January 08, 2019
CARSON CITY, Nev. – Four years ago Nevada entered into a compact to make a historic investment in education and, in return the state committed to holding itself accountable for results. An independent evaluation authorized by the 2017 Nevada Legislature recommended continued funding of all seven categorical education programs it reviewed, citing positive outcomes in each one.
“From the very beginning of each of these programs, we have honored our commitment in making these specific investments and holding ourselves accountable for results,” said Steve Canavero, Ph.D., Superintendent of Public Instruction. “The findings in this year’s evaluation make clear that when additional dollars support specific programs - students, families, and educators all benefit. We have work to do but the evaluation findings are another indicator that our education system is improving.”
The seven programs recommended for continued funding include:
- The Zoom Schools program serves English Learner schools. In 2017, the Clark County and Washoe County School districts each had 10 Zoom schools at or below the lowest quartile. In 2018, Clark reduced that number to three elementary and two middle schools while Washoe now has two elementary and one middle school. The Nevada Department of Education strategy is supporting districts in learning from the highest-performing Zoom schools.
- The Victory Schools program serves schools with the greatest poverty rates. The evaluation cited increases on the Smarter Balanced assessment in both English Language Arts and Mathematics. Victory Schools in Clark and Washoe are outperforming comparable groups with similar demographic profiles. Graduation rates at the three high schools receiving Victory funding have increased, highlighted by Valley High School in Las Vegas improving by nearly 15 percent in two years.
- The Read by Grade 3 program is meeting its initial goals. The program has demonstrated positive impacts on student achievement, specifically identifying struggling students, providing interventions, and improving student literacy.
- The Social Workers in Schools program aims to improve school safety and climate by placing social workers/mental health professionals in schools. The evaluation cited short term positive outcomes such as changing school climate and addressing immediate health and safety related behaviors. In turn, these short-term gains should have an impact on longer-term social-emotional and academic outcomes for students, teacher effectiveness and family engagement.
- The Nevada Ready 21 program aims to support emerging technology education. The recommendation is to support schools that are transitioning out of the Nevada Ready 21 program so they can continue this effort by seeking integration of other resources.
- The Great Teaching and Leading Fund provides professional development opportunities for educators. This program showed great improvement of implementation from last cycle and met program goals of building an educator pipeline.
- The Underperforming Schools Turnaround Program was recommended for continued funding because each school in this program will have its own plan for improvement that is aligned with school needs.
The evaluation was conducted by a partnership that included ACS Ventures, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Center for Research, Evaluation, and Assessment, and MYS Project Management. This group had done an initial analysis in 2017 that concluded more time was needed for programs to be in place to measure impacts on student outcomes. The current evaluation measured three years of implementation (2016-2017, 2017-2018, and 2018-2019).