WCSD Signature Academies shining on national stage despite hold on funding

Reported by: Ashley Cullins
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Updated: 10/09/2013 6:27 pm
RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- It's a big day for Washoe County School District Signature Academies.

One is making national news for a student-made music video, and another is being evaluated for national accreditation.

All of this is happening despite millions of dollars in funding for the program being put on hold.

"We're seeing national folks come to us and say 'wow your kids are amazing,'" said Dana Ryan, director of Washoe County School District Signature Academies.

Students from the Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology's culinary program are showing off their skills to the American Culinary Federation.

"It's like a beehive in the back," said Candice Childers. "They're buzzing. They're so excited."

Childers will be one of the people deciding if AACT's program joins the elite group of high schools across the country with national accreditation.

"They'll have to wait until January, but we'll pretty much know when we finish the visit whether they'll get the recognition," Childers said. "It's looking great."

Things are also looking pretty good for the students at Spanish Springs High School.

Their media signature academy produced a music video for Katy Perry's song "Roar" that's a finalist in a nation-wide competition.

"It's amazing for Spanish Springs to be one of five nationally-recognized programs," Ryan said. "But more amazing than that is when you look at the commitment level of those students and the quality of production that they're doing. This is going to open doors for them that they couldn't have imagined."

Ryan said that high level, hands-on programs like these are not only good for the school district but they also help students achieve their potential. 

"It really sends a strong message about how Signature Academies can impact kids and really engage them in education," Ryan said. "If we remove the ceiling from kids, they do amazing things that we wouldn't have imagined."

This has all been possible without millions of dollars in funding the Signature Academies program was slated to recieve from the 2002 rollover bonds. That money is on hold while the district tries to secure capital funding through AB 46.

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