Washoe County School District

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.

Pedro Martinez left the post of superintendent for Washoe County Schools this week, marking the end of a tumultuous series of events over the past several months that has prompted intense scrutiny of the board of trustees from the community. As the district closes this rocky chapter, Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss caught up with Traci Davis, the new interim superintendent to learn more about her background and priorities moving forward.

Washoe County Schools

One year ago, 12-year-old Jose Reyes opened fire at Sparks Middle School, killing teacher Michael Landsberry and himself, along with injuring two students. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports students and teachers are gathering Tuesday afternoon in the school's gymnasium to embrace, remember, and heal.

Instead of holding a formal, public event to mark this tragedy, administrators are opting for a quiet, unstructured get-together after classes let out. Overwhelmingly, students and staff have voiced their desire for a typical school day.

Sparks Middle School continues to heal

Sep 16, 2014

It's been almost a year since 12-year-old Jose Reyes opened fire at Sparks Middle School last October, killing a teacher and himself, and injuring two other students. Reno Public Radio's Esther Ciammachilli reports that as the community continues to heal, a federal grant is providing the school with ongoing support.

A $700,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education will pay for trauma therapists to continue working with students and their families. They're keeping in touch with students who are no longer in the building as well.

WCSD

Washoe County School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez will not accept the $25,000 offered by the board of trustees to settle a lawsuit regarding the board's breach of contract for improperly firing Martinez back in July before quickly reinstating him. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss spoke to Martinez's attorney Bill Peterson to learn why the superintendent is turning down the board's offer.

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