CCSD seeks funds to improve 2 struggling high schools

Las Vegas’ Del Sol and Valley high schools might be the next chronically underperforming campuses handed a multimillion-dollar chance to turn around student performance.

The Clark County School Board un­animously agreed Thursday to apply for $4.05 million in federal School Improvement Grants to be split between the schools during the next three academic years.

The Clark County School District is seeking money to follow the U.S. Department of Education’s Transformation Intervention Model for these schools, which entails replacing the principals if they have been in place for more than two years. The new principals then will make staff changes and be given increased flexibility in school operations. Monetary incentives will be made available to retain, recruit and train staff.

The principals of Valley and Del Sol are being replaced regardless of the grant because they are retiring, district Chief Student Achievement Officer Mike Barton said. New principals will be appointed next week, he said.

Del Sol, near Pecos and Russell roads, posted a graduation rate of 51 percent in 2012 and 59 percent in 2013.

Valley, near Sahara and Eastern avenues, reported a 49 percent graduation rate in 2012 and 59 percent in 2013. Although the district’s graduation rate increased by 10 percentage points in 2013, that largely was due to the district correcting errors in how it tracks students and counting adult-education students as having left the district.

That practice has been criticized by national policy experts who said it violated federal standards for calculating graduation rates.

Receipt of the sought-after federal grants would add Valley and Del Sol to the district’s growing list of similar schools in its “turnaround zone.”

District leaders named three other turnaround schools in February — not using any federal grant money — and made those schools go through similar transitions. Mountain View Elementary School and Bailey Middle School received new principals, while Super­intendent Pat Skorkowsky allowed Manch Elementary School to keep its principal of three years.

The district’s other turnaround schools are Hancock, Sunrise Acres, Roundy and Wilhelm elementary schools; O’Callaghan Middle School; and Canyon Springs, Chaparral, Cimarron-Memorial, Mojave, Sunrise Mountain and Western high schools.

The turnaround status of Hancock, Chaparral, Mojave, Western and Canyon Springs have been funded federally with $12.8 million over three years. But the three-year grants for all but Canyon Springs end in June. That means Hancock, Chaparral, Mojave and Western might be taken off the turnaround list unless the district wants to pick up their funding.

Contact Trevon Milliard at tmilliard@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0279. Find him on Twitter: @TrevonMilliard.