Las Vegas Charter Schools Experience Enrollment Jump

LAS VEGAS -- Charter schools in Clark County lead the nation in enrollment growth. Since last year, there has been a 64 percent increase in students. It seems parents want more of a say in their child's education.

"I wasn't a public school hater. I just wanted to try it out," said Elizabeth Hawley.

Hawley took her three children out of CCSD public schools after her youngest son's experience in first grade. She said parents clashed with the teacher.

"I said why is the teacher still in the classroom?"

Hawley decided to try a charter school. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools reports Clark County is one of two districts with a jump in enrollment -- nearly 3,000 more students than last year.

The growth comes from parents removing their kids from CCSD, the growing population and home-schoolers.

The virtual learning is part of the blended learning model at Odyssey Charter School.

"We have online learning K through seventh and our teachers actually go right into the home and provide one full hour of support," said Superintendent Timothy Lorenz, Odyssey Charter School.

Across town at Somerset Academy, the curriculum caters to student abilities. In two years, three new campuses have been built in the valley.

"We are slated next year to be opening another campus in the northwest part of town," said Principal Gayle Jefferson, Somerset Academy.

Somerset Academy has a waiting list of 1,400 students but Odyssey has available spots.

Each school charters its own path, giving parents, like Hawley, more choices than a traditional school. She says it's been a positive experience for her children.

"They love it, that was the most important thing to me."

Another reason Nevada is seeing charter school growth is because of the Nevada Charter School Authority Board. The board provides oversight for charter schools and authorizes and supports the schools.

There are more than 30 charter schools in Clark County with a combined enrollment of 17,000 students.


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