Education

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. 

 

 

Western Nevada College

Nevada's four community colleges are getting federal grants for almost $10 million. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports that the funding, which was announced this week, will go towards programs that train students for in-demand jobs across the state.

Now that Tesla will be setting up shop in Storey County to make batteries for its electric cars, Truckee Meadows Community College is planning to develop more programs for skilled high-tech workers.  Reno Public Radio’s Michelle Bliss reports that the school will build on what it already has to offer.

A judge says the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees should buy out Superintendent Pedro Martinez in exchange for him leaving.

We are debuting our new Grammar Girl segment with author Mignon Fogarty, the creator of the Quick and Dirty Tips Network. Once a month, Mignon will explore the many intricacies and quirks of the English language with Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss. 

In the next seven years, the University of Nevada, Reno has big plans for expansion. At Wednesday's State of the University address, President Marc Johnson said the school will be hiring more faculty and constructing more buildings to keep up with record enrollment.

Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss attended the speech and has these details.

By 2021, UNR plans to hire at least 250 tenure-track faculty members to teach a projected 22,000 students. The school's current head count is just under 20,000--its highest enrollment ever.

Sparks Middle School continues to heal

Sep 16, 2014

It's been almost a year since 12-year-old Jose Reyes opened fire at Sparks Middle School last October, killing a teacher and himself, and injuring two other students. Reno Public Radio's Esther Ciammachilli reports that as the community continues to heal, a federal grant is providing the school with ongoing support.

A $700,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education will pay for trauma therapists to continue working with students and their families. They're keeping in touch with students who are no longer in the building as well.

Trustees settle with AG, pay out $1,500 each

Sep 9, 2014

The Washoe County School Board of Trustees has agreed to a settlement with the Nevada Attorney General over the board's improper firing of Superintendent Pedro Martinez.

 

Six of the trustees will pay $1,500 each for violating the Nevada Open Meeting law in multiple ways.

Attorney Kent Robison, who's representing the trustees, says they could have litigated this issue for months.

The Washoe County School District Board of Trustees is voting Tuesday on whether or not to accept a settlement agreement with the Nevada Attorney General over the improper firing of Superintendent Pedro Martinez. 

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