Nevada Ed-Watch 6/11/20

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.

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, June 11, 2020

Clark County School District Board of Trustees Special Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting?

Public Comment

Members of the public submitted comments online. Public comment was not read directly into the record, and rather an oral summary of each comment was provided to Trustees.

Click here to view public comment on agenda items. 

Click here to view public comment on non-agenda items. 

Board Approved the Consent Agenda

Consent Agenda Highlights: 

  • Amendments to Rainbow Dreams Academy charter contract to remove grades 1-8 and transition to a Pre-K and kindergarten only. Trustees and staff discussed ensuring accountability measures are in place for this new school configuration. 
  • Membership to the Council of Great City Schools. Trustees expressed their support for continuing the partnership and will be addressing communication concerns trustees have brought forward. (Vote: 6-0-1)

Board Appointed an Audit Advisory Committee Member

The board approved the reappointment of Joshua Robinson to the CCSD Audit Advisory Committee. The purpose of this committee is to advise the Board in strengthening accountability for the efficient stewardship of public funds; providing a communication link between external and internal auditors and the Board of Trustees; enhancing transparency of the District’s financial operations; and improving public trust in the honesty and integrity of public officials.

Board Approved Notices of Intent to Update Policies 

Final policies will be brought before the board at the July 25th CCSD Board of Trustees meeting. 

Policies that will be updated include:

GP-5: Board Officers 

GP-7 Vice President’s Role

GP-9 Meeting Planning

GP-10 Construction of Agenda 

Policy 6165: Programs and Services for English Language Learner Students 

Board Approved MOA with the Clark County Educators Association (CCEA)

The MOA is related to the implementation of school improvement grants,  and provides pay for additional teacher minutes at El Dorado HS and Bailey Middle school. 

Click here to view the MOA.

Board Reviewed the CCSD 2021 Legislative Platform 

CCSD Staff presented a draft legislative platform for the district, which includes topics specific to School Funding, Improved Learning Environments, and School Safety & Mental Health. Highlights from the platform include: 

  • Preserving the weighted funding formula  
  • Opposing all unfunded mandates 
  • Collaborating with the state to invest in digital learning 
  • Identifying opportunities to address and diversify the teacher pipeline 

Trustees discussed the necessity to ensure that public education is adequately funded in Nevada, including communication from the governor’s office on impacts to the budget due to revenue shortfalls from COVID. Other topics that trustees proposed for consideration in the platform include: adjustments to the reorganization of the district (AB469),  consideration of technology related to workforce and school building security.  

Trustees Heard Updates about the District’s Response to COVID-19

COVID response update highlights:

  • 3.5 million meals have been served, and USDA is extending waivers through the summer. 
  • From the time of school building closures through the end of the school year, 4,370 students were not successfully reached. Approximately 2/3 of those students not reached identify as Black or Hispanic. 
  • CCSD released a survey for the community to provide input on what should be prioritized for the reopening of schools. Approximately 94,000 responses were received from community members, teachers, students, and central office staff. 
  • Reopening Plan: Working groups have met and provided input to inform the initial school reopening plan. Currently, school department heads and subject matter experts are using input collected from the working groups to refine the plan. Unit chiefs will then present recommendations to the superintendent and cabinet for input. The final plan is expected to be presented to the board at the July 25th meeting, and is required to be available for the public no less than 20 days before the first day of school. 
    • Trustees discussed looking to other districts to understand how their reopening is impacting staff and students. Additionally, trustees discussed ensuring that feedback from educators is closely taken into consideration as plans are finalized. 
    • Trustees and Superintendent  Jara also discussed needing to connect with the Governor’s office and Nevada Department of Education to ensure  they are receiving information in a timely manner. 

Superintendent Jara’s prepared statement:

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

Superintendent Communications

Superintendent Jara welcomed Sarah Cyprus, the new principal of Treem Elementary.

Requests for Future Agenda Items:

  • Detailed presentation on data related to CCSD Police policies and data about excessive force, including the use of pepper spray on campus.
  • Information about how Trustees will be updated on the work of the Nevada Department of Education Reopening Committee.

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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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