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Last Upated: March 1, 2021
No pressure, but education is a big decision! After all, it has a huge impact on your child’s future. Fortunately, Nevada families have access to several K-12 options. Navigating these options can help you find a school where your child thrives. This post will breakdown the six main types of schools and provide some extra education resources.
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First off, you can choose traditional public schools, the most common school choice. These schools are operated by school districts, free to attend, open to all students, and funded by federal, state, and local government. Did you know that Nevada spends an average of $9,185 per public school student each year?
Each state has its own open enrollment policies. Open enrollment refers to whether parents can send their children to any public school, regardless of where it is located. In Nevada, each district sets its own open enrollment policies. So, Nevada parents should check with their local district if they would like to transfer their child. If they choose to participate in open enrollment, the school to which they were assigned will cover transportation costs. Open enrollment is an important form of public school choice, widening parents’ options and ensuring that their zip code isn’t the sole determiner of their education.
Find out more about public schools in your state here: Nevada’s Department of Education.
Families in Nevada can also choose public charter schools. Like traditional public schools, charter schools are public, free, and usually, have no requirements for entry. What distinguishes charter schools is they have extra freedom to innovate with learning methods and are accountable to authorizing bodies for results.
Nya Berry, a mom and executive director at one Nevada charter school we interviewed, called the her school “the best kept secret in Nevada.”
Nevada has many public charter schools families can choose from. Each school has a charter which explains the school’s purpose and what specific community need it serves. That could be providing a STEAM program or offering a rigorous, literacy-based curriculum. If there are more families seeking admittance to a charter school than there are seats, a lottery system (like drawing random names out of a hat!) is often used to determine admittance.
A great resource for learning about these options is the Charter School Association of Nevada.
You can also choose magnet schools! Magnet schools are free public schools that allow kids to focus on specific themes, like STEM, health sciences, or the arts. A few years ago, a Las Vegas Sun article described magnet schools as “schools within schools.” In other words, they offer speciality tracks within the public school system. So, these can be a valuable option for children who learn best when diving deeply into a particular course of study. Nevada has several magnet schools throughout the state; for instance, there are more than 30 magnet schools or programs in the Clark County School District. Another district with magnet schools is the Washoe County School District.
Nevada’s private schools take many forms, from Catholic parish schools to non-sectarian Montessori schools. All private schools are nonpublic schools that charge tuition.
There are more than 100 private schools across the state of Nevada. The average tuition for private schools in the state is $10,426 per year, but keep in mind that schools often are more affordable at the elementary level than high school.
In 2015, Nevada launched a school choice program that enables families at or below 300% of the federal poverty line to apply for scholarships for private education. If you think a private school could be the best fit for your child, you can also reach out to the school about whether any privately funded scholarships are available.
Don’t overlook online learning. It offers a uniquely flexible learning environment that meets a variety of family needs. Whether your child wants to accelerate his or her learning or needs a quieter, stress-free environment in which to focus, you wish to try virtual school. Nevada offers several free, full-time online learning options, such as Nevada Connections Academy, Nevada Learning Academy, and Nevada Virtual Academy.
As of December 2020, at Nevada Learning Academy, there are currently seats available for grades 9-12 only. At Nevada Connections Academy, there are seats available for grades 9-10 only. Nevada Virtual Academy is accepting waitlist applications for grades 6-11 only.
At Nevada Learning Academy, all families may request a computer from the school. At Nevada Connections Academy, families may request one computer and an internet subsidy per household. At Nevada Virtual Academy, only special education and free or reduced lunch students may apply for a computer.
Homeschooling is another school option for Nevada families. This choice is especially suited to those looking for a hands-on, highly customizable learning experience. Homeschooling is the process of parents educating students at home and is permitted in all 50 states.
In Nevada, the state requires notice of intent to homeschool before you start and no later than 10 days after withdrawing. It is required that you formally withdraw from your public school. In the case that you decide to return to public school in the middle of the school year, your student’s placement is subject to placement tests and may require a review of student work.
Micro-schools, pods, pandemic pods, and learning pods all refer to the same concept: students gathering together in a small group – with adult supervision – to learn, explore, and socialize. Pods themselves can take a variety of legal forms, but in general they can be separated into two categories: self-directed pod (homeschool, homeschool collaborative, or micro-school) and learning support pod. It’s important to understand what kind of pod you are signing up for and the requirements that go along with it. Learn more about learning pods.
If your learning pod or micro-school is choosing its own curriculum and each family is directing their own children’s schooling, it likely qualifies as a homeschool in Nevada. Read more about the requirements for homeschooling and get tips from HSLDA here. Note that homeschoolers with special needs are eligible to receive special education services from local school districts. Additionally, homeschooled students in Nevada may still be eligible to participate in sports, activities, or classes at local public schools.
If your learning pod contains more than two families and will have teachers leading unique classes just for your school, it may qualify as a private school. You can read more about what Nevada classifies as a private school, how they’re regulated, and how to start one.
If your child is going to be enrolled in remote learning through your local public school and supervised by an adult in your learning pod, you do not need to register as a homeschool or private school. Keep in mind that you have multiple online learning options, including several free, full-time online schools that are available to students statewide. Las Vegas families may want to check out the Greater Las Vegas Microschool Collaborative to learn more.
For additional information about school choices in Nevada, visit these resources:
National School Choice Week 2022 will take place January 23 – 29, 2022. We encourage all schools, homeschool groups, organizations and individuals to join the celebration. Check out ideas, inspiration, and more information!
Nevada celebrated National School Choice Week 2021 with 250 virtual events and activities across the state. Click the button below to learn more about school choice in Nevada.
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