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Public charter school abruptly cancels classes

Updated October 9, 2023 - 7:10 pm

A Las Vegas public charter school abruptly canceled classes Thursday, the same day that police were called to campus to respond to two disturbances.

The executive director of the school, TEACH Las Vegas on Rancho Drive and Craig Road, also resigned this week. The school’s board chair posted a letter Wednesday online saying the school would operate as usual.

Parent Sydney Sanborn — who had five children enrolled at TEACH Las Vegas — withdrew them Wednesday, but continues to receive text message announcements from the school.

Sanborn said Friday that she received a message from a teacher wanting families to be aware that 17 teachers weren’t going to be on campus Thursday, nor was the principal and most of the office staff.

She said she received a message Thursday morning just after 10 a.m. asking parents to pick up their children from school.

Other updates indicated that classes will be canceled until Wednesday, she said.

Sanborn, who lives across the street from the school, said she noticed the school was operating Thursday with less than 10 percent of its staff and that she called the Nevada State Public Charter School Authority.

The authority said in a Thursday statement to the Review-Journal that it’s aware of the situation and has “deployed staff to assess the school environment and ensure the safety of students and staff.”

“We remain in constant communication with the school’s board to mitigate the impact on students and families,” the statement read.

Sanborn said she could hear a parent screaming at the campus — including racial slurs and profanity — and she called police. She said parents were rushing to pick up their children.

Police were also called to respond to an incident at the school late last month involving the same parent, she said.

Las Vegas police responded to a juvenile disturbance and an unknown/other disturbance at the school during pickup Thursday morning, police spokesman Luis Vidal said. No one was detained or arrested.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal was unable to reach TEACH Las Vegas for comment Thursday. School board members did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

The Las Vegas campus is part of the TEACH Public Schools network, which includes campuses in Los Angeles. Network officials also didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Executive director’s resignation

A Wednesday letter posted on the school’s website and on Facebook announced Executive Director Andrea Moore’s resignation, which became effective Friday.

The letter doesn’t provide a reason for her resignation.

“Speaking on behalf of the entire volunteer Board, I want to thank Ms. Moore for her leadership and service to the school since its opening in 2021,” Board Chair Trishawn Allison wrote. “She will be missed. Dozens of you, in fact, attended last Friday’s Board Meeting to speak up in support of Ms. Moore and the school.”

A family member of Moore’s declined comment on her behalf.

TEACH Las Vegas will operate as usual, with “all existing students, teachers, and staff performing their usual, inspired roles,” Allison wrote. Network CEO Raul Carranza will relocate to Las Vegas for an “indefinite period” to serve as the school’s interim director, according to the letter.

Carranza will be at the school “as soon as Monday of next week,” Allison wrote.

TEACH Las Vegas’ board is beginning the search for a new executive director immediately.

“As many of you know, prior to this leadership change, TEACH Las Vegas was already experiencing academic, financial, and other challenges,” Allison wrote. “We have significant room to improve. From the Board’s perspective, today’s news presents an opportunity.”

Emergency school board meeting

Sanborn said issues at the school stem from a disgruntled employee who quit his job about a month ago and asked to come back. Moore said no.

Sanborn said the employee started slandering Moore’s reputation and that the executive director was forced to resign.

Sanborn said she previously received a call from the affected employee about something her son did in class, so she thought he was the dean who handles discipline, but later found out he wasn’t.

Sanborn said her son is terrified of the employee.

An agenda for an emergency school board meeting on Sept. 29 shows an item to consider Moore’s resignation. There was no recording or meeting minutes posted online about the outcome.

Sanborn said word got out about the emergency meeting — which was called at the last minute — and parents weren’t notified.

“They weren’t even going to tell us,” she said.

She said she doesn’t think the school board was ready for the amount of support that would be voiced for Moore. “She loves these babies like they’re her own.”

Withdrawing students

Sanborn said an office employee refused to sign forms Wednesday to withdraw her children and she had to have a different office staff member sign them. She said other parents have also withdrawn their children.

Sanborn said her children, including two who receive special education services, thrived at the school.

“This school turned all of these kids around and they helped,” she said.

Sanborn said children are sad they don’t get to be with their principal, teachers and friends anymore.

Sanborn said she wanted to keep her children together at the same school. Now, the five children attend three different schools — one at Discovery Charter School, one at Somerset Academy and three at their zoned Clark County School District campus.

“That’s heartbreaking,” she said, “that they’re no longer together.”

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on X. Digital content producer Taylor Lane contributed to this report.

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