Nevada Ed-Watch

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.

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, 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. 

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