Inside Education S20 Ep1 | CCSD Back to School Basics and More

On this
back-to-school edition of Inside
Education, everything
you need to know before the new
school year begins.We’ll take you
on a tour of one
of the Clark County
School District’s
brand new schools,
one of two new elementary
schools opening
this school year.
Plus CCSD’s
Department is rolling
out a brand new app.
Wait until you see
what it does.
Then meet some of
the newest officers
to the Clark County
School District
police force
and learn how
they are helping
keep our kids safe.
We’ve also
got information on teacher hiring,
back-to-school fairs, community resources
and much more. Inside Education
starts right now. ♪♪♪ Thanks so much for
joining us for this back-to-school edition
of Inside Education. I’m your host,
Mitch Truswell. It’s hard to believe,
but summer break is coming to an end which
means it’s almost time for the new school
year to begin. The first day of class
for the Clark County School District
is Monday, August 12.That’s when more than
320,000 students
will walk into
their classrooms
for the first time,
ready to learn
and start the new
year off right.
Well, there’s a lot
of information parents,
students and staff
members need to know
before that first
day of school,
and we’ve got your
basics covered,
but we begin
with a look
at school safety
and the four-legged
officers that will make
appearances on middle
and high school campuses.
Inside Education’s
Kathy Topp caught up
with one of the
CCSD school police
canine units to see
exactly how these dogs
can help keep
students safe. Kathy?
(Kathy Topp)
Mitch, the Clark County
School District Police Department
currently has four canine officers. They’re detection dogs,
meaning they’re specially trained to sniff out
and find firearms. School police started
using the dogs in their prevention efforts
in February, so this will be the
first full school year students will see
canines on campus. “We’re going to find it
because the dogs “are really good
at what they do.”Meet Ziggy,
a not-quite-yet,
black lab,
and CCSD Police
officer Rob Harris,
Ziggy’s other half.(Rob Harris)
A dog can search that
classroom in five minutes or less, where
it would take a human being probably
15 or 20 minutes.Together they’re
one of four CCSD Police
canine officer teams
dedicated to sniffing out
firearms in
valley classrooms.
The visits to CCSD
schools are random
with each dog
typically visiting
several schools a day.Their sole focus
is to locate firearms, so to keep guns
out of schools and to keep kids safe.We tagged along as
Ziggy and Officer Harris
a drill to show us
how the dogs work.Our dogs are
trained to locate four specific smells: Post-blast residues–
that’s just a fancy way of saying after
a gun’s been fired, it has a
distinct smell– the casings,
the ammo itself, and then gun oil.First a firearm
is hidden in a locker.
Note the gloves–
they’re used to make sure
a friendly scent
isn’t transferred.
Then Ziggy goes to work.Oh, that’s good.
Come here.Officer Harris watches
for specific changes
in Ziggy’s behavior;
for example,
aggressive wagging
of his tail.
Oh, that’s a good boy!The dogs can canvass
classrooms as well,
finding firearms
that may be tucked away
in backpacks or bags.That tail’s picked up, that head is
really darting, and he keeps
looking at me. The positive reaction
from the kids and from the District
has been overwhelming. -The canine officers
will also make appearances at CCSD
elementary schools so younger
students can learn about the dogs
and how they work. We should also mention
that the canine units work hand in hand with
other police departments like Henderson, North
Las Vegas and Metro as part of their
partnerships to protect schools and the
community. Mitch? Kathy, thank you
for that story. As we know the best way
to ensure student safety is to stop events
before they happen. A quick reminder
that anyone who has information regarding
a safety issue is encouraged to
contact their school administrator or local
law enforcement agency. CCSD Police Department
operates a tip line that is available 24/7.The phone number
is 702.799.0228.
Information of course
can also be shared
through the SafeVoice app
that can be installed
on phones by visiting
or by calling
Well, safety
has been a topic of discussion in recent
weeks in relation to dean of school
positions. The District needs
to trim $17 million from its budget,
and dean positions were on
the cutting block. After much community
debate and input, Clark County School
District Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara
announced the District will not eliminate
the dean of students position for this
coming school year. Instead CCSD middle
and high schools will need to
reduce their budgets by approximately
$98 per student. The Superintendent
held a news conference which the District
streamed live on Facebook. “The resounding message
from all stakeholders “including teachers,
support professionals, “principals
and our community, “was that the decision
was best left “to our principals
along with “their school
organizational teams.”The superintendent
also announced
that the District
will rethink
how students
are disciplined.
Part of that strategy
includes creating
a student success project
facilitator position
in select
secondary schools.
Even with the new school
year fast approaching,
the Clark County
School District
continues to
recruit teachers.
Like many school districts
across the country,
the District faces
a teacher shortage.
Joining me now is
Tya Mathis Coleman, the District’s director
of recruitment, diversity and
high-need areas, to fill us in
on the District’s recruiting efforts.
Welcome back. -Thank you
for having me. -So I was asking you,
did you take any time off this summer, and
of course you didn’t because it’s
one of those jobs that you gotta be here
and make sure that we have
enough teachers. We checked in a couple
months ago with you about where we were,
so over the summer, how have recruiting
efforts gone? (Tya Mathis Coleman)
Well, we’ve had a
great recruitment year. So far this year
we’ve recruited about 1,300
licensed teachers. We recruited
well over 1,300, but we’ve offered
1,300 of them contracts for
the next school year. So we still
do have vacancies, but the important thing
for the community to realize is
that the District is constantly
recruiting and hiring. -This is year-round. -Year-round, so even
though school starts in just a couple weeks,
we will continue to hire teachers throughout
the fall semester. -Okay. So approximately,
I know it’s going to be a ballpark because
it changes every day, on August 12, the
first day of school, do you know
approximately how many vacancies
there will be? -Well, I know
that as of today we have approximately
700 vacancies. We’re hoping that in
the next couple of weeks, we will be able to hire
hundreds of teachers still for the first
day of school. So we’re hoping that
we will not start the school year
with 700 vacancies. -In that case then,
what happens? Is it a substitute
that fills in? -In most cases
a classroom will start with
a long-term sub. Those are professional
employees of the District that have gone through
an onboarding process and are equipped with
the tools to start off a new classroom the
first day of school. So I know parents
have concerns about their child being
in a classroom with a long-term sub,
but we want you to know that principals
select individuals who are a good fit
for their school, so they’re not
just placing subs. We’re selecting
individuals that will be a good fit
for your school and for your classroom
until a licensed teacher can be
in that classroom. -Okay. What is it
that is working? -Well, we have four
full-time recruiters that travel the country,
and their job is to attract and recruit
people to come here in the Clark County
School District. They’re not just recruiting
for the District, they’re recruiting
for Las Vegas. They have to be able
to sell the environment, and I think what works
is when we have people who are from Nevada
telling people the great things
that we have to offer in the city and why
they want to be a part of the Clark County
School District. It is challenging
convincing a new college graduate to leave their
friends and family and come over to Clark
County School District or even convincing
a more seasoned teacher to leave an already
established career and make the transition
but it does happen, so it’s just a matter
of cultivating our recruitment
and making sure we’re contacting
those individuals and helping them
through the process as much as possible. -Right. We’ve talked
about this before that this is not
just a CCSD issue, it’s schools across
the country. And I’m not sure,
but in the past special education teachers
are in short supply and I forget,
elementary teachers? -Elementary,
science and math are our high-need areas. -Right. So what is it
again that is leading to this shortage,
fewer people are going into
this career? -Yes. I would say
the greatest challenge is our institutions
of higher education are not producing
enough traditionally trained teachers,
and by that we mean people who from
their freshman year are taking classes
to become a teacher. Most of our–
I guess our diversity and most
of those numbers are coming from
our ARL programs. Traditionally trained
teacher programs, there’s a shortage
all across the U.S. so people just aren’t
going into school to be teachers anymore. -But you’re getting them
from other industries when they decide they
want to make a change, and that’s Alternate
Route to Licensure, the ARL program. Well, I’m glad
that’s successful. So give me three
characteristics you want in a good teacher
that comes here. What would that be? -We want someone who
is excited to be here, passionate about student
achievement and success and just excited
to help mentor and encourage
the next generation. I know that probably
wasn’t three. (laughter) No, that was good. We appreciate your time
and continued success. I know we need teachers,
and you’re working hard. We appreciate it. -Thank you
for having me. -Parents, if you
haven’t already, please make sure
you register your students
for class. Parents of currently
enrolled students can complete online
registration via their Infinite
Campus portal.New families to CCSD
may register online
at,or of course they can
visit their zoned school.
After completing the
online registration,
parents must bring
the required documents
to their child’s
zoned school
to complete the
registration process.
If you have questions
about your zoned school,
or call the demographic
and zoning office at
702.799.6430.And there
will be no change in Clark County School
District meal prices for the 2019-20
school year. The Food Service website
provides pricing information, menus,
nutrition details and other important
information. It also includes a link
to where you can make
online payments to a student’s
meal account. Many students are
eligible for free or reduced-price
meals through the National School
Lunch Program. For questions on
the application process, email [email protected] You can also call
1.800.819.7556. If you’re looking
for a way to get up to speed on
the new school year, there are a couple
back-to-school fairs that can certainly
help you.Each location will have
at least 50 different
booths loaded with
information from CCSD,
nonprofit groups,
community agencies
as well as some
local businesses.
Here are the
upcoming fairs.
If you’re looking
for immunizations,
the only option is
to go to Meadows Mall
on August 3.The cost
for immunizations
will range from
no copay to low fee
and no charge depending
on the family’s
insurance status.Please bring your
child’s immunization
record as well as
insurance card.
At both fairs you will
find information about
school transportation,
zoning, school lunches,
and much more.
Well, speaking
of transportation in terms of keeping tabs
on CCSD bus service, there’s now
an app for that. CCSD’s Transportation
Department is rolling out a new app
for the school year. Joining me are Michael
Moore and Aaron Leonard from the CCSD
Transportation Department to tell us
more about it. This is pretty exciting. This is an app
that was actually created in
your department, I think we should
point that out. You didn’t buy this,
you guys created it, so you saved a lot of
money for the District so kudos to that. Why don’t we start
with you, Aaron. Tell us what
this app will do. (Aaron Leonard)
What this app does is
it allows parents to create an account. They can link students
to their account just by using their
student number and date of birth. Then they’ll be able
to see their student’s transportation
information as well as any
upcoming changes that happen
throughout the year. For students
who are receiving special transportation
services, they can schedule
an absence, a period of time
where they know their student isn’t
going to ride the bus, and that will notify the
Transportation Department. They can also
see on a map where their stop is,
where the school is and during the scheduled
times for the route, they can track
where that bus is. -Actually track the bus,
that’s very cool. Part of that means
when you’re wondering where the bus is,
if your student is at the bus stop,
there’s like an ETA function,
is there not? -Yes, there is.
-That’s awesome. So what do we need
to do to get the app? -In order to do that
you can search for CCSD Onboard, “onboard”
being one word, on Google Play Store
or the Apple app store. You could also go to and it has direct links
to both stores there. -Okay. So this works
on mobile devices, so we said Apple
and we said Android. It also works on an iPad
or something like that? -Yes.
-Okay, that’s very cool. One of the things that’s
kind of interesting is I know the Transportation
Department had been talking about this
kind of service, but at the same time
a student named Myra was doing some
sort of project that kind of made
you think you know, we really need
to do this. Maybe that’s something,
Michael, you can address. (Michael Moore)
Yes, Myra and another
girl did their capstone at East CTA for their
2018 senior year on a bus
tracking app. And necessity is the
mother of invention, and it comes from her
being at the bus stop and her bus being
delayed and how frustrated she
would get with that. So they came up with the
idea of doing a bus app, so the communication
between the bus driver and the students,
and that way they can determine
where they’re going. We watched this
presentation, and it was very timely
because we’d just got done doing a couple
proof of concepts with two other vendors,
and then Aaron had redone our bus alert system
to show the schools where the buses
were in relation to the stops involved
on the route. So if somebody called
the school and said my bus is late,
they could look and see
where it’s at. Well, with that
piece of technology, we brought Aaron in
and asked Aaron, do you think we can
create this app? He looked at it
and said sure, let’s go for it.
-That’s awesome. So the school already
has the ability, every bus has a GPS. Is that how you know
where they all are, or how do we know
where the bus is? -Each bus
has a GPS in it. Our telemetrics provider
has been on the bus for, I don’t know,
about 10 years now. They also provide bus
inspections and all that. It’s more for tracking
for accidents or if somebody complains
that the bus was speeding. But there is an API,
in other words something that a programmer
can attach to to get information out. So Aaron’s really
pulling that GPS data and storing
it elsewhere, and we’re just
utilizing that service for our bus
tracking app. -So this is just
the first version. Do you expect that
maybe there might be some way to advance it
in the future? I mean, I understand
it’s not going to be– people may be used
to Lyft or Uber and it tells you exactly
where the car is; that’s a
different system, probably more expensive. Yours is not going
to be quite as precise, but do you see any
possible advancements to the app in the future
that are possible? -Yes, I do. One other initiative
that’s separate but we can also make
use of in the future is the initiative to put
tablets on the buses which helps the front
line offices communicate with the drivers
more efficiently. Another benefit
of that which is very significant is it puts
a 4G device on the bus that we can pull GPS
data from which, like you said, that’s
how Uber and Lyft work. They use the phone
of the driver in order to tell what
the position is, and they can pretty
much request locations whenever they want
which is something that unfortunately we haven’t
been able to do now. So we’re looking forward
to that in the future. -So for those that maybe
don’t have a mobile device or something,
I guess there obviously– if they have a question
about their route, is there some
other place, is there a website
they can go to if they don’t have
a mobile device available or maybe
not a smartphone? -We have, and there’s a big yellow
button that says “get route information.” If you click that button,
you’re taken to a website and if you know your
child’s student ID number and their birth date,
you can put that in and get the
specific information for your child. If you don’t know that
but you have your address, which everybody
should know, you can put that in
and you can get the bus route information
for the schools that are zoned
for your address. -Well, that’s good. Again, it’s called
CCSD Onboard, it’s available now,
and it will be ready for the first day
of school. We appreciate,
Michael and Aaron, your time today. (both) Thank you
very much. -That was a
great invention, and good for saving the
District some money too. -Thank you. -Well, there will be
two new schools welcoming students
when classes begin on Monday, August 12. Both are elementary
schools and are helping to alleviate
overcrowding in the southwest
and southeast valley. While every school
in the Clark County School District
is preparing for a new school year,
the process is even more crucial
for a brand new school, as we found out
during a tour of Sandra B. Abston
Elementary.Violet Colavito
is getting ready
for August 12.She’s been setting
up her classroom
for several days now,
far ahead of what
is required,
and that’s because
she’s excited to be part
of a brand new school.
(Violet Colavito)
We’re about two weeks
from having to actually be here and there’s
people all over the building throughout
the whole day, so it seems like
everybody’s excited.Just down the hall,
Ben Osmera
will be teaching
2nd grade students.
He too is looking forward
to the new school year
in a brand new building.(Ben Osmera)
It’s cool because
everybody’s on the same page. It doesn’t matter if you’re
a first-year teacher or teaching
20 years like me or coming from another
state or whatever. You’re on the same page
and everything is new.The principal
of Sandra B. Abston
Elementary School,
Jeff Hybarger,
says it’s crunch time
in terms of preparing
the school for
students and staff,
but he’s confident
they’ll be ready to go
and he’s determined to
give students the right
first impression
on their first day.
(Jeff Hybarger)
Totally welcome,
totally enveloped in a community that
they know they’re safe, that the people that
work with them and serve them…Hybarger has long-term
plans to create
a science and STEM
focus at the school,
something all students
will be exposed to
in their classes
and something that fits
perfectly at Abston which
is home of the Astros.
Students can expect
a lot of references
throughout the school
to space, astronomy,
rockets, aviation
and more.
Eventually what
you’ll see here is a mural that will
have a really cool rendered Earth,
and it will be a big Earth with
a sign on it that says “You are
welcome here.”Eventually, Hybarger
hopes he’ll be able
to add a full-time
STEM educator
and has the goal of
making Abston a future
governor’s designated
STEM school.
For librarian
Emily Holm,
her goal is getting
the library
ready for students.(Emily Holm)
This is my very
first opportunity to open a new school
and open a new library.With help, she’s
been able to place
thousands of books
on shelves
in the appropriate order
and ready to offer
students a path
to reading.
When they come in,
I really want them to love the space
and feel welcome.Abston is designed
for kindergarten
through 5th grade
at least 850 students.
The school will also
offer pre-K programs
and programs for primary
and intermediate
students affected
by autism.
Sandra Abston
Elementary is located near Tropicana
and Hualapai. The other new school
opening this year is Earl N. Jenkins
Elementary, and that’s located near
Hollywood Boulevard and Vegas Valley Drive. Jenkins Elementary
is expected to alleviate overcrowding at
Iverson, Hal Smith and Cynthia Cunningham
elementary schools. Well, back to school
is also a busy time for the many groups
that provide what are often called
wrap-around services at many CCSD schools. Communities In Schools,
for example, helps connect students
and their families with educational
and community-based resources. The bottom line is
to help students from dropping out
of school. Joining us is Cheri Ward,
executive director of Communities In Schools
of Southern Nevada. Cheri, welcome back. -Thank you,
glad to be here. -Well, we’re happy
to have you here. Let’s start with kind of
the basic overview. For a lot of folks
that may not be familiar with Communities
In Schools, what kinds of things can you
connect students with? What services? This is kind of not the
educational part so much, but some of the other
support services, right? (Cheri Ward)
Right. So what we do is
have a full-time person in the school,
at least one, and what they do is
they find out what the needs are
of the students, and then what we
like to do is bring the community
to the school. So if it’s tutors
or if it’s mentors or if it’s glasses
or if it’s hygiene, any of the things
that might be needed, we try to bring our
community together and provide those
for the students. -And I was asking,
it seems like you’re adding more
and more schools in Southern Nevada. How many schools
are you in right now, and I believe you’re
adding new ones, right? -Yes. So this last year
we were in 48 schools, and this is K-12, and this year
we’re adding six more. -And when you say
you’re in those schools, that means there is
at least one, unless it’s a
high school, two, on-site
facilitators, right? -Right. And they’re
the ones that meet with the kids,
meet with them and find out
what the areas are, and like I said, it’s
all about that caring adult relationship
and seeing what it is that is the barrier
for the kids, and why they’re doing
what they’re doing or why they’re not doing what they
should be doing. -Right. I was
curious about this, there are many reasons
I’m sure that students drop out of school,
but you’re saying that this can
sometimes– it starts in
the early years. Explain that
progression, how it does often happen
and how it relates or it turns into
a student dropping out. -Right. So it does
start in elementary. It could be they’re
not getting to school. You know, they have
all these absences, so they get behind
or they struggle with the language,
whatever it is, so they’re already
behind in elementary. Then they go on
to middle school, and middle school
is a tough time anyway, and then once
you’re behind and if you
can’t make it up and if you don’t have
somebody seeing that’s going on
and really helping you, they get into high
school and then they go oh, my goodness,
I’m not going to make it. I’m so far behind,
that kind of thing, and that’s kind
of when it happens, or it happens
at 8th grade even. -And it just gets
worse and worse. -Right. And say they’re
trying to get out of poverty and
they don’t even see that there’s
an option for them. -You made an important
point about it being someone,
an on-site facilitator is someone
who really connects with a student
and really shows them that somebody cares,
and you say that makes probably the
biggest difference in your success
with students. -Yes, and that is
the major thing with Communities
In Schools is we are the caring
adult in their life. Sometimes it’s just
to listen to them, to know they’re heard,
to really build that relationship
so you can find out what it is, you know,
kids act out, well, then you
get to know them. You find out, you know,
like they don’t have a parent
in their life. It could be they’ve
moved five times and they don’t have
any of their stuff. You know, it can be
anything like that. -They’re there to help. We do want to make
a quick mention, you’ve got a school
supplies drive coming up on August 2. How do people get
involved with that? They can go online or they can
drop off supplies? -Yes. They can go
online to and they can donate,
or they can go to the Sam’s Club
at Arroyo Crossing, which is 215 and Rainbow, at 5:30 in the morning
to 7:30 at night or to the Galleria Mall from 10 in the morning
to 7:30 at night. -And then we should
also point out that if you want to
donate something else you can go
to the website,, and you need
hygiene kits and you need what
other things? -We need uniforms,
and alarm clocks– I mean, there’s
all sorts of things, and you can get
your family involved and have them
help with you. -An easy way to help. Hey, we appreciate
the good work you do to try and keep
kids in school and meet those needs that are often outside
the classroom. We appreciate your help.
-Thank you. -And again, if you
want to get in touch with Communities
In Schools, We know we gave you
a lot of things to think about during this
program as you get ready for the new school
year to start. If you’re looking for
one centralized source for everything
back to school for the Clark County
School District, make sure to check out
the District’s online back to school resource. There you can find
information on registration,
transportation, food service, safety,
and much more. The address for the web
page is on your screen. We hope you
take some time to click through it
and see what’s there. There’s a lot of
great information. We want to thank you
for watching and also having
an interest in our public
education system. A reminder that you can
catch this episode and past episodes
of Inside Education on the Vegas PBS website
or YouTube page. We want to wish every
student and staff member a great first day
of school on August 12, and we’re back in two
weeks with a special School Matters edition
of Inside Education. We hope to see you then. ♪♪♪

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