Education

For Struggling Schools, New Year Brings More Money

Aug 10, 2015
Julia Ritchey

Summer break is officially over for the 63,000 students returning to Washoe County Schools on Monday. Reno Public Radio’s Julia Ritchey visited one of the state’s newly designated Victory Schools, which will receive extra money this year.

Kids shuffled to class as the tardy bell signaled the start of another school year for Libby Booth Elementary.

Booth is one of four so-called Victory Schools set to receive additional funds to help its low-income student body. Nearly all of Booth’s students qualify for free or reduced lunch. 

Washoe County Schools are opening their doors Monday to 63,000 students as K-12 classes get underway. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss has the details on two district-wide changes going into effect this school year.

One big change is that all kindergartners in Washoe now have access to free full-day schooling. The state legislature approved funding to roll this out statewide a year from now, but the Washoe County School District has decided to offer it at every elementary school now.

Full-time Enrollment Surges At Nevada Colleges

Aug 7, 2015
Nevada System of Higher Education

College students who take 15 credits or more a semester – which is considered full-time – have a better chance at graduating. That’s according to Nevada higher education officials. And their philosophy seems to be paying off. 

TMCC

Truckee Meadows Community College will be offering bachelor's degree programs for the first time starting next year. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports.

One degree will be in emergency management and homeland security. The other will be in logistics operations management, which includes everything from manufacturing to warehousing to sustainability practices. 

Food Bank Expanding Summer Meals Program

Jun 12, 2015
Jocelyn Lantrip: Food Bank of Northern Nevada

Approximately 48 percent of students in the Washoe County School District qualify for free lunch at school, but hunger can be risk during the summer months when these meals aren't available. 

Never Too Late: Young Man Returns To Get Diploma

Jun 12, 2015

All week, KUNR has been exploring the challenges that young people face on their way to graduation. But some obstacles are often too hard to overcome. Reno Public Radio’s Esther Ciammachilli spoke to Ian Moline, who says transiency and a self-described “egregious drug addiction” held him back. 

We often hear Nevada’s high school graduation rate described as low, dismal, embarrassing. It sits at 70 percent while some states are approaching 90. Even though Nevada lags behind, there is a growing patchwork of programs and interventions that are working. For our series “Making It To Graduation,” Reno Public Radio’s Michelle Bliss talks to some of the educators and mentors who are on the ground level trying to improve the graduation rate one kid at a time. 

Next year, voters in Washoe County may have to decide on whether to increase local taxes to pay for school construction and repairs. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss has the details.

Right now, the school district says it needs about $50 million each year to keep up with critical repairs for its oldest facilities and to house more students. Overcrowding is already an issue and enrollment is projected to grow by 1.7 percent annually. That means the district will need to open 15 new buildings over the next decade. 

Swimming Upstream: Student With Autism Pushes To Graduate

Jun 10, 2015

All week, KUNR has been looking at students who have excelled despite adversity. Some who have intellectual challenges like autism have a harder time finishing high school and in fact, only about a third in Washoe County actually do. Making it to graduation has been a struggle for one young man who suffers from this disorder, as Reno Public Radio’s Esther Ciammachilli explains.

A historic tax hike of more than a billion dollars will soon help reform K-12 education in Nevada. But how will that money be tracked to make sure it supports real improvement? And during such a severe teacher shortage, who will even be on the ground level to implement change?

To get the answers, Reno Public Radio’s Michelle Bliss talked to Dale Erquiaga, the state superintendent of public instruction. Their conversation is part of our series Making It To Graduation.

Nevada lawmakers are reviewing a bill that would require elementary and middle school students to learn about personal finance. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports.

Right now, state law only requires financial literacy lessons for high school students.

High school Senior Kyle Walker from Las Vegas is a member of the Nevada Youth Legislature and spoke at a committee hearing on the bill Tuesday. He says simply being prepared for college isn't enough anymore.

Between 2011 and 2013, how many sexual offenses would you guess were reported at UNR's campus?

Just one.

"Like there’s no problem at all, and we know that’s just not true.”

Jennifer Lowman works at UNR and conducted the new survey on sexual misconduct on campus.

School choice is a common refrain among conservatives when discussing education reform.

Seth Rau of the advocacy group Nevada Succeeds says it’s all the more important this session, given the governor’s plan to raise nearly a billion dollars for the state’s school system.

“Some Republicans are in favor of raising the revenue. Some Republicans are not, but the choice issues are the ones that can unite Republicans.”

Nevada's graduation rate dips

Jan 23, 2015

Nevada's graduation rate went down last year. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports.

The graduation rate for Nevada's Class of 2014 dipped just slightly to 70 percent. That's less than 1 percentage point below the previous year, according to the Nevada Department of Education.

In Washoe County, the graduation rate held steady at 72 percent. Traci Davis is interim superintendent for the district.  

Traci Davis became interim superintendent for Washoe County Schools when Pedro Martinez was relieved of his duties last summer. It was a decision by the board of trustees that kicked off a long and costly legal process for the district.

Davis delivered her state of education address Thursday night and joins Reno Public Radio’s Anh Gray to talk about goals for 2015 and the obstacles standing ahead.

Drone America

A former military contractor who spent the past three years flying drones in Iraq and Afghanistan is building a brand new curriculum at Truckee Meadows Community College. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports that starting next semester, Mark Sharp will be training students how to operate and repair unmanned aerial vehicles.

MyPath

A program helping low-income, working teens learn how to save their paychecks and budget their finances is rolling out this summer in Reno. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss has the details.

NOTE: This story and interview originally aired on KUNR in April of 2014.

The My Path program started in San Francisco five years ago and is now expanding into Reno.

Education leadership in Washoe County has seen several changes just this week as an interim superintendent took the helm and voters elected two first-time trustees. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports that after several months of turmoil for the school board, the district is finally entering a new chapter.

Nick Smith beat out board President Barbara Clark by almost 30 percentage points, while Veronica Frenkel narrowly defeated Jim Shaw.

Pedro Martinez left the post of superintendent for Washoe County Schools this week, marking the end of a tumultuous series of events over the past several months that has prompted intense scrutiny of the board of trustees from the community. As the district closes this rocky chapter, Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss caught up with Traci Davis, the new interim superintendent to learn more about her background and priorities moving forward.

NV's Superintendent discusses Common Core

Oct 24, 2014

School districts across the state are implementing the new k-12 academic standards, known as Common Core. State education officials say they challenge students with a more rigorous curriculum that better prepares them for college. However, some teachers and education experts also criticize the standards as poorly designed and driven by corporate interests. 

Nevada's Superintendent of Public Instruction Dale Erquiaga responds to these concerns and explains what this new chapter in education reform means for public schools here. 

 

 

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