Washoe County School District | KUNR

Washoe County School District

David Calvert / The Nevada Independent

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Friday, Feb. 5, 2021.

Exterior of the Washoe County School District administration building.
Paul Boger / KUNR Public Radio

The Washoe County school board recently entertained the idea of cutting the district's gifted and talented program. With Nevada's tax revenues continuing to languish because of the pandemic, the state's public education system is facing a serious budget crunch. To get a sense of how the legislative session may impact Northern Nevada's largest school district, KUNR's Paul Boger spoke with Lindsay Anderson, the district's government affairs director, at a recent school board meeting.

On Tuesday night, the Washoe County School Board is considering moving all students to full distance learning starting Dec. 7, which is about a week after Thanksgiving. In this commentary, KUNR Youth Media reporter Hudson Heimerman says that with cases increasing in Washoe County, he's nervous going to school in person these days.

White tile building. A green sign with white letters that say, “Administration Building Washoe County School District.”
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio

Candidates for the open seats on the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees have weighed in on how they would rate the district’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. They have also shared their biggest priorities if elected for KUNR’s 2020 voter guide. KUNR’s Natalie Van Hoozer talked with Lucia Starbuck to break down what the candidates had to say.

KUNR 2020 voter guide for WCSD Board of Trustees District A. Illustration of a ballot being placed into a box. A pencil and a roll of stickers are in front of the box.
Crystal Willis / KUNR

The District A race for a seat on the Washoe County School Board of Trustees may be among the most contentious on the ballot as former Trustee Scott Kelley faces off against Jeff Church, a vocal critic of the board. Kelley is the former public information officer for the Nevada Department of Corrections. He also served as a trustee from 2012 until late August when he was told to resign by School Board President Malena Raymond. This occurred after This Is Reno first reported that within his divorce proceedings, Kelley admitted to having a sexual relationship with a stripper and tracking his wife with a GPS device.

Church is a retired police sergeant and U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel. He has been an outspoken critic of the district as he considers himself a watchdog.

WCSD District A encompasses parts of south Reno and Incline Village, including Damonte Ranch, Galena and Incline high schools, as well as the schools that feed into them. The Board of Trustees races are non-partisan.

KUNR 2020 voter guide for WCSD Board of Trustees District E. Illustration of a ballot being placed into a box. A pencil and a roll of stickers are in front of the box.
Crystal Willis / KUNR

Incumbent Trustee Angie Taylor is looking to keep her seat from political newcomer Matthew Montognese. Taylor was appointed to the board in 2014 and was elected to represent District E in 2016. She is the President and CEO of Guardian Quest, Inc., a diversity and inclusion consulting firm. Montognese is a Reno native, a network technician and a Little League coach with two children in Washoe County schools.

WCSD District G encompasses most of northwest Reno, including Verdi and Sun Valley. The Board of Trustees races are non-partisan.

KUNR 2020 voter guide for WCSD Board Of Trustees District G, At Large. Illustration of a ballot being placed into a box. A pencil and a roll of stickers are in front of the box.
Crystal Willis / KUNR

In this race, Diane Nicolet and Craig Wesner are vying for the seat being left vacant by Trustee Katy Simon Holland, who announced earlier this year she would not seek a second term. Nicolet is the Director of the E.L. Cord Foundation Child Care Center at Truckee Meadows Community College. She was previously appointed to serve on the Washoe County Board of Trustees in 2016, following the resignation of Trustee Barbara McLaury. Wesner is a civil engineer and businessman who is looking to give back to his community.

WCSD District G encompasses most of western Washoe County and includes North Valleys, Hug, McQueen, Reno, Galena and Incline high schools. The Board of Trustees races are non-partisan.

A young woman with purple and pink curled hair sitting down outside and looking off screen. There are green leaves and grass behind her.
Avery Thunder / KUNR Youth Media

Washoe County Schools have had to switch to remote learning for all students for more than 10 days this semester due to poor air quality from fires in California. For many local high school students, including Avery Thunder, it's led to a sense of uncertainty. She shares her feelings in an audio diary for KUNR's Youth Media program.

A young woman crosses her arms on a windowsill looking out in the distance through the window.
Isabella Wolf / KUNR Youth Media

Washoe County Schools have been in session for about a month, but for 10 of those class days, schools have been closed and they switched to remote learning, due to poor air quality from fires blazing in California. Local high school student Isabella Wolf recorded an audio diary for KUNR's Youth Media program to share how she’s been feeling about the frequent closures.

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

Lee en español. 

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.

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