Clark County students head back for first day of school — PHOTOS

Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky, fully aware the school day wouldn’t officially end for a few more hours, said he considered it a smooth start to the new year.

Walking the halls at Global Community High School, one of the district’s new Zoom Schools, which receive additional state funding to provide more support for English-language learners, Skorkowsky noted at about 1:30 p.m. that he had received no reports of major air conditioning or bus incidents.

“I just know with 1,600 buses, we still have a long way to go today,” Skorkowsky said.

“It has been in general a good opening,” he added. “For the most part, kids are in school and learning, which is what it’s all about.”

While some maintenance workers responded to calls to fix broken air conditioning units at individual schools, Skorkowksy said he had not heard of any campus-wide outages as the afternoon temperatures approached the triple digits.

The largest issue reported across the district remained the 20 percent of students who had not registered online before Monday.

On Twitter, parents reported never receiving a bus schedule, while campus registrars started the morning with students wondering whether they could enter any classroom.

Spokeswoman Michelle Booth, however, noted the district made numerous attempts since April to notify parents about the switch to a fully online registration system.

“If 80 percent (of families) followed the timeline, I think that’s a pretty good number,” she said.

NONTRADITIONAL LEARNING

 

A small group of sixth-graders also had to wake early Monday to kick off their nontraditional school year at Nevada Learning Academy, the district’s virtual middle and high school.

While most NVLA students take all their courses online or at their home campus, middle schoolers meet two days each week for face-to-face interaction with their instructors and peers.

“It’s just a new way of doing things,” said 11-year-old Jennifer Michel. “I’m looking forward to attending school, but at home and more comfortable than if I had to sit in front of a teacher all day.”

Jennifer recently finished a sixth-grade orientation that teaches new online students how to access their course work online, download necessary software and upload their homework at home.

The academy, with an enrollment of more than 750 full-time and 5,000 part-time students, was established in 2004 and expanded to the middle school level last year.

Kelly Greenwald, a math instructor at NVLA, watched Jennifer try to build a tower out of spaghetti noodles, string and tape in hopes that it would hold a marshmallow in place.

“We do everything possible to make the transition smoother,” Greenwald said of the move from a brick-and-mortar school to the online campus.

“Seeing us in person really helps. Knowing that we’re here, in front of them, and can offer any assistance definitely makes a difference. They don’t have to feel like they will handle this alone.”

LAST-MINUTE REGISTRATION

A line of parents snaked out of the front office at Cortez Elementary School as a majority of students met their teachers for the first time on the playground.

In April, the district launched an online registration process for families but reported last week that a full one-third of students still had not registered. As of Saturday, about 275,000 of 323,000 students completed their registration online.

“Nobody said anything about that,” one mother told front office workers at Cortez early Monday.

Even parents who successfully registered their students online reported first-day complications.

Rosa Delgado, 24, waited for the first bell with her two daughters — both of whom had not met their teachers yet.

“We’re used to coming to the school early, making introductions, getting know who will teach my kids,” Delgado said. “We don’t know what to expect.

“We’re kind of going in blindfolded.”

Another mother, Elsa Martinez, joined the growing line of patient parents after classes started.

Her son, 6-year-old Jason, proudly showed off his new wrestling-themed backpack while anxiously hoping to start his first day of kindergarten.

“I just want to learn,” he said. “I want to learn about dinosaurs, about zoos, about a lot more things.

“My friends are waiting for me!”

JET-LAGGED AFTER ROBOTICS TEAM TRIP TO CHINA

Moments after the first bell rang at Cimarron-Memorial High School, one particular group of Spartans looked a bit more tired than their peers.

The Cimarron-Memorial robotics team, which arrived back to Las Vegas on Friday after a two-week trip to China, stifled yawns as they welcomed students and staff back to school with a band and cheerleaders.

“I’m definitely jetlagged,” said senior Alexa Lignelli, who sported a rice patty hat as souvenir of her trip. “I’ve been waking up every night at like 2 a.m.

“Same story last night: Up at 3 a.m., just lying there for hours and wishing I could just sleep.”

The robotics team flew to China to help train other students participating in a regional tournament. The Spartans themselves walked away with gold medals for their performance in a separate international competition.

“It’s a great way to start the school year, even if we’re tired,” Lignelli said.

Clark County School Board member Patrice Tew briefly addressed the robotics team about their school’s progress since its designation as a turnaround campus two years ago.

The district places that designation on the lowest-performing schools and allows principals more flexibility to hire new teachers and implement academic interventions.

In 2012-13, Cimarron-Memorial posted a graduation rate of about 51 percent. That rose to 75 percent for the Class of 2015, according to district officials.

BUS DRIVERS READY TO ROLL

As the sun barely started to rise over the Las Vegas valley, dozens of bus drivers with the Clark County School District filed into a North Las Vegas bus yard to prepare for their vehicles for the first day of school.

Driver Laura Hicks, starting her fifth year with the district, pumped the brakes one final time before officially starting the engine for the long route ahead of her.

The 34-year-old driver will cart students to and from Rancho High School and several other campuses.

“This is kind of like a family calling,” Hock said.

“My grandma retired just a few years after after decades driving buses. From 19 to 71, she did this. Now I’m here to make each kid’s day in the morning.”

This will mark the first year Hicks works with special-needs students and expects them to be nervous and excited for day one.

“It’s my job to make them more comfortable,” she said. “You never know what’s going on at home or with bullying. So I just got to help them feel, you know, at least someone’s smiling for them.”

Among the biggest changes that Las Vegas families can expect this school year, the district modified its bus schedules to require new magnet school students to appear at their closest zoned campus for pickup.

The new policy does not impact returning magnet school students and their siblings.

Other changes that parents and students will see this year:

Class sizes: While the expiration of a class-size reduction waiver will shrink the attendance rolls for kindergarten through third-grade teachers, the district will increase class sizes in grades four and above to solve a $67 million budget shortfall. Secondary class sizes will rise by 0.5 students this year. The prior year’s student/teacher ratio was 32-to-1 in fourth and fifth grades; 34-to-1 in middle school; and 33.5-to-1 in high school. The reduction in class sizes in the lower grades helped push teacher vacancies even higher, with elementary positions making up more than half of the total 920 teacher vacancies reported last week.

Full-day kindergarten: In the recent legislative session, state lawmakers approved changes to the public school finance system that eventually will fund full-day kindergarten at all elementary schools. That doesn’t go into effect until 2016-17, though some school districts, like Washoe County in the north, chose to fund full-day kindergarten starting this year. In Clark County, however, some parents will continue to pay tuition to enroll their children in kindergarten, as the school board recently voted to expand full-day kindergarten to just 187 of nearly 220 elementary campuses.

New magnet schools: The district will add about 8,500 seats at seven new magnet schools this year as part of an effort to draw students to underused campuses. The expansion includes transforming Piggott Elementary School and Johnson Junior High School into International Baccalaureate academies; adding science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs to McCaw Elementary School, Guinn Middle School and Eldorado High School; and offering fine and performing arts at White Middle School and Del Sol High School. Last year, nearly 16,700 students applied to magnet schools with seats available for only a third of them.

New select schools: Similar to the magnet school expansion, the district will offer new Advanced Placement and career and technical programs at five area high schools: Bonanza, Chaparral, Mojave, Silverado and Western. Mojave also will gain an engineering program, while Western hosts a biomedical track and Silverado starts the school year with certification from the National Academy Foundation in Finance and Information Technology.

Online registration: For the first time this year, the district required families to register students through an online portal called Infinite Campus. Parents could access the site on their desktops or smartphones, with computers available at each school campus for families without Internet access. However, the district reported last week that a full third of students had not been registered for the first day of school, creating questions about how students will learn about their bus schedules and the need to deal with crowds of angry parents that school registrars will greet on day one.

Victory and Zoom school expansion: With a boost in funding from the Nevada Legislature, students living in poverty and English language learners will benefit from more services offered at several new campuses. Victory Schools, which target interventions to low-income students and at poorly performing campuses, may offer prekindergarten programs, afterschool activities, reading skills centers, parent engagement initiatives and more. At Zoom Schools, students who speak English as a second language could benefit from universal prekindergarten, summer academies, extended school days, reduced class sizes and more. This is the first year the Zoom School program will expand to the secondary level, at Orr and Robison middle schools and Global Community High School.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Contact Neal Morton at nmorton@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0279. Find him on Twitter: @nealtmorton.

Send us your photos of the first day of school!

At the Scene
ad-high_impact_4
News
Defense attorneys wrap up closing arguments in David Copperfield civil trial
Defense attorneys wrapped up their closing arguments in David Copperfield civil trial at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas. A British tourist is suing Copperfield, his company and others claiming he suffered a traumatic brain injury after participating in an illusion in which the magician appears to make 13 people vanish. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump talks about how to pronounce "Nevada"
At the United States Naval Academy Graduation and Commissioning on May 25, 2018, President Donald Trump discusses how to pronounce "Nevada."
Amazon's Alexa Recorded and Shared a Couple’s Conversation
Amazon's Alexa Recorded and Shared a Couple’s Conversation News station KIRO 7 reported a Portland couple’s conversation was recorded and sent to one of their contacts via their Amazon Echo device. They found out when the husband’s employee called him saying, via KIRO 7 The voice-activated assistant is used by more than 60 million U.S. consumers, according to Bloomberg. But what will happen if these devices become digital spies within our homes? Daniel Kahn Gillmor, Daniel Kahn Gillmor, to Bloomberg Daniel Kahn Gillmor, to Bloomberg Amazon Inc. issued a statement that the incident in Portland is an “extremely rare occurrence,” and the company did not state whether it was a bug or due to hacking.
Neighbor talks about 15-year-old alleged shooter
Nolan Turner, 15, who lives across the street from the 15-year-old who allegedly shot and killed his father and shot his mother talks about growing up with the teen. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas teen kills dad, wounds mom before she shoots him, police say
A 15-year-old boy shot his father to death and wounded his mother in a west valley home Thursday morning before being wounded when she got a gun and returned fire, according to Las Vegas police. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers were called just after 10:45 a.m. Thursday on the 9900 block of Barrier Reef Drive, near West Sahara Avenue and South Hualapai Way. In a briefing near the scene, police said the teenager shot his dad in the head, killing him, then shot his mom, who got another gun and returned fire. They said the boy jumped a wall and ran away, but was arrested about a quarter-mile away. Both the teen and his mom were hospitalized and are expected to survive, police said. Police did not immediately identify the family members but said the man was in his early 50s and the woman was in her late 40s. K.M. Cannon/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas Native Troy Brown Jr. Preparing for NBA
Former Centennial High School player Troy Brown Jr., now 18 and one of the most accomplished high school basketball players in the history of Las Vegas, is back in his hometown preparing to play in the NBA. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Closing arguments at David Copperfield civil trial
Attorneys for British tourist Gavin Cox and MGM Resorts make their closing arguments in the David Copperfield civil trial at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Surgeon Performs Successful Rare Pancreas Surgery
Las Vegas resident Mary Duda underwent a pancreatoduodenectomy, or Whipple procedure, for her pancreatic cancer. While the grandmother of 19 recovered, her doctors say she's one of the lucky ones. Pancreatic surgery can be risky and has a high morbidity rate. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Las Vegas police explorer sentenced to 25 years to life in prison
Former Las Vegas police explorer Joshua Honea sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for sexual assault of a minor, but was allowed to remain free on bail pending appeal. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Golden Knights Fans Line Up to Grab Their Conference Champions Gear
Golden Knights fans lined up at City National Arena Monday to snap up Conference Champions gear and other memorabilia the day after the Golden Knights won the Stanley Cup Conference Finals. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas-Review Journal)
Las Vegas shooting survivor has surprise reunion
Oct. 1 mass shooting survivors Taylor Stovall and Parker Gabel meet for the first time since Gabel helped the injured Stovall to an ambulance the night of the shooting. Stovall, then 17, was shot in the arm. They met Friday at the Tropicana.
Hawaii volcano presser
Talmadge Magno of Hawaii Civil Defense gives an update on the Kilauea volcano
Same-Sex Weddings on the Rise in Las Vegas
Allie and Tara Shima finally tied the knot. They've been together for five years and have both been married before. This time, they wanted something simple, quick and cheap, but it still had to feel special. The couple chose Las Vegas. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Courtyard Homeless Resource Center begins building in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Ward 3 Councilman Bob Coffin kicked off the demolition of buildings where the Courtyard Homeless Resource Center will be built. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Father of fallen Marine to throw out first pitch
Rich Perez, father of Rich Perez Jr. who died while serving in the Marines in Iraq, talks about throwing out the first pitch at the Las Vegas 51s baseball game on Memorial Day. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"Yanny" or "Laurel" hearing test has gone viral
'Yanny' or 'Laurel?' This Hearing Test Has Gone Viral This hearing test has gone viral on social media with some hearing "Yanny" while others swear hearing "Laurel." The voice is actually saying "Laurel," but the pitch was changed, causing some to hear "Yanny."
LVMPD Briefs on Year's Sixth Officer-Involved Shooting
Las Vegas police have identified the officer who shot a shovel-wielding woman on Saturday as 23-year-old Ondre Wills.
Police release body camera footage of shovel-wielding woman
Las Vegas police identified the woman they said threatened neighbors with a skillet Saturday night. Officer Ondre Wills, 23, shot at Sommer Richards, 34, multiple times on Big Sur Drive, near Nellis Boulevard and Desert Inn Road. Police responded to the area after receiving reports that the woman was armed with a shovel. Police said the woman chased neighbors and a security guard. Wills got between Richards and the others and repeatedly told her to drop the shovel. The woman instead turned and moved toward a person who was standing nearby before the officer fired shots. Police said she bit another officer as he attempted to render aid. Richards remains in serious but stable condition.
College of Southern Nevada Graduates 2017-18 Class
The College of Southern Nevada's graduation ceremony was held at the Thomas & Mack Center Monday. The 2017-18 class was the institution's largest in history. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro looking for suspect in bank robbery.
On Jan. 22, a man robbed a bank in the 8700 block of West Sahara Avenue.
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee at opening of U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, at opening ceremony of U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, speaks about the violence in Gaza. (Debra J. Saunders/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Supreme Court strikes down law banning sports betting outside Nevada
The Supreme Court has overturned a federal ban on sports gambling. States other than Nevada will be allowed to provide bookmaking and betting at casinos and race tracks. Justice Samuel Alito said Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, “each State is free to act on its own.” The vote was 6-3. One research firm estimates that 32 states will likely offer sports betting within five years.
Westcare Clinic Crucial to Las Vegan's Addiction Recovery
Christian Hunt, 21, was sent to Westcare in September after he ended up on drugs and in the hospital. If it weren't for the nonprofit's Community Triage Center, Hunt said he would still be using drugs. Instead, he's been sober for six months, and stopped using methamphetamines seven months ago. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Foundation Provides Full Rides for Clark County Students
Somewhere along the banks of the Ohio River in Owensboro, Kentucky, a group of students from Sin City are pursuing a higher education. Feature on the 38 Clark County students that the Rogers Foundation has given full rides to for Kentucky Wesleyan College. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Flames engulf house in Henderson
Clark County firefighters battled a house fire early Friday morning in Henderson. The house, located near Volunteer Boulevard and Executive Airport Drive, was fully engulfed in flames about 2 a.m. Shifting winds sent massive plumes of smoke across the southern Las Vegas Valley sky. As of 3 a.m. , the cause of the fire was not known and no injuries were reported.
Harvey Weinstein’s Estranged Wife Speaks Out for First Time
Harvey Weinstein’s Estranged Wife Speaks Out for First Time Georgina Chapman was profiled for 'Vogue’s' June issue, speaking on her estranged husband for the first time since he was accused of sexual assault in October. Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Chapman, who has two children with Weinstein, also said she has been seeing a therapist and that has helped her move forward. Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Read the full profile on Chapman in Vogue’s June issue or online at Vogue.com.
Bark-Andre Furry the dog is a Vegas Golden Knights hockey fan
The furriest fan of the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights is growing into a social media sensation. Bark-Andre Furry the Jack Russell terrier has thousands of followers on Twitter and Instagram. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspect Sought In Robbery Attempt
Attorney Gloria Allred on case against Benjamin Sparks
Attorney Gloria Allred is representing the victim in a "sex slave" case against GOP political consultant Benjamin Sparks.
2018 Las Vegas Review-Journal High School Journalism Awards winners
Some winners of the 2018 Las Vegas Review-Journal High School Journalism Awards receive their awards.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like