Nevada’s Charter Schools Lead in Academic Performance & Growth

Thanks to school choice, families in Nevada can choose from several types of education for their children. Options include traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, private schools, homeschooling, or online learning. 

Nevada currently has around 80 charter school campuses serving approximately 62,000 students, or about 13% of the state’s K-12 population.

Charter schools in Nevada are public schools funded by the state and are independent public schools of choice, meaning parents choose to enroll their children. Like traditional public schools, charter schools are free and open to all students.

What distinguishes charter schools is their freedom to approach education with innovative curriculum and teaching methods. Most charter schools are mission-focused, concentrating on science and technology, distance education, or career and vocational studies.

Despite their academic freedom, charter schools are still accountable for academic results, being overseen by the State Public Charter School Authority (SPCSA).  And new data suggests Nevada’s charter schools are excelling at academic success.

Las Vegas-based educational data analysis firm Data Insight Partners recently analyzed National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data, finding Nevada’s charter school students outperform their national peers on the nation’s biggest tests.

In early literacy, students performed academically a year and a half ahead of the average student in a large city. Nevada’s 4th and 8th grade students performed better than students in both Arizona and Colorado.

When it comes to mathematics, Nevada students are also ahead of the curve. National test results show Nevada’s fourth and eighth graders are performing better than students from 21 different large metro areas, including New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, and Austin.

Nevada public charter schools’ academic success isn’t the only winning card in the region’s academic hand, with rapid growth and new investment allowing more students to benefit.

Since 2020, public school enrollment nationwide has dropped by 1.3 million students. Over the same time period, enrollment in Nevada’s public charter schools grew by 25%. In fact, interest in public charter schools is so high in Southern Nevada, that the region’s charter schools serve more students than 99% of other school districts in the U.S. 

As the nation’s youth population declines, less students means less funding, and many school districts across the country have been forced to limit electives and after-school activities due to declining budgets. 

But the opposite is the case in the Las Vegas valley, where a growing student population allows new public charter schools to open each year, offering diverse academic programs. Innovative schools include SLAM! Nevada, which offers sports leadership and management programs, and Doral Academy, an arts integration school which now has six campuses in the region. 

State leaders have also made education a top priority in recent years, with legislators and Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo approving the state’s largest education funding bill in 2023. The bill appropriates nearly $12 billion for K-12 education, including more than $2 billion in new funding. That means an additional $2,500 per student each year, and an overall 25% increase in education spending by the state.

With continued state investment and regional growth, there is a bright future for Southern Nevada’s charter schools, and the students who attend them.

Top Charter School Highlights:

Coral Academy of Science Las Vegas – Sandy Ridge Campus

Coral Academy of Science Las Vegas’ Sandy Ridge Campus was named the #1 best charter school in Nevada and #1 best high school in Henderson in the most recent U.S. News & World Report rankings. The high school, which is a STEM-focused college-prep charter school, boasts an 84% participation rate in Advanced Placement coursework and exams, and was recognized for its diverse student body, with a minority enrollment of 63%.





Pinecrest Academy of Nevada Inspirada

Located in Henderson’s rapidly expanding Inspirada neighborhood, this K-8 school serves more than 1,180 students and was ranked as both the top elementary and middle charter school in Nevada in the most recent U.S. News & World Report rankings. The school was the first charter school in Nevada to receive the Nevada STEM School designation in 2018, and in 2021 received the national Blue Ribbon Schools award from the U.S. Department of Education.



Doral Academy Red Rock

Located in west Las Vegas’ Summerlin neighborhood, Doral Academy Red Rock is an arts integration school serving middle and high school students. The school aligns its philosophy with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts that utilizes an arts integration approach to teaching in which students construct and demonstrate understanding through an art form. This creative community of learners averages a 25 on ACT scores, significantly higher than the state average.