Nevada Ed-Watch: 06/27/22

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 once 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 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.


Monday, June 27, 2022
State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting
Access the meeting agenda and playback.

What happened at this meeting? 

Public comment 

No public comment was heard at this time.

SPCSA Executive Director’s Report

Highlights from the report include:

  • Initiatives Related to Serving All Students Equitably: Certain schools must submit recruitment and enrollment plans by September 30. Staff conducted their first optional virtual working session this month, with two additional sessions planned for the summer. Staff also participated in a Restorative Justice training and are planning to offer optional training this summer and in 2023.
  • COVID-19 Update: SPCSA is required to continue to maintain the Safe Return to In-Person Learning Plan  through September 30, and the Board will receive an update on plans in July.
  • Legislative Session Planning: The committee is continuing monthly meetings, and SPCSA has been engaged in the process. There are two meetings through the end of this interim period; the final meeting is an opportunity to identify legislative topics.
  • Budget: The Authority is on track to submit its budget by the end of August, and is working with the Governor’s finance office on answering requests related to staffing increases.
  • Update on New Schools Opening in Fall 2022: 
    • Coral Academy of Science: The Cadence campus is on track to open mid-August, and will be ready by mid-July to allow the school to prep for its first day. It will provide an update on recruitment/enrollment at the July meeting.
    • Nevada State High School – NLV Campus:  The campus has received its certificate of occupancy and is ready to welcome students.  
  • Language Access Plan: Pursuant to SB 318, staff must develop and biannually revise this plan providing services for constituents with limited English proficiency. The Authority is currently drafting the plan, to be posted over the summer for public comment in July. It is also working to make the website more accessible to those with limited English proficiency, including translation services.
  • 2022 SPCSA Sponsor Survey: The survey was conducted 5/11 – 6/5, with responses from 30 school leaders representing 26 of 38 charter schools. Input was measured in four areas: communication, authorizing, school support, and grants. Explore the survey results memo and the feedback survey.
  • Staffing Update: Marinna Cutler is the new Director of School Support for the SPCSA, and the Authority is filling a few additional positions to reach a total of 27 full-time staff.

Board Received a Presentation Regarding Governance Standards, Pursuant to Assembly Bill 419

The first governance standards training was held in June, with approximately 250 school board members from about 50 schools. Three additional trainings are scheduled this summer, and a process has been established to approve other organizations to provide this type of training based upon standards approved by the Authority. During the presentation, a Board member provided an overview of Standard 3: Managing Financial Resources responsibly.

Explore the governance standards here.

Board Discussed the Impact of Weighted Lotteries

Staff provided an overview on weighted lotteries and their role in improving access to educationally disadvantaged students. Such lotteries can be used in favor of identified student groups, such as those who are economically disadvantaged, those with disabilities, and/or those with limited English proficiency, among others. Seven SPCSA charters/24 campuses have a weighted lottery policy in place, with 21 campuses having more applications than seats available. Results varied from school to school and are detailed in the memo (available at the link below). Staff noted in the memo that while impact varies, weighted lotteries will not singlehandedly address the discrepancies in such demographics.

Explore the briefing memo here.

Charter School Contract Amendment Applications

Girls Athletic Leadership School was approved for changes to the school name, mission and vision, as well as modifications to academic and organizational plans and a reduction on its enrollment caps for the duration of the charter term. These changes are mostly due to terminating the contract with GALS Inc. and COVID-related recruitment strain. Its new name will be Girls Empowerment Middle School (GEMS). The school’s mission, values, and driving force will remain the same.

Explore the good cause exemption letter and the recommendation memo.

Explore Academy was approved for a reduction in its enrollment cap from 510 to 355 students and will be moving to its permanent facility this year.

Explore the good cause exemption letter and the recommendation memo.

PilotED Cactus Park Elementary was conditionally approved to remove its student transportation plan for the 2022-2023 school year and operate at a temporary location at Nevada Prep for the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year.

Explore the good cause exemption letter and the recommendation memo.

Quest Academy was approved for a reduction of its enrollment cap from 565 to 500 students for the 2022-2023 school year.

Explore the good cause exemption letter and the recommendation memo.

Strong Start Academy was approved for a relocation for the 2022-2023 school year, so all students and faculty are located in one permanent facility. The facility is the site of the 9th Bridge School, at 302 S. 9th St.

Explore the good cause exemption letter and the recommendation memo.

Young Women’s Leadership Academy was approved for a reduction of its enrollment cap from 150 to 110 students for the 2022-2023 school year.

Explore the recommendation memo.

Doral Academy of Northern Nevada was approved for an additional K-8 campus for the 2023-2024 school year, primarily serving students in 89502 and 89431 zip codes.

Explore the recommendation memo.

Explore charter applications, budgets, and additional materials here.

Board Heard an Update on Approved New Charter Schools for Fall 2022

  • Battle Born Academy: The school is approved to open, serving grades K-1 and 5-6, and will be temporarily located in the Equipo Academy facility. Thirty-eight percent of seats have been enrolled, with an additional 10% in the enrollment process. Explore the update.
  • Sage Collegiate: The school facilities are scheduled to open on time. Current enrollment is at 244, and a waitlist has started in four grade levels. Grassroots efforts have continued and ramped up through several community partnerships. Explore the update.
  • PilotED Cactus Park Elementary: All updates have been included in the charter school contract amendment application above.
  • Young Women’s Leadership Academy: The school is 61% fully enrolled, with several recruitment events coming up and in the past few months. The school continues to hire for roles in math and science, as well as other positions, and has increased teacher salaries to be equitable with wages at the local school district. Explore the update.
  • Strong Start Academy: The lease agreement on the facility has been executed, and the City of Las Vegas is in the process of purchasing the 9th Bridge building for a permanent facility.  Seventy-eight students have been enrolled thus far, and teacher recruitment continues. Explore the update.

Board Approved Revisions to the SPCSA Academic Performance Framework and Organizational Framework:

The Board approved a number of proposed changes, including those to SPCSA Academic Framework performance level rating requirements to fulfill its obligation and responsibility to provide Academic Performance Framework results for SPCSA-sponsored schools; and using a 64% Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL) Student Enrollment Rate measure rate cap when an SPCSA school or zoned district participates in the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, or CEP, to support more accurate FRL rate comparisons between SPCSA schools and zoned districts.

Explore the presentation.

Changes to the SPCSA Organizational Framework included:

  • SPCSA staff verifying state assessment participation requirements through data collection processes and NDE, and as such, removing the measure from the self-certification checklist
  • Verifying schools’ governing bodies have completed training in Nevada’s Open Meeting Law and SPCSA Governance Standards
  • SPCSA staff verifying all applicable reporting requirements called for in the Reporting Requirements Manual, and as such, removing the measure from the self-certification checklist
  • SPCSA staff verifying that a school is in material compliance with student attendance requirements and as such, removing the measure from the self-certification checklist
  • Revising language to Indicator 4, Measure 16 to clarify that “the school has no known outstanding obligations with regard to payroll, unemployment, ADA, FMLA, IRS, or other federal, state and local entities”
  • SPCSA staff verifying that a school is current with all Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) obligations and as such, removing the measure from the self-certification checklist
  • Adding language to include that all governing body members of a charter school maintain compliance with fingerprint requirements pursuant to NRS 388A.323.

Explore the presentation and supplemental materials.

Board Heard an Update on Site Evaluations for the 2021-2022 School year

All schools with a charter contract in Years 1, 3, or 5 were evaluated as scheduled, for a total of 42 site evaluations with 691 classrooms observed between September 2021 and May 2022. Identified strengths include implementing strategies aimed at closing opportunity gaps, meeting students’ social-emotional learning needs, implementing MTSS through SPCSA, and use of restorative justice practices to address behavioral issues. Challenges include opportunity gaps, regressive social-emotional behaviors, teacher shortages, post-COVID challenges like learning loss and chronic absenteeism, and serving the needs of vulnerable student groups.

Explore the presentation.

Long-Range Calendar (next 3 months):

Agenda items over the next three SPCSA board meetings are anticipated to include:

  • Safe return plan updates
  • New charter school applications
  • Academic Performance Framework

Explore the long-range calendar.

The next Meeting of the SPCSA Board is scheduled for July 29, 2022 @ 9:00 am. 

Sign up to receive a notification when a new Ed-Watch post is published:

Nevada Ed-Watch 8/28/20

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, August 28, 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 online regarding: 

  • Support for school reopening decision made by the Authority 
  • Concerns about the implementation of distance learning 

SPCSA Executive Director’s Report: 

Report Highlights: 

  • Update on response to Covid-19 Pandemic:
    • Director Feiden and the SPCSA granted three exemptions to distance learning for schools in Washoe County. This is contingent on Washoe County School District continuing to operate in person learning. SPCSA’s primary efforts have focused on addressing connectivity needs, coordination with health districts, school leadership support, and communication. Click here to see the full memo.
  • New Schools: 
    • Pinecrest Academy of Northern Nevada, Girls Athletic Leadership Schools (GALS), and Explore Academy have each opened as planned. Civica Nevada has submitted three of the five required conditions for opening and will provide a more formal update to the board on October 2nd. 
  • Update on Summer Cycle for Charter Applications: 
    • The SPCSA received five complete charter applications for the summer cycle. Capacity interviews have been scheduled with school teams and recommendations for approval or denial will be brought before the board at the November 6th meeting. 
  • SPCSA Performance Framework Overview: 
    • The SPCSA performance framework is a document that sets forth agreed upon expectations of performance and compliance. It is the basis for school evaluations, ongoing monitoring and intervention that informs high-stakes decisions by an authorizer. Academic and Organizational results will be available in October or November. Financial results will be available in February. Click here to see the full overview.
  • Federal Grant Monitoring: 
    • The SPCSA is responsible for oversight on federal and state grants to Nevada Public Charter Schools in order to ensure schools are considering students services and well being, sound financial stewardship and legal compliance. Schools will receive updates about SPCSA’s federal grant monitoring in September. Click here to see the full overview. 

Board Approved Quest Academy Transition from Receivership (7-0-1)

Based on the academic and financial progress of Quest Academy throughout receivership, the Board approved SPCSA staff recommendation for Quest Academy to transition from receivership to a fully constituted board, with conditions. Members of Quest Academy school community outlined upcoming board training and next steps for the school. 

Note: Member Soifer recused himself due to a business relationship with a member of the Quest Academy board and therefore abstained from the vote. 

Click here to see the full recommendation, including conditions.

Board Approved Charter School Contract Amendments 

  • Freedom Classical Academy: The board approved a good cause exemption and amendment request for Freedom Classical Academy’s acquisition of its current facility. It will not affect approved enrollment.  Click here to see the full recommendation, including conditions. 
  • Honors Academy of Literature: The board approved a good cause exemption and amendment request for Honors Academy of Literature to increase their enrollment from 211 students to 225 students. Click here to see the full recommendation. 

Board Approved Amplus Academy Contract Amendment

Staff and board members from Amplus Academy provided an academic and financial update on the progress of Amplus transitioning away from their former Education Management Organization (EMO) to an independent charter school. Based on SPCSA staff recommendation, the Board approved changes to Amplus Academy’s academic, operational, and financial plans. Highlights of the changes include: 

  • updates to curriculum and professional development resources,
  • shifts to leadership structure to devote more time to specific student groups,
  • shifts to school based human resource functions, accounting and finance functions, and student recruitment and enrollment, and 
  • significant updates to financial plan due to reallocation of funds designated for Amplus Academy’s former (EMO) to directly support students.

 Click here to see the full recommendation. 

Board Approved Changes to Site Evaluation Process

SPCSA staff authority recommended updates and changes to the SPCSA’s site evaluation including an update on the work ahead. Site evaluations offer objective feedback to schools in years 1, 3, and 5 of operation. The board approved changes to the site evaluation process, including:  

  • a statement in the handbook to address potential for bias in focus groups, 
  • decreasing the number of items schools are required to upload, 
  • implementing a presentation from school leaders,
  • revisions to classroom observation rubric, and
  • reduction of the number of staff hours used on the final report.

  Click here to see the full presentation and all updates.

Board Heard Update on Serving All Students Equitably 

Based on feedback from the board, SPCSA staff outlined actions being implemented by the SPCSA to ensure schools are serving all students equitably. In addition to site evaluation updates approved by the board in a previous item, new school applications will be revised to include questions regarding efforts to close opportunity gaps and address disproportionate discipline practices. Charter renewal applications will include questions related to restorative justice practices and plans to address disproportionate discipline practices and opportunity gaps. Additionally, SPCSA will conduct annual presentations on student outcome data, and continue the Focus on Schools series.

Click here to read the full overview.

Board Discussed Students at Risk of Dropping Out

Director Feiden provided an overview of Students at Risk of Dropping Out of School within Academic and Demographic Needs Assessment and context on how SPCSA staff are addressing the need. SPCSA board members provided additional suggestions on addressing this need and requested to continue this conversation.

Click here to see the Academic and Demographic Needs Assessment.

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.


Sign up to receive a notification when a new Ed-Watch post is published:

Nevada Ed-Watch 5/29/20

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, May 29, 2020
State Public Charter School Authority Board Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda 

SPCSA Executive Director’s Report: 

Report Highlights: 

  • The SPCSA has identified nine agency-wide initiatives for the 2020-2021 annual plan. The plan includes developing a differentiated approach to grant monitoring and oversight and a long-term engagement strategy with a Growth Plan working group. Click here to view the full list of initiatives. 
  • SPCSA staff is planning for the fiscal impact of COVID-19 for the upcoming years. This includes planning for a 4% budget cut for FY19 and anywhere between  6%-14% budget cut for FY20. SPCSA is recommending that schools plan for the potential of significant cuts.  Click here to see the full update related to SPCSA’s COVID-19 response. 
  • In alignment with the Nevada Department of Education’s decision to carry over star ratings and school performance designations, the SPCSA will also carry over academic designations, including notices of concern. 
  • SPCSA received 13 Letters of Intent to submit charter applications in July. Additionally, there were five requests for amendments for the spring amendment cycle. 

Board Heard Updates & Approved Amendments from Charter Schools

SPCSA board members heard from school leaders & board members of four approved SPCSA schools that have not yet opened.

  • Pinecrest Academy of Northern Nevada shared updates related to enrollment, marketing, and transportation. Additionally, the board approved the school’s transportation plan, with conditions. Click here to view the  transportation plan and conditions. Click here to view the full update. 
  • Las Vegas Collegiate shared updates related to enrollment challenges and concerns with student safety related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The board approved the school’s request to defer opening until the 2021-2022 school year. Click here to view the request. 
  • Girls Athletic Leadership School shared updates related to their facilities and enrollment. The board approved addition of 7th grade for the 2020-2021 school year. Click here to view the full update.  
  • Explore Academy shared updates related to their temporary facility and enrollment. The school anticipates submitting an amendment request to add 8th grade for the 2020-2021 school year.

Board Approved Charter Contract for CIVICA Nevada Career and Collegiate Academy

The board approved staff recommendation to authorize CIVICA Nevada Career and Collegiate Academy, with conditions. CIVICA Nevada Career and Collegiate Academy will serve grades Kindergarten through 7th grade in 2021, and grow into K-12 school by the 2026-2027 school year.  Click here to view the staff recommendation and conditions.

Board Approved Three Charter School Contracts

The approved the contracts transition former Achievement School District Schools under the authorization of the SPCSA, effective July 1st.

Click here to view the contract for Futuro Academy
Click here to view the contract for Nevada Prep Charter School
Click here to view the contract for Nevada Rise Academy

Board Heard Updates on Site Evaluation Report

SPCSA staff provided an overview of the draft legislative report on Site Evaluations due to the Legislative Committee on Education by July 30th. The report includes an outline of the site evaluation process and analysis of findings. Since January 2019, the SPCSA has conducted 60 site evaluations at all sponsored schools’ campuses. 

Click here to view the draft report.

Board Heard Update From Schools Under or Previously Under Receivership

Quest Preparatory Academy:

  • Litigation with CSP Bridger regarding school properties has been settled. 
  • Progress has been made with reconstituting the school’s board. Six potential board members, including two parents, have been submitted to the SPCSA for approval. 

Discovery Charter School: 

  • School leaders anticipate a low teacher turn-over rate for the 2020-2021 school year.  
  • School leaders are prepared to be responsive to changes to the school model based on health and safety standards related to COVID-19. 

Sign up to receive a notification when a new Ed-Watch post is published:

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

Sign up to receive a notification when a new Ed-Watch post is published:

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

Sign up to receive a notification when a new Ed-Watch post is published:

Nevada Ed-Watch: 2/15/19

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, February 15, 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:

  • Site Evaluations:
    • Staff has participated in 15 hours of training for conducting site evaluations and conducted 5 site evaluations to date (on schedule to complete half of portfolio school site visits by the end of the semester).
    • It was noted that during focus groups, families at every school that received a visit report being happy with the decision they made to enroll their student in that school. Strong school culture at each school was also recognized.
    • A common opportunity for growth identified was around increasing instructional rigor.
  • School Applications:
    • The team is following up with schools that submitted a Letter of Intent to launch, but didn’t apply for authorization.
    • Reflections shared with schools that provided feedback were around schools needing to establish internal deadlines and requesting training on topics like Human Resources best practices, student recruitment, and funding.
  • Academic & Organizational Performance Frameworks:
    • The team held three 90-minute listening sessions with about 18 individuals to collect stakeholder input regarding SPCSA Performance Frameworks (both Academic and Organizational). Here’s what they heard:
      • A strong preference not to make the Academic Framework complicated, and not to duplicate the Nevada framework (NSPF)– rather, to look for complementary measures of performance.
      • A need to find a way to measure progress of students year-over-year.
      • Ensuring Organizational Framework standards are clear, simple, and avoid duplication from other components of the Frameworks.
    • Staff stated that the listening sessions are the first of many conversations. The Authorizing Team acknowledges that input from school leaders are necessary and welcomed. Next step is for attendees to participate in working groups (at least monthly) to continue developing the Academic and Organizational Frameworks.
    • Goal is for the framework to be updated and presented to the Board in June.
  • Focus on Schools updates
    • The team wants schools to share best practices with each other more regularly, and would like to hear from at least 6 schools in 2019 about what’s working. They also want to hear best practices across school types, like traditional district schools and other charters not sponsored by the SPCSA.
    • The team also wants to hear specifically from schools that have shown significant improvement, but are not ranked as 4- and 5- stars. The team talked about working with the press, the Charter School Authority of Nevada (CSAN), and other entities like Teach For America.

The School Support Team provided the following updates:

  • Provided training to school staff about how to validate graduation rates.
  • Attended school support site visits, trianings, and conferences about student engagement, Title I, and special education.
  • Engaging in ongoing communications with schools to provide technical supports around addressing parent concerns and providing guidance on state reporting.

The Finance and Operations Team provided the following updates:

  • Staffing– a new administrative assistant was hired.

The Legal Team provided the following updates:

  • Due Process Complaints– continuing to monitor issues with individual schools related to special education.
  • Executive Director Recruitment
    • Interviews will be conducted on March 8th with the 6 finalists. Then, the Board will select 3 candidates to be sent to the Governor for final selection.
    • Working with HR team to do reference checks and organize the interview process and questions.

Click here to see a summary of team updates from the previous board meeting and the 6 finalists (1/18/19).

Updates on Legislative Session and Status of Assembly Bill 78 Language

Staff provided an update regarding the 2019 Legislative Session and Assembly Bill 78. Staff stated that SPCSA staff is in close contact with Gov. Sisolak’s team and with education committee leadership.  

  • Legislative Updates:
    • AB78 – The SPCSA and Nevada Department of Education bill has undergone major revisions and now includes 5 major themes:
      • Ensuring that schools are serving all students, including special education and homeless students
      • Accountability of authorizers in ensuring that all annual reporting requirements are being met. This already exists in regulation, but they would like to specifically include in statute.
      • Giving SPCSA regulatory authority. Currently, the SPCSA does not have the authority to adopt its own regulations.
      • Clarifying that the SPCSA is the Local Education Agency (LEA) for their schools that are not currently designated as an LEA themselves.
      • Consolidating and combining the SPCSA and ASD, specifically in an effort to increase equitable access to high quality charter schools for all students.
  • Note: ultimately, all of these changes are up to the legislature to approve and are not final unless the bill passes.
  • Going forward, legislative updates will be provided to the Board in a written summary format. The team will work on a process to provide the Board with periodic updates between board meetings.

Board Hears Updates About the Beacon Academy of Nevada

SPCSA staff provided the Board with information regarding Beacon Academy’s performance under the Alternative Performance Framework.

Beacon Academy only serves high-need students, including students who are credit deficient, adjudicated, on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), or have been habitually disciplined.

Click here to see the Beacon Academy 2017-2018 Report Card.

Click here to see the presentation.
Click here to read about Beacon Academy in the Nevada Independent.

Board Hears Quarterly Update From Discovery Charter School

The Discovery staff, their receiver, and their principal shared updates on the topics below on the second year of receivership:

  • Student enrollment and population
  • Lottery
  • Performance

The team is currently engaging in a process to identify a permanent operator for the school. They are also currently performing a feasibility study to assess the potential of adding 9th grade.

Board Heard Updates About the Closing of Nevada Virtual Academy

School staff met with families and provided a closure timeline, including a communications plan. They also provided an overview of progress of non-elementary grades.

Click here to see the presentation.

Board Heard Updates on Responses to the Interim Finance Committee

Staff provided the Board updates about responses due to the Interim Finance Committee (IFC) on February 1, 2019. SPCSA understands that there is one more report due to IFC regarding these questions before August 1st. Staff will bring the report before the Board in a draft form for input prior to submission.

Click here to see the Legislative Letter of Intent.

Public Comment

  • One local charter school leader talked about a positive experience during their site evaluation by the SPCSA. The school leader cited that the evaluators spent a significant amount of time in the classroom, debriefing with administrators, and facilitating focus groups with parents.
  • Announcement that February 27-28th is Public Charter School Days at the Capitol, which includes presentations and a policy dinner and reception with lawmakers.

Sign up to receive a notification when a new Ed-Watch post is published: