The Board of Examiners on Tuesday approved contracts to measure the performance of new education programs approved by the 2015 Legislature and recommend how to modernize Nevada’s teacher licensing system.
The contracts are both with ACS Ventures. The first is for $354,000 to provide “outcome based evaluations” for seven different programs — six of them new to Nevada.
“It’s critical to know what’s working and what’s not working,” said Superintendent of Education Steve Canavero.
Gov. Brian Sandoval said that’s exactly what he and lawmakers want.
The programs are the Zoom and Victory School programs, Read by Grade Three, Underperforming Turnaround, Social Worker Grants to Schools, Nevada Ready 21 Technology and the Great Teaching and Leading Fund. Of those, the data should be best on the Zoom Schools program “because we have multiple years of data there.” The other programs are new.
The other program with ACS is for $58,000 to do a comprehensive study of the state’s teacher licensing requirements. Sandoval said the goal is to modernize those requirements and ensure they work with those of surrounding states.
“We want to make sure some great teachers have the ability to get a teaching license in Nevada,” he said.
Because of the shortage of qualified teachers — especially in Clark County — and the difficulty licensed teachers from other states have in getting a Nevada license, Sandoval earlier issued an executive order putting emergency regulations in place designed to allow those teachers to come to Nevada and meet some of the state’s unique requirements later.
Deputy Superintendent for Finance Mindy Martini told the board the goal is to make recommendations, “how to better align laws.” She said recommendations from the company are due by September so they can be forwarded to the 2017 Legislature.
The board consisting of the governor, Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske and Attorney General Adam Laxalt also approved a $10 million contract with Opportunity 180 fund, the program designed to bring high quality charter schools to Nevada to serve in low performing areas with poor students.
The board was also told the “Breakfast After the Bell” program providing children with a morning meal at a number of Nevada schools is drawing more than expected student customers. Where the program was expected to use up to $3 million in federal funds, Agriculture Director Jim Barbee said they expect to hit $5 million. He said expanding the program this past legislative session projected a 10 percent increase in students taking advantage of the morning meals at school. He said they are seeing a 23 percent increase so far.