Education

Julia Ritchey

  

  In a 5-2 vote, the Washoe County School Board approved a controversial contract with Superintendent Traci Davis after nearly four months of negotiations. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey was there.

The contract will give Davis a base pay of $238,000, the same as her predecessor Pedro Martinez, and more than $70,000 in benefits, including backpay, a vehicle allowance and attorney's fees.

Davis says the contract is fair.

School District Drafts Plan To Deal With Overcrowding

Nov 19, 2015
Julia Ritchey

  The Washoe County School District Board of Trustees approved a draft plan Wednesday night to address overcrowding and skyrocketing student growth. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey was there and has the details.

The school district finally has an initial game plan for how it wants to alleviate overcrowding and critical infrastructure needs through the year 2024.

Pete Etchart, chief operating officer for the district, presented their "Strategic Blueprint" to the board of trustees on priorities for new construction.

Courtesy Planet3

A new education company with some big-name tech and science backers aims to bring immersive, multi-media science learning into schools, starting with Nevada public schools. 

Alexa Ard

Nevada education officials have awarded grants aimed at getting 134 students through fast-track teacher training programs in time for next school year. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports.

The Nevada Board of Education voted last week to award more than $2.3 million in scholarship money to six institutions with what are called Alternative Routes to Licensure programs, which allow people with bachelor's degrees to transition into teaching.

The grants are part of the Teach Nevada Scholarship Program introduced by Governor Brian Sandoval.

More Out-Of-State Students Joining The Pack

Nov 4, 2015
Alexa Ard

This fall, the University of Nevada, Reno saw a 17 percent increase in out-of-state enrollment. Steve Maples is the Director of Undergraduate Admissions for the school. He spoke with our public radio partner KNPR in Las Vegas, saying he hopes this trend continues.

“The first thing we want to grow is talented students," says Maples. "We want to grow in diversity of students, and we want to grow in geography.”

Besides attracting out-of-state students, Maples also wants to keep them here, something he says is getting easier.

TMCC

Leadership will soon change hands at Truckee Meadows Community College. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss has the details.

Rules Amended For State's School Choice Program

Oct 20, 2015
Julia Ritchey

  Parents waiting for funding from the state’s new Education Savings Account program got good news today. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey has the details.

Nevada Treasurer Dan Schwartz says those accounts will start receiving payments from the his department in February instead of April, pending lawmaker approval.

The state legislature passed a bill on party lines this spring creating the accounts, which allow parents to claim most of their child's state education funding to use toward private or homeschooling.

Grant Hewitt is Treasury spokesman.

Alexa Ard

Almost a thousand classrooms across Nevada do not have licensed teachers. To learn more about the state's troubling teacher shortage, and how it could affect education reforms just passed by lawmakers, Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss spoke to Trevon Milliard, the K-through-12 education reporter for the Reno Gazette-Journal. He also spent four years covering education in Southern Nevada for the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Alexa Ard

Washoe County is reporting its highest high school graduation rate in history, with a more than 3% increase last school year. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss has the details.

Overall, the state department of education is reporting Nevada's preliminary graduation rate as 70.9 percent for the Class of 2015, up from a flat 70% the year before. That uptick is largely because of improvements within the  Clark County School District, one the of largest in the country. 

Alexa Ard

With a new leader at its helm, Sierra Nevada College is looking to grow. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports that the school specifically plans to expand its teaching licensure programs as the state's teacher shortage deepens.

New Report On School Overcrowding Looks At Fixes

Oct 5, 2015
Alexa Ard

  The Washoe County School District is facing mounting pressure to address the surge of students expected over the next five years. As Reno Public Radio’s Julia Ritchey reports, the school’s Board of Trustees heard new proposals Monday on possible solutions.

With no money to make capital investments and a projected enrollment growth of almost 2 percent starting next year, the school district is in a time crunch.

That’s why it paid a Minneapolis consulting firm $25,000 to review the county’s overcrowding and capacity problems.

A Conversation: Keeping Rural Kids On Track To Graduate

Sep 25, 2015
Alexa Ard

Nevada's rural high schools face unique roadblocks when it comes to helping their students make it to graduation and beyond. To learn more, Brent Boynton from our public media partner KNPB reached out to Adam Young, the principal at White Pine High School in Ely. Here's their conversation.  

 

Young's district has a graduation rate higher than 90%. He says that one of the positives about rural education is making one-on-one connections with students. 

"With all the challenges of rural education," Young said, "that is the beauty of it." 

KUNR

Truckee Meadows Community College will use a $4.3 million gift to help high school students prepare for jobs in what is shaping up to be a demanding technical industry in northern Nevada. Reno Public Radio’s Esther Ciammachilli has that story.

The grant is the largest gift TMCC has ever received. The money will allow the school to inaugurate the Technical Pathway program and begin the second phase of renovations to the Edison site, the school’s center for technical training.

Alexa Ard

 

School choice is a phrase you’ve been hearing a lot lately as Nevada rolls out its education savings account program, which gives parents funds for alternative schooling. Debates over the program are highlighting broader issues in education funding.  To begin with, the Nevada State Plan, which governs school funding in the state, hasn’t actually been updated since 1967.

 

  

Education Savings Accounts: Get The Facts, Fast!

Sep 3, 2015
Gabriella Benavidez

There's a lot of information, and confusion, surrounding Nevada's new Education Savings Account program. To get the lowdown, check out our handy infographic:

Alexa Ard

Although some in the state legislature are selling Nevada’s new education savings account program as a benefit for low-income students, many Washoe County families don't see it as a realistic option for them.

I wanted to see if parents and students at Reno's low-income public schools had heard of the ESA program, and what they thought of it. So I hit the streets just as school was letting out.

“Have you heard about the Education Savings Account program in Nevada?”

“No”

“No, sorry me no.”

“Have you heard about the Education Savings Account program?”

Alexa Ard

Excitement is building around Nevada’s Education Savings Account (ESA) Program, which will give eligible families about $5,000 a year to subsidize their child’s private or home school education. 

But as the application process gets underway, many parents are also voicing a lot of confusion and frustration. For the latest on the situation, Reno Public Radio’s News Director Michelle Bliss reached out to State Treasurer Dan Schwartz whose office is running the program. 

State's 100-Day Rule Vexes Private School Parents

Aug 31, 2015
Alexa Ard

  This week our news team is taking an in depth look at the state's new Education Savings Account program in a five-part series called Nevada's Gamble on School Choice. To kick things off, our reporter Julia Ritchey tells us how private school parents are at arms over one of the most controversial elements of the law: the so-called 100-days rule. 

Washoe Schools Unprepared For Population Growth

Aug 28, 2015
Anh Gray

Washoe County School District officials painted a bleak picture Friday of the future of repair and construction needs to a newly formed committee on public school overcrowding. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey was there and has this report.

The average age of a Washoe County public school is 39 years old and $25 million a year is the minimum needed for repairs and renovations to the district's crumbling infrastructure.

Parents Seek Clarity On Education Savings Program

Aug 21, 2015
Julia Ritchey

  Nevada Treasury officials heard from a crowd of frustrated and confused private school parents during a hearing Friday on the state's new Education Savings Account program. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey was there.

More than three dozen parents spoke during public comment to air grievances about a key provision of the new program known as the 100-day rule.

Again and again, their concerns sounded like this:

"I implore you once again to examine legislative intent with regard to the 100 days," said parent Bri Thorson.

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