Pat, Personally

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Celebrating the sixth annual "Reclaim Your Future"

On May 12, it was my pleasure to be part of the sixth annual “Reclaim Your Future” senior celebration, at which approximately 700 students from Clark County School District (CCSD) high schools were recognized for their achievements.

The celebration put the spotlight on the Reclaim Your Future initiatives of CCSD, Jobs for Nevada's Graduates and the Family Engagement Resource Center. With the support of community partners, volunteers and staff, students whose attendance, credits or proficiency exam results put them at risk of not graduating, are getting the help they need.

Students are also given additional resources including mentors, online credit retrieval and proficiency exam "boot camps" to earn a high school diploma.

The Reclaim Your Future senior celebration supports CCSD's Pledge of Achievement goal of College and Career Readiness.

At the celebration, there were giveaways courtesy of the NBA Summer League and the School-Community Partnership Program. Plus, four outstanding students were surprised with scholarships from the College of Southern Nevada.

I also want to thank our wonderful staff and sponsors who made this celebration happen. None of this would be possible without the hard work of our staff and students who go above and beyond everyday.

Click here to watch a video of this very special event.

Congratulations to these terrific, hardworking students, and we look forward to seeing you walk across the stage and receive your diploma!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Reorganization and AB469

For the past six months we have been implementing a massive reorganization of the Clark County School District. Please watch my video regarding this and AB469.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! So far, we’ve had some terrific events to honor our wonderful teachers, starting with the Heart of Education Awards at The Smith Center on April 29.

We also had a great event at Helen Jydstrup Elementary School, with Station Casinos donating free buffet vouchers to more than 18,000 CCSD teachers.

In addition, WGU Nevada, Lyft and Dunkin’ Donuts Las Vegas donated donuts to CCSD teachers.

Check out the links below for highlights of these great events, plus my latest Superintendent’s Update.

Highlights of Teacher Appreciation Week

Superintendent’s Update

Monday, April 24, 2017

Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week May 1-5

Teachers change the lives of thousands of children every day, and their work and impact extend far beyond the boundaries of the classroom. With Teacher Appreciation Week from May 1-5, I want to express my gratitude to our more than 18,000 educators who deserve the spotlight for their commitment to our students. This important week allows us to continue applauding district teachers by acknowledging all that they do to create a foundation for future generations. Our teachers are educators and so much more.

To celebrate the commitment of CCSD educators, this year Teacher Appreciation Week kicks off with the 2nd annual Heart of Education Awards, in partnership with The Smith Center, The Rogers Foundation and other community supporters. The program will honor 910 outstanding CCSD teachers with a red carpet arrival, swag bags and live entertainment on Saturday, April 29, at The Smith Center. The event will also highlight the top 20 award winners that will receive a custom trophy and a cash gift of $5,000 in recognition of their achievements. Each winner’s school will also be given a cash gift of $1,000 to be used for a program selected by the winning teacher.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! Please be sure to thank our teachers for all the hard work and sacrifices they make on a daily basis.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Online registration has begun

It’s that time of year again – time to register students for the upcoming school year.

Families with current CCSD students can complete the registration using Parent Portal by way of Infinite Campus at For these families, the process will take less than five minutes.

Families who are new to CCSD may begin the process at

Registration can be done on a computer or from a mobile device. Schools will have computers available for registering students.

I urge all parents to register and enroll their students by the first day of class, because of changes in the methods of state funding.

The new method essentially turns every school day into a “count day,” and the district’s funding is based on enrollment data. Students who are not enrolled by the first day of school will have a direct impact on the funding we receive.

Parents can visit or call Demographics, Zoning and GIS at 702-799-6430 to find out which school their child is zoned for.

To learn more about registration requirements, parents may visit or contact the school.

And finally, please remember that the new school year will start two weeks earlier, on Monday, Aug. 14.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Test-taking tips for parents

This is the time of year that students in grades 3-5 are taking their SBAC tests. If you are a parent, there are ways you can help your child prepare for these tests.

The first thing I’d suggest is to create a study area at home that is free of distractions, a place where your child can prepare quietly and without unnecessary stress.

Try engaging in activities such as grade-appropriate games that make studying fun. You can also refer to old homework assignments and use them as study tools.

Set time limits on the review activities so that your child gets in the habit of working at a steady pace.

Make sure your student gets at least eight hours of sleep the night before test days, and ensure they have a healthy breakfast the morning of testing.

Do your best to enhance your child’s confidence that he or she can do well on the test. It's so important to be positive and supportive, to help your child feel relaxed and self-assured.

On test day, your child should read and re-read the directions carefully so they understand how to complete the task.

For more tips, click here to watch a fun video about testing courtesy of our friends at Lincoln Elementary School.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Take a look at these great videos produced by our students

Prior to the beginning of this school year, our Board of School Trustees asked each high school to make one video, about two to three minutes in length, highlighting their accomplishments and what they are most proud of as a student body. Our students answered the call and have put together some awesome videos.

I do my best each year to visit as many schools as possible, but with 351 campuses total and 49 high schools alone, it can be a little challenging.

Please, support our students and take a look at some of these videos. You'll be amazed at what our students are doing and achieving. Please feel free to utilize social media to share some of your favorites.

Monday, March 20, 2017

FACES increases parent engagement

One of the most important ideas behind the reorganization of our district is the engagement of our parents and community members in our schools. We have several partners who are helping to increase parent engagement by bringing parents into the schools to find ways to get involved.

The Family and Community Engagement Services Department, or FACES, as we like to call them, has been in place for the past two years. Their purpose is to go into schools and communities to teach parents how to get engaged in their child’s education. They also teach parents how to become advocates for their child and all children in their school.

FACES has a small but mighty staff that focuses on school-based Family Engagement Centers that “establish and nurture relationships with one common goal—student achievement, through academic support, classes and workshops in a variety of topics, and access to community resources.” Visit their site at

They also work closely with school principals to go out into their community to engage parents in their home schools. This work is essential when recruiting parents to be members of parent organizations and the School Organizational Teams.

Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) began in 1897 and have been an integral part of schools ever since. Nevada has a strong PTA presence in our schools. This is not the PTA we remember from our youth; they still support schools with fundraisers, but are now advocacy groups to help the school and the district with the goal of increasing parent participation in their child’s education.

The Nevada State PTA has been busy this year, providing public service announcements for our Vegas PBS station, giving more than $40,000 to the clothing closets in our schools and are assisting our schools in so many ways. PTA is a valuable partner in the work we do and we could not ask for a better partner. Visit their site at

Family engagement in a child’s learning is an extremely high indicator of student success in schools. We must all come together to make a difference for Every Student in Every Classroom, Without Exceptions, Without Excuses.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Schools aren't immune to spring fever

It is officially March madness! I’m not referring to the NCAA Basketball Championship, although I will be watching as many games as I can. I am talking about the spring quickly approaching.

With the time change and the temperatures rising, we see an increase in nervous energy. Students long to be outside in the beautiful weather while staff members think about how much more material they must get students to master before we begin our standardized assessments. School Organizational Teams met regularly to get their strategic budgets and Plan of Operation completed by the February deadlines.

Schools are focused on making sure every student is proficient by the end of the year or that every student is on track to graduate. This involves extra tutoring, extra classes, extra homework and most of all, extra time to make sure every student is ready for the next step.

Our programs that provide additional support to students who have an Individualized Education Plan, who are English Language Learners or who have Free-and-Reduced Lunch are essential to the success of all students. We identify additional supports to these students but each one of these students must master the same standards as every other student at their grade level.

The challenge is to provide the additional support to all students who are identified: How do we utilize the categorical dollars from the last legislative session to continue to support the students in our ZOOM and Victory School programs, while also providing the support needed in other schools with their challenged population?

This week, the Senate Committee on Education will hold the first hearing of the weighted funding formula. We must all be involved to ensure that the additional dollars are making it to the classrooms where these challenged students are located, and to ensure that the accountability is strong enough to hold schools responsible for their academic success. It is no small task, but making sure that each student receives the additional dollars necessary to be successful has to be the priority!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Legislature discusses education issues

We are in the fifth week of the 2017 Nevada Legislative Session and already numerous education bills have been introduced and discussed in committees. This session is quickly developing a focus on education, much like the last session in 2015.

The Assembly Committee on Education meets every Monday and Wednesday at 3:15 p.m. The chair of the committee is Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson and the vice chair is Assemblywoman Amber Joiner.  You can monitor the committee here  or even view the meetings (livestream or archives) by clicking here.

The Senate Committee on Education meets every Tuesday and Thursday at 3:30 p.m.  The chair of the committee is Senator Mo Denis and the vice chair is Senator Joyce Woodhouse.  You can monitor the committee here or even view the meetings (livestream or archives) here.

Each year for the past 12 years, the Nevada Association of School Superintendents has met to establish a legislative platform that encompasses the needs of all school districts across Nevada.  The name of the plan is iNVest. The 2017 plan focuses on the following issues:  providing adequate basic support, complete conversion to the weighted funding formula, preserving current funding sources, establishing a rainy day fund, improving and expanding school facilities, increasing the teacher pipeline, and support for professional development.  

While each of the school districts in Nevada is very different, we all have the same basic needs as outlined in iNVest. Please review the document here. We will present iNVest 2017 to the Senate Committee on Education on March 7, 2017, and to the Assembly Committee on Education on March 8, 2017.

The CCSD Board of Trustees has developed a legislative platform to give direction for our lobbying team during the session. You can review the platform here.

As we move through the legislative session, we provide weekly updates through the CCSD Session Spotlight newsletter.  You can access previous issues of the CCSD Session Spotlight here, or if you would like to receive them by email, you can sign up here.

Here are a few ways you can let legislators know how you feel:

1. Send an email or hard copy mail. Go here and here to get contact information for legislators. Email addresses, office addresses, phone numbers (sometimes even personal cell phone numbers!) are listed.

2. If you don’t know who your legislators, click here. Type in your address and you’ll get a list of the senate, assembly, congressional and board of regents district you’re in, as well as a link to the elected officials in those offices.

3. Use the “share your opinion” option on the Nevada Legislature website. On this website you can identify the bill number, indicate whether you are for or against it, and type in comments.

This legislative session is extremely important for education in Nevada.  Please stay informed and involved!