WASHOE COUNTY, Nev. - Calling his first 90 days in the Washoe County School District "truly insightful and meaningful," Superintendent Pedro Martinez has established an action plan that includes a number of areas upon which the district will deepen ongoing efforts to improve public education in Washoe County.
"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, and they 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 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 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 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."
For more information on the action plan, visit washoecountyschools.org/community/office-of-superintendent/action-plan.
- This article was provided to the Bonanza by the Washoe County School District.