Education

A group of people having a virtual meeting.
Screenshot / NSHE via BlueJeans

Conversations about police brutality and systemic racism are continuing after the killing of George Floyd. The Nevada System of Higher Education is responding by making modifications to its campus policing and having conversations about discrimination on university campuses. During a NSHE town hall on these matters, Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford said the time for action is now.

14 desks separated with at least six feet of space to adhere to social distancing rules.
Washoe County School District

In a little more than a month, students across Nevada will settle into the 2020-2021 academic year, but as COVID-19 continues to spread, school officials in Washoe County are rethinking what in-person instruction may look like.

The Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center on the UNR Campus.
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio

When Governor Steve Sisolak issued stay-at-home orders in mid-March, colleges and universities in Nevada took the unprecedented step of moving all classes online. Now, much like the rest of the state, schools are looking for ways to safely reopen ahead of the fall semester. 

Young boys working on reading homework together.
Andrew Ebrahim / Unsplash

Lee en español. 

There are around half a million students enrolled in Nevada public schools, and more than 14 percent of them are considered English-language learners. With schools around the country relying on distance learning to help mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, it’s unclear how the transition from in-person to online instruction affected those students. 

To help answer that question KUNR’s Paul Boger spoke with reporter Natalie Van Hoozer to break it all down. 

A mother smiling at the camera next to her two young children, a boy and a girl.
Courtesy of Cari Croghan

Dorothy Croghan is an 82-year-old retired teacher, mother and Reno resident. She attended a recent peace vigil in Reno held by Black Lives Matter organizers protesting police brutality. In this audio postcard, she shares her memories growing up as a Black woman in the United States. Her story begins in North Carolina.

Editor's Note: This story contains racial slurs.

Girl working on math homework.
Bindaas Madhavi / Flickr Creative Commons 2.0

Lee en español. 

Governor Steve Sisolak announced a directive this week allowing school districts, along with charter and private schools, to reopen for summer school immediately, with specific  restrictions. Under the guidance, districts will decide for themselves how to reopen their facilities. With the pandemic still underway, it remains unclear how big a role distance learning will play in the summer and fall. 

KUNR’s Bree Zender spoke with our reporter Natalie Van Hoozer to explore what Washoe County School District educators have learned about remote learning so far.

A row of orange lockers.
Ty O'Neil

Gov. Steve Sisolak signed a directive on Tuesday, which will allow K-12 schools and facilities to reopen, with restrictions, for summer activities, effective immediately; however, those facilities are not required to reopen. KUNR’s Michelle Billman talked to our reporter Lucia Starbuck to break down what we know at this point.

A person is packing lunches into plastic bags, with only their hands visible. The lunch includes pizza, milk and additional snacks.
Jeff Scheid / The Nevada Independent

Lee en español.

The school year is coming to an end for Nevada’s K-12 students, and as grades are posted and summer break commences, children in some counties are losing access to the free meals they were being provided at distribution sites throughout the state.

Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction Jhone Ebert
Nevada Department of Education

Like many aspects of life, the COVID-19 pandemic brought the 2019-2020 school year in Nevada to a screeching halt. Since then, schools have remained silent with teachers and students relying on distance learning to complete the semester. But what about next year? Will schools be ready to reopen in the fall? KUNR’s Paul Boger spoke with Nevada’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Jhone Ebert to get her take on the coronavirus’ impact on schools across the state.

People holding a Black Lives Matter Banner.
Rajid Selim

Reno resident Rajid Selim decided to photograph the events that occurred in Reno last weekend: both the peaceful protest against police brutality and the rioting that followed. He shares his account of those events as well as previous experiences of racism he has endured. As a warning, this story contains offensive racial slurs as well as accounts of rioting and may not be suitable for all listeners and viewers.

A woman holding a sign at a protest against police brutality.
This Is Reno

Lela Gnuse is a local activist who is immunocompromised and, despite the pandemic, is leading the effort to organize events in Reno honoring black lives and protesting police brutality. KUNR’s Stephanie Serrano spoke to her about her experiences as a black woman and what to expect from a peace vigil organized for Sunday.

A school bus parked on the side of a residential road. A young boy is kneeling down and working from a laptop on a folding table.
Jeff Scheid / The Nevada Independent

Lee en español.

As wind swept through a mobile home community Monday morning, a yellow school bus pulled up to a vacant pool and basketball court.

Aurora Aguilar parked and hopped out, carrying posters that flapped in the turbulent air. She fastened them to the side of the bus, creating a how-to guide for students wanting to access the internet. And then she waited — an act unfamiliar to bus drivers accustomed to strict schedules.

A woman and two children walking with a sign for Azul Blue United By Autism.
Daniel Clark / The Nevada Independent

Lee en español.

For children with autism, routines can be sacrosanct. 

The disruptions brought on by the pandemic are particularly acute for parents such as Olivia Espinoza, whose 15-year-old son has severe autism and is non-verbal. It’s been difficult to communicate to him why he can’t do his normal activities or leave the house.

The Churchill County School District's Administration Office
Churchill County School District

The end of the 2019-2020 school year is nearly upon us. Districts would typically use this time to finish any last-minute preparations for graduation or end of the year grading. But this year, many school leaders are focusing on what it will take to reopen ahead of the next academic year. KUNR’s Paul Boger spoke with Summer Stephens, the superintendent of the Churchill County School District, to see how the district is coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kristen McNeill standing at a podium during a press conference.
Paul Boger / KUNR

The Washoe County School District Board of Trustees has named Kristen McNeill the district’s permanent superintendent. But the appointment comes at a tumultuous time. The COVID-19 pandemic has closed schools and projected budget deficits threaten potential cuts. Officials said they’re confident that McNeill’s the person to lead the district through the storm.

Empty board room of the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents
NSHE

Staff and students at Nevada's seven public colleges and universities would shoulder some of the costs of a reduced budget for the upcoming fiscal year that begins in July, under two of the three proposals approved Friday by the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents.

The front entrance to the Washoe County School District Administration Building
Paul Boger / KUNR Public Radio

Later this month, the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees is expected to name Kristen McNeill the permanent superintendent. The decision comes after the board abruptly ended a monthlong national search amid the COVID-19 pandemic. KUNR’s Paul Boger spoke with Board of Trustees President Malena Raymond about the decision and what the district is doing to get community feedback before McNeill’s appointment.

A photo collage of the six students named in the caption.
Courtesy of the respective students and Cindy Meza

Lee en español.

For thousands of high school seniors across the state, the disappointments arrived in waves. 

First came the cancellation of planned trips. Then after-school activities and sports. And then, on March 15, Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered school closures statewide — a move that seemed inevitable as the deadly coronavirus tightened its grip on the nation and world. But the safety-minded decision brought sadness mixed with understanding for the Class of 2020.

Interim Superintendent Kristen McNeill stands at a podium speaking to reporters during a press conference.
Paul Boger / KUNR Public Radio

The Washoe County School District Board of Trustees has voted to end its search for a new superintendent and will likely name Interim Superintendent Kristen McNeill to the district’s top position. 

Students sitting in chairs wearing graduation garb.
Nevada Today / University of Nevada, Reno

Students graduating from the University of Nevada Reno this semester will be able to participate in commencement; it just won't happen this spring. UNR President Marc Johnson announced Friday that graduates will have two options on when they get to walk.

 

This December or spring of next year — UNR students graduating this spring can choose either one.

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