One member of the public provided testimony in support of increased pay for support staff.

The agreement includes a 3% salary increase and a waiver for required fingerprinting costs.

The ESEA requested time to communicate the contract terms to the employees that will be impacted. Trustees approved the 2019-2021 MOU pending ratification. Once the ratification vote is made, it was requested that the pay increases be reflected in pay checks as soon as possible.

Click here to see the tentative agreement. 

Trustees Approved Changes to Food Service Programs Regulations

Trustees approved minor language updates to the Food Service Programs regulations. 

Click here to see the regulations.

Trustees Approved Changes to the School Facilities Naming Regulations (6-1 vote)

Trustees approved updates to the School Facilities Naming policy regulations. An eligible school that chooses to be renamed must conduct a survey of employees and families. At least 50% of the surveys must be returned, and greater than 50% of the surveys returned must agree to renaming the school.

Trustees approved the changes with a request for clarification that additional community input outside of the school community can be gathered for consideration, but will not be counted towards the 50% survey requirement. It was also requested to include examples of types of stakeholders that input could be gathered from. 

Click here to see the regulations.

Trustees Approved Changes to the 2021-2022 School Year Calendars for Students and Staff (5-2 vote)

The most significant change was related to how professional development is accounted for. Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, schools were permitted to bank time for professional development in more flexible and frequent increments. Site-based collaboration was able to be banked and later utilized as time off during the week of Thanksgiving. This approach was approved by the Department of Education through the 2019-2020 school year. 

For the 2021-2022 school year, the Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week are now in-school days, and there are four days spread out throughout the year that are dedicated to professional development.

Members of the public expressed concerns about:

  • Student absenteeism the week of Thanksgiving due to travel schedules
  • Students and staff having the full week of Thanksgiving dedicated to spending time with families.
  • A disproportionate amount of work days being taken away from 9-month support staff. 

Contingency days were also set for March 9th, April 13th, and May 21st. 

The calendar was informed by a committee consisting of over 25 stakeholders including principals, counselors, and other staff from other departments such as transportation and HR.

Click here to see the draft calendar for students and staff.

Trustees Approved Renaming Lomie G. Heard Elementary School, A Marzano Academy, to Lomie G. Heard Elementary School

The name change was to remove the “Marzano Academy” component of the name, since the school’s contract with Marzano is no longer active. 

Trustee Reports:

  • Trustee Wright hosted a Facebook Live parent meeting as a way to be more accessible to parents who cannot attend meetings at set times in person. 
  • Trustee Young announced an upcoming Cultural Food Festival for families in partnership with Vegas PBS this Fall. Additionally, October 18-19th is the Las Vegas Book Festival.
  • Trustee Ford holds monthly parent meetings and live stream videos on topics such as navigating meeting agendas. 
  • Cepeda announced that FAFSA releases on October 1st. 
  • NABSA strategic planning Friday and Sat to discuss collaboration throughout the stat and advocating for common sense policies.
  • Trustee Brooks served on a panel for Opportunity 180 that also included Superintendents Ebert and Jara, J.T. McWilliams Principal Womack, Caryne Shea from HOPE for Nevada– to talk about what it would take to make some systemic changes to focus on student outcomes. 
  • Trustee Young expressed concerns about 3 school principals that were removed for not meeting student growth benchmarks. 

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