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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