We are excited to announce that registration for the Third Annual Summit on Nevada Education is OPEN!Please note: If you are registering as an on-campus entity and paying with departmental funds, DO NOT REGISTER through the button above! P-Cards cannot be used to purchase registration. You will complete your registration payment via Workday. Please email Sheila Bray to coordinate payment.
This year’s program will feature in-depth sessions and dynamic speakers that address:
The state of Nevada education—from the perspective of those in leadership positions as well as local teachers and school administrators
An update from our state lawmakers on the education issues they tackled in the 2017 Nevada Legislative Session, and
Combatting and addressing the inequities that PK-20 students experience and resulting impacts on students’ lives, both in and out of the classroom
The UNLV College of Education is proud to work to expand existing best practice into “next generation practices” that address and overcome the challenges we face in education here in our state. The annual Summit on Nevada Education welcomes educators, administrators, policy makers, community leaders, teacher preparation leaders, pre-service teachers and others with a direct link to education in Nevada to gather in an open forum to share ideas, challenges and lessons to improve and celebrate Nevada education.
Check back for more information on the upcoming 2017 Summit, including featured speakers, panels and more.
In the mean time, check out highlights from our 2016 and 2015 Summits here.
The Summit on Nevada Education is made possible from generous donations from our sponsors:
Along with the challenges that accompany keeping a school functioning day-to-day, school principals and administrators must also be equipped to tackle the many issues they’ll face in PK-12 schools in the 21st century—such as combating poor attendance or test scores, effectively educating English language learners, or addressing behavioral problems.
The Educational Policy and Leadership (EPL) program is designed to develop educational leaders who understand the urban environment and the community in which schools exist. Program participants receive a firm foundation of knowledge and skills needed to meet the demands and expectations of school administrators—all within a systems approach for transforming schools within an urban community. In addition, program curriculum is based on the Nevada Educator Performance Framework and Standards for School Administrators. Thus, program participants learn content and develop skills that are expected of their performance as entry-level administrators.
“The talent coming from this program is exceptional,” Dr. Mike Barton, Clark County School District’s (CCSD) chief academic officer said. “I see first-hand that these candidates are well prepared—they think differently, they know how to tackle complex problems facing schools and education, and they keep an instructional leadership focus as they get into their new roles.”
Crucial to this program is the opportunity to put theory into practice with hands-on field experiences within operational schools. During their 36 semester hours of coursework, EPL students are embedded in local schools, where they work with mentor principals to research issues that occur within their school. After cataloguing existing resources available to combat the issue, students then create and implement programs to spur improvements. And the results? They often have impacts that reach far beyond an individual school. As of October 2017, EPL program students and graduates have created 54 school-based intervention projects that impact anywhere from nine to 640 students at each school.
Enrolled students also have the opportunity to learn from and build a network of connections with current, high ranking administrators and employees at the CCSD and other Nevada agencies. The partnership element between UNLV, CCSD, and the Las Vegas community is a key element to the success of the EPL program. Cory Garr, a secondary education teacher in CCSD and EPL student explains that the leaders he’s taken classes from will be the people he calls on when he has questions in his future role as a dean of students. “It’s an incredible opportunity to learn from the administrators who know CCSD inside and out… But what’s really valuable is that when they see me in meetings or around town, they know me by name now,” Garr said.
Welcoming its third cohort of students in January 2017, the Educational Policy and Leadership program continues to grow, simultaneously creating opportunities for graduates while filling much-needed vacancies in administrative roles across the Clark County School District and the state.
For more information on the EPL program, or to apply, visit
From the earliest days of our republic, we have believed that education was critical to our democracy. Our founders knew that the health of our country, the wellbeing of the citizenry — and particularly the strength of the democracy — would be built on a well-educated population. Though disagreements have been fierce regarding who is to be educated, how much education they need, and whether to measure its value in economic growth, individual growth, or societal growth, fundamentally, we have always agreed that educating our citizens is important.
With this belief in mind, in 1917 our country began a unique experiment: We required education to be available to all of our citizens for free. Now, after a century of well-intended effort and research by countless experts, 17 presidents and their respective agendas, and 50 congresses armed with the education reform du jour, frankly, we’re still experimenting. We still haven’t figured out how to make our educational system work consistently for all children.
How can this be? The past several decades have been filled with announcements that THE new idea — the unequivocal “fix” — for public education has been discovered. “If only we allow parents more choice in selecting their child’s school,” or “find better ways to hold teachers and schools accountable,” or “develop better tests,” or “standardize curriculum,” or “integrate more technology,” or “expand states’ authority.” The list of efforts is long.
Yet, there is very little evidence that these initiatives, individually or collectively, have done much to improve educational outcomes or equity. Why have these efforts been so fruitless?
Let’s look back for a moment.
Nearly all of these reform approaches are grounded on concepts codified in a single policy document: A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Education Reform. Often credited as the catalyst for a pivotal shift in public education policy, the genuinely innovative concepts in A Nation at Risk changed the way our country, and much of the western world, thought about and approached educating its citizenry.
This genuinely groundbreaking set of ideas was released in — 1983. The same year Motorola unveiled the first hand-held mobile telephone, aptly named “The Brick” for its weight, shape, and size. In the years since, future-focused innovators have pushed the boundaries of technology and engineering in ways that were only vaguely imagined, if imagined at all, by those who clamored to get their cutting edge “Brick.”
Over that same period, the education and policy communities have intensely focused on refining the original concepts presented in A Nation at Risk. From America 2000 in 1991 to No Child Left Behind in 2001 to our most current iteration, Every Student Succeeds, each plan promised to overhaul education from bottom to top. And, fundamental to these reforms, was the perpetual quest to identify best practices.For 35 years, literally billions of dollars have been invested in massive efforts to find teachers, schools, and states that seemed to be performing better than others, determine what it was they were doing that might explain this, and then implement (or impose) these best practices more broadly.
The problem with best practices is that, by nature, they’re always out of date.
They represent the “best” of what was being done in some place and at some time in the past. At most, they improve achievement of yesterday’s goals; at worst, they actively promote the status quo by continually looking backward rather than forward.
To meet the needs of students in our rapidly evolving world, we must set our sights beyond settling for the best we once knew or even know now. The problems, issues, and needs of yesterday may no longer be relevant, so even the best strategies known to address them may have little consequence to the world of tomorrow. To achieve tomorrow’s outcomes, we must set our sights on developing the next practicesnecessary to serve the future generations and the issues they will face.
The Future Is Here
Since the College of Education’s inception in the very early days of UNLV’s history, one of its major objectives has been to educate and prepare high-quality teachers to serve in Nevada’s schools. But educating our state’s educators is far from the college’s only purpose.
Our faculty have always been engaged in future-focused research to inform policymaking and validate new professional approaches for a new era of students. Notably, research and methods stemming from the Silver State today have intrinsic benefits for far more than just Nevadans.
Many have noted what the a June 22 New York Times piece recently featured: Las Vegas is the future. The population of Southern Nevada today — in terms of race, ethnicity, gender and age — is nearly identical to projections of U.S. demographics in 40 years. In essence, Nevada’s present is America’s future.
For the College of Education, our community provides a “living laboratory” in which to create, research, evaluate, and cultivate the newest strategies — the next practices — that will educate future generations… Made in Nevada, shared from coast to coast and beyond.
Challenging the status quo, our faculty and students have accepted the task to usher in change. Pioneering new research and testing new methods to achieve our nation’s grand promise of equitable education for all citizens is our mission. From studying the benefits of rigorous early childhood education in a fully-inclusive setting, like the Lynn Bennett Early Childhood Development Center, to developing more effective ways to use virtual reality in educator preparation, as in our Interaction and Media Sciences Lab, or improving the use of real-time data to adapt and improve instruction and learning, as in our Metacognition and Motivation in Advanced Learning Technologies Lab, our faculty’s research and findings are shifting the way we, and our peers, approach education and educator preparation.
This focus is bringing UNLV national acclaim as a leader in developing practical solutions to future educational challenges. The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) recently featured UNLV as one of four colleges of education leading innovative research partnership programs with their community’s preK-12 schools. The Abriendo Caminos/Opening Pathways program—a UNLV initiative to add more teachers of color to the pipeline—was chosen by the U.S. Department of Education from more than 90 applicants as a focus project for the 2016 Teach to Lead Summit. As a result, we are creating actionable plans for school districts to begin implementing the program in their own, increasingly diverse, schools.
UNLV’s role as education innovators is anchored in being unanchored … We politely refuse to be tied down by what has been established as“the best.” Exactly where this takes us remains to be seen, but knowing there is always more to research, more to study, and new answers to be found, will be what drives us into the future. We will always strive for what’s better than the world’s presumed “best.”