Washoe County School District

A group of people attending a virtual conference.
Screenshot / Washoe County School Board Trustees Via Zoom

Washoe County students may soon reunite with friends and teachers this fall after school closures were mandated in the spring to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The Washoe County School District approved plans for the reopening of schools. Those proposals now head to the Nevada Department of Education for final approval.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

Libros de texto sobre en un escritorio en un salón de clase.
Alexa Ard

Las escuelas públicas de Nevada permanecen cerradas como parte del esfuerzo del estado para luchar contra la propagación de coronavirus. Pero para evitar que los estudiantes pierdan terreno a mitad del año académico, los distritos están recurriendo a planes de educación a distancia — osea por Internet. Para hablar de lo que esto significa para los 64,000 estudiantes inscritos en las escuelas del condado de Washoe, Paul Boger con la radio pública KUNR habló con Debbie Beirsdorff, la directora académica del distrito.

Textbooks sitting on a desk in a classroom.
Alexa Ard

Public schools across Nevada remain closed as part of the state’s ongoing effort to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus. But to prevent students from losing ground midway through the academic year, districts are turning to distance learning plans. To talk about what that means for the 64,000 students enrolled in Washoe County schools, KUNR’s Paul Boger spoke with Debbie Biersdorff, the district’s chief academic officer.

Exterior of the Washoe County School District Administration Building.
Andrew Mendez / KUNR

The Washoe County School District has a shortage of teacher aides and assistants in special education programs. The district is looking to fill 100 open positions.

A pedestrian walk sign in a Reno neighborhood.
Stephanie Serrano / KUNR

25 Washoe County students have been struck by vehicles since August. KUNR’s Stephanie Serrano sat down with MJ Cloud to understand what’s going on. Cloud was a police officer for 25 years and now she’s the district’s Safe Routes to School coordinator.

A photo of doors with a sign that says, 'Washoe County School District.'
Lucia Starbuck

The Washoe County School District (WCSD) is facing several lawsuits from former employees. ThisisReno’s Bob Conrad has been following this issue. He sat down with KUNR’s Lucia Starbuck to break down what the people involved are up against.

Alexa Ard

Last week, Galena High School in South Reno was ordered into a code red lockdown after a concerned parent called law enforcement to report a perceived threat. The lockdown was quickly lifted but caused a lot of concern. KUNR’s Stephanie Serrano sat down with Irene Payne, a district spokesperson, to break down what a code red means, along with discussing student and parent procedures.

 Megan and John Fikes describe their oldest son as a sweet and smart  boy who needs a constant challenge. The family has a backyard swing where Kaleb swings high without fear.
Stephanie Serrano / KUNR Public Radio

In Washoe County, school started this week and some classrooms are back to learning in Spanish. Kaleb Fikes is one of those students. KUNR’s Stephanie Serrano visited his family to learn more about their experience with bilingual immersion.

Interview: What It Means To Be A Teacher

Jul 31, 2019
Jessica Fralick Photo Illustration
Photo Illustration by Lauren Bain

Emilio Milo is a student reporter for KUNR’s Reno Youth Radio Program. He conducted an interview with his high school history teacher Jessica Fralick who works at the Academy of Arts, Careers, and Technology in Reno. In their conversation, Fralick reflects on her career as a teacher and how it has changed her life

What are some influences in choosing this career? Are there people, like a mother or father figure, or somebody like a classmate or a peer [who motivated you]?

WCSD Interim Superintendent speaks to reporters following the Board of Trustees firing of former Superintendent Traci Davis.
Paul Boger / KUNR Public Radio

It’s been a little more than a week since the Washoe County School Board fired Superintendent Traci Davis, and with roughly a month until schools across the county reopen for the fall, many parents, teachers and students have been left wondering how the upheaval will affect the new school year. KUNR’s Paul Boger spoke with Kristen McNeill, the district's interim superintendent about the recent changes, and how she plans to improve some of the issues facing the district.

Paul Boger / KUNR Public Radio

Next week, the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees will hold a meeting to determine if Superintendent Traci Davis willfully, or through gross negligence, leaked confidential information pertaining to a lawsuit. Davis denies the allegations. The meeting will cap-off weeks of speculation and heated controversy between Davis and the district. KUNR's Paul Boger sat down with the board's president Katy Simon Holland to get her side of the story.

The Washoe County School District Board of Trustees made their decision on a revised sexual education high school curriculum. In a 5-2 vote, the board amended and passed multiple lesson plans. However, board members said no to Lesson 1, which would have included education on sexual orientation and gender identity. KUNR’s Stephanie Serrano breaks down what happened.

Illustration by Stephanie Serrano

The Washoe County School District Board of Trustees approved multiple lesson plans this week for the revised high school sexual education curriculum. KUNR’s Stephanie Serrano was there for the vote, where multiple community members expressed that their voices weren’t being heard during the process. KUNR's Stephanie Serrano spoke to them and has this report.

 

Karen Foote with Reno Youth Radio reporter Hannah Mills.
Hannah Mills

Karen Foote has been a special education teacher for 28 years. She works at the Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology with high school students. She spoke with Reno Youth Radio reporter Hannah Mills about her job and what she’s learned along the way.

Foote has been a special education teacher for 28 years and couldn’t imagine herself doing anything else. Throughout her career, she has learned that her students are like all the other kids but just might need a little more help and support in different areas.

Washoe County School Bus
Carla O’Day

Washoe County School District (WCSD) has a critical shortage of school bus drivers. The unemployment rate is low in the Reno-Sparks area, at 3.2 percent, and there is fierce competition for qualified employees. The district is seeking qualified people in the community to apply for school bus driver positions.

Illustrated by Stephanie Serrano

Community members in Reno gathered this week at a local school to look over a proposed sexual education curriculum for high school students. KUNR’s Stephanie Serrano was there and has this report.

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