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Carson City teen taps into her journey from Mexico to welcome immigrant students

Plus: A former Clark County School Board trustee launches a podcast, and North Las Vegas City Council to consider changing its trustee appointment.
Rocio Hernandez
Rocio Hernandez
EducationK-12 Education

Good morning, and welcome to the Indy Education newsletter. I’m Rocio Hernandez, The Nevada Independent’s K-12 education reporter. 

This newsletter provides a recap of the latest education stories and highlights interesting educators, students, programs and other events and resources throughout the state. Click here to subscribe to the newsletter and receive it each Tuesday via email.

I want to hear from you! Send questions, comments or suggestions on what I should be covering to [email protected]

Ziva Cruz, left, student at Von Tobel Middle School, listens to Communities in Schools site coordinator Karina Torres during an interview on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

💰Communities in Schools of Nevada to receive $11.8 million in federal funding   Communities in Schools of Nevada, a nonprofit organization focused on help students reach graduation, is set to receive $11.8 million through the U.S. Department of Education’s Full-Service Community Schools Program. The organization serves 108 schools across the state, many of which are Title I schools that have a high percentage of students from low-income households. 

The department said in a statement last Tuesday that these five-year grants will help provide a range of services, including more early learning opportunities and community violence interventions.

Communities In Schools of Nevada CEO and State Director Tami Hance-Lehr said this funding will help support six Title I schools in the Clark, Elko and Humboldt county school districts. 

“At a time when child poverty has doubled and chronic absenteeism is at an all-time high, these basic needs, mental health supports, college- and career coaching, family engagement and after-school programs are needed now more than ever,” she said. 

👩‍🏫 Nevada State Superintendent appointed to national board — U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona appointed Nevada’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Jhone Ebert to serve on the National Assessment Governing Board, which sets policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP test. Her term began last month. 

The board decides what grades and subjects to assess, content to include and achievement levels. It works with the National Center for Education Statistics, which administers NAEP, to release and disseminate results. 

🎙Former Clark County School Board trustee launches podcast  — Danielle Ford, a former trustee on the Clark County School Board, recently released a podcast called “Unravelling Education.” Ford served on the school board from 2019 to 2022. Last year, she lost her bid for re-election in a race against former Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams. She has previously supported firing Superintendent Jesus Jara and spoken out against him and the school board. 

Ford said she expects to release one or two episodes a week, with the first episode coming out at the end of this week. The first season, which will consist of about 20 episodes, will focus on her journey to the school board and what she learned in the role.

Carson High School senior Jacqueline “Jackie” Estrada Diaz knows how tough it can be to be the new student. Estrada Diaz, 17, decided to move to Carson City six years ago to live with her grandmother and seek better opportunities after living in Mexico with her parents. Although she was born in the U.S., Estrada Diaz didn’t know English when she started her first day of school.

“So stepping into a classroom where nobody was there to help me was difficult,” she said. 

Now, she said she hopes to be that support for newcomers at Carson High School as part of the Blue Crew club that welcomes freshmen and other new students. Estrada Diaz specializes in giving tours in Spanish to students coming from Spanish-speaking countries, and helps them feel comfortable and answer any questions they may have. 

“The main reason why I focus on them is because I don't want them to feel embarrassed of not knowing what to say or how to act when they get to class,” Estrada Diaz said. 

In addition to working with Blue Crew, Estrada Diaz is in the top 50 students in her class, has a grade point average of 4.22, and serves as a library aide and a leadership officer. 

Estrada Diaz said she hopes to continue her education after high school, and eventually wants to obtain a degree in psychology and pursue a career in teaching so she can work with students who are learning English as a second language. 

“I want to be that person that is going to be able to help them become somebody they want [to be], and just remind them that everything's possible,” she said. 

Have a student or staffer who we should feature in the next edition of School Spotlight? Share your nominations with me at [email protected].

Reading Assignments

Amid legal questions, North Las Vegas proposes new nominee for Clark County School Board

The North Las Vegas City Council is expected to reverse course on its appointment of Clark County high school teacher and City Councilman Isaac Barron to the district’s board of trustees amid legal questions about whether someone can hold those roles simultaneously. The proposal to appoint a different person to the role came after The Nevada Independent raised questions about a possible conflict with state law and district policy.

New Clark County School Board members share their goals for district

In January, the Clark County School Board will ring in the new year with four nonvoting members. The incoming trustees were appointed during the past two months by Clark County commissioners and the city councils of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson. All have backgrounds in K-12 and higher education. 

Extra Credit

Las Vegas teacher turns to TikTok, ignites national support for student 'Wishmas' program

KSNV reports on a Las Vegas high school teacher who was able to use the power of social media to grant students’ Christmas wishes. 

Summer EBT program will now be permanent, as long as NV applies

The Nevada Current reports officials are planning to apply to be part of a new permanent summer nutrition assistance program for children, known as Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer, that would provide families with $40 each summer month per eligible child to buy food at grocery stores, farmers markets, or other authorized retailers. Eligible children would include those who receive​​ free- or reduced-price meals at school or live in households that benefit from  income-based federal assistance programs such as SNAP.  


🗒️ North Las Vegas City Council meeting — Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2 p.m. 

The agenda includes a recommendation to appoint Dane Watson to replace Councilman Isaac Barron as the city’s nonvoting representative on the Clark County School Board, and a presentation by the Clark County School District Region 1 Superintendent RoAnn Triana. 

🍎 State Board of Education meeting — Thursday, Dec. 6, 2 p.m. 

The agenda includes presentations on ACT test score and graduation rate data, and a presentation and discussion on the state’s goals and benchmarks for improving student achievement.                                                                                                                           

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