RENO — School is out and that means it’s time for teachers to become the students.
Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support (PBS) is a new approach to improving behavior that really works. Starting this week, the Washoe County School District and PBS-NV, a network of professionals, parents and community members that provides support plans for individuals with disabilities, will train staff from about 70 schools on how to build a strong PBS program at their sites.
Training will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. today through Thursday at Depoali Middle School, 9300 Wilbur May Pkwy. in Reno.
Camp at Sparks High helps get students work
RENO — To provide students with a competitive advantage in the job market, Sparks High School will host the second annual Job Readiness Summer Camp today through Friday for students with disabilities. These students will receive classroom instruction and real-world experience so they are equipped with the skills needed to secure employment in today’s workforce.
The week-long camp will help students learn how to travel to a job site through public transportation and learn valuable skills with the help of a local employer.
The Job Readiness Camp program is funded through a $34,000 grant from the Nevada Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. The district received a similar grant last year for about 50 students.
This year, the program will allow for up to about 60 students to attend the camp for free.
Peggy Cullinane, consultant for the district’s transition programs, said a continuing partnership between the district and the governor’s council is key to the success of the camp from which students emerge as excellent candidates for jobs.
“To be able to offer this camp for a second year speaks highly to the success we experienced last year,” Cullinane said. “Hiring the students within the local workforce is of mutual benefit to them and the employer.”
A study at DePaul University in 2007 shows employees with and without disabilities are virtually indistinguishable in regard to retention rates, absenteeism and job performance. Employees who hire youth with disabilities help improve the climate of the community by making it a friendly and accepting environment.
The Job Readiness Summer Camp will be held from today to Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m at Sparks High School, located at 820 15th St. in Sparks.
For more information, contact the transition programs at 333-6175 or by e-mailing Cullinane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lemmon Valley Elementary gets new playground equipment
RENO — New playground equipment was installed at Lemmon Valley Elementary School on Wednesday to bring the outdoor facilities up to date with other Washoe County school playgrounds.
The school has enlisted the help of volunteers and garnered the necessary funding to design the playground, purchase and install the equipment and add surfacing, including exercise areas.
The school’s current play equipment, which has become worn from 40 years of seasonal storms, sits on uneven areas with poor draining. The new playground will benefit the school’s 650 students by providing opportunities for physical exercise.
Specific equipment to be installed will include safe, upgraded models of climbing, slide and play apparatus. Stations, which will have posted directions on how to use them, will be placed at intervals along walking and running paths. The project also will include trees, plants, flowers and garden areas to provide shade and learning opportunities for students.
Kinder Amigos propels student learning at an early age
RENO — When Mount Rose Elementary School Principal Krissy Brown sought extra help for kindergarten students in need of learning English for the first time, Lifestyle Homes founder Bob Lissner was quick to take action to fund eight Washoe County schools for the Kinder Amigos program.
The program quickly increased student achievement between kindergarten and first grade, provided the translation of materials, equipped classrooms with bilingual aides and gave specialized literacy instruction to young students.
On Wednesday at Anderson Elementary School, the Washoe County School District expressed its appreciation for Lissner’s generous donation of time and financial support. Lissner has contributed $1.2 million in the past six years to develop Kinder Amigos.
The program began by providing partial salaries in eight schools for those who worked in classrooms with high numbers of students who were learning English. Next year, Lissner will support Kinder Amigos in 26 schools to help children who speak Spanish transition into the classroom, provide instructional materials and needs to teachers and aides and better prepare students for the first grade. It also allows staff to monitor student behavior and engagement while providing more one-on-one support. By providing these services, the amount of time it takes to help kindergarteners who speak another language adapt in the classroom has decreased significantly and increased parent participation with school activities.
“This program sponsored by Mr. Lissner is a huge success,” said Mary Ann Robinson, coordinator for the district’s English as a Second Language/World Languages office. “I am very thankful to Bob for providing the funding for this position. The benefits were seen in student achievement and providing incoming students who have language barriers with a person they are comfortable with and with whom they could communicate.”