Reports and Briefs

The Lincy Institute writes and commissions policy briefs and reports in areas of education, health and social services. Policy briefs and reports provide a concise summary of an issue, the policy options available to address it, and recommendations to achieve a desired outcome.


The Economic Impact of COVID-19: Rebuilding the Las Vegas Economy

Jaewon Lim

Abstract:  This study analyzes the recent trends of monthly visitors to the Las Vegas-ParadiseHenderson, NV metropolitan statistical area (MSA) for the first five months of 2020. In addition, six scenarios for the seven-month period of June through December 2020 estimate the net loss of visitors to Southern Nevada and the impact for the state economy in terms of employment, income, the total value added (contribution to Gross State Product), output sales, and state and local tax revenues. The counter-factual scenario – projecting the regional economy if no COVID-19 outbreak occurred – serves as a baseline scenario that allows measurement of the net economic losses from a significantly reduced number of visitors to Las Vegas due to the coronavirus pandemic. Finally, this study proposes three forecasted recovery paths for the tourism industry in Las Vegas, in terms of the number of predicted visitors for future years.

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The Las Vegas Medical District and the UNLV School of Medicine: An Economic Analysis and Tax Revenue Study

Jaewon Lim, Robert E. Lang, and Sabrina Wang

Abstract:  In the 2011 report, “Unify, Regionalize, Diversify,” The Brookings Institution, SRI International, and Brookings Mountain West detailed Las Vegas’s experiences during and after the Great Recession, and identified the health and medical industry as a particularly potent opportunity for economic diversification – one that could improve health outcomes while also generating sustainable economic activity and high-quality jobs. The Las Vegas Metro medical industry began growing in 2006, grew during the Great Recession, and is expected to continue to grow for the next 10-year period spurred by the rapidly growing population in Southern Nevada. The establishment and launch of the UNLV School of Medicine in 2014 brings a much-needed and long overdue asset to Southern Nevada’s health care landscape. To understand the larger impact of the UNLV School of Medicine, this policy brief explores 5 development scenarios of the Las Vegas regional economy, based on the growth patterns in comparable metropolitan areas after the establishment of a medical school: (1) Phoenix, (2) Orlando, (3) Denver, (4) Kansas City, and (5) Tucson. However, if the Las Vegas Metro were to follow the growth pattern of the Kansas City Metro following the establishment of its medical school, the impact on the economy would be massive compared to the baseline scenario. Under the same rate of growth as the Kansas City Metro, including the change in leadership for the University of Kansas School of Medicine, the Las Vegas Metro would experience optimum economic growth.

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Improving Health Care in Nevada

Ember Smith and Kaylie Pattni

Abstract: Across the United States, improvements in health outcomes lag while health care costs rapidly rise. Medical personnel and resource shortages combined with high underinsured and uninsured rates further complicate access to quality, affordable health care. In order to better understand state-level solutions, we explore factors that contribute to health care deficiencies and emphasize Nevada’s unique obstacles.

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The Road to Carnegie R1 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Robert E. Lang, Ph.D. and David F. Damore, Ph.D.

Abstract: Founded in 1957, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) is now classified as a top research university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. This is a major accomplishment. The Lincy Institute’s analysis of all 130 “Carnegie Doctoral Universities” (2018) with “very high research activity,” or R1 status, finds that UNLV is among the 10 youngest institutions founded post-World War II in the U.S. to achieve this status. This is a proud moment for the university and the region. The recognition highlights the importance of UNLV as a major economic development asset that will continue to lift Southern Nevada’s industry and commerce.


The 2017 Session of the Nevada Legislature and the Failure of Higher Education Reform

David F. Damore, William E. Brown, Jr., and Robert E. Lang

Abstract: This report analyzes 11 bills introduced during the 79th Session of the Nevada Legislature that proposed to reorganize, reform, and realign various aspects of the state’s higher education system. The analysis reveals the following: (1) despite bipartisan support for higher education reform, nearly all of the reform bills failed, including two bills vetoed by Governor Brian Sandoval; (2) the failure to enact meaningful reform stands in contrast to the implementation of bills appropriating more resources for higher education; and (3) opposition to reform legislation was strongest among those most invested in legitimizing and perpetuating current arrangements. The report also considers the institutional and cultural factors that reinforce these outcomes. These factors include the mismatch between legislative capacity and the demand for policy reform, the selective manner in which higher education officials engaged in the Legislature, and misconceptions about the components of the state’s land-grant institution and the Board of Regents’ constitutional carve out prohibiting legislative action. The report concludes with policy recommendations for the Nevada Legislature, moving into the 2019 session and beyond.

Evaluation of Innovative Medical School Facilities and Consultant Recommendations

Tripp Umbach

Abstract: In August 2018, The Lincy Institute1 retained Tripp Umbach2 to provide consultation to evaluate and identify best practices for medical school facilities and development models as the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) and the community embarks on the development of a home for the UNLV School of Medicine. To complete this assignment, Tripp Umbach completed a comprehensive process involving secondary data analysis and actively sought and received input from stakeholders including leadership at The Lincy Institute, UNLV School of Medicine, previous Tripp Umbach clients, leading design professionals with experience developing medical schools, and potential donors to the proposed project.


Rethinking Cooperative Extension in Southern Nevada

David F. Damore, Robert E. Lang, Fatma Nasoz, William E. Brown Jr., and Caitlin Saladino

Abstract: Cooperative Extension is a partnership jointly funded by federal, state, and county governments that seeks to extend the services of the University of Nevada to Nevadans. As the original branch of Nevada’s land-grant institution, the University of Nevada, Reno has administered Cooperative Extension Service (CES) since the program’s inception over a century ago. However, as currently organized, CES has minimal presence in Southern Nevada and has failed to develop programming commensurate with Clark County’s contribution to the CES budget. In light of these deficiencies, we propose that CES in Southern Nevada be managed by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). As we detail, UNLV is already the most connected and active non-profit organization in the region. Most notably, the campus currently delivers a host of services and programs that are consistent with CES’s mission, despite receiving no funding to support these activities.

Issue Brief Social Services Series No.5: Implementation of a Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program for Youth in Foster Care

Dawn L. Davidson, Ph.D. and Elizabeth Brogdon, M.A.

Abstract: In 2012, the Clark County Department of Family Services (DFS) was awarded funding from the Administration of Children and Families Children’s Bureau to implement the Determined, Responsible, and Empowered Adolescents Mentoring Relationships (DREAMR) project. One of the goals of the multifaceted DREAMR project was to reduce pregnancy among foster care youths and build relationship capacity for youths already pregnant or parenting. This brief examines the implementation of a Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) evidence-based curriculum in child welfare. Findings from the program intervention are also presented.

Issue Brief Social Services Series No.4: Public Child Welfare and a Multi-Agency Collaborative - Lessons Learned From the DREAMR Project

Judy Tudor, MSW, Efren Gomez, B.A., and Ramona W. Denby, Ph.D.

Abstract: This issue brief explores the benefits and challenges associated with an inter-agency partnership carried out through a federally funded, five-year demonstration project. Reported in this brief are some of the strategies used to overcome implementation barriers and to promote project success. Also, described are the results of an implementation evaluation. Collaborative members assessed the project on its overall effectiveness in meeting indicators of success such as: youth involvement, adherence to program goals, involvement of all partners, accountability, communication, and stakeholder satisfaction. Implications and strategies for promoting inter-agency collaborations in the context of child welfare are offered.

Implementation Science and Fidelity Measurement: A Test of the 3-5-7 Model

Ramona Denby-Brinson, Judy Tudor, Darla Henry, Stephanie Hodge Wolfe, and Efren Gomez

Abstract: Children and youths engaged with the child welfare system can experience grief and loss as a result of trauma, broken relationships, and inadequate attachments. Interventionists are often challenged to implement effective strategies that help youths to reestablish trusting relationships and to promote overall psychological well-being. A 5-year federal demonstration project funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau, guided by an implementation science model, sought to increase well-being in youths age 12–21 who were involved in the child welfare system. The 3-5-7 ModelTM, a strengths-based approach that empowers children, youths, and families to engage in grieving and integrating significant relationships, was studied. A fidelity system was created in order to test the model. Important lessons about implementation science guided the work of the demonstration project. Although definitive conclusions could not be reached, several indicators of psychological well-being were found to be associated with high levels of fidelity to the 3-5-7 ModelTM. Suggestions for future research are offered.

Making a "Big" Impact in Child Welfare: The Challenges and Successes of Mentoring Foster Youths

Efren Gomez and Molly Latham

Abstract: On average, the effects of youth mentoring programs have shown positive outcomes for at-risk youths. Positive outcomes include decreased symptoms of depression or anxiety (DeWit, DuBois, Erdem, Larose, & Lipman, 2016), the potential to increase relational permanency (Avery, 2011), increased short-term educational outcomes (Herrera, Grossman, Kauh, & McMaken, 2011), and even long-term economic benefits (Timpe & Lunkenheimer, 2015). Evaluations of mentoring programs suggest favorable outcomes for vulnerable youths, but few studies have focused on the potential benefits it could bring to foster youths (Osterling & Hines, 2006; Spencer, Collins, Ward & Smashnaya, 2010).


Comparing the Administration of University Cooperative Extensions in the United States: A Case Analysis

Fatma Nasoz, Ph.D., Robert E. Lang, Ph.D., and William E. Brown Jr.

Abstract: For more than a century, cooperative extensions and the land-grant universities have translated and extended research-based knowledge and provided non-formal higher education to their communities. Today, more than 80% of the nation’s population are living in urban areas (The World Bank, 2015). Challenges facing diverse populations require cooperative extensions to collaborate and form partnerships to leverage resources and expertise. This brief explores the nation’s Cooperative Extension System, in particular the university cooperative extensions run by 1862 Land-Grant Universities. Researchers developed an intrinsic case study design to examine cooperative extensions in 15 states and interviewed leaders of the cooperative extensions to identify 1) how cooperative extensions collaborate with other institutions in and out of state; 2) whether cooperative extensions use local extension offices for student recruitment or fundraising; 3) funding sources of the cooperative extensions; and 4) whether cooperative extensions meet their goals. Common themes emerging from the study demonstrate a high-level of collaboration with other universities and faculty, and minimal use of local county offices for student recruitment and fundraising activities.


Modernizing Nevada's Education Structures: Opportunities for the 78th Session of the Nevada Legislature

Magdalena Martinez, Ph.D. and David F. Damore, Ph.D.

Abstract: Nevada's educational outcomes – both K-12 and higher education – are woeful. The consequences of this for the state's present and future are myriad and alarming. Poor educational outcomes mean that the state receives little return on investment from current educational spending. High dropout rates and sub-par academic achievement fail to instill the foundational skills necessary to put Nevada students on a path for future success. The dearth of Nevadans holding advanced degrees or certificates hinders economic development. In this brief, Modernizing Nevada's Education Structures: Opportunities for the 78th Session of the Nevada Legislature, Drs. Martinez and Damore review research on two areas in which meaningful structural changes would occur should Governor Sandoval's policy innovations be accepted and implemented: consolidating or deconsolidating the state's county based school districts and changing the selection method of school board members.

UNLV School of Medicine Return on Investment to the State General Fund

Tripp Umbach

Abstract: The Lincy Institute releases an update on the return on investment (ROI) data for a UNLV School of Medicine (SOM). Lincy first presented this data from the consulting firm Tripp Umbach in 2013 as part of an analysis on the potential economic impact of a medical school in southern Nevada. The data shows that by the middle of the next decade, a UNLV SOM launched in 2017, would provide as much tax revenue to the state general fund as Nevada puts in the school via an annual operating funding stream. By 2030, the UNLV SOM should have a positive ROI of $1.33 inputted by taxes versus $1.00 outlayed in state funding. Finally, Tripp Umbach predicts that by 2030, a UNLV SOM would add $1.2 billion to the Las Vegas regional economy.

Professional Judgment Study

Augenblick, Palaich and Associates

Abstract: The Institute commissioned the PJ study as part of a review of Nevada’s school funding system. The review called for studies like this one to update the 2006 Nevada education funding adequacy study. This current study is an adequacy study examining the base cost and adjustments needed for students in Nevada to meet state standards. In the early 1990s, states began to implement Standards-­‐Based Reform in education. By implementing Standards-­‐Based Reform, states set standards for students, teachers, schools, and districts. States then use tests and other measures to evaluate success in reaching these standards. Accountability systems have been created by states to hold schools and districts accountable for performance.

Issue Brief Social Services No. 3: Becoming "Smart" about Relationship Building: Foster Care Youth and the Use of Technology

Ramona Denby-Brinson, Ph.D., Efren Gomez, B.A., and Keith A. Alford, Ph.D.

Abstract: The social service sector conducted an implementation study of a smartphone service for foster youth involved in the federal demonstration project DREAMR. The research team conducted a series of focus groups and in-depth interviews with foster youth, foster parents and relative caregivers, and service providers in order to better understand the successes and challenges of the service. Additionally, a smartphone survey was administered to foster youth. The study results suggest positive aspects associated with the use of smartphones including and not limited to: relationship building, youth's increased sense of normalcy, and youth empowerment. Barriers encountered during service implementation relate to technological limitations and other problems that emerged from the lack of stakeholder engagement.


Held Harmless: Higher Education Funding and the 77th Session of the Nevada Legislature

David Damore, Ph.D.

Abstract: During the 2013 legislative session, Nevada’s higher education funding structure was reformed. Yet, to date, there has been no comprehensive analysis of the impact of these policy changes. In “Held Harmless: Higher Education Funding and the 77th Session of the Nevada Legislature,” UNLV Political Scientist and Brookings Institution Nonresident Fellow David Damore examines higher education formula and non-formula appropriations for 2014 and 2015 to assess what the higher education funding reforms did and did not accomplish. The report also assesses capital differences between UNR and UNLV and to more fully evaluate what occurred in 2013, details how revenue from student fees and tuition were accounted for under the old funding framework and during the transition to the new funding formula.

The Case for a New College Governance Structure in Nevada: Integrating Higher Education with Economic Development

Magdalena Martinez, Ph.D., David F. Damore, Ph.D., and Robert E. Lang, Ph.D.

Abstract: The Case for a New College Governance Structure in Nevada provides a governance model that integrates higher education with economic development. Specifically the authors, in response to a call for recommendations by the Committee to Study Community College Governance, identify governance models that are evidence based and constitutionally sound to achieve Nevada's economic development goals. The proposal includes a two-tier structure that has legislative oversight and recognizes and empowers localities. The model does not propose to dismantle any existing public institution of higher education nor to place colleges under the exclusive control of local governments.

Understanding Nevada’s Higher Education Governance for Two-Year Colleges: Challenges and Solutions

Magdalena Martinez, Ph.D.

Abstract: State governance of colleges and universities is an indicator of the state’s relationship with key stakeholders, such as business leaders, elected officials, policy makers, and local residents. Accordingly, a state’s college governance structure shapes two-year public colleges’ institutional priorities and how these vital institutions respond to local workforce needs. Around the country, an important function of two-year colleges is to provide training and skills for regional workforces that align to local business and industry needs. This brief examines the origins of two-year colleges and compares Nevada’s college outcomes with those of similar states through the use of federal postsecondary data systems and an analyses of college governance structures.

Time to Talk: The Mental Health of Adults in Nevada

Ramona Denby, Ph.D., Sandra Owens, Ph.D., and Sarah Kern, B.A., MSW Candidate

Abstract: About 11.3% of the adult population in Nevada report a past-year mental illness, with nearly 4% of them experiencing disorders serious enough to impair their functionality. Almost 13% of Nevada adults have substance abuse disorders, this is the second highest statewide substance abuse prevalence rate in the country; the District of Columbia is first at 14.7% of its population (SAMSHA, 2013). With most states (including Nevada) now increasing their mental health care budgets after years of spending cuts—between 2009 and 2012 there was a $4.35-billion drop in state mental health spending (Ollove, 2013)—pertinent questions center on needed treatment, research, and policy directions. The increased federal attention and support given to mental health care access has primed states across the nation like Nevada to move toward strengthening their service infrastructure. In this brief we first compare Nevada’s mental illness prevalence rates with those of peer states and national trends and then explore some strategies that could prove useful in positioning our state to address the mental health needs of its residents. We must elevate the discussion of mental health to the same level of seriousness given to the concern for physical health challenges as experienced by adults.

Nonprofit Organizations and the Nevada Economy: An Analysis of The Employment, Economic Impact, and Scope of The Nonprofit Sector in The Silver State

Jessica K. A. Word, Ph.D., Jaewon Lim, Ph.D., Carol Servino, Ph.D., and Kenneth Lange, M. Ed.

Abstract: The State of Nevada changed rapidly in recent decades, enjoying one of the longest and most sustained population growth periods in the nation, followed by a severe period of economic contraction and recession. Unemployment during the Great Recession of 2007 reached a peak of 13.8% for Nevada in August of 2011 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012). Amid the challenges faced by the Nevada’s economy, the nonprofit sector worked to combat the ravages of the economic downturn through the provision of services to communities across the state. The research report provides an overview of the economic contributions of the nonprofit sector and its role in the diversification of Nevada’s economy using data from the 2010 and 2011 Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program (QCEW) and the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) Business Master File (BMF) for August 2012.

Competing for Federal Grant Dollars in Nevada

Cyndy Ortiz Gustafson and Jennifer Oullette

Abstract: Federal grant funding in Nevada accounts for 19 percent of statewide federal funding, or roughly $3.7 billion a year. Federal grant funding consists of (1) formula based aid and, (2) competitive discretionary grant dollars. Nevada is 50th out of 50 states in securing federal formula and grant funding, ranking behind all other states and most territories (which would make us 52nd or 53rd behind states and territories) in competing for and obtaining competitive grants and formula funding. Over the course of the last ten years, Nevada ranked 50th in federal grant expenditures every year, with the exception of two years (2005 and 2008), when Nevada claimed the 49th spot. Nevada is failing by every measure, and the cost is dramatic. This failure affects Nevada’s quality of life measures, our efforts to provide high quality education for children and college students, the ability to attract new and innovative businesses to the state, and the capacity to invest in economic development and infrastructure projects, healthcare initiatives, public safety improvements, and services for veterans and seniors.


Identifying and Describing the Network of Health, Education, and Social Service Non‐Profit Organizations in Southern Nevada

Shannon M. Monnat, Ph.D., Anna Smedley, M.A., and Fatma Nasoz, Ph.D.

Abstract: This brief presents the results of a partnering survey designed to measure the partnering power of each health, education, and social service non‐profit in southern Nevada indicated by the connections between these organizations. The survey documents which organizations engaged in the most partnering, increasing the potential that they could better leverage investments and philanthropy through their social network. University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), United Way of Southern Nevada(UWSN), HELP of Southern Nevada, Catholic Charities, Three Square, the Clark County School District, Goodwill of Southern Nevada, and Opportunity Village consistently ranked highly in terms of overall participation and activity, influence, access to information and resources, and ability to mobilize the non‐profit community. There were also a number of smaller organizations that we found to be important brokers and connectors, and these organizations can be used as models for improving the capacity of lower‐budget and lesser‐resourced organizations in the community.

Beyond Small Change: Reforming Nevada's Approach to Education Reform

Sonya Douglas Horsford, Ed.D.

Abstract: When it comes to education, Nevada’s reputation as a low-performing state in no way reflects a shortage of reforms. The politics of high-stakes accountability characteristic of federal education policy since the 1980s has resulted in much reform, but “small change” in terms of funding and improved outcomes in the Silver State. This brief examines the history of Nevada education reform and why Nevada must reform its approach to improving schools by turning its attention from unfunded mandates to adequate and equitable investments in education. It concludes with a discussion of how Nevada policymakers and educational leaders can move beyond small change to transform the educational trajectory of a state that is uniquely positioned for educational and economic success.

Nevada's English Language Learner Population: A Review of Enrollment, Outcomes, and Opportunities

Sonya Douglas Horsford, Ed.D., Christina Mokhtar, Ph.D., and Carrie Sampson, M.S.

Abstract: The purpose of this report is to provide the public with an easy to understand review of the status of education for Nevada’s English Language Learner1 (ELL) population with a focus on Clark County. Nevada is ranked first in the U.S. for having the highest growth rate of Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals and fifth in the nation for having the largest share of LEP residents, only behind California, Texas, New York, and New Jersey (Migration Policy Institute, 2011). In the case of public education, student enrollment patterns over the last two decades reflect dramatic increases in ELL students in Nevada and especially Clark County.

How are the Children: Challenges and Opportunities in Improving Children's Mental Health

Ramona Denby, Ph.D., Sandra Owens, Ph.D., and Sarah Kern, B.A., MSW Candidate

Abstract: The mental health of children is critical to their growth and development, but when their well-being is considered, discussions more often gravitate toward physical health, nutrition, education, parental influences, and living conditions. While these all represent important indicators of well-being, discussions also need to consider the importance of children’s mental and behavioral health. In this brief we explore the status of Southern Nevada’s children as it relates to mental health outcomes. Using a secondary analysis of multiple primary datasets, including the National Survey of Children’s Health; Mental Illness Surveillance among Children in the United States; and the Mental Health National Outcome Measure, we analyze the mental health status of children in Southern Nevada. In doing so we provide an overview of services, access, and the implications of the Affordable Care Act. Outcomes are considered in relation to peer states as well as national indicators. This brief provides implications for strengthening the overall mental health service infrastructure, service delivery, and community capacity so that children will experience optimal mental health outcomes.

The Las Vegas Promise Neighborhood Initiative: A Community-Based Approach To Improving Educational Opportunity & Achievement

Sonya Douglas Horsford, Ed.D. and Carrie Sampson, M.S.

Abstract:By: increasing the capacity of local child and youth-serving organizations, building a continuum cradle-to-college and career solutions, and integrating programs and respective data systems in ways that leverage existing assets and resources, the Promise Neighborhood model shows promise in our ability to advance educational opportunity and achievement among the students who need it most. In anticipation of the possible release of a Promise Neighborhoods federal grant competition this summer, The Lincy Institute releases its technical report, "The Las Vegas Promise Neighborhood Initiative: A Community-Based Approach to Improving Educational Opportunity & Achievement." The report offers a brief overview of Promise Neighborhoods, the original LVPN planning grant application, and discussion of the collaborative activity that LVPN partners have engaged in since its original submission, and the "promise" of such neighborhood-based education reform efforts in Southern Nevada.

Economic Impact of Medical Education Expansion in Nevada: Economic Impact Assessment and Recommended Approach

Tripp Umbach

Abstract: In May 2013, The Lincy Institute1 commissioned, Tripp Umbach2 to prepare an economic impact report to show the value of a new, four-year allopathic medical school (hereinafter referred to as the new four-year medical school) in Las Vegas. To accomplish this task, Tripp Umbach evaluated multiple medical school development models in order to recommend the optimal model that would provide the greatest economic impact to the state of Nevada and the Las Vegas Metropolitan area.


The Missing Piece in Urban Education Reform

Sonya Douglas Horsford, Ed.D. and Tonia Holmes-Sutton

Abstract:Parent and family engagement in the educational lives of children and youth positively influence student learning and achievement. While this connection may seem obvious, varying ideals of parent engagement limit the ways in which school communities understand, encourage, and benefit from meaningful school-home-community interactions. This is frequently the case in culturally diverse, urban communities where education reform has focused heavily on high stakes testing, teacher accountability, and school choice, but less on the fragile connections that often exist between schools and the families they serve. The purpose of this policy brief is to review selected research on parent involvement and expand existing understandings of parent and family engagement in ways that are culturally relevant and responsive to the diverse strengths and needs of families in urban communities. It concludes with specific recommendations for strengthening parent and family engagement.

A High Stakes Gamble in North Las Vegas

Robert E. Lang, Ph.D.

Abstract:The City of North Las Vegas, operating in the shadow of the Las Vegas Strip, one of the world's most iconic urban settings, faces a series of financial and political challenges that threaten its ability to perform basic municipal services. This paper explores how North Las Vegas reached the edge of insolvency, the implications for North Las Vegas and the surrounding municipalities of Las Vegas, Henderson, and unincorporated Clark County, and the path forward in the face of unprecedented economic and political turmoil.

Ready for School, Ready for Life: The Increasing Significance of Early Childhood Education and School Readiness in Nevada

Sonya Douglas Horsford, Ed.D.

Abstract:School readiness continues to be an area of growing concern in education and public policy circles. The notion that "all children should arrive at school ready for the first day" has important implications not only for parents, early childhood educators, and K-12 schoolteachers, but also policymakers, business owners, and our local and state economies. The purpose of this policy brief is to define school readiness, present the most recent conceptualization of school readiness in the state of Nevada, and consider the challenges inherent in building bridges between the separate and distinct domains of early childhood and K-12 education. The brief concludes with a summary of selected policy recommendations for advancing school readiness in Nevada as part of the state's broader goals of increasing educational opportunity, equity, and achievement among its children and youth.

Issue Brief Health No. 1: What is a Healthy Community? Building Better Communities in Southern Nevada

Denise Tanata-Ashby, J.D. and Jennifer Pharr, Graduate Assistant

Abstract:The health of a community is dependent not only upon the genetics of its residents, but also upon the environment within which those individuals live. A person's health is a product of their environment. As such, a healthy community is one in which all residents have access to a quality education, safe and healthy homes, adequate employment, transportation, physical activity, and nutrition, in addition to quality health care. Unhealthy communities lead to chronic disease, such as cancers, diabetes, and heart disease. The health of our communities is critical to the growth and development of our region. To build healthy communities in Southern Nevada, we must develop multi-sectoral collaborations between community members and stakeholders to ensure the sustainability and adequacy of resources to support comprehensive reform.

Clark County School District’s English Language Learners An Analysis of Enrollment, Educational Opportunities, and Outcomes in Nevada and CCSD

Christina Mokhtar, Anneberg Institute for School Reform

Abstract: As the largest school district in Nevada and the fifth-largest school district in the country, Clark County School District (CCSD) served approximately 10,000 students in 341 schools during the 2010-2011 school year. Typical of urban districts, more than half of its students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, and 68 percent are students of color. Many schools are located in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty, as well as racial and linguistic isolation (Terriquez, Flashman & Schuler-Brown 2009). Also, the patterns of enrollment show dramatic increases in the proportions of English language learners (ELLs) in CCSD over the last two decades. Currently, 23 percent of students in the district are limited English proficient (LEP).