In The News

We Love Our Schools!

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In January and February, Clark County School District is showing the love for some of our schools that have recently been recognized for improvements in student achievement while serving student populations with challenges.

We hope you take the time to learn about the schools highlighted in our “We Love Our Schools” campaign and what they are doing to increase student achievement, including:

  • Recently named 4- and 5-Star schools in the ZOOM program that support English Language Learners and the Victory program that supports learners from other at-risk schools
  • 2017 Shining Star Schools that serve populations of students from lower-income neighborhoods and have closed the opportunity gap
  • Five CCSD high schools with the largest increases in graduation rates for the class of 2017
  • CCSD’s 2017 Blue Ribbon Schools, which honors schools that have achieved high levels of student achievement or made significant improvements in closing the opportunity gap between subgroups of students
  • CCSD’s 2017 National Title 1 Distinguished Schools, which are Title 1 schools serving students from at-risk communities that have made innovations that led to gains in student achievement
  • Several other schools that have recently been recognized for increasing achievement while serving populations of students with challenges


These school communities have worked hard to increase student achievement and ensure that all students can reach their full potential. We hope the community will join us in celebrating their success and learning from their innovative hard work!

For more information on the schools, visit!

Deadline in January 18 for the Heart of Education Teacher Nominations

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The Smith Center and The Rogers Foundation are once again inviting the community to nominate outstanding Clark County School District (CCSD) teachers to be considered for the Heart of Education Awards. Nominations are due by Thursday, Jan. 18, at 5 p.m.

Anyone can nominate a CCSD teacher. Information needed in the nomination form is the teacher’s name, school, CCSD email address and the reasons for the nomination. This should include the various ways the teacher has gone above and beyond to support students.

Nominated teachers must complete an application by Thursday, Jan. 25, at 5 p.m. Nominated teachers will receive an email advising them that they have been nominated, and link to the portal where they can complete the online application.

Community leaders, education experts and sponsors will judge the applications based on the quality of the application, recommendation letters and compelling stories about the nominated teacher.

Finalists will be included in a souvenir booklet, to be distributed at the Heart of Education Awards, and will also receive a printed certificate honoring them as a Heart of Education finalist, as well as two tickets to the gala event.

The top 20 winners selected by the judges will each receive a trophy and $5,000. Each winner’s school will also receive $1,000 to be used for a program of the winning teacher’s choosing.

For more information, visit

Nominations Being Accepted for Myra Greenspun Excellence Award

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The Public Education Foundation invites teachers and community members to nominate a teacher for the Myra Greenspun Excellence Award. Two teachers (one elementary, one secondary) will be selected to receive an award of $3,000 to be used in their classroom or school, or for professional development, as well as an honorarium of $1,000. In addition, the selected teachers will be awarded 500 credits to be used at the Public Education Foundation’s Teacher Exchange. Teachers nominations may be submitted by fellow teachers, administrators or community members and are due by March 2, 2018. A teacher may not nominate himself or herself. For more information, call Lisa DenBleyker at (702) 799-1042.

CCSD Students Shine at “Shark Tank” Style Business Pitch Competition

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As reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, three Cimarron-Memorial High School students “solved a Rubik’s cube-level challenge with cubes of their own, beating out two other teams Friday (Jan. 12) in a ‘Shark Tank’-style business pitch competition at CES.” Students Aspen Anderson, Morgan Hershey and Ajaya Branch designed “Conditional Cubes,” which can be programmed to do various tasks. Second place went to Southwest CTA students Anish Chejerla and Ishaan Raja. Northwest CTA students Jaslin Estavillo and Cherese Lisama came in third.

CCSD Holds Ribbon-Cutting to Celebrate New School in the Southwest

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The Clark County School District (CCSD) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Jan. 9 to commemorate the opening of Don and Dee Snyder Elementary School at 8951 W. Ford Ave. in Las Vegas. It is one of seven new schools that opened during the 2017-18 school year. The ceremony gave families and the community a brief look at the new school. Funds for the new schools were made possible by Nevada legislators through the passage of SB 207 in 2015, which allows for 10 years of bonding authority for new school construction and renovation projects and is expected to provide $4.1 billion during this period. CCSD will open four additional schools at the start of the 2018-19 school year. For more information about CCSD’s Capital Improvement Program, visit

Mabel Hoggard Elementary School to Hold Special Celebration March 10th

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Mabel Hoggard Math and Science Magnet Elementary School will celebrate its 25th anniversary as a Magnet School on March 10 from 10-1. Mabel Hoggard was the first elementary Magnet School in the state and is celebrating this silver anniversary with a time to visit with former teachers and friends and tour the campus. There will be special guest speakers, entertainment and activities. To register for this event, visit For more information, call Stacey Scott-Cherry at (702) 799-4740.

Nevada Housing Division Honors Winners of “Where I Live” Art Contest

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Students from Darnell, Allen, Ronzone, Glen Taylor, Elizondo, Vanderburg, Tomiyasu, Wilhelm, Cozine, Bartlett, Derfelt and Christensen Elementary Schools won the annual “Where I Live” art contest, sponsored by the Nevada Housing Division in cooperation with CCSD. The winners were honored at a reception Dec. 7 at the Venetian. This year there were more than 2,800 entries from 22 schools. The event featured a performance by the Lawrence Junior High School Jazz Band.

Two CCSD Schools Honored as National Title I Distinguished Schools

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The National Title I Association has honored a pair of Clark County School District (CCSD) schools as National Title I Distinguished Schools. Walter Bracken STEAM Academy and Gordon McCaw STEAM Academy are among 61 schools throughout the United States to receive national recognition for exceptional student achievement in 2017.

A project of the National Title I Association, the National Title I Distinguished Schools Program publicly recognizes schools for their positive educational advances in one of three categories:

Category 1: Exceptional student performance for two consecutive years
Category 2: Closing the achievement gap between student groups
Category 3: Excellence in serving special populations of students (e.g. homelessness, migrant, English language learners, etc.)

Bracken STEAM Academy was recognized in Category 3 and McCaw STEAM Academy was honored in Category 1. It was the second year in a row that Bracken STEAM Academy received this honor, and these two schools were the only National Title I Distinguished Schools in Nevada to be recognized for their achievements in 2017. The selected schools will be officially recognized in February as part of the National Title I Association convention in Philadelphia.

McCaw STEAM Academy Principal Jennifer Furman-Born was thrilled with the national recognition. “We are honored and excited to have received this honor. It is a result of the hard work and dedication of our staff and teachers who are committed to our students setting individualized goals. Our families and community take pride in our school’s academics and help guide students into becoming positive and productive citizens.”

Similar sentiments were expressed by Katie Decker, who serves as principal of Bracken STEAM Academy, Howard Hollingsworth Elementary School and Walter V. Long Elementary School. “The staff, parents, and community partners (of Bracken STEAM Academy) were all extremely honored to get this recognition last year.” Decker added, “Receiving this again is a huge honor, and we are excited to share this with our community.”

Chief Student Achievement Officer Dr. Mike Barton offered praise to the two schools. “Their innovations have resulted in gains in student achievement. Their success is a testament to the hard work and determination of our educators working in collaboration with their school communities.”

McCaw STEAM Academy teacher Kelli Akes said, “I am excited and thankful for this National Title I recognition. This is truly an accomplishment for the entire community to celebrate.” Bracken STEAM Academy teacher Vicky Zblewski noted, “It is an honor to have our efforts recognized again. We teach a diverse population and strive to help each student find success.”

The National Title I Association has been selecting examples of outstanding Title I school programs for national recognition through its National Title I Distinguished Schools program since 1996. According to the association, “These schools demonstrate a wide array of strengths, including team approaches to teaching and learning, focused professional development opportunities for staff, individualized programs for student success and strong partnerships between the school, parents and the community.”

University of Chicago Names Green Valley High School Teacher an Outstanding Educator

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Thane Webb loves to teach science. And that may be an understatement.

The Green Valley High School teacher’s enthusiasm was so influential on former student Robyn Myers that Myers – now a student at the University of Chicago – nominated him for the University of Chicago Outstanding Educator Award.

The award is given to educators who have influenced, challenged or helped University of Chicago students along the path toward intellectual growth, and Webb was selected as one of the 2017 winners.

“An award like this, where it came from a student who thought highly of me, means a lot to me,” Webb said. “It’s humbling to realize how much of an impact you can have on someone else’s life.”

According to Myers’ nomination form, one thing stood out about Webb’s teaching style: the unwritten curriculum of helping young people develop into adults. Webb cared for each student’s needs, taught them how to advocate for themselves and how to develop a work ethic that fits them.

Webb teaches the material in a way applicable to life and not solely for test preparation. It was those traits in addition to teaching the Advanced Placement curriculum that Myers found helpful from Webb.

“Knowing I can help another human on this planet move forward and live a life of curiosity and imagination is what makes teaching science worth my effort,” said Webb. “Really, it’s the students that make the choice to pursue their dreams. I’m just glad I can be there to help them do that.”