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School Improvement Grants Helping Nevada Education

CARSON CITY, NV (KXNT) – Over the course of last year Nevadans helped the Department of Education narrow in on three strategies designed to help Nevada become the fastest improving state in the nation:

*A focus on supporting the state’s lowest performing schools.

*Developing great school leaders.

*Making data informed instructional delivery decisions.

Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA,  also requires states to only fund school improvement strategies that are evidence based.

“The Every Students Succeeds Act (ESSA) gave us an opportunity to ensure that Nevada’s lowest performing schools are choosing interventions, strategies, and activities that have the strongest liklihood of being effective in increasing student achievement,” said Steve Canavero, Ph.D., Superintendent of Public Instruction. “Our staff worked closely with districts in the proposal process to ensure that federal dollars were used on evidence-based strategies and programs that have a statistically significant positive effect on student achievement and learning,” Canavero said.

NDE awarded 51 schools more than $7 million in funding to transform the lowest performing schools in the state. Many schools elected to work with evidence-based non-profites with national expertise in school leadership development and data informed decision making.

In early November, another $1.5 million will be available in a second round of Title 1, federal funding for Title I schools identified for Comprehensive Support and Improvement or those schools on the state’s recently identified Rising Stars list.

Thanks to the Title I funding Desert Heights Elementary School in the Washoe County School District applied for, Principal Vickie Duty was able to hire an institutional coach who will receive targeted professional development through Partners in School Innovation.

“This was so critical because one of the budget cuts we had was this instructional coach position,” Principal Duty said. “This position is responsive to our needs which were English Language Arts. Thanks to this program our teachers can meet collaboratively with this instructional coach. In addition, this resource gives us an expert who can observe our teachers, and co-teach. The coach models lessons and gives our teachers feedback. We’re also receiving guidance on how to use student data in order to best tailor our individual lesson plans.”

Two of Round Mountain Elementary Schools’s (Nye County) biggest needs were to strengthen its Tier 1 instruction and its leadership pipeline. Prior to receiving the Title I award, the school did not have the resources to provide its teachers with the necessary instructional supports to drive student achievement. Now, the Title I grant funding, Round Mountain will be working tiwth two evidence-based non-profits who have highly effective, proven results in raising student performance. Achievement Network will work with the school’s data team to help them more effectively use student achievement data to inform their Tier I instruction. In addition, the New York City Leadership Academy will partner with Round Mountain to provide targeted staff leadership development so that the school can grow their own leaders.

“With three band new principals in our district, I can’t tell you how valuable this has been,” said Evangelyn Visser, Nye County Associate Superintendent. “Before applying for this grant I didn’t even know that principal supervision training was available. We will all be doing a better job for our kids as a result of this training,” Visser said.

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