As the state attempts to patch an educator pipeline problem, more than a dozen school districts and education groups in Nevada will receive nearly $5 million to fund training and retention efforts for teachers and principals.
The State Board of Education on Thursday awarded $4.9 million in competitive grants to the Clark County School District, the local teachers union, UNLV and 13 other organizations that applied to create new professional development programs that state officials hope will place more effective teachers in front of classrooms and stronger principals on school campuses.
The money comes from the Great Teaching and Leading Fund, a new initiative approved in the last legislative session. Senate Bill 474 requires the fund to provide instruction in new science standards, teacher and principal recruitment, leadership training and development and more.
At $980,000, the single largest award will go to the Clark County School District, which proposed using the grant to develop an online tool needed to implement the state’s new teacher evaluation system.
The district anticipates its project, which eventually could expand to other districts across Nevada, will help train 1,000 school administrators and 20,000 teachers over the next year.
Providing the lone dissenting vote, Board Vice President Allison Serafin expressed concern with the lack of a formal scoring system that a review team used to select the grant recipients.
Serafin, a former middle school teacher, questioned how the 18 other applicants that didn’t receive an award will know what they can do to improve their chances next year.
Also Thursday, Dale Erquiaga delivered his final report to the board as state superintendent of public instruction.
Erquiaga, who took over as chief of Nevada schools in August 2013, will vacate his position Friday to start as Gov. Brian Sandoval’s new chief strategy officer overseeing education and workforce development initiatives in the state.
“My first annual report was entitled ‘Miles To Go Before We Rest’ (and) I think that remains true,” said Erquiaga, who took over as chief of Nevada schools in Aug. 2013. “Much has been done and much remains to be done.”
Contact Neal Morton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0279. Find him on Twitter: @nealtmorton