Summit Tackles Tough Education Issues

LAS VEGAS -- Budget issues, an interim superintendent, and troubling graduation rates are some of the major issues the Clark County School District must tackle.

The theme of the second Southern Nevada Leadership Summit on Thursday was about staying focused in times of transition. The Public Education Foundation hosted the event and invited educational, business and community leaders to come together and share ideas on how to improve student achievement.

The summit includes school principals, administrators and business leaders. It draws nationally recognized educational leaders who share their experiences.

"The people they bring in allow you to look at what you're doing and make some hard decisions about what you need to be doing in the future," said David Wilson, Chaparral High School principal.

Wilson has seen a 15 percent gain in his school's graduation rate. He credits the leadership training with helping him create a plan to support students who are falling behind.

Judi Steele, the president of The Public Education Foundation says the goal is to strengthen the bond between business, community and educators to improve the educational system.

"Whether there's Joe as the head of the school district, or a Pat, or a woman, anyone of those people can come and go, children are still here and leaders within the community have capabilities and have vision and dream," she said.

Keynote speaker and superintendent Cami Anderson of Newark Public Schools encouraged Nevada's leaders to stay the course.

"What we're hearing today is the commitment to continuing progress and keeping your foot on the gas, even when, understandably there's trepidation in times of change."

The foundation also has a 15-month long executive academy that 21 principals and educational administrators attend on a monthly basis. It puts principals, like Wilson, back in the classroom hearing lectures and solving problems.

"In order to see the successes and gains we've seen at Chaparral, we have to be outside of the norm," Wilson said.

Next week, the foundation will hand out nearly $1 million in scholarships to 330 students.


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