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July 28, 2014

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Teacher diversity gap’ cause for concern in CCSD schools

Three of four teachers in minority-majority district are white

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Paul Takahashi

Fitzgerald Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Danita Britt participates in a summer training session. The Clark County School District is trying to increase the number of teachers of color, such as Britt, to lessen its “teacher diversity gap.”

Updated Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012 | 5:34 p.m.

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The likelihood that students of color in Nevada will have a teacher who looks like them is among the lowest in the nation, according to a recent report.

Even as Nevada’s student population becomes more ethnically diverse, the state’s teaching staff is still predominantly white. In the Clark County School District – which educates the majority of Nevada children – 70 percent of students are nonwhite while 76 percent of its licensed educators are white.

In fact, Nevada’s “teacher diversity gap” is the second largest in the nation, surpassed only by California, according to an Education Week report released last month.

Although the School District has a higher percentage of minority teachers (24 percent) than the national average of 17 percent, the widening gap is troubling among educators who believe children of color benefit academically from being taught by teachers of the same ethnic or racial background.

“This is a huge concern and area of focus for us,” said Staci Vesneske, the School District’s human resources director. “It’s a huge concern that in general we don’t have enough teachers of color teaching our students.”

A small body of research suggests the children of color are more responsive and do better academically when taught by teachers of color. Often, teachers of color are better able to relate with children of color, referring to shared cultural references and traditions to engage them.

However, these positive benefits aren’t limited to minority teachers and it doesn’t mean minority students require minority teachers to learn, said Greta Peay, director of the district’s equity and diversity education department.

“Will students feel better if they see someone of color in front of the classroom?” Peay asked. “Yes, that has some value, an adage to it.

“But any teacher who is culturally sensitive, knows the background of students and is open to working with them – regardless of their ethnicity – can reach minority students and do well,” Peay continued. “You don’t have to look, talk and walk like your students to teach them.”

•••

Click to enlarge photo

Clark County Schools Superintendent Dwight Jones thanked teachers and principals for their efforts to increase student achievement at a news conference on Monday, June 4, 2012. The School District announced – erroneously – that its graduation rate improved to 65 percent, from 59 percent the previous year.

However, with a burgeoning population of Hispanic and Asian students, School District officials are worried students won’t have minority teachers to look up to as role models.

It’s not that children of color require instruction from teachers of color, Vesneske said. Rather, it’s that schools and students of all backgrounds benefit when there is diversity among educators.

“It’s the morally right thing to do, to ensure that our students have role models of color,” she said. “It’s so important not only for our kids, but our organization. We want a diversity of thought.”

In the past two decades – as Las Vegas’ student population became majority-minority – the School District and its board have been served by a few leaders of color.

The district – which previously had a Hispanic superintendent and deputy superintendent – is currently led by Superintendent Dwight Jones, the district’s second black superintendent. The board – which is predominantly white – had Hispanic members and is currently chaired by Linda Young, its first black president.

These leaders of color – as well as their white counterparts – have championed for increased minority recruitment as well as multicultural training among educators in the district.

However, while the ranks of nonwhite teachers have risen, that growth hasn’t kept pace with the increase in nonwhite students nationally. That explains why the “teacher diversity gap” in Clark County remains stubbornly persistent.

But trying to close this diversity gap hasn’t been without great effort, officials said.

“This district is committed to narrowing that gap so that the workforce mirrors the population it serves,” Peay said.

•••

The School District has always struggled to attract qualified teachers of color.

It’s a problem not unique to Clark County, said Christine Clark, a professor of curriculum and instruction at UNLV’s College of Education.

“This is a national issue,” Clark said. “Everyone is competing for those teachers (of color), but the pool (of qualified candidates) is small. We need to do a better job of making the teaching profession interesting to more diverse teachers.”

Part of the dearth in minority teachers can be explained by lower college attendance among minority high school students.

According to the Center for American Progress’ 2011 report on increasing teacher diversity, only 56 percent of black high school graduates and 64 percent of Hispanic high school graduates go to college. The ones who go often struggle to finish.

With fewer than half of black and Hispanic students graduating in six years, the number of eligible candidates for the teaching field, which requires a college degree and extensive licensure, has minimized.

Furthermore, minority students often are driven toward more lucrative majors and careers to pay off the high cost of college, said Doris Watson, a professor of educational psychology and higher education at UNLV’s College of Education.

“Teaching salaries are low,” Watson said. For students of color – some of who are first-generation college students – "teaching isn’t supported by their families. They want their children to have more earning power.”

•••

One of the reasons the diversity gap has persisted in the School District is because regional colleges and universities have struggled to produce enough minority teacher candidates.

That has been apparent at UNLV’s College of Education, which is the School District’s largest source of teachers. Although the college has been successful at accelerating its graduates, its production of minority teachers has lagged.

Even though UNLV was named among the 10 most diverse universities in the country by U.S. News and World Report, its College of Education is much less diverse.

Whereas 60 percent of UNLV’s undergraduate students are from minority backgrounds, the college is 60 percent white.

“We’re very concerned about the diversity of our college,” said William Speer, dean. “Sadly, we’re not as diverse as the university as a whole, which is doing quite well.”

Complicating matters are UNLV’s budget cuts. Since the recession, the College of Education lost more than 60 percent of its funding. Its six departments have been cut to three. Its faculty, which once numbered 110 strong, has been whittled to 80.

Currently, there are just 10 professors of color in the entire college, down about 50 percent, Clark said.

Still, the college has maintained its commitment to diversity education, offering about 10 courses to help fledgling teachers engage students of color.

UNLV also has partnered with community programs to recruit minority students into teaching. One notable program, called the Teach Program, helps juniors and seniors at Clark High School consider teaching as a profession by offering college-level education courses, mentoring and campus visits to UNLV.

“We can’t do enough,” Speer said of the college’s diversity recruitment efforts. “We can always do more.”

•••

Despite these challenges, the School District has worked to increase its percentage of minority hires. This year, about 30 percent of the district’s nearly 300 new educators were teachers of color, Vesneske said.

Next year, the district’s human resources department hopes to increase its share of minority hires to 35 percent.

This isn’t about making and meeting quotas, however. It’s about making sure the district’s recruitment efforts are targeted to allow for a more diverse candidate pool, Vesneske stressed.

Teachers of color, like all teachers, “still need to meet our standards,” she said.

However, efforts to recruit quality teachers of color nationally has been hobbled by the district’s hiring practices and state policies, Vesneske said.

Although the district has attended a number of career fairs to meet candidates from historically black colleges and Hispanic-serving institutions, those efforts have been thwarted by the district’s inability to extend early offers to candidates.

That’s because there is too much uncertainty in the district’s budget – looming cuts and arbitration – to jump quickly on hiring diverse candidates, Peay said.

“We can’t compete with some of these large districts that can offer contracts right on the spot,” Peay said.

And while about 30 states offers incentives to lure minority teachers, Nevada only offers incentives in hiring hard-to-fill positions, such as math, science and special education teachers.

In addition, Nevada’s Alternative Routes to Licensure – which proponents say allows mid-career, minority professionals to become teachers – is too complicated and has too many requirements, Vesneske said.

“We really believe that people who are content-matter experts, have life experience and can learn on the job can bring a lot to the classroom,” she said. “We hope the state makes changes so ARL is easier for more people.”

Moreover, it’s been difficult to shake the negative perceptions of Las Vegas’ education system, Peay said.

Austerity measures have led to cuts, such as a reduction in the number of English Language Learner facilitators. The ongoing arbitration over teacher contracts hasn’t helped. Neither has the voters’ decision to strike down additional funding for school maintenance and libraries.

“(Some candidates) don’t realize that Las Vegas even has a school district,” Peay lamented.

Still, Las Vegas’ distinction as a cultural melting pot has been a boon for the district’s minority recruitment efforts, Vesneske said.

“Because Las Vegas is a diverse community, individuals of color are now wanting to come here,” she said. “They are less likely to go to some other communities where they will be among people who don’t look like them.”

•••

Once teachers of color are hired, districts across the country have found it difficult to retain them.

Minority teachers often flock to urban and at-risk schools where they face more challenges and risk burnout, the Center for American Progress report found.

That’s why the School District has launched a variety of professional development opportunities geared at helping teachers of all backgrounds connect with children of color.

In September 2011, the School Board – despite facing a multimillion budget deficit – approved $74,000 for multicultural training for about 350 teachers last school year. Zaner-Bloser, an education materials publisher, provided 18 days of professional development and materials, as well as a $313-an-hour consultant to deliver the training.

This training didn’t come without some controversy over its cost, but the School Board overwhelmingly approved it because the training would help teachers teach subjects highlighting different cultures and backgrounds.

During the school year, Peay’s staff of five diversity experts offers about 10 cultural sensitivity workshops each month to teachers district-wide. The equity and diversity department also conducts several conferences including one in the summer to promote cultural awareness among teachers.

The district focuses these sessions on new teachers in particular because research has shown teachers often leave the profession within their first five years on the job, Peay said.

In these diversity sessions, teachers learn how to work with a variety of students, including students of color or poverty, English Language Learners, special education students and gay and transgender students.

“We want teachers to reflect on their personal biases and stereotypes,” Peay said. “Sometimes, you might not know about it until it comes out one day. You have to find a way to adjust your bias in the classroom, because it’s still your responsibility to teach them.”

In recent years, there has been a heavy request from teachers on how to connect with Hispanic and African American male students, often from white female teachers who constitute the majority of Clark County educators.

Peay gives teachers tips, such as using interactive activities and a variety of teaching techniques to engage students. Above all, teachers must treat all students equally – regardless of their background, she said.

“Students can detect whether their teacher is interested in teaching them,” Peay said. “You’ve got to have high expectations that these students can learn the same materials and teach them to the same standards.”

CORRECTION: Dwight Jones is the second black superintendent of the Clark County School District. Claude Perkins was the first. | (November 26, 2012)

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  1. The source of the "gap" lies within society and its values. Having an UNcertain future, diminishing support system, and the teaching profession under constant attack, are great barriers for ANYone who is considering entering the profession.

    Stated in this article, "We need to do a better job of making the teaching profession interesting to more diverse teachers." Interesting? THAT is not the problem here.

    When children are surrounded with sports stars, Hollywood celebrities, rappers screaming out their culture, and technology geniuses, why would they be attracted to the very demanding and low paying career of teaching? Here in the USA, you don't hear much about how valued teachers are anymore.

    People make choices about their lifestyles, and for many, if not most, the routine and structure, time intensive lifestyle required in being a teacher simply isn't a good fit for them, and they find what does work and fit for their lifestyle.

    Finding people who are qualified, passionate, and dedicated about teaching should be the only factor in hiring (in ANY career). It should not, nor ever be, about filling positions to balance out the race card. Equal opportunity exists based on qualifications, experiences, and the fire within a job candidate to do that job. More needs to be done about retaining those "irreplaceable teachers" that have diligently and faithfully performed their jobs, as evidenced in the Superintendent's Blog penned a month or two ago. It is long past time to show young people and the rest of the world that teachers and the profession, is valued and respected. Until the public feels that, few(minority or otherwise) will flock into teaching.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  2. I found this article disheartening. It seems like a shame that adults in the school district are focused on "color". How many students have been heard requesting that they get teachers of "color" or that look like them? My daughter, who is white, has had teachers of "color" and teachers who are white. She has bonded with both and has never come home saying she wished her teacher of "color" was white so they could relate better. She hugged and loved that teacher as much as any of her other teachers. I think it is the adults who are encouraging there to be a "color" issue/gap. If we need our students to be taught by teachers of only the same color, where will our white students go by the way? As it is, they are already the minority in the classroom? Does this mean we need an all white school? I don't believe it does. I don't think we should be figuring out ways to separate and point out the color differences. They can see the differences in their skin tone and I think that's as far as it needs to go. Beyond that, we are all people and our children are all in the same building hearing the same lessons. Isn't that equality? This article just sounded like it is heading towards segregation and diminishing the efforts of children of "color" and "white" children being able to be educated together by teachers of any skin tone. Sad.

  3. Right on, Star. This article shows us just how dumb administrators are and how "politically correct." Despite the fact that for some 5 decades public school systems throughout the United States have failed in their mandate, to educate the students under their supervision, Staci Vesneske, the School District's human resources director, obsesses about a trivial matter. How about teaching kids how to read, write, add, subtract and multiply efficiently and correctly? How about teaching them useful and meaningful subjects that will better prepare them for life after school and S**Tcan the apcray such as "ethnic" studies and "gender" junk? What prospective employer gives a hoot about those irrelevant things when the applicant fails to fill out a job application correctly? We ought to be winding down the public school system with the eye to eliminating it entirely; not worrying about the "color" of the teacher. Little wonder public schools fail the needs of 50% of those who attend.

  4. Thats right Nevada, the problem in our school system is that we don't have enough educators of color. This is the most ridiculous assesment I've read yet on our education issues. The fact that they think that children are better suited to learn from a teacher of color is ludicrous. If that is the case, then we are doomed to go back to the 60's and start society all over again. Another lame attempt to pass the buck on our failing school system. What will be next, more taxes to help minority people get a teaching degree?

  5. Maslow, in his Hierarchy of Needs theory, posits that the highest level of need a human being struggles to fill is self-actualization. The struggle continues all through life. Some get close to it, and some cannot even get past the first stage of survival.

    Many of us teachers feel that what we are doing is the closest we can get to that elusive strata. Recently however, that concept has become a mirage. Year after year, the fun in teaching has slowly been eroded by society, by the powers-that-be, and what is really heart-rending are former teachers who become administrators, who we hope to be our allies, forget who they once were.

    Teacher Diversity Gap is the least of CCSD's problems. Attrition in the profession is - attracting and keeping excellent teachers - regardless of their color. Color disappears when children and teacher work together to make their shared dreams real. Somehow that vision has been blurred. Our efforts to make the vision clear for society and children are stymied at every turn, threatening our very own survival. That is why I am

    ASadTeacher

  6. And herein, some of the major problems of the school system*: moronic prioritizing from on high, an administration that is out of touch with the real and urgent needs in the classroom (a teacher of any color would like to be able to get paper, for example), people who are just not that bright running the show, and political games trumping effective leadership.

    *And it IS a system - a system in which teachers are basically voiceless.

  7. I ALMOST feel like apologizing for being White ... I said ALMOST... this is getting more ridiculous by the minute. When will people stop looking at the color or a persons skin or listening to the sound (accent) of their voice and simply start accepting that we are all just PEOPLE... how simple is that to comprehend?

  8. End tenure and fire ineffective teachers. Hire more effective teachers--which will include those of any and every color, culture, outlook. SCOTUS is considering ELIMINATING discrimination in hiring--end the preferences for minority groups--so every new hire should make the grade of his/her own.

  9. We all come from "diverse" backgrounds and many cultures. To segregate the workforce goes against the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement. We all interact bringing something to the table. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us to not judge a person by their color, but by the content of their character, in his "I Have a Dream" speech, saying,

    "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Ultimately, we ALL bleed red. A hug from a child knows NO COLOR.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  10. "End tenure and fire ineffective teachers."

    Roberta, You are a broken record... I'm curious; would you please explain to us what you believe "tenure" means, and if you can, support your opinion. In the words of Inigo Montoya, " I do not think it means what you think..."

  11. "This is a huge concern and area of focus for us," said Staci Vesneske, the School District's human resources director. "It's a huge concern that in general we don't have enough teachers of color teaching our students."

    Really staci?? is this REALLY such a huge concern given all of the challenges that schools and education face?

    Or is it a manufactured "concern" by certain groups or individuals that are either promoting an agenda or trying to improve their own employment or economic security??

  12. @Roslenda. I have asked this repeatedly, what does an "effective teacher" look like and how are they different from an "ineffective teacher"? The CCSD contract with CCEA has provisions for teachers to be removed. All that has to be done is the administrator follow the process outlined in the contract.

  13. @Roslenda What if an effective teacher is fat? Should we not hire them? According to you the answer is no...

  14. For the past 5 decades I have watched us go further and further down the tubes. We spend more on education and health care than ever, but have little to show for it.
    Our value system is in the toilet as we encourage and allow entertainers and sports figures to earn millions while teachers, nurses, doctors, dentists, social workers, and others like them, earn comparitively little.
    Family time together has been replaced by technology and pieces of garbage that take the place of actual human contact. Parents are way too busy buying their newest electronic toys, that 50K car, or million-dollar house, to be actually involved with their children on a daily basis.
    We live in a media-spin and manure-tossing time. Everything we read about or hear about is a distraction from the factual world. Diversity, PC, "wars" on just about everything without results, and greed, blame, selfishness, and pure stupidity have taken the place of cooperation, compromise, common sense, and decency.

    I grew up in the slums of Brooklyn, almost all East European Jews in my neighborhood. We had 50-60 kids in every class, no magic computers or cellphones, walked to almost everywhere, and real families that were lovingly involved with us in all of life's aspects. None of us had anything of material value, but were encouraged to educate ourselves and become something of value to society. Over 99% of us graduated high school and about 95% of us went on to college of some sort of vocational training. Going on welfare was a disgrace, so we ate cheap food, never ate out in restaurants, and used public transportation. Most of my friends did very well for themselves and tried to raise our kids with the same values that were instilled in us.
    Now, everyone has someone else to blame for everything: dropout rate, poverty, crime, the economy, personal finances, your own health, and of course, the focus of this article, why minority children do poorly. Can't have anything to do with the fact of huge numbers of drug problems, single parent families, and cultural values that are in the trash. No sir, it's always the fault of _____ (fill in the blank). Glad I'm old.

  15. I am minority teacher in CCSD and I have to say that this article offends me very much!! Let me just put it out there..... Minority students in CCSD aren't failing because of white teachers.... they are failing because they dont have real world application to basic subjects in school... It doesn't matter if you are a hispanic teacher or a white teacher.... The last time I checked 2+2=4!!! The problem is this entire city structure.... Why would any of our students want to pursue a real college education when their parents can make more money cleaning rooms at the MGM or being a dealer in a hotel which require little more than certification training... Even further.... Why would they want to build up student loan debt in college when they can dress in bikinis and beachwear to serve drinks at dayclubs making more money than 60% of the American population.... Just saying.... we cant expect our students to be motivated to learn until they see that high-skilled, high educated jobs are readily available in Southern Nevada.... Most other cities in America have major corporations and industries that make more money than the service industry.... We, as Las Vegans need to explore that option before we spend more money on programs to get them better educated. The system is fine, the options for employment after they graduate high school is the problem.....

  16. It's always interesting to see who wants to make race an issue. And, Staci needs a real job.

  17. Just a minor correction...I believe Claude Perkins, an African American, was the CCSD Superintendent from 1978-1981.

  18. I took a vendor to a site tour at my former employer's company. He remarked on what a diverse workforce we had. It was diverse because we were not prejudiced. We didn't have any "diversity policy" because we didn't need it. Our workforce looked like the community around us, based on natural statistics.

    If they fix the real problems at the school district, maybe they will find themselves with a larger pool of job candidates. It is silly to focus on the color of a person's skin.

  19. Let's see, the basic premise was that students do better when they have teachers who are "like them."

    If we make the assumption that this also applies to white children (and I would really love to see some mis-guided soul argue that white children are not included in the basic premise) then one conclusion that can be drawn is that children should only be taught by members of their own race, ethnicity or even gender.

    Saying that there is a "diversity gap" that is causing harm to our students is tantamount to calling for full blown segregation when carried to its logical extreme.

  20. Bob,

    Curious's statement is made to correct the article. The author wrote that Dwight Jones was the first African American Superintendent of CCSD, when in fact, he is the second.

  21. Greta Peay, director of the district's equity and diversity education department and her staff of 5 Diversity Experts deliver 10 presentations per month? A $313 per hour consultant?

    This doesn't sound like a waste of money at all. How does anyone think that teachers are the problem with public education? Inept and corrupt Administration is the problem.

  22. Some people are missing the meaning of the basic premise here...

    "It's not that children of color require instruction from teachers of color, Vesneske said. Rather, it's that schools and students of all backgrounds benefit when there is diversity among educators."

    Hard to argue with that basic premise, really.

    Of course a community's School District benefits if those that work there are a diverse bunch, somewhat resembling it's constituency, & that efforts are made to that end...

    That said, if a DOLLAR FIGURE was placed right now on how much CCSD is paying to go out and 'recruit' teachers that fit our 'changing demographics' and to give 'diversity training' to it's current employees, the staggering amount is what boggles the mind and stretches credulity...

    In example:

    "In September 2011, the School Board -- despite facing a multimillion budget deficit -- approved $74,000 for multicultural training for about 350 teachers last school year. Zaner-Bloser, an education materials publisher, provided 18 days of professional development and materials, as well as a $313-an-hour consultant to deliver the training."

    That's just a DROP IN THE BUCKET.

    This is the kind of expenditure that, under the circumstances, lead people to say, 'No; I will NOT pay more dollars to CCSD to educate our children.'

    When the priority shifts from getting dollars into the classroom...(especially in lean times) to spending on administrative prerogatives...(Often for sheer folly) this is the point where people say, 'it's not how much you have, it's what you do with what you get' that's the problem.

    That leads to the false premise that the district is bloated with cash (or at least adequately funded) & that they're just 'wasting what we give em'.

    That's a gross oversimplification... giving too much weight to a single part of the equation, which leads to a incorrect answer to the problem.

    Smart administrators & Board members would recognize that.

  23. Part 1 of 2:
    INTENT of the law, specifically, the EOE law that the CCSD must try to comply with, is an issue. As Commenter Bob Realist noted, "Everyone is dumping on the HR Director but she needs to bring attention to this issue for she is following Federal Guidelines as far as hiring requirements are concerned. Hiring "Best Fit" and "Close Enough" are the common terms now used in hiring minorities. The HR Director truly cannot do anything about the hand she is dealt and it is sad the article pins this issue the way it did."

    First and foremost, QUALIFICATIONS must be met by the standards used on ALL, or there is, in effect, discrimination. The intent of the EOE laws was to make sure this is happening. HOW citizens and organizations apply the EOE law is subject to debate. Las Vegas Sun journalist Paul Takahashi has opened a can of worms here. It is clear that the readers are quite sensitive about any form of discrimination. Hopefully, the CCSD has a committee drawn from the community/population it serves, to debate, discuss, and decide HOW to implement the EOE hiring law in the community. This should consist of citizens who have lived either in the community or state for at least ten years, those who have a very real and long-term stake in such decisions. Public schools are owned by the PUBLIC, not by corporations, and critical decisions should be made by those who are long-term stakeholders within that public. Some of the problems may lie in the fact that CCSD hires from outside the state and community, so there might be a conflict about stakeholder and values of the actualy long-term community.

    What Paul Takahashi failed to expound upon, was the good work the CCSD Diversity and Equity Department has done most recently, towards addressing BULLYING. Certainly, bullying in any form, is unacceptable and very damaging. It is a fact, that individuals perform better academically and socially in the absence of bullying.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  24. Part 2 of 2:

    Giving a SHOUT OUT: Many of the conferences hosted by the Diversity and Equity Department address the very needed education to be sensitive to such cultural issues that impact not only learning, but life. This is taxpayer dollars well spent, and does go straight into our classrooms and to our students(even their parents/guardians can access information and use the report a bullying event form), affecting positive outcomes.

    The other issue in this equation deals with the values within the community, as I stated in my original post. Even the most qualified teacher in the world, cannot compete with sport stars, hip-hop/rappers and their counter culture, Hollywood celebrities, and technology geniuses. Attracting members of our community into the principled, structured, routine, demanding, and time intensive career of teaching is challenging, to say the least.

    In this country, the teaching profession is not respected, nor valued enough to support financially or be involved with as a citizen or parent. Teachers here usually see and get parental support in kindergarten and first grades, after that, rarely. I have encountered more teachers from outside the USA who have come here and taught, only to decide that students here are "too disrespectful" and they rather work at WalMart or a resort, than deal with the attitudes they face in the classrooms here. They once were used to comply with EOE through work VISAS, and the majority have since left, so go figure.

    See for yourself, visit your neighborhood school, and ask the question if there appears to be a "teacher diversity gap" that is adversely affecting those students. While there, please consider volunteering some time for the school or the PTA, your presence makes a world in difference for those students. Thank you.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  25. Really interesting to read the comments on this story. Almost everyone seems to agree that these types of "concerns" are distracting from the major, real problems in the district. These are the types of programs that need to be eliminated for now. The article said that they have 10 "cultural sensitivity" workshops per month. I'd like to see how that compares to the number of workshops that focus on effectively teaching the core subjects.

    Another example of the district being a top-heavy, bureaucratic wasteland. This is the type of system that takes a good, ambitious teacher and just beats them down over time until they lose all of the passion that they had when they started.

  26. In reply to Commenter ImproveLV's query, "The article said that they have 10 "cultural sensitivity" workshops per month. I'd like to see how that compares to the number of workshops that focus on effectively teaching the core subjects," please permit me to respond.

    If a citizen could view the CCSD Interact Pathlore (the district's online communication system within the district), you would be absolutely awestruck at the multitude of comprehensive courses, seminars, and workshops that are available to not only teachers and administrators, but ALL workers! Dare I say, that few, if any, other school districts in our whole nation, have such an incredible selection of professional development offerings! If only those on the outside could see...they would be amazed and convinced that CCSD strives to not only keep everyone current on the best practices, but they have OPPORTUNITIES to share what they know works, can use these classes towards advancement on the ladders of positions or payscale, and most of all, keep educators all fired up about the great things they are doing that is right and getting the positive outcomes that prepare and "ready students for exit"!

    There is so much going on, that it can be very hard to choose. Rest assured, CORE subjects are addressed far more in number at any given time than the Equity and Diversity offerings. If you attend any of these, you can immediately use what you learned, and see improvements straight across the board. Not only are there CCSD expert trainings, but there are offerings partnered with local universities, VegasPBS, and more.

    I can't say enough positives about the excellent and even superb job, CCSD does on their lazer-like focus towards improvement. The proof is seeing for yourself.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star