Nevada Department of EducationNevada Department of Education

    Senator Mo Denis and State Superintendent Jhone Ebert Unveil the Recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission for a Globally Prepared Nevada

    Recommendations are Proposed for Legislative Action as Senate Bill 215

    March 23, 2021

    CARSON CITY, Nev. – Today, Senator Mo Denis, Chair of the Senate Education Committee, and Jhone Ebert, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, announced the release of the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission for a Globally Prepared Nevada (Blue Ribbon Commission).

    The Blue Ribbon Commission was convened by Superintendent Ebert to make recommendations to adjust our current policy framework to meet today’s learning conditions, while also leaving room for policies that will support innovation for the next 10 or 20 years. The Commission examined existing State laws, regulations, and policies, and made recommendations regarding revisions to increase flexibility for districts and schools. Topics addressed in the Commission’s work include – but are not limited to – competency-based education, distance learning, and instructional time.

    “I want to thank Superintendent Ebert for convening a diverse and representative group of stakeholders to reflect on the flexibilities that were needed as part of the education system’s COVID-19 response,” said Senator Denis. “I was proud to serve on the Blue Ribbon Commission and am honored to put forth their key recommendations as the sponsor of Senate Bill 215 this Legislative Session.”

    “The fast and complete shift to distance learning in all of Nevada’s schools last year created opportunities for innovation as well as exposed challenges in our ability to meet the needs of every student in a non-traditional setting,” said Superintendent Ebert. “I want to thank Senator Denis, Assemblywomen Monroe-Moreno and Tolles, and all of the partners who served on the Blue Ribbon Commission for their willingness to think differently about how we ensure every student has equitable access to high-quality education opportunities.”

    “This past spring, state leaders took unprecedented steps to shut down school buildings in response to COVID-19, forcing many schools to transition to distance learning and forcing states to quickly and temporarily remove policy obstacles,” said Karla Phillips-Krivickas, Senior Director of Policy at KnowledgeWorks. “Now, a year later, Nevada and other states are seizing the moment and moving forward with bold, systemic changes that will create lasting change and empower innovation in schools. It has been an honor and privilege to support the work of the Blue Ribbon Commission.”

    “While COVID-19 has been difficult for all of us, I am grateful that our State leaders are focused on what we can learn from this experience,” said Felipe Avila, student at East Career and Technical Academy in Clark County School District and member of the Blue Ribbon Commission. “I know that Senate Bill 215 will create opportunities for students across Nevada to have more personalized learning experiences that support them to meet their goals.”

    The school building closures that began in Nevada on March 16, 2020 and continued through the end of the school year forced a rapid shift in instructional delivery models. District and school leaders, educators, school staff, families, and students stepped up to continue teaching and learning during a difficult time and under less than ideal circumstances. In reviewing the laws and regulations relevant to instructional delivery, it became clear that there was a need not only to update policies to meet our current reality, but also to lay a foundation for instructional delivery that will support Nevada’s long-term ambition to ensure every student graduates with the skills they need to build a home, a life, and a future, or – as the Nevada Department of Education calls it in the 2020 Statewide Plan for the Improvement of Pupils – globally prepared.

    The membership of the Blue Ribbon Commission included legislators, education experts, district and school building leaders, classroom teachers, parents, and students:

    • Dr. Mary Alber, Founding Director, Education Innovation Collaborative
    • Felipe Avila, Student, East Career and Technical Academy, Clark County School District
    • Rick Benbow, Regional Vice President, Western Governors University
    • Bridget Bilbray-Phillips, Chief Academic and Operations Officer, Doral Academy of Nevada
    • Cammie Briggs, Principal, David E. Norman Elementary School, White Pine County School District
    • Mary H. Bryant, Program Director, University of Nevada, Reno Path to Independence Program
    • Clarissa M. Cota, J.D., Vice President/Provost, North Las Vegas Campus, College of Southern Nevada
    • Darlin Delgado, Principal, Rancho High School, Clark County School District
    • Moises “Mo” Denis, Nevada State Senator
    • Rebecca Garcia, President, Nevada PTA
    • Melissa Gruenhagen, Principal, Cristo Rey St. Viator
    • Mandi Harenberg, Teacher, Clark County School District
    • Danica G. Hays, Ph.D., Interim Dean and Professor, University of Nevada, Las Vegas College of Education
    • Christine Hull, Parent, Nevada PTA & Nevada Center for Civic Engagement
    • Vihaan Jain, Student, West Career and Technical Academy, Clark County School District
    • Jesus F. Jara, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools, Clark County School District
    • Lynn M. Jeka, Teacher / STEM Coach, Yerington Elementary School, Lyon County School District
    • Dr. Bryn E. Lapenta, Senior Director, Student Accounting, Washoe County School District
    • Jana Wilcox Lavin, Executive Director, Opportunity 180
    • Gracey Ledbetter, Student, Silver Stage FFA & Spring Creek High School, Elko County School District
    • Robert Mars, Principal, Shadow Ridge High School, Clark County School District
    • Lisa M. Martin, Principal, Ollie Detwiler Elementary School, Clark County School District
    • Daniele Monroe-Moreno, Nevada State Assemblywoman
    • Shelly Nee, Media Specialist, Pershing County High School, Pershing County School District
    • Mario Pabon, President, Empower America
    • Patrick Peters, Principal, Silver Stage High School, Lyon County School District
    • Immer Liza Ravalo, Principal, Dell H. Robison Middle School, Clark County School District
    • Bryon Richardson, Executive Director, Leadership Academy of Nevada
    • Ben Salkowe, Principal, Equipo Academy
    • Kamara Snearly, Teacher, Incline High School, Washoe County School District
    • Dr. Summer E. Stephens, Superintendent, Churchill County School District
    • Pam Teel, Superintendent, Lincoln County School District
    • Jill Tolles, Nevada State Assemblywoman
    • Lance West, Principal, Schurz Elementary School, Mineral County School District
    • Alissa Wood, Head of Communities and Corporate Affairs, Nevada Gold Mines
    • Grace Yim, Student, Edward C. Reed High School, Washoe County School District