Nevada Ed-Watch 3/6/20

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, March 6, 2020
State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda 

What happened at this meeting? 

SPCSA Executive Director’s Report: 

Report Highlights: 

  • Introduction of 2 new board members: Tameka Shauntee Rosales and Lee Farris
  • Introduction of 3 new SPCSA staff members: one administrative assistant and two finance employees
  • 1 application was submitted for the Winter Cycle. An SPCSA staff approval recommendation is expected by the April board meeting
  • Former Achievement School District (ASD) schools have been transferred to the SPCSA
  • There are 4 new schools launching in Fall 2020
  • Community stakeholders can provide input on Senate Bill 441 regulations, which will ultimately be submitted to the Department of Education for a final decision
  • SPCSA launched an online platform for community stakeholders to share concerns or feedback 
  • Under the SPCSA Performance Framework, current school year data will be collected to assess  the academic, organizational, and financial performance of each school

Board Heard Mid-Year Updates from Schools that have Received a Notice of Breach

Freedom Classical Academy Elementary School, Legacy North Valley Elementary School, and Somerset North Las Vegas Elementary School provided updates to the board on their mid-year assessment results and progress against performance plans.

Click here to see Freedom Classical Academy’s presentation.

Click here to see Legacy North Valley’s presentation.

Click here to see Somerset’s presentation.

Board Heard Updates on Schools under Receivership or Previously under Receivership

Highlights: 

  • Ardent Prep sold its property to settle final debts. 
  • Discovery Charter School was removed from receivership and had its board reconstituted at the end of the 2018-19 school year. 
  • Quest Academy, which was placed under receivership for financial mismanagement, showed improvements under its receivership. Quest staff shared a plan to remove the school from receivership and reconstitute the school’s board by next school year. 

Board Heard Updates on Beacon Academy’s Performance

The Board heard updates on Beacon Academy’s performance aligned to the Alternative Performance Framework. Beacon Academy shared information on student demographics for Alternative Education and at-risk students, specifically credit deficient students. School staff also shared updates on the school’s academic growth, college and career readiness, credit deficiency rates, graduation rates, and student engagement data. 

Beacon Academy has submitted a letter of intent to open a second campus in Clark County.

Click here to see the presentation.

Board Heard Updates from Pinecrest Academy of Northern Nevada Following its Conditional Approval

SPCSA staff reviewed the completion of the conditions for the Pinecrest Academy of Northern Nevada’s approval. 

The conditions were met related to the National School Lunch program, Weighted Lottery Policy, revised budget, and the waiver of academic fees for students eligible for Free and Reduced-Price Lunch. 

The board approved the school’s targeted student enrollment marketing plan. The school’s draft transportation plan will come back to the board for a vote during the April board meeting– pending zip code data and weighted lottery updates. The board also requested enrollment updates broken down by student demographics. 

Board Reviewed Resubmitted New Charter School Applications

The following schools’ initial applications were denied during the December 17th, 2019 board meeting. SPCSA staff provided applicants with feedback on application deficiencies, and the schools had 30 days to improve and resubmit their application. 

Alaka’i Heritage Academy  – DENIED

  • Meeting the Need: Meets the Standard
  • Academic Plan: Approaches the Standard
  • Operations Plan: Approaches the Standard
  • Financial Plan: Approaches the Standard

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

Nevada Strong Academy – DENIED

  • Meeting the Need: Approaches the Standard
  • Academic Plan: Approaches the Standard
  • Operations Plan: Approaches the Standard
  • Financial Plan: Does not meet the standard

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

Sage Collegiate – DENIED

  • Meeting the Need: Approaches the Standard
  • Academic Plan: Approaches the Standard
  • Operations Plan: Approaches the Standard
  • Financial Plan: Approaches the Standard

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

Pahrump Valley Academy – DENIED

  • Meeting the Need: Meets the Standard
  • Academic Plan: Approaches the Standard
  • Operations Plan: Approaches the Standard
  • Financial Plan: Does not meet the Standard

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

Board Approved Charter School Contract Amendment for Explore Academy

The board approved SPCSA staff’s recommendation regarding Explore Academy’s amendment request for a location change. Explore Academy was initially approved under the Achievement School District for 2019 launch, but delayed opening until 2020 under an SPCSA contract.

Staff presented information on the request to occupy a temporary facility outside of the originally approved  zip codes. The proposed temporary facility will be vacant as of June 2020. School staff and a partner realtor shared obstacles to locating a facility within the approved zip codes. The board shared concerns about increased traffic, enrollment, and lease details. 

Click here to see the amendment application.

Board Received Biennial Review of Statutes and Regulations

SPCSA staff shared information about recommendations to propose to the Legislative Committee on Education on legislation that would assist charter schools in achieving their academic, fiscal and organizational goals.


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Nevada Ed-Watch 1/31/20

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, January 31, 2020
State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda 

What happened at this meeting? 

SPCSA Executive Director’s Report: 

Report Highlights: 

  • Seven schools submitted applications for authorization in the 2019 Summer cycle. Two schools were approved. Five schools were denied, but resubmitted their applications. 
  • One school submitted an application for authorization in the 2020 Winter cycle. 
  • The SPCSA Executive Director presented to the Legislative Committee on Education about the SPCSA’s Needs Assessment, Growth Management Plan, and Strategic Plan. The committee will provide written feedback to the SPCSA regarding the plans.
  • The SPCSA is launching a “secret shopper” style project to enhance oversight of special education compliance through random, unannounced phone calls to schools. Callers will represent themselves as parents of students with disabilities. 

Board Approved the Annual Report for the Nevada Department of Education

The annual SPCSA report, required by statute, includes updates on the academic performance data for each SPCSA-sponsored school, organizational and financial performance frameworks, and federal funds disbursed to SPCSA-sponsored schools. 

Click here to see the annual report. 

Board Approved the Authorization of Girls Athletic Leadership School (G.A.L.S) 

The board approved staff recommendations to authorize G.A.L.S with conditions. The G.A.L.S application returned to the SPCSA board through an appeal process outlined in the document linked below. G.A.L.S will serve 6th grade students for the 2020-2021 school year, and grow into a full 6-8th grade school by the 2022-2023 school year.  

Click here to see the staff recommendation and conditions. 

Board Approved Four (4) Charter School Renewals

The board approved the renewal of the 4 schools listed below. Click each school name to see the recommendation memo provided by SPCSA staff.

Board Heard an Update on Pinecrest Academy of Northern Nevada 

SPCSA staff members have been working closely with the Pinecrest team on efforts to serve a student population that is reflective of the community. SPCSA staff and members of the Pinecrest team shared updates on establishing a weighted lottery, securing a free lunch program, and launching targeted marketing and outreach for student enrollment. The school team is also working out the details related to transportation. It was noted that family enrollment can be determined by access to transportation. 

Board Heard a Presentation Overview of SPCSA-Sponsored Charter Schools

SPCSA staff presented an overview of SPCSA-sponsored public charter schools. The presentation included a summary of Nevada School Performance Framework (NSPF) results, graduation rates, and demographic information as compared to statewide and school district data.

Click here to see the presentation.

The Board Discussed Updates to the Board Calendar

Schools that received a Notice of Breach will present updates to the board during the March meeting. Performance data for Beacon Academy under the Alternative Performance Framework will also be available in March.

Board Approved Staff Recommendation to Deny Renewal of Nevada Connections Academy Middle and High School Charter Contract (4-1) 

Nevada Connections Academy (NCA) is an online school currently serving students in grades K-12. When assessing NCA’s application for renewal, SPCSA staff considered the academic, organizational and financial performance of the school– putting the largest weight on the academic performance, as required in statute. In the past three years, the elementary and high school programs have not received a rating above 1-star. While the middle school earned an adequate 3-star rating for the 2016 -17 school year, the two most recent ratings are below 3-stars.  

NCA staff provided testimony that outlined why they believe the school should not close. Highlights included: 

  • 2017 Nevada School Performance Framework (NSPF) ratings and subsequent years’ ratings are not comparable due to changes in measures
  • Students that attend NCA are highly mobile or transient, which the school is working to address 
  • Students that attend NCA enroll in the school with credit deficiencies
  • The school is actively working to address student social-emotional learning
  • The school has outlined intervention plans for middle and high school deficiencies 

After extensive presentations from SPCSA staff, Nevada Connections Academy (NCA) staff, and public comment from families– the board voted to deny the renewal of Nevada Connections Academy’s charter contract for their middle and high schools. NCA did not seek renewal for their elementary school, which will close at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. 

Click here to see the SPCSA memo regarding NCA’s renewal. 

Click here to download Nevada Connections Academy’s presentation. 


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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 5/31/19

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.


Friday, May 31, 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.  

The Board Heard a Presentation from Democracy Prep at the Agassi Campus Middle School

Hearing from schools (both traditional and charter) about their successes and best practices is part of the SPCSA’s strategic plan. During this meeting, the Board heard from the Executive Director of Democracy Prep at the Agassi Campus (DPAC) about the success at DPAC middle school.

DPAC middle school success highlights:

  • The DPAC middle school grew from a 2-star to a 4-star school, with math proficiency doubling from year one to year two of operating.
  • 100% of 8th graders passed algebra, are ready to go into Geometry, and are on track to be college ready.

Click here to see the presentation.

The Board Heard Updates on Discovery Charter School’s Receivership

Discovery Charter’s receiver shared quarterly updates with the Board regarding academic results and reconstituting Discovery’s Board.

Discovery receivership academic highlights:

  • 100% of 3rd-8th grade students completed end of year testing.
  • 84% of the student population is performing on grade level in reading, based on growth assessment results.
  • 87% of the student population is performing on grade level in math, based on growth assessment results.

Additionally, the following topics were discussed:

  • Working towards a K-12 model, adding a grade level at a time starting with 9th grade.
  • Experiencing challenges related to the transferring of funds from payroll to a PERS (retirement system) payback plan.
  • Announcing five new school Board members.

Since Discovery’s receivership has met its academic benchmark goals (3-stars or higher, consecutively), the Board discussed the process and timeline for exiting receivership.

At the June Board meeting, the receiver will present an exit plan with deadlines and a target transition date.

The Board Heard Updates on Argent Prep’s Receivership

Argent Preparatory Academy’s receiver shared updates to the Board, which included:

  • Inability to meet the anticipated exit date of June 2019– due to challenges with selling one of the school’s facilities. Once the facility is sold, funds will become available to pay severance to exited staff.
  • All students have been placed in other respective district schools.

The Board Heard Updates on Quest Academy’s Receivership

Quest Academy’s receiver shared updates to the Board on exiting the receivership and reconstituting the school’s governing body.

Both Quest campuses exceeded academic targets within the improvement plan, and made progress towards financial solvency. It was noted that if the school is not financially viable, it will not be eligible for renewal.

The Board Heard Updates on NV Connections Academy

Staff and school leadership provided the Board updates on Nevada Connections Academy’s High School, which included the following improvements:

  • Increase in students passing core subjects
  • 68% graduation rate (increase form 60%)

The SPCSA will continue to work with the school to ensure they stay on track with their remediation plan.

Click here to see the Quest updates summary.

The Board Heard Updates on Nevada Virtual Academy

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

Nevada Virtual Academy’s middle and high schools must have an executed contract in about 30 days. If the new contract is not executed prior to their current contract’s expiration, the school will not be able to operate. The SPCSA Board and staff discussed their concerns about ensuring that students and families are not impacted.

Click here to download the presentation.

Executive Director Reports

The SPCSA staff and Board recognized the following schools for their accomplishments:

  • Oasis Academy, Pinecrest Academy Cadence, and Pinecrest Academy St. Rose 2019 for recognition as Governor-Designated STEM Schools.
  • Coral Academy for recognition as one of the best high schools by U.S. News & World Report (placed 8th in Nevada).

Additionally, the SPCSA Executive Director provided budget updates to the Board:

  • 3 out of four positions in the Governor’s recommended budget were approved. These positions are focused on data & assessment and a permanent executive assistant.
  • Sponsorship fees will move to 1.25% from 1.5% for the upcoming biennium in order to lower reserve levels of the agency.

The Board Heard Staff Reports

  • The Authorizing Team provided the following updates to the Board:
    • Staff has received 20 Letters of Intent and 7 amendment applications.
    • Renewals: The following schools will be up for renewal in 2019:
      • American Preparatory Academy
      • Beacon Academy of Nevada
      • Founders Academy
      • Leadership Academy
      • Mater Academy of Nevada
      • Nevada Connections Academy
      • Quest Preparatory Academy
  • Site Evaluations: 18 site evaluations have been completed, which exceeds the target of 16 visits over 4.5 months.
  • Performance Frameworks: The staff is finalizing the SPCSA academic and organizational frameworks, implementing feedback leading up to final drafts slated for this summer. Click here to see a presentation overview of the Academic Framework updates. All components of the SPCSA performance framework are on track to be ready for the 2019-2020 school year.
  • The School Support Team provided updates on data collection initiatives and requirements, school visits, and charter school safety trainings being conducted.

The Board Heard Legislative Updates

  • AB78: SPCSA “omnibus” bill, which will be active upon passage and approval. In its current form, the bill clarifies the following:
    • The SPCSA’s role as a Local Education Agency (LEA)
    • That charter schools must serve all students, including those with special needs
    • Federal enrollment requirements for certain at-risk students
    • The annual reporting of sponsors to the Department of Education, including the comprehensive review the Department of Education should complete every 3 years, and adding 2 additional members to the SPCSA board, appointed by the State Board of Education (by October 1)
  • SB321: Transitioning Nevada Achievement School District (ASD) schools to the SPCSA. This bill voids charter contracts as of July 2020. New contracts can be initiated under authorization of the SPCSA.
  • SB451: Variable length charter contract renewal. This bill allows for variable length contract renewal at the discretion of the SPCSA, between 3 and 10 years. If passed, this will be effective July 1, 2019.
  • SB441: Provides for separate regulation of virtual charter schools. SPCSA staff is working with the Department of Education on developing virtual charter regulations.

Board Heard Updates on the SPCSA Needs Assessment and Growth Management Plan

In compliance with AB462, the SPCSA is implementing Needs Assessment and Growth Management plan– an opportunity to enhance authorizer accountability practices and drive the strategic growth of charter schools.

After completing the initial academic and demographic Needs Assessment, it will be refreshed annually to ensure SPCSA practices are aligned and responsive to statewide needs as they evolve. SPCSA is committed to working with stakeholders, including school districts, in order to achieve the goals set forth in the Growth Plan.

Regular updates will be provided on the progress of the plan’s implementation.

Click here to see the presentation.

Long Range Board Calendar Updates:

  • Board Meeting on August 30
  • There will be no September Board Meeting
  • Board Meeting on October 4th

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