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In The News

CCSD Provides Families with Information and Resources at Cox Back to School Fairs

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The Clark County School District (CCSD) will assist students and families as they prepare for the 2019-20 school year during the 12th Annual Cox Back to School Fairs, being held at local shopping malls during July and August.

  • July 27, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    The Boulevard, 3528 S. Maryland Parkway
  • August 3, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    Meadows Mall, 4300 Meadows Lane
  • August 10, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    Downtown Summerlin, 2025 Festival Plaza Drive

 

There will be over 50 booths at the fairs; various booths will be staffed by CCSD personnel, while the others will represent community agencies, nonprofit organizations and businesses. School-required immunizations will be offered only at The Galleria at Sunset, The Boulevard and Meadows Mall fairs. Costs will range from no co-pay to low-fee and no charge, depending on a family’s insurance status. Parents are advised to bring their child’s immunization record and insurance card.

Cultivating and Sustaining Powerful Parent Partners

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The Family and Community Engagement Services (FACES) Department reached over 100,000 family members during the 2018-19 school year through the University of Family Learning (UFL). FACES works hard to support and leverage all stakeholders with increasing student achievement and attendance.

The UFL offers family members an opportunity to access bilingual (and free of charge) workshops, resources, and information focused on increasing both family and student success. Workshops are held at school sites, the 10 FACES Family Engagement Centers, libraries, recreation centers, and other sites throughout the community.

The Fifth Annual Ceremony of Achievement, recognizing family members, schools, and community partners who went above and beyond to engage with FACES during the 2018-19 school year, was held on May 15 at Valley High School. There were 209 family members honored with a Certificate of Achievement for their deep-rooted commitment in engaging in over 50 hours of UFL course work.

Marta Castro and Diana Lozano, honorees who were recognized for their participation in the UFL for five years, credit the UFL for helping them support their children’s learning at home. Castro, recently featured on the Vegas PBS website, said that through “the Ready to Learn Program workshops, I learned that I can teach my children a lot of things that have a huge impact on their learning in school.” Lozano thanked the FACES staff for encouraging her to participate in classes to practice English. She said her children, Kerry and Joel, are the biggest reason she attends workshops.

The three schools recognized as the FACES School Partners of the Year, based upon the family-school partnership model, were Berkeley L. Bunker Elementary School (Region 1), Valley High School (Region 2), and C.C. Ronnow Elementary School (Region 3). Each school received a plaque to signify the shared responsibility of cultivating and sustaining powerful parent partners within their schools.

With parent and community support as one of the five priorities within the Focus: 2024 strategic plan, FACES will continue to work with families, schools, and the community to be #1forKids.

For more information about FACES, contact us at (702) 799-0303 or visit us at faces.ccsd.net.

Over $10,000 in Scholarships Provided During Reclaim Your Future

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The eighth annual Reclaim Your Future Senior Celebration took place on May 10 at the Texas Station. The event, sponsored by the College of Southern Nevada (CSN) and the City of Las Vegas, celebrated the nearly 500 graduating JAG Seniors from 20 high schools.

These students have faced tremendous adversity in their lives, yet put education first and will graduate on time. Nevada State College, CSN, Sands Cares, and the Bee-Lievers provided over $10,000 in surprise scholarships.

Additionally, the Las Vegas Aces, the NBA Summer League, and Vegas Golden Knights Foundation also raffled off tickets and apparel throughout the event as well.

The event was emceed by Michael Flores and Nicholas Mathews. DJ Lalas played live music throughout the event, and the students found inspiration in the story of Las Vegas Aces’ Rushia Brown.

Khan Academy and CCSD Discuss Tools to Bring Greater Equity and Access to All Students

By | In The News, Schools Info, Superintendent | No Comments

Clark County School District (CCSD) principals and school leaders recently heard from nationally recognized entrepreneur Sal Khan, the founder of Khan Academy, an education nonprofit whose mission is to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.

Khan shared his focus on leveling the playing field during a presentation at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

One of CCSD’s top priorities in the Focus: 2024 strategic plan is to increase equity and access to underserved and underrepresented students. CCSD is working with Khan Academy to provide all educators with free tools to assist with equity and access throughout K-12 education.

The Khan Academy features more than 6,500 video lessons teaching a variety of subjects. The videos have been watched more than 1.6 billion times, reaching millions of people around the world.

Pictured are Superintendent Jesus Jara (left), Sal Khan (center) and NWEA CEO Christopher Minnich (right).

 

Clark High School Student Angela Hernandez Wins Car at “Drive for Excellence” Celebration

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Clark High School student Angela Hernandez, a graduating senior wins a Chevrolet Sonic, courtesy of Findlay Chevrolet, during the 13th annual “Drive for Excellence” celebration at Wet’n’ Wild Las Vegas on May 22, 2019.

More than 760 high school seniors, who qualified for the grand prize by maintaining a weighted grade point average of 3.7 or higher and an attendance record of zero unexcused or unverified absences. In addition to the new car, students also won scholarships, Chromebooks and a number of prizes donated by community partners.

The CCSD School-Community Partnership Program coordinated “Drive for Excellence” with the generous support of Findlay Chevrolet, Wet’n’ Wild Las Vegas, Silver State Schools Credit Union, Advertising and Marketing Solutions, Horace Mann Insurance Company and 98.5 KLUC Radio.

Brooks and Jara Provide Legislative Testimony Expressing Strong Support for Historic Proposed Education Funding Formula

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The Senate Finance Committee and Assembly Ways and Means Committee held a joint meeting to hear Senate Bill 543, which would modernize Nevada’s education funding formula. Below is testimony provided by Board of School Trustee President Lola Brooks and Clark County School District (CCSD) Superintendent Jesus F. Jara in strong support of the proposed new funding formula:

Testimony provided by Trustee President Lola Brooks:

Senator Woodhouse, Assemblywoman Carlton, and members of the joint committee – my name is Lola Brooks, and I serve as the President of the Board of School Trustees for the Clark County School District.

The Board of Trustees approved a legislative platform in December, which included modernizing the state’s education funding formula as our top priority. We support AB 543 and see it as a step forward in addressing the education funding issues within the state. We feel that the community also supports this; their support was expressed when they elected a record number of candidates who ran on this and other education funding issues during the last election cycle.

One of the main roles of the Board is to give final approval for the district’s budget. Over the past few years, this has been a painful process which included more than $120 million in budget cuts and while it’s true that we’ve made due…it’s important that we are all very clear about the fact that we’ve made due at the expense of our students and our staff. Our class sizes are the largest in the nation. A reduction in staffing has led to unmanageable workloads and our inability to budget for raises continues to take a toll on staff morale.

At this juncture, you have an opportunity to move us in a different direction by modernizing the state’s education funding formula. There are several reasons why we feel this is a positive step forward.

We need to stabilize the amount of funding the state provides for education. SB 543 will require a State Education Fund that will increase by the rate of inflation or growth in the economy – whichever is greater.

We need to ensure that additional revenue goes to education as voters intended. Having the State Education Fund as a separate account will prevent new funds from supplanting existing funds.

We also need to give districts the opportunity to build an ending fund balance to ensure their financial stability.

While this legislation will not solve all of our funding issues, we are hopeful that it will be the first step to illustrate the state’s long-term commitment to adequately funding education. Thank you for your time today, for your work on this legislation, and for your ongoing leadership.

 

Testimony provided by Superintendent Jesus F. Jara:

Sen. Woodhouse, Assemblywoman Carlton and members of the joint committee: My name is Dr. Jesus Jara, and I am the superintendent of the Clark County School District, where we work every day to be the number one choice for our kids.

I want to start by thanking you all for the opportunity to speak at this historic event. While I have served the students of the Clark County School District for just less than a year, it was clear to me from when I first considered applying for this position that the 52-year-old education funding formula is a hindrance to equity and achievement.

So thank you, especially to Sens. Woodhouse and Denis, along with many others, who have worked countless hours on this enormous task.

I appreciate that you have outlined an implementation plan to hold harmless districts that might lose funding for several years, as we join as a state to work out details. It’s safe to say that many in Clark County are eager for this implementation to start immediately, but we also want to ensure that this plan will work for all kids across the state.

I want to add that I am sympathetic to districts that do not have the benefit of an economy of scale and face their own unique challenges. However, I hear a clear consensus among many that Clark County should no longer continue to subsidize school districts that have lower class sizes and higher ending fund balances than we do. It doesn’t make sense for our kids.

The Trustees and I have a five-year strategic plan to increase student achievement, reduce equity gaps and strengthen operations. I encourage you to view Focus: 2024 at ccsd.net. While we are excited about this plan, it’s difficult to guide major change knowing that we could be a few days away from bankruptcy, due to any major unforeseen expense.

If we want to prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow, we need adequate, stable funding today. Here’s why we are supporting this legislation:

First, we know we need to build trust throughout our community. This bill offers transparency to the public. We welcome the provisions that require school districts to report more about their budgets and administrative costs. Also, we welcome a formula that is easier for the public to understand.

Second, the new formula ensures that new money intended for K-12 public education stays with K-12 public education. I have spoken with thousands of educators, parents and community members in my 11 months in this position, and I can tell you they are sick of increasing funds for education and continuing to see budget cuts. Today we can start to put an end to the terrible cycle of budget cuts that has lead to our state having some of the largest class sizes in the nation.

Let me share a few numbers with you about our student needs today versus 1967, when the previous funding formula was created.

In 1967, CCSD had 62,944 students. We now have 320,000.

In 1967, we didn’t track the number of English Language Learners we served. Today, we serve 55,565.

In 1967, we didn’t track the number of students on Free and Reduced Lunch. Today, students on FRL make up 63.84% of our student population.

The number of students receiving special education services also has increased exponentially, now serving 39,709 students.

Here’s what is truly transformative about this formula: It will provide funding based on the individual needs of students. It provides weighted funds for students who need more support. It also adjusts funding based on the needs of smaller school districts, small schools, and areas where the cost of living for school employees is higher, such as in Clark County. This will be a game changer in Nevada.

I’d like to address some concerns that I have heard.

First, that SB 543 does not increase the overall amount of education funding. This is true – for now. That is why we are working with the sponsors of AB309 and SB545 to provide “bridge” funding to get us through this biennium. Nevada needs to modernize our funding formula before making significant new investments in education. Make no mistake, this is the right first step to fixing decades of chronic underfunding of public education in Nevada.

Second, I hear concerns that programs we know are working — such as the Zoom schools — might not continue. I want to thank legislators for Section 78 of this bill, which provides flexibility with student weights so we can maintain the programs that are proving successful. And I want to assure those with concerns that I will continue the successful structured programs currently funded with categorical dollars.

I will mention that one of our concerns is the implementation of weights for special education students. We have special education students who cost $50,000 a year to educate and students who require extra supports that might cost a few hundred a year. The vast majority of services provided to our children with special needs are through centrally provided programs, personnel and services. Therefore, it’s difficult to send the weighted funding directly to the schools serving our students without a significant change in the model that we and many other districts use to deliver the actual services for these students. We look forward to resolving this concern.

Finally, I have heard concerns about the provisions to protect district ending fund balances and wall off some funding from collective bargaining. This also will help stabilize our budget. As the chief executive of this district, I can tell you that something needs to happen fast to stabilize our budget. We have cut more than $120 million over the past two years. I will say it again – we cannot run a district with less than a week in reserves.

Our students, employees and community have struggled for far too long under a funding formula that doesn’t serve our needs today.

This proposal lays the groundwork for us to work together as a state to transform education. As the superintendent who represents more than 70 percent of the students in our state — students who deserve our absolute best — once again I want to say thank you.

Graduation Schedule, Use #CCSDGOESTO

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Congratulations, Class of 2019! Clark County School District (CCSD) is promoting graduation on all social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) platforms.  We are proud of our students because graduation is a big milestone.

CCSD would like to know where seniors are going after graduation, whether it is college, military, or technical school. Use hashtag #CCSDGoesTo on social media to let us know your plans. Share a picture.

All CCSD high schools, parents, students and the whole community are encouraged to participate.

The CCSD Class of 2019 graduation ceremonies are from May 23 – 30, 2019. Click here for the full schedule.

Star Graduate 2019 – Mojave High School

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Mojave High School is proud to nominate Joshua McFarling-Kelly as its 2019 Star Graduate. While at Mojave, Josh has participated in many activities during his four years, including baseball, tennis, JROTC and drama.

Josh described his experience at Mojave this way, “Within the past four years of attending Mojave High School, I’ve accomplished many things, such as participating in multiple sports and after-school academic activities. My freshmen year began with the path of unexpected leadership. Till this day, I will honor it. From that point on, I’ve created a reputation at Mojave that I truly believe will last forever. Ms. Sarah Sheppeck and Mr. John Campbell (the theatre advisors my freshmen year) allowed me to express myself in ways that have never wavered, and allowed others to appreciate my true character. Before high school, if you asked me what I was doing in class, I honestly couldn’t even tell you. I’m not perfect–trust me. I flunked seventh grade. And when I was held back, I barely passed the second time. When I say that Mojave and its staff improved my life, it clearly shows. I’ve won several awards, from the Rattler Award to being nominated Class of 2019’s Most School Spirited Male. But the biggest thing I accomplished are the friendships. I’ve learned how to approach people and make them feel welcomed.”

After graduation, Josh plans to attend the College of Southern Nevada, and wants to be an actor, film director and screenwriter.

Congratulations to Josh McFarling-Kelly on being Mojave’s 2019 Star Graduate!

Check out more of our Star Graduates at ccsd.net/students/star-graduates.