Updated September 23, 2020 - 8:07 am
Sports Leadership and Management Academy of Nevada — a tuition-free public charter school in Henderson — plans to bring its sixth graders to campus for some in-person classes starting in mid-October.
SLAM NV’s school board voted Monday to transition to a hybrid model for its approximately 160 sixth graders when a new quarter starts Oct. 12.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the charter school — which serves about 1,100 students in sixth through 12th grades — has operated using distance learning since school started in mid-August.
The change will allow sixth graders to attend in-person classes two days a week and use online live remote instruction three days a week. One group of students will be on campus Mondays and Tuesdays, and the other group will attend Thursdays and Fridays.
“We are opening the doors to our building to all of our sixth-graders, unless they choose to remain fully online,” Principal Dan Triana said in a Tuesday email to the Review-Journal.
He said school administrators believe sixth grade is one of the most critical grade levels because students are transitioning from elementary to middle school, they’re new to the SLAM campus and “most do not have an identified friend base,” and there’s “a significant jump with curriculum demands and use of technology that is more effectively taught in person.”
In August, the Nevada State Public Charter School Authority board approved a mandate saying charter schools in counties with a heightened level of virus transmission — including Clark County — must operate using distance education for at least 75 percent of their students. The Clark County School District is also operating using distance learning.
Triana said the charter authority has allowed schools to accommodate up to 25 percent of their students with in-person classes. That’s a large enough threshold to allow for bringing SLAM sixth graders to campus.
A charter authority spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday about whether any other Las Vegas-area charter schools are holding in-person classes this fall.