By DR. LARRY MOSES
No one asked me but… Over the last decades, the diversity of the educational opportunities available in the four schools that make up the educational settings of Moapa Valley have been eroded. In the last ten years, the high school has lost nine teaching positions. In the 2017-18 school year, the middle school lost another teaching position. When large schools lose a teaching position, class sizes rise. When a small school loses a teaching position, a program disappears. Since CCSD schools are evaluated on college preparation, the programs lost are vocational and fine arts programs.
These losses have resulted in Moapa Valley High School becoming, for the most part, a college prep school. While Moapa Valley education has always been centered on post-secondary school education, it did so in the past without sacrificing those students who were vocationally or artistically inclined. Further, past staffing allowed for the advanced math and science needed for a successful college experience. The founders of the Moapa Valley Educational Foundation believe there is intrinsic value in the fine arts and vocational programs that have been lost over the years in the Moapa Valley Schools.
While many in the community have put up a valiant fight to maintain equity in education for the students of Moapa Valley, the District has continued to reduce the school’s ability to present educational opportunities available to urban students within the district. In spite of continual reduction in staffing, our schools have traditionally outperform most of the schools in other parts of the Clark County School District. This is in spite of the policies of CCSD. It is due to the dedication of our families, churches, community, teachers, and administrators.
Education is a strange business where failure is rewarded with an increase in funding and staffing and success is punished by a decrease in funding and staffing. The District’s major concern is not with those school that are succeeding; it with those that are failing, and maybe rightly so. However, that means that schools like those in Moapa Valley will continue to lose many of the resources that have created a superior learning environment and it will continue to increase the burden on our local teachers, administrators and community.
The Clark County School District’s financial department has decreed that the local school can no longer act as a clearing house for scholarship donors. The MVHS banker is no longer allowed to receive scholarship donor’s funds and disperse them to the colleges, universities, and vocational schools of higher learning. The donors were left with the option of dealing directly with the institutions of higher learning or to send their moneys to an educational foundation in Las Vegas for the administration of local scholarship funds. While this foundation is a fine organization, a number of local donors are hesitant to allow a Las Vegas organization with close ties to the Clark County School District to administer their funds and expressed an interest in seeking out a local organization to fill the void created by the District’s decision to stop a practice that has worked flawlessly for generations.
In an attempt to counterbalance these facts and preserve a greater sense of community, a group of Moapa Valley citizens have formed a 501 c (3) non-profit corporation, The Moapa Valley Educational Foundation. The Moapa Valley Educational Foundation is a 501 c (3) non-profit tax-exempt philanthropic organization made up of local citizens that share a vision of enhancing education for all the students in Moapa Valley public schools. It strives to increase private support for educational activities in Moapa Valley which benefits students and school personnel by supporting activities not funded by tax dollars.
The Moapa Valley Educational Foundation will secure funding and award moneys to provide supplemental resources that will enrich and enhance teaching and learning in Moapa Valley public schools. The Moapa Valley Educational Foundation will engage parents, alumni, businesses, and community partners in support of the Moapa Valley schools. The foundation will seek out educational grants for projects identified by parents, teachers, and administrators of the public schools in Moapa Valley. The foundation will provide a service to scholarship donors by administering the scholarships for the donors.
In partnership with alumni, businesses, and private citizens, the Moapa Valley Educational Foundation will support creative and innovative programs in the areas of academics, vocational education, the arts, and extra-curricular activities that engage students and staff, and enrich and enhance public education.
The Moapa Valley Educational Foundation will also award scholarships and administer scholarships from local sources in Moapa Valley. It is the goal of the Moapa Valley Educational Foundation to provide equity in education for all of our students K-12.
The practices of the Clark County School District indicate the district will center future funding on the inner-city schools that are struggling to meet the standards set by the federal and state governments.
This may well make sense since there is greater movement available within these schools; however, this is being done at the expense of those schools that have met and exceeded standards throughout the district including the schools of Moapa Valley. The district’s efforts to move vocational, fine arts, science, technology, engineering and math programs to elitist Magnet Schools has left the comprehensive high schools with only those students who cannot economically or academically qualify for the Magnet Schools. While it has limited the vocational and fine arts opportunities in the comprehensive high schools, in the rural schools it has led to the elimination of many vocational and fine arts programs. It has made it more difficult for rural schools to offer equitable science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) opportunities comparable to those available to students in the urban schools of the Clark County.
The Moapa Valley Educational Foundation hopes to provide a conduit for local funding to augment the failure of the District to make programs available to our students. We hope to help our teachers, who on an average spend over $500 of their income in their classrooms, finance programs they identify as necessary for our children’s education success. The MVEF will shortly start a fund raising drive. The funds from the foundation will be used at the discretion of the teacher, administrator, as well as the board of MVEF representing the parents of the valley’s schools. For local scholarship donors, the board of the MVEF has already set up the mechanism for serving as a conduit for scholarship funds between the donor and the institution of higher learning selected by the recipient.
If you are interested in more information about MVEF or would like to contribute funding or expertise to the organization; you may contact Dr. Moses by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 702.540.7191 or mail at P.O. Box 483, Logandale, Nevada, 89021. Together we can insure a quality equitable K-12 education for all the students of Moapa Valley.
Thought of the week… The level of success you achieve will be in direct proportion to the depth of your commitment.
― Roy T. Bennett