RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) – Washoe County School District's planning a simpler approach than in the past to raising graduation rates. Superintendant Pedro Martinez's new action plan released today takes the current 100 educational initiatives down to about 20.
In addition to early intervention programs and additional gifted and talented classes, the new plan also includes a more focus professional development for teachers based on what their school needs are, expanding signature academies to the middle school level, beefing up two-way immersion language learning, and redesigning special ed and programs for students who second language is English.
Here’s what the district said about it in a news release:
Reno, NV (Nov. 9, 2012) –
“I have spent many hours during my first 90 days listening to and learning from our community, parents, staff, and students,” Martinez said. ”It is apparent to me that, as a District, we need to focus more deeply on existing initiatives so that they are implemented systematically. Instead of scattering our efforts over a number of different initiatives without mastering them, I want to delve more deeply and meaningfully in programs that are currently creating a lasting, positive impact on our students and schools.”
The District continues to follow the tenets of the strategic plan, Envision WCSD 2015 – Investing In Our Future, and Martinez said that plan provides a clear path for the years ahead. But a number of challenges remain, and Martinez believes those areas merit further examination.
The following are several highlights from Martinez’s action plan:
District staff will continue to create a personal academic plan for each high school senior who may not graduate due to identified risk factors. These plans include interventions, tutoring, and additional support for each student with the goal of graduating them on time.
The District will identify an additional 800 seniors whose risk factors indicate they will not graduate on time will be enrolled as fifth-year seniors using a variety of tools and programs already available.
District staff will expand efforts to build academic personal plans (APP) for third through eighth grade students who are non-proficient. These efforts include school-day and after-school programs, tutoring, and weekend support.
The existing Signature Academy program will expand to include one academy at each high school for the fall of 2013-2014. Each academy will create agreements with UNR and/or TMCC to ensure that the academy programs are directly aligned into higher education degree programs. The District is also developing a preliminary multi-year plan to expand and align Signature Academies to the middle school level.
District staff will collaborate with the Gifted and Talented Advisory Council to update the GATE program’s strategic plan to expand the breadth and scope of gifted programming so that it continues to meet the cognitive, social, and emotional needs of gifted students.
Two-way immersion programs and in-class supports for English Language Learners (ELL) will be redesigned and expanded to better meet the needs of these students. Special education programs will also be redesigned to provide greater coordination of services and more flexibility for the instruction of special education students who are attending school in general education classrooms.
The District will expand and strengthen efforts to engage families in supporting their children in school, establishing goals for increasing participation in Parent University and offering Parent U courses in core topics like Common Core State Standards, graduation requirements, and college readiness. Academic parent-teacher teams will share more data through Infinite Campus, Parent Portal outreach, and academic personalized plans in an effort to ensure dialogue and communication between parents and instructors.
District staff will continue to work closely with the Student Advisory Board to address bullying issues and create a diversity and acceptance campaign.
Staff will also ensure that cultural competency is embedded in the professional development plan district-wide.
“We will continue to work within the strategic plan as we have for several years now, and it will guide us in the areas where we want to make our greatest strides,” said Ken Grein, president of the WCSD Board of Trustees. “Now is the time to take a closer look at where we are, where we need to be, and how this plan can work most effectively to achieve the high goals we have set for the District.”
“I have learned so much from engaging with our community during the past 90 days, and this engagement has prompted us to take a harder look at how we are educating our students,” Martinez said. “This is a team effort between District professionals, families, and the community at large. We can work together to accomplish goals that will help all of our students have the best possible start in their educations and in their lives. It’s a worthy effort, and the Washoe County School District is ready to work with our partners, parents, and education professionals to make sure that effort does not fall short of our goals.”
For more information on Superintendent Martinez’s action plan, visit http://washoecountyschools.org/community/office-of-superintendent/action-plan.