Washoe County School District

School Board President Defends Davis Contract

Dec 1, 2015
Julia Ritchey

  The chairman of the Washoe County School Board says he wants to set the record straight on a controversial contract for Superintendent Traci Davis. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey reports.

Sixty-thousand parents and staff across the Washoe County School District got an email Monday night from School Board President John Mayer defending Davis' compensation package.

The note comes about a week after the board voted 5-2 to approve a $311,000 contract for Davis, which includes a longevity bonus, generous backpay and a car allowance, among other perks.

Julia Ritchey

  

  In a 5-2 vote, the Washoe County School Board approved a controversial contract with Superintendent Traci Davis after nearly four months of negotiations. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey was there.

The contract will give Davis a base pay of $238,000, the same as her predecessor Pedro Martinez, and more than $70,000 in benefits, including backpay, a vehicle allowance and attorney's fees.

Davis says the contract is fair.

School District Drafts Plan To Deal With Overcrowding

Nov 19, 2015
Julia Ritchey

  The Washoe County School District Board of Trustees approved a draft plan Wednesday night to address overcrowding and skyrocketing student growth. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey was there and has the details.

The school district finally has an initial game plan for how it wants to alleviate overcrowding and critical infrastructure needs through the year 2024.

Pete Etchart, chief operating officer for the district, presented their "Strategic Blueprint" to the board of trustees on priorities for new construction.

Alexa Ard

Washoe County is reporting its highest high school graduation rate in history, with a more than 3% increase last school year. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss has the details.

Overall, the state department of education is reporting Nevada's preliminary graduation rate as 70.9 percent for the Class of 2015, up from a flat 70% the year before. That uptick is largely because of improvements within the  Clark County School District, one the of largest in the country. 

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.

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. 

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.

There are about 2,300 students in the Washoe County School District who are homeless and they’re at much greater risk for dropping out of school. But, there’s a McQueen High School senior determined to be the first in her family to go to college despite not having a permanent place to live. Reno Public Radio’s Anh Gray has more.

clearminds.wordpress.org

This spring, two girls at O’Brien Middle School in Reno committed suicide. They were friends and took their own lives just weeks apart from each other. Since these deaths, more kids across Washoe County are reporting suicidal thoughts. To learn why, Reno Public Radio’s Michelle Bliss spoke to Katherine Loudon, the director of counseling for the school district.   

In reviewing what happened before and during the Sparks Middle School shooting in 2013, emergency management and education officials have learned a lot. That's what Democratic Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson said during her testimony this week for a bill to update safety procedures in Nevada schools based on lessons learned at Sparks. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports.

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.

Debate over gun rights heats up in Carson

Feb 6, 2015

Guns could be coming to a campus parking lot near you. Some lawmakers in Carson City say that's a good thing, while others believe schools and universities should remain gun free.

Josh Wilsey, a junior at the University of Nevada, Reno, doesn’t really have a problem with guns on campus.

“I wouldn’t say it would really bother me. I think in Nevada you’re going to have guns everywhere anyway.”

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.

The state broke ground Tuesday in Reno on a transitional housing facility for former inmates to help them successfully integrate back into the community. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports that the project is funded by a unique revenue-sharing agreement between Nevada and the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony.

City of Reno

From a pool of 74 applicants, the Reno City Council chose David Bobzien as its newest member. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss caught up with the former state assemblyman to learn about his immediate priorities for the post, which include bolstering the city's role in improving public education.

A recent study found that Nevada needs more skilled workers to fill high-tech jobs for companies like Tesla moving into the region. The labor shortage requires more career-focused education, but there are challenges to overcome, like teacher shortages.

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.

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