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Indy Education: How a NLV school broadcast is like ‘morning announcements on steroids’

Plus: Sparks kindergarten teacher awarded the ‘Oscars of teaching,’ and a Reno high school is named a state winner in Samsung STEM competition.
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]

News briefs

From left, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jhone Ebert, teacher Yamilet Lopez and Lowell Milken, founder of the Milken Educator Awards, pose for a photo inside of Lopez’s classroom in Sparks on March 14, 2024. (Courtesy/Milken Family Foundation)

🏆 Sparks kindergarten teacher receives Milken award — Alice Maxwell Elementary School kindergarten teacher Yamilet Lopez was shocked when what seemed like a regular assembly on Thursday turned out to be a ceremony in her honor as 2023-24 state winner of the Milken Educator Award — a prize that’s been called the “Oscars” of teaching. 

In addition to an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize, Lopez joins the Milken Educator Network, a national group of nearly 3,000 exceptional professionals working to shape the future of education. 

“Teachers don’t get recognition for a lot of the work they’re putting in and just recognitions like this makes it a little more meaningful and we feel really appreciated,” Lopez said in a Thursday interview with the media. 

Lopez is known for her instruction that both engages and challenges students, the Milken Educator Awards said in a press release. By the end of the school year, Lopez’s students leave her classroom knowing the entire alphabet, each letter’s sound and the ability to compose short paragraphs. 

Lopez has been a teacher for more than 11 years and is looking to use the cash prize to pursue a master’s degree. 

🎖️Reno high school named state winner of national STEM competition — On Monday, Galena High School was named the state winner of this year’s Samsung Solve for Tomorrow STEM competition. The school’s team is working on developing a device that can help people struggling with hand tremors. The device would be worn on a patient's wrist/hand, targeting pressure points, to help reduce shaking.

Each state winner will receive a package of $12,000 worth of technology for their school. The 10 national finalists will be selected in late March, and the three national winners will be named in April.

North Las Vegas elementary school students learning to be broadcast journalists

Teacher Daun Korkow leads students in the production of Super 6 News broadcast news program at Gilbert Academy of Creative Arts elementary school in North Las Vegas on Feb. 14, 2024. (Rocio Hernandez/The Nevada Independent)

While students and teachers are trickling into their classrooms, the anchors, reporters and producers behind the Super 6 News program are hard at work inside their school’s TV studio rehearsing for the live broadcast of the show that kicks off school days at Gilbert Academy of Creative Arts in North Las Vegas.

The show is created, hosted and produced by the elementary school’s third through fifth grade students, with help from News Director Daun Korkow and instructional assistants Edlin Garcia and Rosa Jefferson. 

“It's kind of like morning announcements on steroids,” Korkow said. 

While recording a live show can be intimidating, he said it's good training for his students, some of whom aspire to one day become journalists. 

“I tell them in class, ‘I'm not so worried about you making a mistake. I'm worried about how you handle it,’” Korkow said. 

Fifth graders Talia Ceballos and Valentina Ceja are both Super 6 News anchors and reporters. They became part of the class in third grade, starting off as weather watchers. 

“I want to be a news reporter when I grow up, so it benefits me,” Ceja said. 

Ceja said she enjoys helping produce holiday-themed shows. For their Valentine’s Day newscast, Ceja helped write about the history of the holiday and how it got its name. At the end of the show, Hershey's Kisses chocolate candies rained down on Ceballos, one of the two anchors for that day. 

Other students, such as fifth grader Nathan Ryan, prefer working behind the scenes in the sound room. Ryan is in charge of switching the sets, or transitioning between the anchors, the reporters and other videos and graphics. 

“I just really like anything tech related,” Ryan said. 

The students have also had a chance to practice their journalism skills outside of class. Last year, Ceballos and other students worked as hosts and PA announcers for a Las Vegas Aces WNBA basketball game. This year, student Miguel Garcia was a guest Super Bowl correspondent for KTNV and accompanied a reporter at the Super Bowl Fan Experience event before the big game. Garcia interviewed players, coaches and fans. 

“I definitely love the opportunity,” Ceballos said. “You don't get this in elementary school a lot, and it's gonna be cool to have this background when you go to middle school.”

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

2024 Nevada candidate filing live blog: Nearly 950 candidates running

Of those candidates, 55 are running for seats on the State Board of Education and the Clark and Washoe County school boards. 

Washoe County schools OK $500K to lawyer up against Trustee Jeff Church

The district’s chief general counsel says the trustee has personally filed or supported nearly three dozen lawsuits against the district.

Union wrapping up public records suit over Jara’s social media

The quest for records on a post from an alleged superintendent burner account is winding down, but the Clark County Education Association may pursue a defamation case against him and a district spokesman. 

Extra Credit

Nevada receives ‘F’ in report on state legislative support for public education

The failing grade was based on four criteria, including charter school regulations and voucher program limitations, teacher pay, and protections for homeschooled kids and students in the classroom, KUNR reported. 

Battling student absenteeism with grandmas, vans and a lot of love

An effort by a Pennsylvania school district affectionately called the “nanas program” is getting help from senior citizens to get students to school, NPR reported. 


🍎 Legislature’s interim education committee meeting — Wednesday, March 20, 9 a.m. 

The agenda includes presentations on addressing chronic student absenteeism and early childhood education and care. 

🍎 Douglas County School Board special meeting — Thursday, March 21, 5 p.m. The agenda includes the appointment of Interim Superintendent Jeannie Dwyer as acting superintendent. This comes after the board’s vote to appoint Dwyer to the position at a March 12 meeting was voided due to an open meeting law violation.  

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Congratulations, State Superintendent Jhone Ebert!


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