Nevada Ed-Watch 8/27/20

The Ed-Watch series is designed to increase access to information on decisions being made regarding public education in Clark County and Nevada.

Nevada State Board of Education

What is the State Board of Education & what are they responsible for? The Nevada State Board of Education adopts regulations based on Nevada laws, which are passed down to individual school districts in Nevada to implement. The Board has 11 total (7 appointed and 4 publicly elected) members.

How often does the State Board meet? The Nevada State Board of Education meets once per month on Thursdays at 9:00AM. Click here to see the 2020 Board Meeting Schedule. Click here to visit Hope For Nevada’s #NVEd Calendar.

Can community members engage at State Board Meetings? 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 State Board Members.

Thursday, August 27, 2020
Nevada State Board of Education Meeting

Click here to see the meeting agenda

What happened at this meeting?

Public Comment

Members of the public provided testimony regarding: 

  • Concerns about the implementation of the Pupil Centered Funding Formula 
  • Concerns about health and safety related to reopening school buildings 

President’s Report

President Wynn provided an update on the Connecting Kids Nevada initiative:

Under the Governor’s COVID-19 Taskforce, Connecting Kids Nevada was launched which provides a central statewide platform to connect all Nevada students in need with resources to receive devices and internet connectivity. Additionally, a Family Support Center hotline has been created for qualifying Clark County students to receive internet for school. The Family Support Center can be reached at  888-616-2476 and is open Monday-Saturday 7am-6pm. 

Currently, four Nevada school districts have 100% of students connected to devices and the internet for learning. 

Click here to visit Connecting Kids Nevada

Superintendent’s Report

State Superintendent Ebert report highlights:

  • Due to shifting public health conditions, multiple school districts pivoted from their planned model for reopening. In order to implement those adjustments, opening timelines for some districts have changed. Currently, 10 school districts have begun the school year, with three beginning the week of August 31st, and four districts opening on September 8th. 
  • The majority of Nevada school districts are implementing some form of hybrid learning. Two school districts are implementing full time distance learning for at least the first quarter. Three school districts are implementing in person learning. 
  • The Department of Education received 71 applications from 45 applicants for their ESSER competitive grant. Funding priorities for this grant are wraparound services, high quality professional development, and digital instruction materials. The department is expediting the grant review process and have compressed their reviewing timeline from 6 weeks to 2 weeks. 

Board Heard Update on School Reopening Implementation 

Superintendents of three school districts and the Director of the State Public Charter School Authority each provided updates to the Board on the implementation of school reopening. 

Clark County School District (CCSD): 

  • Three schools have opened under hybrid learning, four schools have opened fully in person, with all other schools opening with distance learning only. 
  • CCSD has expanded elementary lessons for Nevada Learning Academy and has implemented professional development for substitute teachers. 
  • Approximately 63,000, or 8%, of CCSD students are still in need of a device and connection to the internet.
  • 300 food distribution sites have been deployed throughout the district. Food distribution has trended upward since the first day of school, with approximately 40,000 meals being distributed August 26th.
  • Schools are establishing multi-disciplinary teams to provide social-emotional supports to educators and students. 

Click here to see the CCSD presentation.

Washoe County School District (WCSD): 

  • Elementary schools have opened fully in person. Middle and high schools have opened with a hybrid model. All families have the option to engage in distance learning only, including temporarily. Approximately 8,500 elementary students are engaged in distance learning only.
  • Approximately 12,000 students are still in need of devices. WCSD has purchased 25 devices for buses to become internet hubs, along with receiving 6,000 hotspots. 
  • WCSD students receive breakfast and lunch to-go. Students may also take meals for multiple days. Additionally, WSCD has implemented a partnership to provide dinner to-go for students as well. 
  • WCSD is implementing health safety protocols, as well as multiple social-emotional initiatives to support educators, students, and families. 

Click here to see the WCSD presentation.

Churchill County School District: 

  • All Churchill CSD schools will open for in-person instruction, with the option for any K-12 student to engage in distance learning. In person school will be conducted Monday through Friday with morning and afternoon student cohorts.  
  • All students are connected with a device. Some students are still in need of internet connectivity. 
  • Student meals will be provided at the end of each day for children to take home for the following day. Full time distance learning students will pick up meals for multiple days twice per week.
  • The district has hired additional school counselors and is implementing multiple strategies to support the social-emotional needs of the school communities. 

Click here to see Churchill CSD’s presentation

State Public Charter School Authority (SPCSA) 

  • SPCSA authorizes schools in multiple counties throughout the state. Aligned to the Emergency Directive 030 and the Governor’s Roadmap to Recovery framework, charter schools within counties that are designated at the Baseline Mitigation Level may reopen in person but are not required to. Schools in counties categorized as Mitigation Levels 1 or 2 must open with distance-learning, although there are limited allowances for in-person learning for students who meet specific need-based criteria. 
  • Approximately 7,500 students are still in need of a device. This number is inclusive of students who have access to a shared device. 1,700 students are still in need of access to reliable internet. The SPCSA is supporting schools to connect students with hotspots and internet service.  
  • SPCSA is identifying supports for schools to mitigate learning loss that has occurred as well as social emotional supports for school communities. 

Click here to see SPCSA’s presentation 

Board Approved Consent Agenda

Consent agenda highlights:

Board Heard Update on Commission on School Funding

The Commission on School Funding will be recommending to the Board an alternative definition for the “at-risk” student weight within the new school funding formula. Based on legislation, “at-risk” may be defined as students eligible for free or reduced lunch, or an alternative definition may be adopted. The commission recommends adopting an alternative definition that is inclusive of factors related to academic risk, attendance, behavior, and home and enrollment stability. This would be tracked through Infinite Campus, however one barrier is the ability of Infinite Campus to meet the specific functionality necessary to identify students under a definition that includes multiple variables. 

A specific recommendation for adoption will come before the board at a future meeting. 

Board Heard Update on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Workgroup 

The workgroup held its second meeting on August 20th, where they had the opportunity to hear about access to devices and internet connectivity for students. Additionally, the group heard about the state of the education system for American Indian and Alaskan Native students in Nevada. Moving forward, Member Hudson will lead the workgroup.  

Click here to see the Indian Education presentation

Board Heard Update on Work of Digital Engineers 

The mission of the Digital Engineers is to ensure educators, families, and students receive equitable access to and support with digital learning across Nevada. 70 resources have been posted for access by the public on the Digital Engineers website, with the majority of resources focused on educator preparation. Additional resources for families and students can also be accessed on the website.  The board discussed a need to ensure that the website is intuitive for all users.

Click here to see the presentation

Requests for Future Agenda items: 

  • Ongoing reports from school districts on the implementation of the school year, including lessons learned

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