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.



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.”


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!”


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.


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 or 702-383-0279. Find him on Twitter: @nealtmorton.

Send us your photos of the first day of school!

At the Scene
Tate Elementary shows academic progress after categorical funding
Students at Tate Elementary in Las Vegas has benefited from a program to boost education funding in targeted student populations, known as categorical funding. One program called Zoom helps students who have fallen below grade level in reading. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Three Square helps TSA workers
Three Square Food Bank donated over 400 care bags to TSA workers affected by the government shutdown Wednesday, filled with food, personal hygiene products and water.
Las Vegas furniture store donates to Clark County firehouses
Walker Furniture donated new mattresses to all 30 Clark County firehouses in the Las Vegas Valley, starting today with Station 22. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Holocaust survivor on acceptance
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, talks about the most important message for people to understand from her life and experiences.
Holocaust survivor speaks about telling her story
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, tells of opening up about her experiences during Sunday’s event at Temple Sinai.
Jesus Jara State of the Schools address
Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara delivers his State of the Schools address on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Michael Naft sworn in to Clark County Commission
Michael Naft, chosen by Gov. Steve Sisolak to be his replacement on the Clark County Commission, was sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas police piecing together details of fatal shooting
Six hours after the fact, Las Vegas homicide detectives worked to reconstruct the scene of a shooting early Jan. 7 that left one man dead in the southeast valley. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dyer Lawrence explains college football playoff system proposal
Las Vegan Dyer Lawrence has a new idea for a college football playoff system that includes a unique scheduling component called National Call Out Day. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death row inmate Scott Dozier found dead in his cell
Nevada death row inmate Scott Dozier is dead. Dozier’s death ends his legal odyssey, which began in 2007 when he was convicted in the 2002 murder of Jeremiah Miller, but does little to clarify what’s next for Nevada’s death penalty.
I-15 southbound near Primm closed after ‘major crash’
A rollover crash Saturday morning involving at least nine vehicles on southbound Interstate 15 near Primm caused an hourslong traffic delay. Traffic was backed up to Sloan, live traffic cameras show. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death Valley visitors deal with shutdown
Visitors staying at the Furnace Creek Campground were forced to move from the campground following health and safety concerns due to lack of resources during the partial government shutdown at Death Valley National Park in Calif., on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. Richard Brian Las Vegas Review-Journal @vegasphotograph
Half of homicides in Henderson for 2018 domestic violence related
Lt. Kirk Moore of the public information office of the city of Henderson police department speaks to the Review-Journal in Henderson, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Henderson saw a slight increase in homicides in the past year. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak stops by Las Vegas Boys and Girls Club
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak kicks off his tour to Carson City, which will take him from Las Vegas, through Tonopah, and up to the capital city. First stop is the Downtown Boys & Girls Club.
Certificates for renewing wedding vows in Clark County
The Marriage License Bureau in Clark County began issuing a Certificate of Vow Renewal to married couples who are renewing their wedding vows on Jan. 3, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas flu season better than last year (so far)
Dr. Fermin Leguen, chief medical officer and director of clinical services at the Southern Nevada Health District, said there were 24 flu-related deaths at this point in the flu season. No deaths have been reported so far this year. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The Las Vegas Valley’s First Baby of 2019
The first 2019 baby in the Las Vegas Valley was Melialani Chihiro Manning, born at 12:10 a.m. at Henderson Hospital. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas NYE Fireworks - VIDEO
The full show: A spectacular view from the rooftop of the Trump International Hotel as 80,000 pyrotechnics illuminated the Las Vegas Strip at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks by Grucci choreographed launches from the Stratosphere, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.
Snow in Henderson on New Year's Eve morning
Light snow flurries in Anthem Highlands in Henderson on Monday morning, the last day of 2018.
Sources: Henderson Constable may face more charges
Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell may face additional charges ... stemming from his spending of county funds, sources said. Mitchell was indicted earlier this month on five felony theft and fraud charges ... after a Las Vegas Review-Journal story questioned his spending. But grand jury records show even more extensive spending including ... an $800 dinner at steakhouse ... nearly 200 atm withdrawals mostly at gambling establishments ... and even Disneyland tickets. But his attorney plans to ask a judge to dismiss the charges.
Las Vegas NYE Restrictions and Enhanced Security
If you are planning to celebrate New Year's Eve on the Las Vegas Strip or Fremont Street, be aware that you are not allowed to bring backpacks, coolers, strollers or glass. There will also be an increase in security to ensure safe celebrations across town.
Catholic Charities serves up 53rd annual Christmas dinner
Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada and more than 100 volunteers served 1,000 Christmas meals to Southern Nevada's homeless and less fortunate. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @kmcannonphoto)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jeffrey Martin Added To Nevada's Black Book
Martin was one of four men convicted of theft and cheating at gambling in 2016 in Clark County District Court and sentenced to prison. The Nevada Gaming Commission voted unanimously Thursday to include Martin in the black book.
Raiders Stadium Timelapse
Construction on the new Raiders stadium continues in Las Vegas.
Buffalo Wild Wings security video
Security footage from a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in southwest Las Vegas captured a driver who repeatedly crashed into a vehicle in a failed attempt to squeeze into a tight parking spot.
The Magical Forest at Opportunity Village
Opportunity Village's Magical Forest added 1 million lights and a synchronized music show visible from all over the forest this year. The holiday attraction, which began in 1991, has a train, rides, food and entertainment along with the light displays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like