Inside Education S19 Ep3 | SafeVoice, Student Health Centers, AP Classes, New Diplomas
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Inside Education S19 Ep3 | SafeVoice, Student Health Centers, AP Classes, New Diplomas

On this edition
of Inside Education, a series of
in-depth interviews as the new school year
officially begins.We’ll introduce you
to SafeVoice,
a new statewide system
where students
and staff can
report bullying
and possible
school threats;
how it’s working so far.Then a look
at healthcare
for students who
may be uninsured
located right on
some school campuses.
And we’ll tell you
about a new diploma being offered by CCSD
and a statewide push for advanced
placement classes. All that and more. Inside Education
starts right now. “The cornerstone of
education is getting “to know
a student first.”We want to make surewe’re supporting
families and students.
“I think the
community should know “that their voice counts.”Our students have
all the potential
in the world.♪♪♪ Thank you for joining us for this edition
of Inside Education. I’m your host,
Mitch Truswell. A new school year
is officially underway. The first day of school
was Monday, August 13, about 20 days or so
earlier than classes have historically begun. Before we get
to our interviews, here are a bunch
of other numbers we think
are interesting when it comes
to the start of the 2018-2019
school year. “Now is your time
to tell me…”This school year,
the Clark County
School District
is welcoming
approximately 322,000
students to class.
More than 34,600
bus stops
and more than 1,800
buses on valley roads
are helping take
students to more than
350 campuses around
Southern Nevada.
At the start
of the school year,
CCSD had 97% of
its classrooms staffed,
leaving about 535
teacher vacancies.
Those classrooms
are staffed
with guest teachers,
and hiring efforts
will continue throughout
the school year.
The District opened
four new schools
for the start
of this school year:
Shirley Barber
Kenneth Divich
Robert and Sandy Ellis
and Dennis Ortwein
Elementary School.
They also opened 19
classroom additions.
CCSD has seven career
and technical academies
and Districtwide offers
students more than
280 career and
technical education
courses to high
school students.
The District has seven
members elected
to its School Board
of Trustees
who hold regular
meetings the second
and fourth Thursday
of the month,
and the District has
one new Superintendent
of Schools,
Dr. Jesus Jara,
who started the job
earlier this summer.
Here are some other
numbers to keep in mind as the school
year begins: Between January of 2018
and July of 2018, the School District
received more than 2,600
tips through the “Say No to Bullying”
website. These anonymous tips
included everything from reports of bullying,
planned school attacks or tips about
student self-harm. Now that reporting
system has been replaced by something called
SafeVoice, and every school
district in Nevada is required to use it.Recently, students
at Becker Middle School
learned more about
how SafeVoice works.
SafeVoice is a
partnership between
the Nevada Department
of Education,
Nevada Department
of Public Safety,
CCSD Police
and the District.
Anonymous tips can be
reported 24/7,
365 days a year,through the SafeVoice
phone number,
the SafeVoice app
or online.
The Department
of Public Safety
is the first responder
on all tips.
to the District,
SafeVoice helped
prevent a potentially
violent situation
from occurring
prior to the
first day of school.
(Dr.Tammy Malich)
A principal was
at a weekend event with his family,
and a parent approached and said oh, my
goodness, my daughter just uncovered this
picture on Instagram and showed the
principal the picture. It was a very
concerning picture of another student
with a weapon. The principal was able
to alert the parent how to immediately
put in a SafeVoice tip. Police were dispatched,
and the situation was resolved
on a Saturday while everybody was at a Little
League practice or game.Here’s how to get in
touch through SafeVoice:
You can go
to the mobile app,
just search on SafeVoice.The phone number is
or you can go
to the website,’s an
important point:
Tips are anonymous,
but if you don’t
provide enough
information to begin
an investigation,
it is possible
the tip may not be
as useful.
Additionally, tipsters
can upload photos
or videos
that authorities
may find useful.Due to the number
of shootings that have occurred
on school campuses around the country
and to prevent any kind of violent
act in our state, Governor Sandoval
established the creation of a statewide school
safety task force. There is one student
representative on the task force,
and we’re happy to have her
with us today. Ashley Macias is a senior
at Mojave High School. Welcome, thanks
for being here. -Thank you
for having me. -Before we get
to the task force, let’s talk
about the story we just heard
about SafeVoice. I’m curious from
your perspective as a student,
do you see a need for this kind of thing? (Ashley Macias)
Yes, very much.
Students don’t necessarily have
the output to talk to people and give
these opinions. SafeVoice isn’t
just about bullying and reporting it
or reporting threats or anything you see. It’s about reporting
anything you see on campus, anything you might hear,
anything that could happen and being
preventative. I think you always need
that preventative step basically in the
school so nothing does happen in schools. Unfortunately, a lot
of bad tragedies happen around the country
and could have possibly been prevented
if there would have been a place for students
to give their opinions and their perspective,
be able to voice their actions
and understand and be able to talk
to an adult and understand
they’re able to give this opinion.
-Right. Do you think it
would be as successful if it were not anonymous? -I don’t think so at all. Students need
anonymity because they don’t want to be
the snitch of the school so they’re being
called out, they’re the ones
reporting everything, because then
they lose the trust within students
and themselves, and you don’t want
to be known as the one that’s always
pointing out things. -It kind of
removes that. You can give a tip
and take it from there. Let’s talk about
the task force, the statewide school
safety task force. How the heck are you
the only student to get on this
task force? -I got on the state
Board of Education first and I applied
through that. It was very rigorous
application process to just be involved, and I had to go
through everything. The task force
just threw me on when it was
a brand new idea. They needed a student,
so they were like let’s just take
the state board one and add her on there. We were trying to get
other students as well to give their opinions,
so the first meeting we invited a bunch
of students from Carson. About 10 students took
time out of the school day to come out and they
gave their opinions, and there was another one
down in Vegas as well. -What is the mission
of this task force? -I believe the mission
is to finally talk about the things
we need in Nevada, especially with
a lot of the country’s incidents recently,
a lot of people aren’t talking about it. They’re just talking
about rumors. I think sitting down
and actually talking about what Nevada
is going through, what we need and
what we can improve on and change,
we honestly need those conversations
to set forth and put action
into legislation and making a bill
and sending it to the governor and
saying this is exactly what we need to do
for our students. -And this is all based
on preventing violence? -Yes. -We were talking
just a second ago, Nevada is ahead
of other states. Tell me about that. -I believe Nevada is
one of the only states that actually has a
school safety committee. I know there’s not a lot
of states doing that. Other states reached out
and said that’s really a great idea,
and they want to incorporate that
into their own state. It’s more of the
discussion of having it and not being a
taboo item anymore. -Now, as
I understand it, the task force was
going to be together for only a year,
come together and talk, about 30 people.
-Yes, about 30. -But that may not
be the case. It may not end. -December it was
supposed to end. December 31 was
supposedly the date it was going to end but
in our initial report, we wanted to make it
a committee year-round basically and continue
to have these talks because Nevada
is always changing, what schools need and
everything that kids need. -Right. One of
the points you made is that it’s different. The kinds of things
that would prevent something like that
here at CCSD is different in other
parts of the state. Talk to me about that. The threats are even
different, right? -Even the threats are
different because here in Vegas
we’re thinking about it’s heavily populated,
but out in Elko they might have an animal
that comes running out and you just need
to report. It’s all different,
different climate and atmosphere,
and geographically it’s different. So since we’re a heavily
populated city here in Vegas, we have
our own law enforcement, our own CCSD Police
in Clark County. Up in Washoe they don’t
have their own police department,
so others have to share the police department
within the whole city. -You said this
is the first time you’ve ever been chosen
to be on a task force, and you’re a senior. Now you’re kind of
seeing how some of these public
issues change. I don’t know, maybe
is this of interest? Maybe you’ll get into
some other task force in the future
and get into some decision making?
-Possibly. I’m actually on my
student council and National
Honor Society so I’m very vocal
with my opinions, and I’m trying
to always stick up for kids and
try to understand. I’ve always been very
curious in understanding how everything works,
why this is how it is, always questioning it,
so possibly it could be
in the future. -Who knows? And now
you’re standing up for students
around the state not just at your school
or in the District. Ashley, continued
success, and we appreciate
your time today. -Thank you. -Along with keeping
students safe, you also want them
to be healthy throughout the year. That’s easy to do if
you have health insurance and you also have access
to medical services. For many Nevada
families, they don’t.Estimates show about
11% of the population
in Nevada is
medically uninsured,
and that’s higher
than most other states.
For students
in the District,
even the uninsured
can get help through
one of many student-based
health centers.
Here to discuss this
issue is Dr. Joel Bower, the namesake for the
Bower Student-Based Health Center
at Basic Academy in Henderson which
we should say is operated by
Nevada Health Centers. There are four of these
student-based health centers, and the
company you work with, Nevada Health Centers,
operates two of them. We just want
to make that clear. Talk to me, Dr. Bower,
a little bit about what kinds
of things students come to the
health center for. (Dr. Joel Bower)
The students can come
to the health center for whatever problem
they have, whether it be simply
for immunizations, sports physicals
or any particular illness they have,
asthma, whatever. We can provide care
for anything that comes in
the front door. -What do you see
as the benefit of having this
right on the campus? -Having a medical
provider on the campus allows the
students to come and their seat
does not even get cold. They come through
the nurse’s office. They’re seen by
a nurse practitioner, and they’re sent
back to school. The mission is to keep
them healthy in school, improve their
academic performance, and ultimately
have them be good citizens
and move forward. -I mentioned the issue
of health insurance, but tell me
who is eligible. Insurance doesn’t
really come into this at the student-based
health center that you’re affiliate
with, correct? -No.
-How does it work? -Any student in the Clark
County School District, any registered
student in CCSD, is eligible for care at any of the
medical centers. Also if they have any
siblings who are ill at the time, they
can also be seen. It is open to anybody
in the District that is a student. -You were mentioning
you came to town in 1971. You’ve been a physician
all your life pretty much, right? Why is this so
important to you? I know you help out
the health center a lot by trying to get
the word out. You want to get
the word out more about the services
available to any CCSD student even though
they don’t have to come to this or one of three
other health centers. Why are you so
passionate about this? -I’ve been involved
in this from the onset. I’ve been in Henderson
since 1971. I’ve seen
Henderson grow. I’ve seen other areas,
other than what’s around Basic High School,
grow deferentially, and I think this
provides a need, particularly
in our area, that keeps these
students healthy. It is the best-kept
secret for medical care for any student
in the area. When they go to school
at the other side of town, they’re
still eligible to come to any
of these centers. -You also mentioned
in some cases, the parents of the
students at the school may be able
to seek some care. Can you explain that? -There’s been a recent
change in the MOU related to
the School District that with the
principal’s permission and after classes, we’re then able
to see the parents. We obviously
do not want adults on any of the campuses
during school time. -So if people
want to know, we should say there’s
a student-based health center
at C.P. Squires and a wellness center
at Valley High School not affiliated
with your company. There’s also one at
Cunningham Elementary and of course the Bower
Center at Basic Academy. We sure appreciate
your time, Dr. Bower. -It’s been a pleasure. Thank you
for having us. -Whether a student
is planning to attend college
or go straight into the workforce
after graduation, either route
can be competitive. That’s one reason
why the School District offers the ability
to choose a more specialized study and earn a
specialized diploma. This can be especially
helpful for students who plan to seek
scholarships. Graduating seniors
will have four diploma options
available to them. With us is
Dr. Jesse Welsh, Assistant Superintendent
for CCSD’s Curriculum and Professional
Development. Welcome back.
-Thank you. -So let’s get
to the news here. Let’s begin with
a refresher course, because a lot of this
will be new to people, but I guess not
necessarily brand new. We’ve got four
different diplomas, so let’s go over them. There’s the
standard diploma, the one everybody
has received, the standard one. What is an
advanced diploma? (Dr. Jesse Welsh)
An advanced diploma
is a level above standard. There are certain
courses that need to be completed to earn
an advanced diploma, and there’s also
a GPA requirement in order to earn that. So it’s a little
higher bar. -Then advanced honors,
so this is obviously somebody that took
honors classes. -Yes, this is a step above
the advanced honors. This one is
specific to CCSD. It has all
the requirements of the advanced
diploma but there’s
a requirement to take additional
coursework in honors, advanced placement
or IB on top of that. So that one is
pretty rigorous. -Okay. And then also
this is the newer one, college and career
readiness diploma. Tell me about this. -This was adopted
by the state Board of Education
in December. It’s now in effect
and available across the state including
here in Clark County. This one is really
to signal to employers that these students
are college and career ready,
as the name indicates. The requirements
specifically for it are students have to
meet the requirements of the advanced diploma, which we just
talked about, and then in
addition to that, they need to complete
coursework in either advanced
placement, International
Baccalaureate, dual credit, career
and technical education, work-based learning
or world language. There’s kind of a wide
variety you can pick from, but all of those things
that signal to both employers and
to colleges, hey, this kid is college
and career ready. -So I guess my
question is why is it so important for
these different ones? We’ve got the four, you gave us
the primer on these, but why is it important
to have these? Is it really going
to make a difference, I guess is my question. -I think the goal
of the new college and career ready diploma
is to signal exactly that. It’s been a product of
the work with the state. There was a grant
that Nevada got to participate in. We were one of
a very small handful of states that
participated in the new Skills for Youth Grant,
and part of that work was trying
to identify pathways for students moving
out of high school into either careers
or community college or university
opportunities aligned to
specific skill sets. -Can this help them
with scholarships? I think it was noted
that could be something that gives you
a benefit in some way. -It most
certainly could. Any students who are
meeting the requirements for any of those advanced
types of diplomas like the college
and career ready or the advanced
or advanced honors are going to probably
have a much higher chance of getting scholarship
opportunities. -They can say they’ve
gone above and beyond. -Yes, correct. -So what do students
need to know about this? What if they’re
in high school already? They should
figure this out, I’m thinking,
sooner than later. -Sooner than later,
absolutely. I think this would be
a great conversation for students and
even parents to have with their counselors
at their school, particularly
in high school, and even for some
of those students starting
in middle school. Some of that coursework,
if students are starting to take high school
courses in middle school, then they can start
working towards some of these diploma types
even in middle school. -One other change
I wanted to bring up, a change is coming to
the end-of-course exams. -Yes. There was
a change this past year with end-of-course exams,
and that was a change again made by our state
Board of Education. Those used to be
a requirement for graduation, that
students had to pass those assessments
in order to graduate. Now they’re just part
of the courses to which
they’re aligned. So for example if you’re
in an algebra class, the exam you would take
at the end of the year is an algebra
end-of-course exam. But the requirement is
you take that test and it counts as part
of your grade like it normally
would for an exam, so now it’s just baked
into those courses. -Okay. So if
you’re a student or parent watching
this at home and they go wait,
I want to go back to the diplomas,
what’s the best way to find out
about that? -Probably the best way is to go on
the CCSD website. If you look up
some information from our guidance and
counseling department, we have information
about those different diploma types posted
so you can find out more about those or again,
talk to your counselor. -Okay. Great information
and good to see you, Dr. Jesse Welsh.
-Thank you. -Students all over
the state of Nevada will have the
opportunity to take AP or advanced
placement classes no matter where
they live. It’s part of the state
Department of Education’s Consolidated Grant. Here to talk more about
that and AP expansion in general is
Dr. Seng-Dao-Keo from the state
Department of Education, the Director of
the Office of Student and School Supports.
Welcome. It’s your first time
here on Inside Education. -It is. Thank you
for having us. -We’re happy to have you. Let’s start
with the basics. Let’s talk about this
so everyone knows. Define what an AP class is,
advanced placement. (Seng-Dao-Keo)
These are rigorous
courses that help prepare high school students
for college courses, quite simply.
-Okay. So AP classes weren’t
as prevalent in the local district
here in CCSD, and they’ve done a great
job expanding that. But from the Department
of Education’s perspective,
that’s not the way it is around
the state, right? That’s kind of been
the problem, smaller districts don’t
always have someone to teach the classes.
-Correct. So based on
the data we have, because we have a very
unique perspective at the statewide level,
we saw that there were a number of smaller
rural districts that offered fewer than
20 students access to AP courses
within the district. So in our minds,
we thought here’s an opportunity
to expand access to students all
across the state using our leverage point,
which is using competitive grant
dollars to provide opportunities and
connect rural students both in some of our
larger districts– even Clark County has
some rural students– connecting rural students with advanced courses
that are being offered at the Nevada
Learning Academy as a part of
CCSD’s offerings. -So how do these rural
students get access to it, is it via the computer? It’s called
“distance learning.” -That’s correct. Nevada Learning Academy
offers several advanced courses
online to students across the
state of Nevada. It will be a
synchronous learning, which means these
students learn anytime, anywhere across
the state of Nevada. All they need to do and
what districts need to do is volunteer,
raise their hands and say,
we’re interested in taking
advanced courses. The State will provide
access to these courses and pay for the courses
through competitive grants for any of
these rural districts that apply for these
courses for their students. -Wow. The bottom line
is these classes are so important
on a number of different fronts. What do you think
the benefits are of taking an AP class
for these students? -Well, in our minds
this is really an excellence and
equity conversation, and the reason
why that’s important is we want to make sure
every student in the state of Nevada
has access to college preparatory courses
so they’re ready and successful
in college and beyond. This is also
an opportunity for the State of Nevada
to say all students deserve access
to high-quality, rigorous coursework. That’s what we believe
will get us to the new Nevada
where we develop very strong economies
and strong industries so these students
and their families and communities
contribute to our society. -It’s such a part
of science and computer-related
industries which is what we’re
trying to attract so much to this day,
correct? -Correct. One of the
courses we’re interested in spreading across
the state would be Computer Science
Principles in addition to our other advanced
placement courses that will make sure
that students are competitive when
they’re in college and have access,
again, access to opportunities
outside of the state and within the state. We see this
as an investment in our future
for the long term. -And you know of
what you speak, because we
talked about this. You’re from Round
Mountain, Nevada which is outside
of Tonopah, which has a couple
thousand people, and you grew up there
and then came down here and attended Chaparral
High School. So you know
the limitations of being
in a rural area. -Absolutely,
that’s correct. My family moved us
from Round Mountain to Las Vegas,
and the reason why was because my oldest
sister was about to enter high school,
and it was an opportunity for my parents to say
we want our children– I was a first-generation
high school graduate– and my parents wanted us
to have opportunities to go off to college
and be able to fulfill my
greatest aspirations and have a strong,
stable job. So these are the types
of opportunities the Nevada Department
of Education is hoping for all students
across our state. It’s one of the reasons
why we focused on making sure that
students in Nevada have access to
rigorous coursework and we’re going to help
support the districts so they can put
these opportunities in place for students. -Very briefly,
if someone’s watching and they’re like great,
I want to get my child involved with this,
what do they do? -They can connect
with the Nevada Department of Education
Office of Student and School Supports. They can also connect
with Andrea Connolly, the principal at
Nevada Learning Academy, for more information
about how to sign your students up
for advanced courses. -Wonderful.
Thanks so much for the
information today. We really appreciate it. -Thank you so much
for having us here. -We want to thank you
for watching this edition
of Inside Education. Parent, student,
staff member or taxpayer,
we all have a stake in the public
education system. A quick reminder
that you can catch this episode
and past episodes of Inside Education
on the Vegas PBS website,, or on the Vegas PBS
YouTube page. We hope the new
school year is off to a great start
for everyone, and we hope to see you
again in two weeks. ♪♪♪

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