Parent University

Parent University Image

Free classes provided by the Washoe County School District have been designed to increase parent involvement in their children’s educations. With locations around the district, the classes include daycare and language translation at each site. More than 4,000 parents have participated in classes focused on subjects such as: How to Read with Your Child at Home, How to Conduct a Parent/Teacher Conference and How to Prepare for College.

High School Signature Schools and Academies

Signature Academy

Each WCSD High School has designed coursework focused on at least one area of study aligned with Nevada economic development workforce goals and projections. Each program will provide rigorous learning paths leading to advanced placement courses. They also create avenues of increased engagement in learning and preparation for both college and careers.

Examples of the Academies are:
Civil and Environment Engineering – Reed
Global Studies – McQueen
Health Sciences – Hug
Information Technology Essentials – North Valleys
Performing Arts – Damonte
Sustainable Resources – Wooster
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – Galena
The Red House Project, Digital Technologies – Reno


Acceleration Zone

Acceleration Zone
Comprised of 11 of the lowest performing schools in the district, the Acceleration Zone includes 10 elementary schools and 1 high school of which each received either a 1-or 2-Star rating based on the WCSD’s 5-Star Rating Accountability Framework. As a result, the principals and their leadership teams developed School Improvement Plans for 2013-2014, which have been approved and are closely monitored by the District. Although a high-poverty school, Sparks High is the only Acceleration Zone School that does not reach the Title I threshold for additional federal funds.



WEF is focusing its efforts on Sparks High School to provide support for:

  • • AVID is a national program that provides first generation high school and college graduates with the tools they need to succeed in school.
  • • A comprehensive teacher professional development session to be held in the summer 2014.


Roger Corbett Elementary is the lowest performing school in the WCSD, and one of the lowest in the state. In just one semester, under the leadership of Principal Denise Dufrene, the high-poverty school has experienced a tremendously positive cultural transformation and improvement in assessment scores. One key is the 21st After School Program, which adds one hour of additional instruction each day, followed by another hour of enrichment classes. Approximately, 85 percent of the students ride the bus. WEF provides a grant for an additional round of transportation, which leaves the school at 6:30 p.m. after the students have dinner.

STEM Inquiry Institute for K-8 Teachers

More than 60 Washoe County elementary and middle school teachers received 15 hours of hands-on instruction focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) led by the nationally recognized faculty from the William Raggio STEM Inquiry Institute, located at the University of Nevada, Reno. The training is conducted at and in conjunction with the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum.

The participants learned to incorporate Problem-Based Learning (PBL) through inquiry-based methods, exploring STEM related disciplines. Although the focus is on STEM curriculum, a transdisciplinary approach also will incorporate other standards in reading, language arts and art.  This program will be focused on the high expectations of the Core Curriculum State Standards in Mathematics and Language Arts (Adopted by the State of Nevada), as well as the ideas presented in the new National Framework for K-12 Science Education.

Teachers will have the opportunity to teach summer camps at The Discovery, incorporating what they learned.

Data Rooms

Parent involvement is critical to student success. The challenge is disseminating student assessment information to parents, so that they can understand and participate in student achievement. In an effort to attract parents to the school, the faculty at Vaughn Middle School developed a ”data room” where student assessment is displayed digitally on large computer screens in simple, easy-to-follow formats.

Together, they analyze and review various types of data to show students how they are performing compared to their peers and grade-level thresholds. Vaughn, a high-poverty
school, is one of the Washoe County School District’s high performing middle schools. The Data Room is believed to be at the heart of their success.

WEF has pledged to assist with the replication of this concept in all high and middle schools.