Duffield Foundation invested in Incline Village High School

Data stories were a public display of Statistics applied to students’ personal journeys.
Provided/Tierney Cahill

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — For the fourth consecutive year, the Dave and Cheryl Duffield Foundation has contributed towards the competency based learning and personalized education plans that Incline High School has implemented.

The purpose of CBL is to advance students individually rather than the class in tandem. Nevada Department of Education uses a Carnegie unit system which is based on credit hours. Students are required to achieve 120 hours of seat time to get the credit for the classes.

“Incline High School has been a pilot NDOE school for competency based learning for the past three years,” said Principal Tierney Cahill. “Our teachers were paid an hourly stipend for work completed outside of their contract hours, to develop CBL units of study, proficiency rubrics and assessments. Since the state has not yet codified CBL into legislation, we are continuing our work with CBL conceptually, but have moved to personalize IHS through setting up internships for students in areas of interest.”

As Cahill enters her second year as principal, the students will see shifts on campus in the relationships with the staff. The first week of school students will be introduced to Rise week. Cahill describes this as an orientation week. One that is designed to learn about each student, assign advisors based on student interests, build relationships, resilience and prepare them for the rigor to come.

“We want every single student to be known by their name, strength, need and goals,” Cahill said, “It’s also essential we know how to create the pathways they need to achieve their goals”.

The Duffield Foundation’s gift this year totals $812,600. The funds will provide an abundance of opportunity and support for professional development. This summer staff members will be sent to conferences such as the Big Picture Learning and Deeper Learning conferences. Through attendance teachers will learn more about running effective, engaging advisories as well as how to use students’ interest to drive deeper learning projects. In turn students will get a real-world experience to inform their future career choices.

Two IHS teachers at the Deeper Learning Conference in San Diego.
Provided/Tierney Cahill

“If a student thinks they want to be, for example, an engineer, we’d find them an internship with an engineer,” Cahill said. “This allows the student to work through what the profession really entails. This will save students time, money and give them a realistic experience to inform their choices.”

The internships within will be of service to the community as they work on projects that benefit the company or nonprofits for which they work. 

Provided/Tierney Cahill

“Advisors (our teachers) will be guiding students all four years of their high school career to assure that students have an adult on campus that is invested in their hopes and dreams, knows their family, and the students’ goals for their future,” Cahill said. “Our goal is to be the best school in the nation for every student that walks through the door.” 

In addition to the conferences this summer the Duffield grant provides funds for additional staff and development of that staff. IHS is on set allocations for the school year. With only 18 allocations the school staff would be challenged to operate departments and projects such as advanced placement, enrichment, career technical courses, drama, We the People, aerospace engineering, culinary arts, and all sanctioned sports. 

The following items will also be possible thanks to the contribution of the Duffield foundation:

— a second counselor to assist with college and career pathways

— a full-time science teacher will teacher anatomy, Earth science and AP environmental science

— a full-time internship specialist will work with the community to place interns and find mentors for internships, students, and families will work with specialists to determine student interest, and teachers to prepare students for internships

— a culinary arts teacher will prepare students for the hospitality industry

— Curriculum assistant principal to plan the master schedule, support dual credit, Credit by exam, work with counseling to assure students are on track, and be the testing coordinator

— Dean of Students supports athletics, school beautification, positive behavioral supports

— Special education assistant to support students with learning differences access rigorous academic coursework

— Prep buyouts so teachers can be paid to teach an extra class

— Hourly stipends to pay staff for working outside of their contract hours on important curriculum, performance tasks, and project development 

— On site coaching for successful advisories and school visits for staff to see highly effective deeper learning, internship and advisory models.

If your company or nonprofit would be interested in hosting and intern from Incline High School, contact Deirdre Carney Internship Specialist at

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