Inside Education S18 EP3: CCSD’s First Day of Class
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Inside Education S18 EP3: CCSD’s First Day of Class

On this edition
of Inside Education,
the new school year
is officially underway.
“I’m kind of excited,
kind of scared.”From funding to School
Organizational Teams
to new schools,
students and teachers,
we’ve got you covered.Plus why did
a police officer
dressed like a pencil
cross the road?
Well, perhaps
the better question is
could he?Then we go inside
a new academy
at one CCSD
elementary school,
the result of
a new partnership,
and how students
will benefit.
And a big congratulations
to these 400 new graduates.
We’ll take you to
the summer commencement
at the Orleans Arena.
Why this graduation
is so special.
Inside Education
starts right now.
“The cornerstone
of education “is getting to know
a student first.”We want to make sure
we’re supporting
families and students.“I think the community
should know “their voice counts.”Reading is the doorwayto everything that
we do in education.
♪♪♪ Thank you so much
for joining us for this edition
of Inside Education. I’m your host,
Mitch Truswell. School is back in session
for the Clark County School District and
with the new school year will come new successes,
new challenges, new opportunities
and new ways to learn for students
and parents alike. From the continued
reorganization of the School District
to funding, Inside Education’s
Kathy Topp stopped by several schools
on the first day of class. Kathy, how did
that first day go? (Kathy Topp)
Mitch, it was a smooth
first day of school from bus service
in the morning to the last bell
in the afternoon. We visited Garside
Middle School and Rogers Elementary
School to see how weighted funding
will affect students at some schools
as well as check in on one of the first
meetings this school year of a School
Organizational Team. “I’m excited
to meet new people “and get all A’s
and do good in school.”It’s the first day of school,
and students at Garside,
like 12-year-old Andrea
Perez Lamas, are ready.
Like my teacher says,
think about high school too,
and college.At Garside 33% of students
are English language learners,
and about 84%
of students qualify
for free or
reduce-priced lunch.
Under Senate Bill 178,
known as weighted funding,
378 students meet
the criteria to qualify
for an additional $1,200
per pupil of funding.
(Scarlett Perryman)
For Garside Jr. High School,
it brings in $453,000 that can provide direct
support to the students not only in curriculum but before and
after-school programs, tutoring and
extended school year. It provides the supports
they need to help increase their learning and
increase student achievement.Meanwhile at Rogers
Elementary School,
it’s parents and staff
who are learning
in the library, meeting
with the Superintendent
and a Trustee about School
Organizational Teams,
part of the District’s
ongoing reorganization.
Here at Rogers, the team,
made up of parents,
teachers and staff,
played an important role
in hiring the principal
for this school year.
(Johnny Wilson)
It was the most
incredible experience because it made us feel
more close to the school. It made us closer to
the staff, the teachers, the stakeholders,
the parents and the students,
even students asking over the summer,
like what’s going on? Do we have a principal? Even my son was like,
do I know them?Back at Garside,
at least one 7th grader
is already looking
toward the future.
I think it’s important
to get a good job, get a degree, a diploma,
and for people, you want to get a good job
and not a bad one. -Our students need
this additional funding to help them truly
grow as learners. Our goal here is students
are ready for college and they set a goal
to go to college, because if they know
I’m going to college, then it’s already assumed
I’m graduating high school. Our students need
to graduate high school so they can make those
great life choices and have the opportunity
for success. -In total, CCSD was
awarded a little more than $34 million
as a result of SB178. The funding affects
roughly 100 CCSD schools. Mitch?
-Kathy, thank you. As part of the ongoing
reorganization efforts, a new Chief Instructional
Services Officer was hired.Dr. Greta Peay has been
with CCSD since 1987.
For the past seven years,
she has served as director
of the Equity and Diversity
Education Department.
She will continue to
oversee that department
but will also serve as the
liaison to the Superintendent
for the transfer
of responsibilities
working group,
a group that looks
at how the District can
give schools more autonomy.
Peay began her new
duties in late July.
Every year we talk about the
chronic shortage of teachers. CCSD has already hired more
than 1,500 new teachers for this school year,
but hundreds are still needed to get the District
to full staffing. This is an issue bigger
than just CCSD, of course, it is
a nationwide issue. Joining me is Meg Nigro,
the Executive Director of Human Resources
for CCSD. Thanks for being here.
-Thanks for having me. -So let’s talk
a little bit. The District has been
looking around the country for teachers for many years,
but one chronically tough area has been
special education, and for that
you went overseas. Tell me about it. (Meg Nigro)
We did. In April we took
a group of principals and some Central
Office folks and went down
to the Philippines, and it was a really
great experience. We’ve done that
in the past, but this time
it was different because we brought
the principals, and the principals were
the ones that interviewed. They interviewed over
250 candidates of which about 80 were
selected to teach for us. -And when they got here, there was a whole
welcoming committee. -There was.
We learned lessons from the last time
when we brought folks from
the Philippines over. We learned a lot of lessons
so we wanted to certainly improve upon that,
so we did a two-week complete onboarding
with them as a group. We had a kickoff
and we welcomed them. We partnered with our
Student Services Division, and they provided
an entire week, all day long of training
in special ed and what our
students are like. -There was also
outreach from the local Filipino community,
a mixer, right? -Yes, they were
fantastic. They provided a mixer
on a Saturday night. Our Transportation Division
provided buses for them to assist in that beginning
time to get them around, because that must be
very intimidating to come to a country
you don’t even know and try to figure out
where you’re going to live and how to get around. So everybody pitched in
with this effort. -You were impressed with
the skill level of many of the candidates,
so tell me about that. -Yes. What we did then
is over the summer, about July when all
the candidates were here, we did an interview day. So principals that had
special ed vacancies and our candidates
from the Philippines were brought together
and we facilitated an interview day
with them. I was able to kind of
be a fly on the wall and listen to some of
the principals interviewing, and the answers
they were giving, I was completely impressed
with their experiences. All of those teachers
that we brought over, they all have experience and a lot of them have
master’s degrees also. -So these are people that
are experienced obviously, and special education
has been a tough area for a long time,
but let’s talk about some of the other
areas that have been difficult every year
to find teachers. What are the other areas? -The next highest level
of vacancies that we have is elementary classrooms,
and that’s simply because we have so many
elementary schools. Last year we had 217,
and now with six new ones, we’ve increased the number
of elementary schools. But the elementary
vacancies still trail the special
education vacancies. -We talked about
the numbers. You still need how many
teachers of all specialties? -We have 413 vacancies,
but what’s interesting is we took a look
at how many classrooms do we have
in the District? There’s about 16,380
classroom positions in the District, so when you equate
that to 413, it’s a 97.5% fill rate. Of course when we talk
about education though, with 413 vacancies
and you multiply it by the number of students,
it’s still not enough and we don’t stop. But it was an interesting
perspective to look at. -I want to ask you,
for the parents whose children are being
taught by a substitute, what do you want
to say to them? As a parent, I would be
concerned about that. -Oh, me as well. We also provide training
for substitutes that are in
a vacant position. Right after we did our
big onboarding kickoff, we had a full day “strong
start substitute training” for them and got
great feedback. We provided them with tools,
and classroom management is always the
number one piece. I think what’s important
for parents to know is many of our substitutes
in vacant positions are actually in
a teacher ed program. They’re either finishing or in the Alternative
Route to Licensure program, so it’s not that we have
someone like our day-to-day subs who may be
clearly licensed but may not be in
a teacher ed program. -I know you’re still
working with teachers that retired to get them
to come back, right? -Yes, that’s our critical
labor shortage. We’ve hired 15 critical
labor shortage folks back which are invaluable
because they’re experienced. We don’t lose a day
with them. -All right. Meg Nigro,
thanks for the update, and continued success.
-Yes, thank you. Teachers aren’t the only
newbies on-campus. For some incoming freshmen,
the first day of high school can be a little bit scary, but as student correspondent
Ariel Baires reports, this year students
at Foothill High School were welcomed with
open arms. (Ariel Baires)
On Monday, August 14,
Foothill’s drumline, varsity dance team
and varsity cheer spent 55 minutes of their
morning welcoming students of all grades into school
on their first day.Students were also
welcomed by
CCSD Superintendent
Pat Skorkowsky,
Board of Trustees
President Deanna Wright
and Principal
Lisa Burkhead.
Skorkowsky explained
what his plans were
for the first day of school.(Pat Skorkowsky)
Today we’re here to welcome
the Foothill Falcons back to school,
to make sure the year starts off
with a great bang. I’m going to elementaries
and middle schools all day just to celebrate
the first day of school.Foothill High School
senior Angela Ely
says why freshmen
and new students
need to have
a welcoming first day.
(Angela Ely)
This is really important
because high school is what you make it,
and if you start out your first day
really excited and the fight song
gets everybody hyped up, then you’re going to
continue with that energy throughout the
rest of the year.Foothill freshman
Kaylynn Nielsen
explains how it
affected her first day.
(Kaylynn Nielsen)
It definitely made
my first day more exciting, and I felt like I was
welcomed to the school.More than 700 freshmen
are enrolled at Foothill,
and many are looking forward
to the rest of the school year.
This has been Ariel
for Inside Education. Back to you, Mitch. -Ariel, thank you so much
for that story. As she mentioned
in the story, Superintendent
Skorkowsky had a busy first
day of school. In addition to Foothill,
the Superintendent visited seven more schools
and held a news conference at a bus yard to inform
the media and the public about school
transportation. Now that school
is back in session, drivers are again
sharing the road with students at crosswalks,
in school zones and along busy roads
as those students make their way
to and from school.That is one reason why
CCSD Police, Metro,
Nevada Highway Patroland the Vulnerable
Road Users Project
recently targeted drivers
along Maryland Parkway.
CCSD Police Detective
Robert Mayer
dressed in a pencil outfit
and crossed the busy street.
Not all drivers stopped
while he was
in the crosswalk
as is required by law,
and some of those
drivers got a ticket.
Also on hand was Sheri Bush
who lost her son Jimmy
when he was hit by a car.She is part of
the awareness campaign
to help pedestrians
and drivers share the road
and also understand
the consequences.
(Sheri Bush)
He was my only son,
so it affected me dearly. I feel like he’s with me
every day through me bringing awareness
so no other parent has to feel the pain
that I do daily. So yes,
I miss him dearly.Last year two children
were injured
after being hit by a car
while on their bicycles
and on their way
to school.
There were also two
fatalities last year,
a 15-year-old died while
walking in a crosswalk,
and an 11-year-old was
killed near an intersection.
That’s why it’s important
to talk about safety for pedestrians
and to remind drivers they must share the road,
especially with so many students on their way
to and from school. Erin Breen is with
the Vulnerable Road Users Project and is
a frequent advocate for street
and pedestrian safety. Thanks for being here, Erin.
-My pleasure. -Let’s start with the basics
since it’s that time of year. When a driver
approaches a crosswalk, what are they
supposed to do? (Erin Breen)
Well, here’s the deal: When a driver approaches
any intersection or any marked
mid-block crosswalk, it’s your job to be
looking for pedestrians waiting to cross
the street. When they’re
waiting to cross, it’s also your job to stop
and allow them to do so. -But not everybody does. -Oh, it’s amazing
how many people don’t, and it’s amazing how many
people don’t approach an intersection
correctly period. They’re just looking
for how quickly can they get through it,
which is literally the most dangerous way
for you to travel, no matter if you’re
in a car, no matter. You should always be
looking and expecting the unexpected
in any intersection. -There are a couple
of things that happened, and I know there were
some law changes in terms of things you can’t do,
at least in a school zone, and one of those is the
U-turn in a school zone. Were you involved
with that effort? -I was,
I absolutely was. By passing that law and
saying you’re not allowed to make a U-turn in
an active school zone or an active school
crossing zone, those ways that kids
are getting to school that also have flashing
lights that are nowhere near a school,
you’re not allowed to make a U-turn because
literally we cut the potential of you
hitting a child in half by doing that
one simple thing for a half an hour
in the morning and a half an hour
in the afternoon which caused
a lot of ruckus. The other big thing
at the same time was you’re not allowed
to pass another vehicle. -I understand that with
all the kids going across, you would not see them
until it’s too late. -Well, the other reason is
then police officers can give you that
all-important education of a citation
without actually hitting you
with a radar gun. They just know
you were going too fast for the conditions
of the road and having the speed set
by the most prudent driver, and that too is
school crossing zones as well as school zones. -When you talk to pedestrians
and specifically in this case school children,
obviously you want them to go to the crosswalk,
but at the same time those white lines
will not stop a car if they’re not
paying attention. How do you get that
into a student’s head? -That’s hard,
and that needs to be reinforced by parents,
and instead what we see most often is parents
are impatient and they want you
to disregard the guards and cross away from that. We always say is there’s
no magic fairy dust. There’s nothing that makes
that crosswalk magical. Cars will not stop for you. So our number one
message to kids is always make eye contact
with the drivers, and never cross
until they tell you. Just because you’re
looking at them does not mean
they really see you. Wait until they motion to you
or smile at you. Wait until they acknowledge
that they see you. -There have been stories
done on Las Vegas drivers and people saying oh,
I moved here and they’re the worst,
and I’m curious, is there anything
to quantify that? Are they worse here? Are they more
or less impatient? -Well, we have some things
that happen in our city that make it seem that
they’re worse drivers, but what we have is things
like long signal times so people are not willing
to wait 180 seconds. -They don’t want to wait. -So in those terms we have
maybe more opportunities to show how
impatient you are. We do have kind of
a melting pot, and we do have a law
in the state of Nevada that if you have an
active driver’s license you can just exchange it, which means they
don’t know our laws. There are lots of things
that contribute to that. Everywhere I go,
people think that they have the worst
drivers in their city. -Before we go,
if I’m a parent or community member
and I have a concern about something,
who do I contact? -Well, I’d say contact me,
but you could also contact the entity,
the traffic department in the entity
where you live. -So City of Las Vegas,
North Las Vegas, Henderson? -Right. Our website
is PedSafe.Vegas, and you can send me
a little note and I’ll help you with
whatever your issue is. -Wonderful. Great
information as always. -Thanks for having me.
-You bet. Six brand-new schools
welcomed students on the first day of school. As we told you last episode,
District leaders haven’t opened a brand-new
school since 2010. The new schools will
help ease overcrowding, and that is just one of
many reasons to celebrate.On the first day of school,
it was ribbon cutting
after ribbon cutting
after ribbon cutting.
Six new schools in all
opened doors to students:
Josh Stevens
Elementary School,
Jan Jones Blackhurst
and Lomie G. Heard, Billy
and Rosemary Vassiliadis
and Shelley Berkley
elementaries as well.
(Jeff Wagner)
We have a capacity issue
within the District. As many parents are aware,
their students are going to school in portables,
so the primary goal of the six new schools
was to increase capacity.One thing you may notice
is all of the elementary
schools have two floors.That means a set of stairs
and of course an elevator,
and these schools don’t
just pop up overnight.
Planning for a new school
from design to doors open
is approximately
two to three years.
When we’re building a school
in your neighborhood, be involved
in that process and there’s ways
to get involved. Lots of times we’ll get
constituents that come to us as a building is
going up and say I never knew
this was happening. That’s not a good situation
for us or the neighbors, so again notices go out
and we encourage the community to be
involved in that so they understand
what’s being built in their neighborhood and we can address
their specific needs. The new schools are funded
by Senate Bill 207 which was passed by
state legislators in 2015. It allows for 10 years
of bonding authority. The bond is expected to
provide about $4.1 billion to fund school construction
and renovation projects.Another first
this school year,
this time at Lomie Heard
Elementary School.
The Clark County
School District is home
to the first Marzano
Academy in the nation.
The new magnet school
on the valley’s east side
coincides with
the 25th anniversary
of magnet schools
within the District.
The Marzano Academy
follows the research
of world-renowned education
leader Dr. Robert Marzano.
In addition to academics,
the school focuses
on metacognitive skills,
things like goal-setting.
The School District
has a good resource online for all of your
back-to-school’ll find information
on everything
from registration
to food service
to bullying to a list
of parent resources.
It is a one-stop shop for
your back-to-school basics.
Another great resource
as the school year starts is Vegas PBS’
Ready to Learn program which offers educational
workshops, community events and a lot of other services. Here to tell us more
is Jessica Russell, Ready to Learn coordinator.
Jessica, how are you? -I’m good.
Thanks for having me. -When people think
of Vegas PBS, they think of
the shows they love, but there’s a lot of community
outreach this station, including yourself,
takes part in. One of those programs is
the Ready to Learn program. Give us a scene-setter
on what that is. (Jessica Russell)
We work with children and
families in the community to maximize
the educational value of the television programs, particularly
PBS Kids programs. -So when you say that,
what does that mean? I asked you
about the programs, the popular ones for kids,Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,
andOdd Squad.Those kind of programs, what do you tell parents
to do with those programs? -We share with families
that children learn a lot from our PBS Kids programs
just by watching them, but there are things
they can do before and after watching
with their children that will help
the children remember exactly what they
learned from that show. So for instance,
we may talk about different books that
go along with the topic they watched on TV
or we may suggest some hands-on
activities they can do after watching
a particular show. -So these are educational
programs in the first place, but instead of it
being one way, it’s making it more
interactive as well. -Definitely, because
we learned that children learn more from
our PBS Kids programs when they’re interacting
with the TV programs and having conversation
with their families around the subject matter. -Now, you’re
piloting a family collaborative
learning project. This sounds interesting,
targeting specific schools throughout the valley,
so tell me about that. -We received
a grant through the Corporation
for Public Broadcasting to pilot this
throughout the community. Instead of doing just
one family engagement with families about a topic, we’re doing four family
engagement workshops with families around
a particular topic. Right now it’s coding
because we have a wonderful new free app called
PBS Kids Scratch Jr. We’re walking families
through the process on learning how to code
for our youngest learners, actually, kindergarten
through second grade. -Wow! This is four weeks,
two-hour sessions. There’s things
for kids and parents, and you’re teaching
skills to both so when they step
away from this, they can go home and
try it out themselves. -Exactly. We teach
the families, the parents, how to code and
how to use this app so when we bring the
children back with them, the parents are the
teachers of this app. -There’s so much to
talk about like STEM, science, technology,
engineering and math. There are also programs
that address that as well, right, on this station.
-Yes. One of our most
popular isOdd Squad.It’s a live-action
show where children areOdd Squadagents,
and they’re trying to correct whatever
weird thing is happening in the community with math
and problem-solving skills. We actually have
a lot of curriculum for after school that
we do at certain sites that involveOdd Squad.-It sounds like there are
a lot of resources and a lot of programs
available to parents that will help
their children learn. Where do people go
to make sure they’re aware of all
that you have? -We have a website that
lists the different kinds of outreach we do
at, and that’s for
Ready to Learn. -Let’s go back
to the family collaborative
learning project. You’re working
with some schools, but if you’re not in one
of those schools at the moment, more
are coming in the future. How would people
find out about that? -That’s a very
good question. Right now we’re working
with the School District’s FACES Department to identify
the different schools. If a particular
school is selected, there will be a liaison
at that school through FACES that notifies the entire
school population that this opportunity
is available for them. -So probably start
with the school first. -Exactly,
contact the school. -Jessica, it sounds like
great stuff is happening. We appreciate your time.
-Thank you. Congratulations are
in order for the CCSD Purchasing Department. For the 16th year
in a row, the department has
earned the annual Achievement of Excellence
in Procurement Award from the National
Procurement Institute. The Clark County
School District is one of five
organizations in Nevada and one of only
26 school districts in the U.S. and Canada
to receive the award. Speaking
of congratulations, more than 400
high school students are now high school
graduates. This was the scene
at the Orleans Arena in August for the 2017
summer commencement ceremony. Each one of these
graduates chose to work through the summer
to complete the needed courses
to earn their diploma. Good for them! The students represent
40 high schools, and each graduate
wore a cap and gown for their school colors. As student speaker
Sierra Stewart of Cheyenne High School
told the crowd, “Every single person
participating “in this graduation today
is a fighter. “We had to work hard
to walk across this stage.” Well done
to the graduates, that’s what
we want to say. A quick reminder you can
find all of our episodes of Inside Education
on the Vegas PBS website or on the YouTube page, and you can follow the
conversation on Twitter by using
#InsideEducation. We hope to see you
in two weeks. ♪♪♪

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