Las Vegas Schools Prosper this Summer

by : Stacy Andell

“A Celebration of Progress" Marks the Opening of New Las Vegas School Buildings

This past August, leaders from the Las Vegas Schools gathered at the Cashman Theatre for “A Celebration of Progress." This was a celebration to mark the opening of nine new schools and one replacement school in the Las Vegas School System. In attendance were officials from Las Vegas Schools, Nevada State officials, community leaders, school principals, and architects. Las Vegas Schools’ “A Celebration of Progress" was hosted by entertainer Clint Holmes.

The event was sponsored by The Council of Educational Facility Planners International; this is the eighth year that the Council of Educational Facility Planners International has sponsored this event. The Council of Educational Facility Planners International is an organization of education and construction professionals that aims to improve the places in which students learn. Various models and renderings of the new facilities were displayed and the students from these new schools created exhibits promoting school spirit. This years keynote speakers were Las Vegas Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Walt Rulffes and Mrs. Ruth Johnson, President of the Clark County School District Board of School Trustees. The Hal Smith Elementary School choir performed, as well as the CP Squires After School All-Stars folkloric dance team.

The new school buildings were constructed to meet Las Vegas Schools’ expanding enrollment that will have around 12,000 new students enroll for the 2006-2007 school year. This influx of new students raises the total number of students in the Las Vegas Schools to over 300,000. The new schools include six elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school. The replacement school building is also a high school.

At the August 9th “A Celebration of Progress" event Paul Gerner, Associate Superintendent for Facilities, thanked the architectural and construction partners who made the new schools possible. The Las Vegas Schools’ system is expected to continue is substantial growth for many years to come.

Las Vegas School Students Take Part in Youth Leadership Summit

This summer several Las Vegas Schools’ students went to the Youth Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. The Youth Leadership Summit was created through a partnership between The National Council for Community and Education Partnerships and Booz Allen Hamilton. The Youth Leadership Summit is designed to give students an opportunity to participate in educational reform. Students invited to the Youth Leadership Summit were participants in the Las Vegas Schools’ GEAR UP program, which is a national program, intended to increase the number of students who go to and succeed in university and college. Along with participation in the GEAR UP program, students were selected based on their academic performance, leadership roles they take in their schools and recommendations from their principals and teachers. All of the participants from Las Vegas Schools will be seniors in the 2006-2007 school year.

The Youth Leadership Summit included different activities in the areas of teamwork and leadership that encouraged the students to share their own perspectives on how educators should improve student achievement. The suggestions that resulted from the Youth Leadership Summit included: creating information centers that would aid students and families in finding information for postsecondary education and creating peer and adult tutoring and mentoring programs that support middle and high school students.