On this edition
of Inside Education,
a career
in the kitchen.
How these students
are getting
culinary experience
as part of a
high school class
so they can
graduate work-ready.
Plus the Clark County
School District
School Board of Trustees
has two new members,
and we’ve got them
both in-studio.
Learn why they ran
for a seat on the Board
and what
they hope to do
now that they’ve won.Plus, getting
your hands dirty.
We’ll take you along
as volunteers
plant much more
than a garden
at one valley
elementary school.
“We were
taking shovels “and we were making
our own holes, “and then we were putting
in the plants and… “hard work.”We’ll explain.And go inside the
Las Vegas Sun Youth Forum
where our valley’s
future leaders
discuss issues
important to us all.
Inside Education
starts right now.
“The cornerstone
of education “is getting to know
a student first.”We want to make sure
that we’re supporting
families and students.“I think the
community should know “their voice counts.”Our students have
all the potential
in the world.♪♪♪ Welcome, and thank you
for joining us for this edition
of Inside Education. I’m your host,
Mitch Truswell. So what will it take
to ensure that students are prepared
for our state’s future
employment needs? For many the answer
is career and technical education, or as it’s
often called, CTE. The goal of these
programs is to provide students with
the basic skills and understanding
they will need to enter the workforce,
if they choose to, directly
after high school. We are continuing
to look at these opportunities within
the Clark County School District. Recently I had the
chance to visit SECTA, the Southeast CTA,
where a culinary program is helping
prepare students for a future
in the food industry. “Today we’re doing
two chocolate desserts, “so we’re doing
the chocolate sauce and then we’re doing
the chocolate souffle.”Chef John Schlothaven
is one of two chefs
at Southeast CTA
working with students
on a daily basis.Students watch the chef
demonstration first,
then work in groupsto complete
the task themselves.
So the double boiler,
the reason why we use it is because it’s a gentle
way of adding heat to whatever it is
that we’re cooking.The culinary program
is meant to be more
than just
a cooking class.
It’s a realistic look
and experience
of what a culinary
career might look like.
A lot of them
come in as a hobby. The Food Network
has definitely been a catalyst
for our program the past probably
ten years.Chef Emily Giacona
heads up the culinary
program and is proud
of the realistic
it gives students.
(Emily Giacona)
Our program
is so realistic. We make it real
so they’re working in a restaurant. They’re not
sitting down, they’re sweating
in their uniforms for six hours a day,
and some of them go oh, it’s not
Food Network. I’m going to have
to work weekends, I’m going to have
to work nights. The restaurant
industry is not easy. It’s fun to cook,
but the restaurant industry
is not that easy.There are about
150 students
in the program–
sophomores, juniors
and seniors are eligible–
and a different
group of students
rotates into
the kitchen each day.
Under the guidance of
Giacona and Schlothaven,
the students are
also responsible
for preparing meals in
the school’s restaurant.
While the program offers
lifelong food skills
for all students,
Giacona says
about half of
graduating seniors
will pursue
a culinary career.
One of them
is P.J. Dellatan
who, looking back,
never thought
this could be
his career.
(P.J. Dellatan)
Before I came
to high school, I had no intentions
of what my life was going to be
but coming here, having people like
Chef John mentor me and show me
something I like, I think I’m going to go
with culinary now. Once I came in
the kitchen I found that I liked it,
so it gave me something positive
to look forward to and want to continue
high school.As part of the program,
students are required
to dress the part:Chef hat,
shirt and pants.
Both chefs also instill
a lot of discipline
and respect
for the food.
Mistakes often
turn into lessons.
This is what happens
when you cook chocolate too hard or too fast. You can see this was
from somebody yesterday. (knocking bowl
on the counter) This is supposed to be
chocolate sauce.All students who
complete the program
and graduate
will be presented
with their own
knife kit,
allowing graduates
to walk into a job
after high school
if they choose
with the basic
tools they need.
Kassandra Meza
has always
had a passion
for baking.
Her dream?
Go to culinary school
or directly
into a restaurant.
(Kassandra Meza)
I do feel like
I’m a step ahead because I know
this is what I want to do with my life,
but at the same time, I know I can learn
more from everybody.Giacona strongly
believes that hands-on
learning is what keeps
some of these students
coming to school,
another aspect
of the program she’s
particularly proud of.
We see them
as sophomores and we see them go all
the way through seniors, and we’re like,
our program made a difference
in that kid. It changed them,
like if they weren’t in our program–
not that they wouldn’t have been great,
but I think we made them better
coming in our program. -Although there are many
former SECTA students who have gone on to
success in the culinary industry,
I asked Chef John for a couple
of examples. He told me there are
right now four graduates working with
the Wolfgang Puck Group at the Aria Casino Resort
and doing very well.As for the chocolate
dessert the students
were working on in
the story you just saw,
Chef John passed along
the final product.
I think it looks
pretty good.
Again, SECTA has
a restaurant that serves
lunch typically
Tuesday through Friday.
They would
prefer you call
and make
a reservation.
The number
is 702.799.7500,
extension 4058.Well, the Clark County
School Board has two new Trustees.During a special Board
meeting in January,
District Judge
Nancy Allf
the oath of office
to Irene Cepeda
and Danielle Ford.
District G Trustee
Linda Cavazos
was also sworn in.She was appointed
to the Board
in August 2017
to replace Erin Cranor
but won her seat
in this past election.
An interesting fact,
with the recent election,
the Clark County School
Board of Trustees
is now all female.Joining us now in-studio
are the two newest Trustees to join the
Clark County School Board, Irene Cepeda
representing District D, and Danielle Ford
representing District F. First of all,
I want to say congratulations
to both of you. I think probably
we want to find out a little about you
because a lot of people, unless they were
in your district, may not know
as much about you. Irene, let’s
start with you. Tell us a little about– give us a summary
of your background. (Irene Cepeda)
Well, I’m a product
of the Clark County School District. I went to elementary
school at Fay Herron, Von Tobel Middle School
and then went to LVA and Canyon Springs
High School. I’m a native; I feel like
I’m a native. I went to UNLV. I got a bachelor’s
in political science and a master’s degree
in education. My parents migrated here
from Nicaragua back in the ’80s when
there was a civil war seeking a better life
for me and my sister, and here I am today. It’s a little surreal
being a Trustee, being able to represent
my community, and in-between there,
I run an educational nonprofit
called the Latino Leadership Foundation
where we run a youth conference
every year; we’re in our
26th annual year. I work at Nevada State
College currently, and I’ve been with
the Nevada System of Higher Education
for almost 10 years so I have a strong higher
education background, and that’s kind
of my forte. Yeah, it’s an
honor to serve, it’s an honor
to be here, and I’m always
ready for more work. -What made you
take the step from being so involved
in higher education to say,
you know what? I think I want to run
for the Board. -Well, there are
direct implications. Our students,
a large population of our District go
to our higher education institutions here,
our public institutions like CSN, Nevada State
College and UNLV. I went to UNLV,
worked at CSN, and I work at Nevada
State College now so I love all our
institutions equally. -You’re well versed.
-I’m well versed. At some point in
my career I’m sure I’ll be at UNR, maybe,
I don’t know if that’s too–
what is it– a betrayal
of my university, my alma mater.
-Perhaps. But you saw a connection
between what happens in higher ed and
what happens in K-12, and that’s
what made you run? -Yes. Again
my background, at least in my day job,
I work with transitions, helping high
school students get into college, so that college
access piece. There’s always issues
like remediation when students
get into college and aren’t at
college-level math, college-level reading,
college-level writing. So that was
always something on my forefront
I saw every day. But moreover, I know
we have great students in our district,
and I want to make sure every student
has the opportunity to be amazing and it
not be by happenstance that they get
to go to college. -Okay. Danielle,
let me ask you that. Let me find out a little
about your background and why you decided
to run for the Board. (Danielle Ford)
Well, I think
it’s interesting that Irene and I
joined the Board at the same time because
we have similar values but we have very
different back stories. I am also
a product of CCSD but I left CCSD
a year early. I got my GED and I went
to eight different CCSD schools,
and the reason why I ran ultimately
was I felt like CCSD failed me
in a lot of ways. I want to support
our students who are on track
to attend college, but I also want to
make sure that the 70% or so of students
who aren’t going to college are
ready for a career. I ended up–
when I dropped out of school, I got
my GED the next week and I went
to beauty school, and a year later
the same month that my friends
got their diploma, I got my
aesthetic license so I had a trade
at the same age. I ended up
having two kids, becoming a young mother. I was a military wife and now I’m a
divorced military wife. I’ve seen a lot of
things with my kids. My kids are now in high
school and junior high, and I was really
involved in their education especially
in elementary school, serving as
a Cub Scout leader and on the PTO
and in the classrooms. There’s a lot
of things I realized that haven’t changed
since I was in CCSD. -Do they go
to CCSD schools? -Yes, they both do,
their whole life. -All right. So let’s
talk about that. You each have different
areas that will help you address the needs but,
you know, sometimes the decisions
that are made, you’re going
to make people mad. You know, you will. Are you guys
prepared for that? I mean, not everybody’s
going to love every decision
you make, honestly. -Absolutely. There’s
always going to be a group that doesn’t agree
with your decision. That’s just how
it’s going to be. Everything is really
a lot of times black and white,
and we have to decide what we think are
the right things to do and stick with that. So that’s what
I intend to do. -Yes, and you try
to be methodical with your decisions
where you’re taking qualitative data
and quantitative data, taking the numbers
and the stories, and making sure
that you make the best decision
for our students. -For the students, yes. So let’s move on because
it’s interesting to find out about you, but we’re going
to run out of time. The biggest challenge
in the District, what do you see? -The biggest challenge
I feel right now, especially since
being on the Board just for the few weeks
I have been already, is the–
I don’t want to say lack of organization, there’s just so
many things happening that it’s really hard
to keep track of. We really need
to tighten it up and be able
to get better data and really see
what’s working because we do have
some great things that are happening. A lot of things
aren’t so great, but it’s really hard
to know where the money is best used without
having that data to be able
to quantify it. -Right, and
the Superintendent seems to be
all about that. -He’s all over it, yes. -If it’s not working,
we’re not going to do it. -What would you say, Irene, is the
biggest challenge? -I think I’ll piggyback
a little bit, there are definitely
some efficiencies that we could streamline
to make sure we’re the most
efficient organization. But with that,
it’s funding. We need more money. We grossly underfund
our students, our per pupil,
which leads to a myriad of other issues
like class size. We have too many
students in a class. They’re not getting
adequate instruction. You know, sometimes
because of the amount of students
in the classroom, a teacher might not
be able to see signs where a student might
need some resources. So funding,
funding, funding. We’re the last
in the nation when it comes to
our student funding. Our teacher-to-student
ratio is abysmal, and it comes down
to money. I don’t think
we’ve ever been to– I’ve never heard anyone
say money isn’t going to help this specific
intervention, to help fund this
specific intervention. -Let’s talk about
there’s some pretty big goals on the table
that the Superintendent laid out in
the Focus 2024: No one- or
two-star schools, 90% graduation rate, 100% increase
in college and career-ready
diplomas, increase in
Advanced Placement and International
Baccalaureate. Those are big goals. Do you feel prepared
to help make that happen? Those are big goals. -I’m enthusiastic
for it. I think if we’re
aiming this high and maybe
we don’t hit that, we might get here,
that’s something. If we aim low
and make it here, those gains are– you know, it’s amazing
if we get those numbers. I think if we’re
setting our goals high, we’re keeping the
adults responsible, that’s really
when we see results. -The Trustees have kind of
said the same thing. How are we going– are we over-delivering? How are we going to make
these promises happen? The Superintendent
is very– we’ve been very clear
that we expect to see benchmarks,
estimated benchmarks. In two years what is
that trajectory going to look like
to tell me that it is succeeding,
not just look at it every year and see
what we’ve done. So he knows that’s
kind of what all seven Trustees expect,
and he’s currently creating
a business plan so we’re able to
really forecast it. I have faith in him
and his methods because he’s
very methodical and he’s no BS. He’ll just
cut things out. -Quickly,
like 10 seconds because
we’re out of time. You guys
are great, though. Personal goals:
With your position on the Board, what’s
your personal goal? -To get more parents
involved and educated and rallying for their
kids’ education. -Yes, participation
is always big. How about you, Irene? -Being an efficient
and effective board. -Boom. -Well, it’s been great
getting to know you. I know we’ll have you
come back on, but again, we wish you
all the success and thanks
for making time to share a little
knowledge with us. (both) Thank you. And with the new year
comes new officer roles for the Trustees.Trustee Lola Brooks
was selected as president,
Trustee Linda Cavazos,
vice president,
and Trustee Chris Garvey
will serve as clerk.
To learn more about
the CCSD Board
of School Trustees,
you can visit
their website,
There are changes
within CCSD’s
roles as well.
Dr. Jesus Jara
two of the three
region superintendent
Both are long-time
educators in the District. Debbie Brockett,
a franchise principal of Las Vegas High School
and Keller Middle School, and Grant Hanevold, current associate
superintendent, with a background
of being a principal. The third region
superintendent has not been
announced yet. More leadership changes
are on the way. The District is seeking
a chief operating officer and a chief human
resources officer. The Superintendent
says the positions are being
advertised nationally. The change is in part
due to a recent report from the Council
of Great City Schools that pointed out
operational challenges and also “out-of-date
practices” within the District. Current employees
in those positions have contracts
through June of 2019. Now to an effort
that keeps growing. Four more CCSD schools
started second semester with a new school garden
thanks to what has been dubbed the
“Great Garden Build.” Just before
the holiday break, volunteers helped
the nonprofit Green Our Planet create
the outdoor classrooms. Inside Education’s
Kathy Topp was with
the volunteers at Dee and Don Snyder
Elementary School. Kathy? -Mitch, in
addition to Snyder, school gardens
were also built at Eisenberg, Bass
and Cox elementaries. It was one big day
of garden builds. -Today we are
planting a garden. -I think we’re
doing trees. -Yeah, trees
and vegetables.Vegetables like…-I think
carrots, radishes and other stuff,
cabbage, maybe.This is not your
typical Saturday
at Don and Dee Snyder
“We were taking shovels “and we were making
our own holes, “and then we were putting
in the plants and… “hard work.”That’s because students
and volunteers
are building a garden
in the courtyard:
Hauling soil,
planting trees
and digging in the dirt.(Don Snyder)
The gardening project
is really special. We’re proud to have
our name on this school but we’re proud
to see what they do with this school,
and the gardening project is a great
example of that.This build is
just the beginning.
The work taking place
on this day literally
plants the seeds
of curriculum to come.
(Shannon Miller)
It’s important to build
gardens in schools because it gives
students an opportunity to use hands-on learning
for STEM subjects, science, technology,
engineering, sometimes you put arts
in there, and math. So there’s a lot
of opportunities to learn that
through a garden.Including learning
the fundamentals
of business,
as part of the lesson
includes students
taking what they grow
in their
garden to sell
at a student-run
farmers market.
(Chris Gaynor)
They do
a business plan, they learn about
break-even points, and they learn
about interest. It’s really worthwhile
to watch them negotiate at farmers market,
learning how to bundle and how to create
a bigger profit margin. They’re actually doing
experiential learning, which they learn
a lot more that way than they do necessarily
on a chalkboard.The idea is that
as the garden grows,
so will the students’
“I think it’s great
that we have “these volunteers so
we can do this stuff.”Hands-on life lessonsthese volunteers hope
will take root.
The life literacy
that comes with it and, I mean, the whole
aspect of nutrition and the business
side of things. It provides
an opportunity for kids to get engaged, and when they get
engaged they learn, and that’s a big deal. -Sponsors for the
four gardens included Bank of Nevada,
Don and Dee Snyder, Bank of America
and Boyd Gaming. As of right now there are
about 160 school gardens at CCSD schools
as part of a partnership between the District
and the nonprofit Green Our Planet. You can learn more
about the nonprofit Green Our Planet at GreenOurPlanet.org.
Mitch? -For more than 60 years, the Las Vegas Sun
Youth Forum has given students
the chance to discuss issues facing
their community and what they feel is
important for the future. Inside Education
student correspondent Zoe High from
Foothill High School takes us to the event. (Zoe High)
Immigration, sex ed
and bullying in schools: These are just
a few topics that are discussed
at theLas Vegas Sun’sannual Sun Youth Forum at the Las Vegas
Convention Center. Thousands of juniors
and seniors traveled from all over
Clark County to participate and have
their voices heard by community leaders. A 2018 attendee,
Anaya Clark, explains some
of the topics. (Anaya Clark)
Political, economic
and social issues that we face on
a day-to-day basis, us as teens and then
generally as a world, and just having
civil discussions talking about different
opinions, no bias. It’s a really
great discussion to have with so many
different people.The forum has been
a platform for students
to discuss real-world
issues since its beginning
in 1956 by Las
Vegas Sun founder
and publisher
Hank Greenspun.
Participation in
the Sun Youth Forum
has increased.In 1956
only 96 students
and five high schools
in 2018, 931 juniors
and seniors
from over 50 high
schools participated.
With the forum’s
tremendous growth,
it has also allowed
more opportunities
for students around
the valley financially.
Senior Hector Lopez
has participated
in the Sun Youth Forum
and explains
it’s a great opportunity
to give your opinion.
(Hector Lopez)
It’s also fun
if you just come in and give your opinion. Some things are
just morally based or just opinion based, so even if you
don’t know that much, you can come
and have a discussion.Other than adding more
rooms to accommodate
each topic and
the continuously
growing number
of students,
the original idea
has not changed,
remaining the same.It’s still an outlet
for students to talk
about subjects that
affect their lives.
For Inside Education,
I’m Zoe High
with producers
Logan Winter
and Kaylee Goodwin.
Mitch, back to you.
-Joining us us today
are two students who took part
in that event. We have Mabel Jae Masino
of Valley High School and also Mateo Monterde
of Foothill High School. Welcome to both of you. Thank you
for being here. -Thank you, Mitch. -So first, Mabel,
let’s start with you. For those people
not familiar with what the Sun Youth Forum is,
explain it. These are hundreds of
students that show up. (Mabel Jae Masino)
Yes, hundreds
of students from around the Southern
Nevada district. We get separated
into topics beforehand so we can do
some research, read some articles
and stuff like that. Then on the day of,
we get separated into separate
groups per topic, multiple rooms,
and we talk about it in two different sessions
throughout the day. -And there’s a person in
with each group to kind of guide the
discussion in some way? -Yes, the moderator.
-The moderator, okay. Mateo, let me ask you,
you were in the “Home Means
Nevada” group, so these are issues
that affect life and school
in Nevada. There were couple
of issues, kind of major issues
that came up. What were they? (Mateo Monterde)
I think one of
the most important was education
concerning Nevada. In terms of that we
talked about instituting an education savings
account for Nevada similar to
Arizona’s model, and we thought that
would be great for low-income students
and students of veterans who would really benefit
from being able to take the funds that would be
allocated to them and put it towards
something that is more specific
to their needs. -A couple of other
issues looked at the north-south divide,
dress code also came up, and then also a little
about looking at the
differences between the private school and
the public school model. What were
the issues there? -When you’re a high school
student in the valley, you normally
have the choice when you’re
an upperclassman to take one
of three classes. You either
take an AP class, an honors class
or a regular class. We thought it would be
beneficial to students to get rid of regular
classes for the sole reason that when you put
students in an environment where learning
is seen positively, you create a positive
feedback loop. Those students are able
to benefit from education instead of being put
in a classroom with other students
who may not be so apt to being concerned
about education. -Bottom line being
kind of raising the expectation
of all students? -Yes, similar to how
private schools do. -Exactly.
So Mabel, tell me, you looked at
school issues, right? -Yes.
-There’s a lot of overlap,
but tell me some of the big issues
that came up. -The biggest thing
that came up was emotional health
in high schools and high
school students. We talked about the
communication between the District
and understanding where students are lacking
in emotional health and where
we could improve. -And also the fact
that students felt there was no
overarching District plan on mental health;
is that what came up? -Right. We talked
a lot about how teachers aren’t
consistently trained to deal with
mental health, and that might
help students, knowing that each
teacher has been trained in the same way
and proficiently and can address
the situation with each student
on the same level no matter what
high school you go to. -Were there any kind
of solutions? You discussed it,
is there time to talk
about solutions? -We really thought
it would be better if CCSD communicated
heavier on maybe an after-school
program or a class that was just directed
at emotional health in students and
that kind of thing so students would learn
how they were feeling and how to assess that
and how to deal with it in a more
productive way. -Mateo, how about
solutions on some of your topics? Were there some good
solutions that came up? -Yes. I think that
education savings account was a really good one,
and then also in terms of dress code,
we said that similar to her point,
how we should have training for teachers
to deal with mental health because in terms
of the dress code, one of the big arguments
is people are bullied for not having the same
clothes as others. But we believe that
there is a deeper issue at hand, or foot,
and that bullying would take place
regardless of whether or not a student was
wearing nice clothes. So that needs to be
addressed at a more– at a quicker
or earlier state than otherwise
is being done now. -You’re both seniors. Quickly, you’re going
to go on to college studying…
-Philosophy and history. -Dream job would be…
-Lawyer, civil law. -Mateo, I know you’re
going on to college as well, you just don’t
know which one, and your dream job?
-I’d like to work at the Brookings
Institution. -We appreciate you
both coming in today. (both) Thank you.
We appreciate it. -The Clark County
School District Police Department
has four new officers each with four legs. We’re of course
talking about four new canine
officers trained to detect guns
and the presence of items associated
with guns. District leaders say the
dogs will play a pivotal role in securing
school campuses. School security has
been an ongoing concern both locally
and nationally. And a quick reminder
for anyone who missed our last broadcast,
you can watch Dr. Jara’s State
of the Schools address in its entirety online
at VegasPBS.org. This was the
Superintendent’s first address
in his new role as the leader
of the fifth largest school district
in the country. He was joined by
Governor Steve Sisolak, members of the Board
of School Trustees, higher
education leaders as well as
community leaders. Again, just head to
VegasPBS.org. That does it
for this edition of Inside Education. We will leave you
with images celebrating
a dedication for Lomie G. Heard
Elementary School, now a STEAM Academy. Thank you for watching, and we hope to see you
in two weeks. ♪♪♪