Parents, students react to possible closure of Nevada Connections Academy

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Families and students are upset that Nevada Connections Academy may have to close its doors.  The charter school serves around 3,000 students in the state, but the Nevada State Public Charter School Authority could vote Friday to shut down the school.

The problem plaguing the school is abysmal 35 percent graduation rate- which Nevada Connections Academy says is due to the high rate of transfer and transient students that are credit deficient coming into the school.

The school says the 35 percent graduation rate is misleading which is why it submitted a plan to remedy the issue with the Charter School Authority last May.  The school says the actual graduation rate of students attending school from 9th through 12th grade is closer to 80 percent.

On Thursday, 8 News NOW spoke with some of the school’s current students.  The Belinski family says it has three students enrolled in Nevada Connections Academy.  Danielle Belinski says the school helps her children to learn at their own pace.

She says it also focuses individual attention on the students who are struggling.

Belinski says her 14-year-old daughter Ciera has an individual education plan, often called IEP.

“My oldest like has an IEP in school, and so this has benefitted her tremendously,” Belinski said.  “She has extra help that she needs, and if she’s struggling she can call any one of her teachers at any time.  She has an IEP teacher where she can go and get into an actual one-on-one lesson with her, and they can work problems out together on the computer.  She can call her at a

Both Belinski and her daughter say the connection with Ciera’s teachers has been invaluable which is why they’re devastated over the thought that the school could close.

“It’s just so upsetting to me, Cierra said.  “I mean I want to stay here until I can graduate — obviously.  I want other kids to be able to have the experience that we’ve had so far in our life with Connections Academy.”

According to the Belinskis, the flexibility of the school has allowed the family to focus on other activities such as raising their goats, sheep, pig and chickens.

The battle over Nevada Connections Academy could end up in court.  The principal of the school said it will not sign a contract with the Nevada State Public Charter School Authority giving them permission to close the school without a judicial review. 

The school believes this is unconstitutional and says it plans to put up a fight.  The SPCSA will meets Friday morning to decide the fate of the school.
 

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