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Clark County School District will open nation’s first Marzano Academy

A national educational researcher will bring his own educational approach to one of six new elementary schools slated to open within the Clark County School District next year.

The new magnet elementary school at the corner of Lamb Boulevard and Kell Avenue will be the nation’s first Marzano Academy, adopting strategies from Dr. Robert Marzano.

Marzano, co-founder of the Colorado-based Marzano Research firm, had previously applied to open a charter school for underserved students in the district.

But he said he withdrew that application after he found the district would welcome his educational strategies at an entire district-run school.

“I was pleased out of my mind when we had the conversation, I didn’t even think it was a possibility,” Marzano said. “Working in big systems across the country, they’re usually pretty rigid in terms of schools being done a certain way. It’s a dream come true.”

The national Marzano network includes certified “High Reliability Schools” across the country that adhere to a certain educational framework.

In northeast Las Vegas, the new K-5 school will feature a competency-based curriculum in which students move at their own pace. It will also draw on technology-based learning.

Marzano said the school also will emphasize meta-cognitive skills — teaching students how to make plans and set goals.

The new school will serve as a “demonstration site,” where teachers across the district can learn from the school’s model.

It will host 850 students accepted through a lottery, with preference given to students who live closest to that community, according to Chief Student Achievement Officer Mike Barton.

School district trustees welcomed the new school after listening to a pitch at their meeting Thursday.

Trustee Patrice Tew said she’s excited about the competency-based approach.

“I’m excited to push teachers in my district to come see and visit and learn, and do walk-throughs,” she said.

The six new schools under construction will alleviate crowding in elementary grades.

But the Marzano Academy also will serve students in a really disadvantaged part of town, Barton said.

“Teachers who apply for this school, they’re going to know this is a Marzano Academy,” he told trustees. “I predict we’ll have many teachers apply for this kind of program.”

Contact Amelia Pak-Harvey at apak-harvey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4630. Follow @AmeliaPakHarvey on Twitter.

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