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Cozine Elementary recognized for creating inclusive environment

Seven Clark County public schools were awarded grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 for their efforts to create an environment that meets the needs of a diverse student population, including minorities and special needs students.

Cozine Elementary School was named the platinum award winner during the Inspiration Awards ceremony in May and received a $25,000 grant. Thompson Elementary School, the gold award winner, received a $15,000 grant.

Three elementary schools — Whitney, Snyder and Morrow — were awarded $10,000 each, and Dailey Elementary School and Silvestri Middle School received $5,000 each.

The awards were created by the Nevada Partnership for Inclusive Education and the Public Education Foundation, which invited 326 public schools to participate. They received responses from administration and faculty members of 112 schools.

The finalists were judged on their reviews of inclusive practices, staff surveys, criteria development and site visits, and were found to have met or exceeded the standards of responsive staffing and scheduling, collaborative teams, accountability for results, social opportunities and relationships, legislative standards and leadership for the common good. The schools were judged by members of the Clark County School District, Stetson & Associates, an out-of-state consulting firm, and independent parents.

Rhonda Glyman, founder of Nevada PIE, said the organization wanted to “create a way to measure excellence and reward it.”

She is pleased with the results of this year’s awards.

“Such an exciting evening,” said Glyman, who noted that a third of Clark County School District schools applied during the first year of the program.

“I was thrilled,” Glyman added. “It was an opportunity to see schools shown the appreciation that they deserve in their efforts to help all students succeed.”

The inaugural awards presentation at Bally’s turned into a surprise for school officials because the grants were not promoted in advance.

“We were thrilled,” said Cozine Principal Andrea Klafter-Phillips. “The interesting thing about it is we went through the review process and had no idea about the grant money.”

“We were very surprised,” Thompson Principal Brett Booth agreed with a laugh. “We didn’t know how the whole thing was coming together. We didn’t realize there was money involved in it. We thought we were going to get a certificate and have a nice dinner.”

Both principals have already decided how to spend their grants.

“We’re going to use some money for staff development with the teachers and we are going to use it for software, laptops and computers. And, to hire some of the parents here for lunchtime to help free up the instructional aides,” Booth said.

Klafter-Phillips’ plans for the grant include adding staff members to support the students, performing book studies to consider books used in classrooms and offering incentives for teachers “who go above and beyond” their duties with special needs students.

“It takes a special type of person,” Klafter-Phillips said of the teachers. “We want to help them.”

At the dinner, an additional 36 schools were awarded $1,500 grants. The schools are: Valley High School, Advanced Technologies Academy, Garside Junior High School, middle schools Brinley, Cadwallader, Keller, Knudson, Monaco, Orr, Saville, Smith and Von Tobel, and elementary schools Adams, Adcock, Alamo, Beckley, Detwiler, Diskin, Dooley, Fong, Galloway, Guy, Harris, Hayden, Hill, Jacobson, King, McDoniel, Moore, Neal, Paradise, Red Rock, Schorr, Tate, Watson and Wolfe.

If you know of a worthy candidate for this column, mail information to Newsmakers, Las Vegas Review-Journal, P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas, NV 89125-0070, or send faxes to 383-4676.

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