Washoe County School District

Promotional graphic for the event, featuring the headshots of the three panelists.
KUNR

With the fall semester underway for public schools across the state, KUNR recently hosted a Facebook Live event in Spanish, with health and education experts, to answer community questions. 

Our bilingual reporter Natalie Van Hoozer moderated the Q&A and spoke with Jayden Perez to recap the main takeaways from the discussion.

A student is sitting in a desk facing the front of a classroom and is holding a pencil down on a piece of paper.
Elineriipers / Flickr Creative Commons

Lee en español.

For weeks, community members have been asking the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees to set a threshold that would use specific metrics to determine if and when the district would stop in-person instruction during the pandemic. Some trustees said in a meeting Tuesday they do not want to draw a hard line.

Una papel con fórmulas matemáticas y una pluma.
BackOnTheBus / Flickr Creative Commons

Read in English. 

En agosto, José Piceno comenzó su quinto año como profesor de matemáticas en la escuela secundaria de Sparks en el condado de Washoe. 

Este otoño, las clases en las escuelas secundarias del condado están operando bajo un estilo híbrido que significa que los alumnos asisten a clases en persona parte del tiempo y hacen la otra parte de la clase en línea. 

La reportera Natalie Van Hoozer habló con Piceno sobre su experiencia con el regreso al aula. 

A photo of a lined piece of paper with math equations, with a pen resting on top.
BackOnTheBus / Flickr Creative Commons

Lee en español. 

Last week, José Piceno started his fifth year as a math teacher at Sparks High School in Washoe County.  

High schools in the county are operating with a hybrid model this fall, meaning some coursework is in-person and some is online. 

Our reporter Natalie Van Hoozer talked to Piceno about his experience returning to the classroom. 

A photography class. Students are sitting down and looking toward a stage with lights and cameras.
Leo P. Hidalgo / Flickr Creative Commons

Hunter Rand works as a video production and broadcast journalism instructor at Spanish Springs High School in Washoe County. He’s only been a teacher for one school year, so the pandemic has already impacted a significant portion of his teaching career.

KUNR reporter Natalie Van Hoozer spoke with Rand to explore how he’s been preparing for school starting back up.

Two people hold signs. One says, “I can teach from a distance but not from a grave,” and “Please don’t kill my wife.”
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio

Many Washoe County teachers and parents protested the reopening of schools before the Board of Trustees’ first in-person meeting since March. Despite the teachers’ pleas, the board confirmed that school will be starting in person on Monday, August 17.

Two women hold signs that say, “It’s time to use our outside voices children are not guinea pigs!” and, “Keep our educators off ventilators.”
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio

Public schools in Washoe County are slated to reopen on August 17. In response, many teachers protested outside of the health district and school district buildings yesterday. They want the return to the physical classroom to be postponed, and they’re asking for increased safety measures when schools reopen. 

School board members meeting on a Zoom call.
Screenshot / Washoe County School District Via Zoom

A looming decision on whether or not the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees would honor their plans to return to in-person learning in the fall was determined late Tuesday night. Students, teachers and supporting staff will be going back to school in person this fall.

A woman speaking into a microphone at a washoe county school district meeting.
SCREENSHOT / WASHOE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT VIA ZOOM

This week, parents, students and teachers voiced their concerns about the Washoe County School District’s proposal to reopen schools this fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.

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