© 2024 KUNR
Illustration of rolling hills with occasional trees and a radio tower.
Serving Northern Nevada and the Eastern Sierra
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Spanish Springs High using federal COVID-19 relief funding to offer additional support to students

A teacher is sitting next to a high school student. The student is completing a written test and holding a pencil over a piece of paper.
Jose Davila IV
KUNR Public Radio
Spanish Springs High School teacher Sara Felker looks on as sophomore Jaiden Gravel takes a test in her classroom on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022, in Reno, Nev.

The Washoe County School District received $77 million in the third round of federal school COVID-19 relief funding. In some cases, individual schools can spend some of that money as they see fit. For example, Spanish Springs High School has started an intervention program for students who need extra help.

At Spanish Springs High, 172 students are receiving additional support in their core content classes of English and math. Those students are identified by school staff as not making adequate academic and behavioral progress in regular classroom settings.

Freshman Kaylie Sneed is one of the students in the program. She wrestles with test anxiety but says the program has helped with that and her transition into high school.

“So it has also helped me with my testing anxiety. It has also kind of has helped me with social skills, especially if there’s other kids in there as well working on the same curriculum like Algebra 1. I’ll be like, ‘Oh, maybe we can work on this together.’ And that’s how I can make new friends there as well,” she shared.

Sneed sees three familiar faces whenever she goes to the program’s dedicated classroom: a teacher qualified to teach English and Spanish and two teaching assistants, one who focuses on math and another who supports students with their mental health.

Spanish Springs teacher Sara Felker leads the program.

“My job is to monitor our student data, and when we identify students who are in need of extra support, [we] bring them into my classroom and really use targeted interventions to help them in their core content classes,” she said.

Each of the students identified by staff can go to Felker’s classroom whenever they need help and receive one-on-one or small-group instruction from staff. With a relatively small caseload, Felker says she can tailor learning strategies for each student, ranging from developing mental health coping techniques to building organizational skills.

So far, 24 students have completed the program after improving their grades. Overall, students in the program, on average, have seen a 20 percent increase in their grades since it started.

Despite the program’s success, the federal money powering it will dry up after this school year. District staff are already searching for grant funds and advocating for more sustainable funding from the state to continue programs like this.

Jose Davila IV is a corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project.

Jose Davila IV is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
Related Content