The 2023 eSchool News K-12 Hero Awards honors educators for their exemplary use of innovative edtech to support student learning. Profiled and interviewed here is winner Dr. Jesus Jara, superintendent of Clark County School District nominated by Edmentum.
Dr. Jesus Jara is a passionate educator who serves as Superintendent of Clark County School District (CCSD), the 5th largest school district in the nation educating more than 300,000 students – 64 percent of the student population in Nevada.
Since assuming the role of superintendent in 2018, Dr. Jara has been on a mission to move the district from pockets of excellence to an excellent school system, where every student can thrive. It was clear to Dr. Jara that, post-pandemic, his students were struggling.
“Our school district serves a diverse population of students, both geographically as well as from a demographic standpoint. As a result, our students were impacted by the pandemic in a variety of ways that affected their engagement and academic progress,” explained Dr. Jara.
Dr. Jara collaborated with Edmentum to introduce a program focused on accelerating learning in core subject areas, specifically to improve math and reading scores. Elementary and high school students from across the district were part of the initial program.
“In an effort to get our students back on pace, we tested Exact Path to provide remediation as a supplement to our existing curriculum. The results among those students who used these learning pathways clearly indicate the positive impact,” said Dr. Jara.
During the 2022-2023 school year, CCSD implemented a research study on Exact Path, with more than 20,000 students spanning kindergarten through grade 10, to assess and improve math and reading scores. Early results in math demonstrated that those students who used Exact Path content and curriculum exhibited higher rates of growth on their NWEA MAP math results, exceeding MAP growth norms, as compared to their peers who did not use Exact Path.
Students who used Exact Path showed a statistically significant impact on math achievement across all grade levels studied. In kindergarten through grade 2, students that completed at least eight skills exceeded math growth norms by three points, a 30 percent improvement over expected growth on NWEA MAP assessments. In grades 3-5, students completing at least 16 skills had the biggest improvement overall, growing 8.7 NWEA MAP points on average. Finally, across ninth and tenth graders, those who completed at least 16 skills increased 5.4 NWEA MAP points on average.
Dr. Jara understands how to support educators in addressing diverse and individual student needs, and provides students the supplemental learning opportunities to get back to grade level. His dedication to professional learning and development for educators has been instrumental in strengthening the district’s teaching workforce. By investing in the right tools and aligning curriculum, assessment, and professional learning, he has created a robust framework for student growth and achievement.
Dr. Jara is dedicated to ensuring that every child, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to receive a high-quality education. Driven by his own experiences growing up in Miami-Dade, he passionately believes in the power of public education to change lives, just as it did for him.