Pinecrest Academy of Nevada opened its fifth Henderson-area school campus in August and plans to expand to Northern Nevada next school year.
The new Sloan Canyon campus — spanning 14 acres on East Dale Road off St. Rose Parkway — has approximately 1,250 students in kindergarten through ninth grade. It’s a public, tuition-free charter school.
School officials say they expect growth in Sloan Canyon student numbers — particularly, given that the campus is in quickly growing west Henderson. The school is near the Raiders’ under-construction headquarters and practice facility, the under-construction Amazon fulfillment center and the Inspirada master-planned community.
Because all of Pinecrest’s campuses are in Henderson — except for one in southeast Las Vegas — “our teachers do collaborate a lot across our five campuses,” said Lisa Satory, school principal at Pinecrest Academy Sloan Canyon.
Sloan Canyon fourth-grader Madilyn Bottego, 9, said she was scared about coming to a new school but isn’t anymore. She said she enjoys having reading time during the school day.
Elementary-schoolers rotate among six classes, such as Spanish and martial arts.
“I can’t choose my favorite because I love them all,” Madilyn said.
Eighth-grader Caitlin Howie, 12, said it’s a friendly school and teachers personalize learning for students. Her favorite subjects are English and geography.
“It’s a really good education and a welcoming environment,” said Caitlin, who’s vice president of the school’s student council.
Students wear uniforms. School offerings include martial arts, career and technical education pathways, a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) careers lab, athletics, Advanced Placement and pre-AP classes, and dual enrollment opportunities for students to earn college credits.
The school has four robotics teams — one of which is an all-girls team — and a robotics lab.
Another Pinecrest program: a conservatory offered at multiple campuses that offers music training for students.
“This is the type of program that makes high-schoolers come here,” said Stephanie Russell, secondary assistant principal at Pinecrest Academy Sloan Canyon.
Creating a campus, eyeing growth
The first Pinecrest school in Henderson was the Horizon campus on South Boulder Highway, which opened in 2012. Seven years later, more than 6,000 students are enrolled at five Pinecrest campuses. Schools are modeled after Pinecrest campuses in Florida.
Pinecrest Academy of Northern Nevada is proposed to open in August 2020 in the Sparks area.
A groundbreaking ceremony for Pinecrest Academy Sloan Canyon was held in January, and construction wrapped up in August. The campus includes an elementary school building, a middle/high school building and an artificial turf football field.
There’s empty land on campus to accommodate construction. Phase II of the project — which will likely start within a couple of years — will include completing the high school building and constructing a gymnasium and theater, Satory said. Plans also include a one-acre outdoor garden and an amphitheater.
The Sloan Canyon campus aims to expand its enrollment — eventually, up to 2,400 students, Satory said. The school will add one grade level at a time until it’s a kindergarten-through-12th-grade campus.
Next school year, 10th grade will be offered. The first high school graduating class is expected in 2023.
A day at school
During an elementary school martial arts class Nov. 5, Pinecrest Academy Sloan Canyon students repeated after martial arts teacher Alexa Rodrigues: “Honesty is the first step to an abundant life.”
Also on Nov. 5, second-graders in a STEM lab were building model shade structures using paper and took their creations outside to test them.
In David Lorig’s kindergarten classroom, students read a sentence projected onto a screen, adding one word each time.
“It is a blue, big, friendly, safe school,” they said in unison.
David Law’s third-grade students were working on a writing exercise. When Law asked them a question, they responded in unison: “Yes, sir.”
It’s typical to hear students addressing adults as “sir” or “ma’am.” Through the school’s martial arts program, Satory said, good behavioral traits and manners are reinforced.
Henderson is home to about eight public charter schools, some of which — like Pinecrest Academy — have more than one campus.
Pinecrest Academy Sloan Canyon’s elementary school building is at 675 E. Dale Ave. and the middle/high school building is at 655 E. Dale Ave. For more information, call 702-462-9700 or visit pinecrestsloancanyon.com.
Families can apply on the school’s website to enroll their child for the current school year. For the next school year, 2020-21, open enrollment runs Jan. 6 through Feb. 29 and the enrollment lottery is slated for March 1.
Other Pinecrest campuses are Inspirada (2840 Via Contessa in Henderson), Horizon (1360 S. Boulder Highway in Henderson), St. Rose (1385 East Cactus Ave. in Las Vegas) and Cadence (225 Grand Cadence Drive in Henderson).