Clark County school district CCSD covers the valley including all of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, and Boulder City. The district has a website to which I will link back to throughout this article in order to help parents find the information they need.
In Clark County you have 5 basic options for a FREE public school education for your children:
1.) Zoned neighborhood school – Official How to Enroll Your Child Brochure
2.) Magnet schools operated by Clark County public schools
3.) Open Enrollment Schools
4.) Charter Schools
5.) Online Schools
Your Zoned Neighborhood School
You can enroll your children in the school according to the district map that is in the zone for your neighborhood. Do not assume that the school closest to your home is your zoned school. Due to fluctuations in enrollment the school you may even be able to walk to from your house, may not be the school your child must enroll in.
If you wish to send your child to a different school you are not zoned for because it is physically closer you will still need to submit a request for variance form to the district the school year BEFORE you intend to attend that school in order to get the best consideration for your request.
Parents concerned about school zoning should follow the Clark County School District Attendance Zone Advisory Commission this is the best source of information for boundary guidelines for the upcoming school year.
If you need to request a variance to a school not outlined as a magnet or other open enrollment school these are the steps you will need to take:
1.) Review regulation 5112 this is the rule the district must follow in granting school zone variances. Reasons for going to a different school include childcare considerations, school district employees to have their child at the same school they work at, and that your family is in the process of purchasing a home in a new neighborhood.
2.) Write a letter to the school to be added to your child’s file about the reason why you need a zone variance request and ask for the specific form. Requests not placed on the form will not be processed. If your child is not already enrolled in a Clark County School write the letter and have it with you signed as your official reason as a parent you believe it is in your child’s best interest to go to a school that is not in their zoned area.
REMEMBER the school district is doing a big job with limited resources. Zone variance requests are most likely to get attention when they are completed well in advance preferably by March for the school year starting the next September.
3.) Hand deliver the request to the office of the school your child currently attends (if already registered.) If your child does not already attend a Clark County School you will need to deliver to both the zoned school (and complete the school registration package) plus the school you wish for your child to attend. Get the name of whom you gave your package to as well as their email address.
4.) Follow-up. Give the school 7-10 days for requests made prior to March 1 for the following school year. Then send an email. If you receive no response after 3 days stop by the office and speak to the clerk who accepted your request.
Again, it is not a perfect system and children enrolling mid-way through a school year may not be accommodated. Start early and follow-up is my best advice. If your child is denied ask to see the Space Availability Ranking report for the school you had requested entry. This report will tell you about the projected attendance of the school you attempted to attend and if indeed no space exists. Use this as the basis for any future appeals.
Magnet Schools Operated by Clark County Schools
I am a proud parent of two magnet school students. As a parent I appreciate the intentional focus of the programs my children have been involved in and the continuous progress the schools demonstrate. The school by far I have been the most pleased with is Mabel Hoggard Elementary. Led by a great principal Dr. Celese Rayford and Vice Principal Ms. Janice Lewandowski I have watched this school grow the last 4 years. You can follow Dr. Rayford’s page to keep up to date on great new developments for the school. Hoggard Elementary provided everything I expected as parent for a magnet school experience.
The downside of magnet schools primarily is that it will add 2 hours to your child’s day if they take the bus. My son catches the bus at 5:40 in the morning for middle school, my daughter at 6:50 for elementary, with return trips respectively at 4:00 and 5:00.
Open Enrollment Schools
Clark County operates a pilot program November thru January 11th to allow families to register their student for the following school year in a school with open spots. This list is posted on the CCSD website under the Open Enrollment section when the program is open. Kindergarten is NOT included in this program. Bus transportation is not covered in this program.
Click here to read the complete school district policy.
This program is closed for the 2011-2012 school year.
Schools operated outside of the management of Clark County schools, but still in receipt of public funding are designated charter schools. These schools accept registration for the following school year generally through the end of February. You will need to check the website for each individual school. Schools also operate a lottery for spots if the number of registrations exceed the number of open spots and may give weighted priority due to a number of factors including geographic neighborhood and financial need. Read the lottery rules for each school carefully.
The current list of schools I have for 2011-2012 in Las Vegas holding on-campus classes are:
Andre Agassi Prep Academy – This school has received national attention for its programs. Admission is by lottery only. Please visit this site as I hope that seats never sit empty here. Admissions information website says that the deadline to apply is March 18th. This school serves kindergarten through high school.
Coral Academy of Science Las Vegas operates three campuses in the Las Vegas Henderson area. The school accepts admissions up through May 1st for the following school year depending upon availability. This school serves kindergarten through high school.
Explore Knowledge Academy this school serves kindergarten through 12th grade. Open enrollment information for the 2011-2012 school year is not on the website yet.
Imagine School in the Valle This school located in Centennial Hills serves Kindergarten through 8th grade. Tours are Tuesday mornings and the enrollment deadline is February 28th for the following school year.
Las Vegas Charter School for the Deaf Enrollment appears to be open for any child who is deaf or hard of hearing desiring an education focused in a deaf friendly environment.
Innovations International Charter School Visitors are welcome to take a guided tour of the school located at 1600 E. Oakey Blvd. This can be arranged by calling the school’s office at 216-4337
Nevada State High School is a FREE early college high school that gives 11th and 12th grade students with a minimum GPA of 2.0 the opportunity to attend ‘real’ college classes for ‘real’ college credit. Each college class counts for high school credit and brings about opportunities, purpose, and savings. NSHS is part of a National Charter School Movement, which has helped support mini educational laboratories of innovation – in exchange for being held more accountable for improved student achievement.
Rainbow Dreams Academy is located at 950 West Lake Mead Blvd., directly across the street from the West Las Vegas Library. Rainbow Dreams Academy is a 16,887 square foot state-of-the-art facility, which houses fourteen classrooms, multi-media library, multi-purpose room, full-service kitchen, and administrative offices in addition to an outdoor playground, learning garden and science atrium.
Silver Sands Montessori Charter School located in Henderson this school opened enrollment for 2011-2012 on January 18th. Registration information here. This school serves Kindergarten through 6th grade with an option to pay additional and have your kindergarten student attend a full day program.
Distance Education Online Options
Distance education is expanding in Nevada. Students work with a teacher either through in-home visits, over the phone, periodic meetings at the library, or visits to the school campus to complete their school work on an individual basis. The level of support provided in the form of learning materials and staff varies with each program. Some schools go as far as providing a desktop or laptop computer while others may require an additional computer purchase from your family budget.
This option to be successful requires a significant time commitment from parents to review the work completed and do data entry on logs to attest to your child’s attendance in these programs. You will also need to take your child to the state testing each year.
Beacon Academy – High School Only – Appears to accept ongoing enrollments and advertises to help students catch up with missing credits.
Nevada Connections Academy Enrollment ended as late as September 10, 2010 for the 2010 school year. This is part of a national chain of online learning schools. View the corporate prepared school information package here. Serves students K-12.
Nevada Virtual Academy K-12 this online school is taking admissions for immediate start. My son attended this program for one year in 6th grade. The learning materials were great everything from textbooks to art supplies and even a microscope. The school provided a basic computer for school use only. A National Geographic Geography Bee was an activity he really enjoyed. His teacher talked to him on the phone every couple of days. He left this program because he wanted to attend a magnet school. The biggest hassle was making sure all of the time logs for how much time he spent on each subject were completed each week, and returning materials at the end of each semester.
Odyssey Charter Schools this is a hybrid model requiring both online school work and on-campus work for students. Teachers visit in-home up through 5th grade after which students must come to campus each week. My son did this program for one year until we moved to a new section of town that was not covered by the traveling teaching staff. The materials are not shipped to your home like other programs and you are responsible for all technology costs.
Delta Academy a hybrid program requiring both on-campus and online school work. Appears to accept students year round.