Thursday, April 16, 2015
District launches Student Vision video contest

No one knows what is going on in our schools better than those who attend them - our students. In order to help the Clark County School District (CCSD) showcase its key initiatives, Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky is asking students to let the district know what these goals mean to them through the Student Vision video contest.

“Our students are the reason we’ve set these goals and the reason we work hard to execute them, so it’s only fitting to know how our students interpret these goals and let them tell the stories of what these goals mean to them,” said Skorkowsky.

The contest, which is open through May 15, is inviting CCSD students to make their own videos that share their own perspectives, ideas, personal achievements and/or school successes around any of the eight different district goals.

The goals include:

  • Literacy
  • Eliminating Achievement Gaps
  • Zoom Schools
  • Graduation
  • Student Safety/Bullying
  • Family/Community
  • Diversity
  • Preparing for the Future

Teachers and administrators can help by making students aware of the contest and directing them to the contest information online at ccsd.net/videocontest. The Web site provides further details on each of the goals to help give students a starting point in their videos. Students are invited to participate as individuals, or in teams. While they can consult with counselors or teachers, it is expected that this work be performed completely by students.

Vegas PBS has generously offered to open up their sound studio, two studio stages (bring your own camera), as well as some backdrops and props to students for this contest on two Saturdays, April 25 and May 2. See the Vegas PBS Workshops page for more information and email videocontest@ccsd.net to reserve a time slot. Spaces are limited; first come, first served.

The winning videos will be used by CCSD and shared in several capacities from social media, presentations or other promotional purposes. The videos must be 90 seconds or less and submitted to videocontest@ccsd.net by Friday, May 15. Additional information can be found on the CCSD Web site at ccsd.net/videocontest. Best of luck to our students!

Category: employees

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
City of Las Vegas proclaims April 15 as Katie Decker Day

April 15 was Katie Decker Day as proclaimed by the mayor and members of the Las Vegas City Council. Decker serves as principal of both Bracken and Long Elementary Schools. The city's announcement said, “Katie strives to increase student achievement and build capacity by providing mentoring and guidance to administrators and to their school teams." The proclamation said the 25-year CCSD veteran has "created an environment which captures the true meaning of ‘engagement.’”

Category: employees

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Christy Davis of Virgin Valley HS is Kiwanis' Educator of the Year

During a ceremony at the Stratosphere on April 15, the Kiwanis Club of Las Vegas selected Virgin Valley High School teacher Christy R. Davis as Educator of the Year. Davis was chosen from a field of five finalists that also included:

  • Aron Anderson, Coronado High School
  • MiJung “MJ” Park, Durango High School
  • Stacey Dallas Johnson, Las Vegas Academy of the Arts
  • Miriva Julian, Southwest Career & Technical Academy

For more information, click here or visit www.kiwaniscluboflasvegas.org.

Category: employees

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
TV's Food Network features Rancho High School chef Phillip Dell

Rancho High School culinary instructor Phillip Dell has become a television celebrity, having appeared on a pair of Food Network programs: “Chopped” and “Cutthroat Kitchen.” As reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, “Cooking under pressure, whether in a Food Network kitchen or a classroom, is not daunting to Dell.” He said, “I’m a chef. Every day is like this.”

Category: employees

Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Superintendent's Mailbag - Sister schools

Each week, the Clark County School District (CCSD) responds to some of the emails it receives from parents and district employees. This week, the district addresses the topic of enrollment at “sister schools.”

A parent asked, “I live in an area that has two elementary schools (sister schools). Why can’t I choose which one I want my child to attend?”

Sister schools are supposed to balance the enrollments between the two schools within each classroom at each grade level. School A may have all third-grade classes at 21 students, where School B has all third-grade classes at 20 students. Therefore, the next three third-grade students should go to School B until both schools are balanced.

Category: employees

Tuesday, April 14, 2015
School Board approves tentative budget for 2015-16 school year

Amid uncertainty in the current legislative session, the Clark County School District (CCSD) Board of Trustees on April 8, approved a 2015-16 tentative budget of approximately $2.2 billion, or $38.30 per student per day. The final budget will be presented to trustees in May, and the district is expected to file a third amended budget based on any changes the Nevada Legislature may institute.  This amended budget must be presented to the state within 30 days after the end of the legislative session, expected on June 2.

CCSD Chief Financial Officer Jim McIntosh expects an approximate drop in per-pupil state funding of $7 based on the governor’s currently recommended budget.  He said these funds account for 82 percent of CCSD’s funding.

On the flip side, McIntosh said the expected influx of more record-breaking enrollment with nearly 5,000 new students in the next school year will bring the district an additional $24 million in revenues. That amount, however, will be offset by increased costs in teachers, support staff and other employees. He said 85 percent of the district’s budget goes toward salaries and benefits, mostly at school-based locations.

McIntosh said, “There’s been some good news on the property tax front.” He said Clark County has seen double-digit increases in assessed valuation, another positive sign for CCSD revenues.

The district is expecting a $54.2 million ending fund balance in 2015-16, but also faces a current budget deficit of $107.8 million. McIntosh said, “As a placeholder, we have included an expenditure reduction of this amount.” This may bring up questions about possible staff reductions, but McIntosh is doubtful that will happen.

McIntosh said, “We are in the midst of a legislative session so things are in flux. We are hopeful we can balance this budget successfully by the end of the legislative session.” He added, “This is the first year we've put a placeholder in the tentative budget, but we are not trying to alarm anyone. We are not looking at reduction in force at this point."

Trustee Erin Cranor praised the tentative budget, saying, “It is prioritized for student success and for moving students forward. It is not common in public education across the country to target resources specifically for student success, yet we are doing that. We are on the cutting edge.”

Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky said he is “cautiously optimistic” about overall funding for CCSD. He said, “We are working very diligently up north to get clarification. Things are very fluid at this time.” Persons interested in keeping track of legislative updates are urged to visit this link.

For more information on the CCSD budget, visit openbook.ccsd.net.

Category: employees

Tuesday, April 14, 2015
CCSD employees can earn a reward for recruiting new teachers

Clark County School District (CCSD) employees can put some cash in their pockets through the district’s “Calling All Heroes” recruitment advertising campaign. Employees can receive a reward of $110 for each teacher recruited from out-of-state for the 2015-16 school year. The “Hero Finder Fee” program requires that the recruitment occur prior to the person initiating an application with CCSD,  provided the teacher starts employment at the beginning of the school year (some exclusions apply). Employees who “Find a Hero” will be paid in Oct. 2015. Details about the program were provided to employees via email on Jan. 5, which is when the finder fee program began.

Recruitment & Development Executive Director Meg Nigro said the program is low-cost relative to the potential benefit. If 500 additional teacher vacancies were filled by employees’ referral/effort, it would cost the district no more than approximately $58,000. The program also garners a 100 percent return on investment because no money is allocated unless the teacher is hired to fill a vacancy and actually begins work.

The district also has hired two additional “boots on the ground” recruiters who report directly to Human Resources. Nigro said, “These recruiters will be traveling three weeks out of each month. We know how important it is to build relationships with people and to put a face to a district as large as ours. “

Nigro said the district has a critical need for new teachers. Projections indicate CCSD will be short 2,600 teachers for the 2015-16 school year due to factors including smaller class sizes and full-day kindergarten. Nigro said a majority of the vacancies are in elementary schools, mostly because of efforts to significantly reduce class sizes, especially in kindergarten. There are also the traditional openings in hard-to-fill areas like special education, science, and mathematics.

The finder fee program is just one part of the “Calling All Heroes” campaign, which was launched in January. It also includes radio and print advertising, including a full-page ad in the Southwest Airlines magazine and a video produced by Mojave High School that is being used in webinars and online job postings.

Nigro said there are plenty of reasons for teachers to join CCSD. “We have no state income tax and a dollar goes farther here, especially when compared to states such as California and New York.” CCSD is also touting its benefits package for teachers, especially its retirement program as well as the employee onboarding and development for new teachers.

Nigro said she is very optimistic that the finder’s fee program and  “Calling All Heroes” campaign will be successful. “We have to be optimistic. We cannot stop or feel comfortable or secure until we succeed, because it’s all about students, and we need a qualified teacher in every classroom.” With all employees on board the campaign, the district can reach its goal of 2,600 teachers in no time. For more information on “Calling All Heroes,” visit teach.vegas.

Category: employees

Thursday, April 9, 2015
CCSD's Nicole Klimow receives a UNLV Opportunity Award for research

Congratulations to CCSD Secondary English and Language Development Coordinator Nicole Klimow, who received a UNLV Faculty Opportunity Award for research. The awards support faculty research aimed at improving student achievement. Klimow, a 10-year CCSD veteran, is a doctoral student at UNLV. She was invited to join the faculty group based on her academic standing and her knowledge of secondary literacy. 

Category: employees