LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — When the coronavirus pandemic shuttered schools and forced students to learn in front of a laptop away from their teachers and friends, the city of North Las Vegas scrambled for options to provide those students more structured learning environments.
Councilwoman Pamela Goynes-Brown spearheaded the creation of the Southern Nevada Urban Micro Academy, a micro-school bringing small groups of kids from all grades into the same place with a qualified instructor to meet the needs of kids who felt lost in distance learning.
"It's a real school," Goynes-Brown said. "I get asked that often."
The councilwoman says parents in the program called for SNUMA to be brought back even as most kids returned to in-person learning, and city leaders decided to go bigger by expanding the program by adding access to kindergartners and implementing a STEAM program.
"We're preparing this generation for jobs that probably haven't even been created yet so we want to make sure that they're able to compete in such a global society," Goynes-Brown said.
Patricia Farley, a local mother of four, tried micro-schooling when the pandemic began and while she didn't go through SNUMA she says it's important that North Las Vegas parents have the option of utilizing the program as an alternative to traditional schooling.
"A lot of issues in the community are best solved by the community," Farley said. "Here's a perfect example."
Farley says when COVID first struck, she had no idea what to do for her kids as she had to continue running her business while homeschooling her children.
She said following research she landed on enrolling her kids in a micro-schooling program to help guide them through distance learning.
"The relief first came to me as I needed a qualified person to teach my children because the older you get the more you realize you're not qualified to teach fifth grade," she said.
Farley says micro-schooling programs allow many kids to learn at their own pace but it may not be right for every child.
One of Farley's daughters turned her grades around completely from D's and F's to A's and B's, while another struggled with the program and had to be enrolled in a private school amid the pandemic.
"Every kid is different," she said.
Farley says she's glad SNUMA is expanding as she plans to continue utilizing micro-schooling for her kids that thrive in the environment and hopes Clark County explores a similar option.
The micro academy is free for parents to enroll with more information on the NLV website.
13 Action News shares further information on this topic in Wednesday's Daily Debrief: