Charter schools gaining popularity in Nevada - 8 News NOW

Charter schools gaining popularity in Nevada

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LAS VEGAS -- A large conference in Las Vegas this week puts the spotlight on charter schools. The public, tuition-free schools have the freedom to be more innovative and are gaining popularity across the country and in Nevada.

A big reason parents are now turning to charter schools, especially in Clark County, is to have smaller class sizes for their children.

Doral Academy is one charter school that opened in Las Vegas in the fall of 2013. There are already thousands of students on the waiting list and it doesn't look like the situation will change anytime soon.

More than 4,000 teachers and administrators from across the country have gathered in Las Vegas to talk about the growth, popularity and potential of charter schools. Nearly 2.5 million kids are enrolled in charter schools in 42 states.

"There's been really a movement of interest in charter schools," said Bridget Phillips, the principal of Doral Academy.

The school is located near Fort Apache and Flamingo roads. Enrollment at the arts-integrated campus is lottery based and there is only room for about 900 students. A second campus is set to open in Southern Highlands later this year. The waiting list still stands at close to 3,000 kids.

"That is hard, when you meet the families and you give them tours and they so desperately want to come to your school to not have seats for every one of those children," Phillips said.

"It was really stressful, thinking I wasn't going to get both my children in," said Elizabeth Moore, a parent.

She has two daughters attending Doral Academy. She says she's drawn to the arts-integrated curriculum which helps her kids thrive.

"Children don't learn the same way and having them learn in different ways, I think it helps," she said.

Four more charter schools are set to open in Clark County this fall, including the new Doral campus. Principal Phillips has this advice for parents hoping to get their kids enrolled.

"Be patient, keep putting your name into the lottery and I know that there will be a school that is right for them. It will happen."

In 1999, about 900 students were enrolled in charter schools in Nevada. Today, there are more than 23,000 enrolled.



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