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WCSD

Kristen McNeill sits on the right next to WCSD Board President Angie Taylor behind a folding table with a black table cloth. Both are looking down as McNeill reads prepared remarks.
Paul Boger / KUNR

Washoe County School Superintendent Kristen McNeill says a robocall meant to support families after last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol may have been better sent in a letter. But McNeill stands by her message despite some criticism.

A pharmacist prepares a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Lucia Starbuck / KUNR Public Radio

As the COVID-19 vaccination process continues in Nevada, the Washoe County School District started administering the first dose to select employees over the weekend.

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 teacher in make-shift personal protective gear.
Photo Courtesy of a WCSD teacher

Lee en español.

Washoe County School teachers and students are returning to school and trying to adapt to a new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic. The district's approach to reopening schools includes individualizing materials and maintaining social distance in the classroom, which might be uniquely challenging in special education classrooms. KUNR’s Stephanie Serrano caught up with an elementary school special education teacher and has this story.

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.

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.

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.

The Washoe County School District Zoning Advisory Committee met Thursday to vote on proposed rezoning plans that will affect several Reno schools.

A new law goes into effect next month that will extend the amount of time school administrators have to investigate allegations of cyberbullying. Karina Gonzalez has been examining bullying and its impacts on mental health in the Washoe County School District.

As a warning, this story includes conversation about bullying and suicide. If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

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.

Business and construction are booming in Reno, and that means even more students for the already-overcrowded Washoe County School District. In the latest installment in our Bursting At The Seams series, we break down the complex relationship between economic development and local schools.

    

Each new home built in Washoe County generates a certain amount of capital improvement funds for the school district. But spokesman Riley Sutton says when you do the math, the numbers don't add up.