Three recent graduates of The Public Education Foundation’s Teacher Leader Academy presented their findings to help address the issue of student transiency within Clark County School District to members of the Foundation’s Board of Directors on November 17.
The Teacher Leader Academy is a pioneering educational program in Nevada whose mission is to identify the highest-performing classroom teachers, develop their skills, and amplify their impact. Over the course of the Academy experience, teachers work in teams to produce capstone projects that offer solutions to challenges facing public schools.
Teachers Bethany Cotton of Schofield Middle School, Eva Ramirez of Cambeiro Elementary School and Maria Velasquez of Nevada Learning Academy outlined to Foundation board members their idea for a pilot project – “One School, One Year” – that would utilize a flexible busing schedule to accommodate students who attend Whitney, Bailey and Cunningham Elementary Schools.
These three schools are located along the Boulder Highway corridor, and each campus has a student transiency rate higher than the district average of 32 percent. In its capstone project, this teacher leader team noted that the schools most impacted by a higher transiency rate have consistently ranked low in achievement scores.
The teacher leaders proposed that since many of the students tend to leave one school to attend one of the other campuses several miles away, the district could create flexible busing routes for these schools that allow students to stay at their home school for the school year even if their family moves into the school zone of one of the other two campuses.
A number of issues would need to be addressed before moving forward – such as parent support, sustainable funding, school schedules – but CCSD is accustomed to this flexibility, as magnet schools currently operate with busing schedules that transport students from hub locations in various parts of the city.
Several members of The Public Education Foundation’s Board of Directors expressed interest in the idea and wanted to extend support to the team. The team intends to meet with district and school leadership to elaborate further on its plan for a pilot project.
The inaugural Teacher Leader Academy cohort in 2016 included 36 teachers from the Clark County School District.