JoEtta Gonzales
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March 13, 2013
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Education column: A Flagship K-12 proposal for Incline schools

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The Washoe County School District is seeking public input on a bold and innovative project to establish Incline public schools as unparalleled in offering students an education that will open doors and create choices. Parents and members of the community are invited to a public meeting on Thursday, March 14, from 4-6 p.m. in the Incline High School cafeteria to provide input and discuss the proposals currently under consideration.

The Incline Village community has called for creative and inventive ideas in aligning K-12 curricula with input from local residents, and Washoe County School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez and myself have responded to this call by learning about the schools and the specific strengths within the learning community of Incline Village. WCSD is dedicated to preparing all students for college and highly-skilled careers, and believes that the Incline Village public schools are poised to become a flagship school system in our area.

There are three basic components involved in the proposed plan:

• K-12 Education & Leadership: One highly skilled K-12 leader working in collaboration with three site directors to offer the vision and support for one school with three campuses. This will allow for a more streamlined educational experience for students at every level.

• Curricular Alignment — College and Career Readiness: Rigorous coursework and high expectations for all students, emphasizing project-based and 21st century learning and technology. Project-based learning allows students to cultivate areas of interest around real-life challenges (local or global), gather data, conduct interviews, and arrive at possible solutions. Twenty-first century learning employs the tools, practices, and strategies that students need to be successful in the modern world—Critical Thinking and problem solving, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity and innovation.

• Community Engagement: Garnering support to establish a college-going culture based on more rigorous coursework and opportunities for acceleration and advancement.

Under the proposed plan, individualized curricula would be aligned to support ambitious programs and goals for all students. Such programs might include academic tutoring and homework assistance for some students or service learning and enrichment for others. Advisors will help guide students beginning in 6th grade, and those efforts continue until they graduate from high school.

The SpringBoard Program — pre-Advanced Placement (AP) courses of study for students in 6th through 8th grades — will be instituted, and AP coursework will continue in high school. Students may earn dual credit with Sierra Nevada College.

All students—kindergarten through 12th grade — will have Academic Personalized Plans. Opportunities for students to develop well-rounded competencies will continue through internships/externships, peer leadership programs, extra-curricular clubs, and athletic programs. WCSD educators serving the Incline K-12 school will participate in sustained professional development programs where they can network and share ideas about programs and practices that have proven successful.

What will this mean for students in Incline Village? This plan will provide an unmatched education for Incline students, an education that meets their needs, sparks their interests, and prepares them for a successful future. Incline Village students will be challenged and supported at every level of their K-12 educational careers with the combined efforts of the Incline community and WCSD.

Dedicated to the mission of “Every Child, by Name and Face, to Graduation,” the Washoe County School District is committed to ongoing work in Incline Village--meeting the needs of students and families in progressive and responsive ways that will prepare them for the world and workplaces of the future.

We look forward to sharing these ideas and hearing your input at the meeting on March 14, and we encourage parents, students, and the community to attend.

Public input is an important and valuable part of this process, and the Washoe County School District is committed to providing the public with opportunities to present its ideas at these meetings.

In the next several weeks, another public meeting will be scheduled in incline Village. At that time, School Board Trustee Lisa Ruggerio and Superintendent Pedro Martinez will share their feedback on the initial ideas presented by the public, and provide the community with another opportunity to give additional ideas and input. WCSD will reach out to parents and the community with information about this follow-up meeting as soon as a date, time, and location are finalized.

JoEtta Gonzales is area superintendent for Washoe County School Dikstrict Zone 4 (which includes Incline Village schools). She can be reached for comment at joegonzales@washoeschools.net.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Mar 14, 2013 01:03PM Published Mar 14, 2013 03:06PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.