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Nicole Alcantara

U.S. Department of Education Names Goolsby Elementary a National Blue Ribbon School

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Last week, the U.S. Department of Education designated John and Judy Goolsby Elementary School in the Clark County School District as a National Blue Ribbon School in the “Exemplary School Performance Category.”

The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content.

The U.S. Department of Education selected only 349 schools in the country (including public and private) as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2018. The award is based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

Goolsby Elementary School, along with Roy Gomm Elementary School and Mount Rose K-8 School of Languages in the Washoe County School District, were identified by the Nevada Department of Education as being in the top 15 percent of state schools ranked by performance on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) reading and math scores.

The principal of Goolsby Elementary School, Kimberly Cunningham, said “our staff is so excited about this nomination. It shows the high levels of achievement that our students can reach. It takes a team of committed educators, parents, staff, and students to reach and achieve our goals.”

National Blue Ribbon Schools will be recognized at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., in November.

Fox 5’s Shining Star: See How Michael Thrower Gives Back to the Community

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Michael Thrower, a Clark County School District purchasing supervisor who also is a CCSD Police Services chaplain, recently was named a Fox 5 “Shining Star” for his volunteering that seeks to spiritually comfort those serving in law enforcement.

Thrower is founder of Adopt-A-Cop’s Nevada chapter, which assigns one prayer partner for every law enforcement officer in Nevada. “We want to bring them that comfort that could only be given to you by a spiritual life,” Thrower told Fox 5.

As the recipient as the Fox 5 Shining Star, which recognizes outstanding people in our community who go above and beyond, Thrower also receives $500 to continue his mission.

View the Fox 5 story profiling Thrower’s work with Adopt-A-Cop.

CCSD and Community Leaders Celebrate National School Lunch Week Oct. 15-19

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Clark County School District and other school districts across the country will celebrate National School Lunch Week from Oct. 15-19. National School Lunch Week is an opportunity to promote the importance of healthy, enjoyable meals in the education of students.

As part of CCSD’s observation of National School Lunch Week, the School District is inviting government, business and community leaders to eat lunch with CCSD students.

To get an appreciation of the magnitude of CCSD Food Service Department’s responsibility, the department served over 46 million meals to students in the previous school year.

And, to put this number into an everyday context, during the 2017-18 school year, the average daily meal counts were:

  •         96,382 breakfasts
  •         165,578 lunches
  •         1,735 suppers


The National School Lunch Program, the largest of the federal child nutrition programs, was signed into law in 1946 by President Harry Truman. The national School Nutrition Association estimates that 30 million students enjoy healthy lunches every school day in the country.

The availability of nutritious meals, especially for students who come from economically vulnerable backgrounds, is critical. For the 2017-18 school year, 63.84 percent of CCSD’s students qualified for the federal free and reduced-price lunch program.

25 CCSD Schools Named Shining Stars

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Twenty-five Clark County School District (CCSD) schools have been recognized as Shining Stars Schools by the Nevada Department of Education (NDE).

A Shining Stars School is a high-performing school serving a high percentage of students in poverty. A high-performing school is one that achieved a 4- or 5-Star rating on the most recent Nevada School Performance Framework.

An elementary or middle school serving a high percentage of students in poverty has at least 75 percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch (FRL). For high schools, the cutoff is at least 50 percent of students eligible for FRL.

“One of our core beliefs is that all students can succeed, regardless of their background and challenges,” said CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus F. Jara.

“These Shining Stars Schools demonstrate to our community that, with the right supports and dedication to rigor, every child can thrive in our traditional public schools,” Dr. Jara said. “I hope the community joins me in celebrating the success of these schools, including their students, teachers, support professionals, and principals.”

One of the 25 CCSD Shining Stars Schools was Helen M. Smith Elementary School, whose school’s student population has 100 percent eligibility for FRL. In this year’s Nevada School Performance Framework assessment, the elementary School was designated a 5-Star School.

“We appreciate the ‘Shining Stars’ designation because it validates all of the hard work and the many sacrifices that the teachers and support professionals make to educate the students,” said Robert Hinchliffe, principal of Helen M. Smith Elementary School. “They are the individuals who made this happen and I am fortunate to get to work alongside them as they lead the students to success.”

Statewide Smarter Balanced assessment data for elementary and middle schools show that students qualifying for FRL have a proficiency rate approximately 10 percentage points below the average for all students. The majority of elementary and middle school Shining Stars outperformed the state average in math and reading, some by as much as 27 percentage points in math and 21 percentage points in English Language Arts.

This year’s CCSD Shining Stars Schools include 17 elementary schools, two middle schools and six high schools.

This is the third year that NDE has published a Shining Stars Schools list. Following is this year’s complete list of CCSD schools meriting this distinction:

CCSD Shining Stars – Elementary Schools

  • James H. Bilbray
  • Blue Diamond
  • Marion E. Cahlan
  • Crestwood
  • Ruben P. Diaz
  • Pat Diskin
  • Doris French
  • James I. Gibson
  • Addeliar D. Guy
  • Fay Herron
  • Mabel Hoggard Math and Science Magnet
  • Martha P. King
  • Estes McDoniel
  • Lewis E. Rowe
  • Helen Marie Smith
  • Joseph E. Thiriot
  • Louis Wiener Jr.


CCSD Shining Stars – Middle Schools

  • Indian Springs
  • Odyssey (CCSD sponsored charter school)


CCSD Shining Stars – High Schools

  • East Career and Technical Academy
  • Rancho
  • Sandy Valley
  • Southeast Career and Technical Academy
  • Veterans Tribute Career and Technical Academy
  • West Prep Academy

CCSD Schools Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

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Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) is a time to recognize the contributions made and the important presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States, and to celebrate their heritage and culture. Many CCSD schools are engaging in activities to observe Hispanic Heritage Month. One example is Rancho High School, where the Hispanic Student Union is involved in a variety of activities, including the one shown here. Pictured are the Sunrise Mountain High School Ballet Folkorico Dancers performing at Northwest Career and Technical Academy

CCSD Celebrates High Achievement and Growth in Star Ratings

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On Sept. 14, the Clark County School District (CCSD) Board of School Trustees and Superintendent Dr. Jesus F. Jara celebrated that 94 schools attained a 4-Star or 5-Star ranking in the 2018 Nevada School Performance Framework released today — despite more rigorous standards.

CCSD Board of School Trustees President Deanna L. Wright heralded the 46 5-Star schools, 48 4-Star schools and 44 schools that increased at least one Star from the 2017 results.

“We know there are pockets of excellence throughout CCSD, and today we want to celebrate the many educators who are exceeding standards to deliver first-class education to their students,” Wright said.

The event was held at Addeliar Guy Elementary School in North Las Vegas, which increased from 2 Stars to 4 Stars.

This is the first time the state has implemented a new, more rigorous requirement under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that caps points from schools with opportunity gaps, which are gaps in achievement between student subgroups.

27th Annual Disability Awareness Day Set for October 13 at Lorenzi Park

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The city of Las Vegas invites the community to attend the 27th Annual Disability Awareness Day celebration Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Sammy Davis Jr. Festival Plaza in Lorenzi Park, located at 720 Twin Lakes Drive. The event is free to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will feature live entertainment, door prizes and free parking. Those with wheelchairs can enjoy a complimentary wheelchair wash and safety check. A free lunch also will be provided, while supplies last. October is national Disability Awareness Month.

Representatives from more than 60 organizations will be on hand to help attendees with employment, independent living, recreational activities, financial planning, benefits counseling, transportation, housing and more. The event is sponsored by the city of Las Vegas, the Southern Nevada Center for Independent Living, the Nevada Statewide Council for Independent Living and The Challenger Newspaper.

Goolsby Elementary School Named National Blue Ribbon School

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Judy and John L. Goolsby Elementary School has been named a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE).

The coveted National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content, according to the DOE.

Only three Nevada schools were selected for this national honor this year. Additionally, the DOE selected only 349 public and private schools nationwide as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2018.

CCSD Commemorates Anniversary of 1 October

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Clark County School District students at Basic Academy of International Studies wore handmade bracelets to commemorate 1 October and show their Vegas Strong pride on the one year anniversary of the tragedy.

The school also had a Gift of Words wall in honor of 1 October where students could leave positive messages on sticky notes for one another and even hand them out to classmates.

Gov. Brian Sandoval encouraged all Nevadans to wear Vegas Strong clothing on 1 October, in honor and remembrance of the victims and survivors of the 1 October events nearly a year ago. Sandoval said, “Our great state has shown the country and indeed the world what Vegas Strong is every day for nearly a year. The events of 1 October affected so many and I think it is only right to show the world again how Vegas Strong Nevada is on the one year anniversary.”