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Schools in Brief
by Tribune Staff
Mar 13, 2011 | 1621 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Phone book recycling challenge

RENO — In February, Libby Booth and Lena Juniper elementary schools competed against one another to see which school could collect the most phone books through AT&T’s Project ReDirectory Phone Book Recycling Challenge program. Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful staff visited Juniper and Booth at the end of January to talk to the students about recycling and ask if they were ready to take on the challenge.

After learning about trash, the landfill and how to recycle, the students at both schools agreed to take on the challenge of recycling old phone books.

Juniper Elementary in Reno placed first by bringing in a total of 430 phone books. Libby Booth Elementary in Sparks brought in 270 for a total of 700 phone books collected during the competition. That equals more than 2,400 pounds that might have otherwise ended up in the landfill.

“This pilot project funded by AT&T Real Yellow Pages directly engages students in recycling through friendly competition,” said Christi Cakiroglu, executive director of Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful. “Our hope is that they will walk away with a sense that little efforts result in big change.”

Each school will receive rulers made from recycled phone books and T-shirts for the top recyclers. As the first-place winner, Juniper has won a pizza party for the entire school as well as $300 to go toward school necessities. Libby Booth will receive $200 for its participation.

A final assembly will be held at Juniper Elementary and Libby Booth to reward the students for participating in the competition. Special guests will include city of Reno and city of Sparks council members.

AT&T Project ReDirectory is part of the company’s corporate citizenship and sustainability efforts. Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful is a private nonprofit dedicated to creating a cleaner, more beautiful region through education and active community involvement.

For more information, call 851-5185 or visit


New IB coordinator at Wooster seeks to continue excellence

RENO – Wooster High School’s mounting International Baccalaureate (IB) program consistently climbs to new heights every year, which is an ongoing achievement that incoming IB coordinator Josh Rosenbloom intends to continue now that he has been hired for the job.

“Ever since I’ve been at Wooster, I have been teaching IB classes and have a very strong belief that IB is a good opportunity for students,” Rosenbloom said. “Wooster is a very strong school and I believe strongly in the IB program. It seemed to be a great opportunity to help Wooster progress and have an impact on a strong scale.”

Rosenbloom grew up in Douglas County and received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Language certification from the University of Nevada, Reno. He has been an educator at Wooster since 2001, taking a year off in 2003 to teach English in South Africa. Currently, he teaches Advanced Placement Spanish.

Wooster Principal Debra Biersdorff said she looks forward to Rosenbloom’s IB leadership next year when the program is expecting its largest enrollment since its inception more than 10 years ago. About 170 incoming students are anticipated to attend Wooster for IB.

“IB has had a tremendous impact in preparing students to become global thinkers and engaged citizens in our community, our state and nation,” Biersdorff said. “They are well-equipped to handle the challenges they will face at prestigious colleges and universities as well as the challenges of tomorrow. I am confident that Josh will ensure Wooster’s IB program continues to flourish in serving the needs of the students of the Washoe County School District.”

In 2010, Wooster ranked 174th on Newsweek’s list of 1,500 best U.S. high schools, due largely to its offerings of this advanced IB curriculum.

The International Baccalaureate program offers rigorous, integrated classes that prepare students for college, leadership and personal accountability. Students enrolled in IB can earn college credit by taking exams toward the end of their junior or senior year. At Wooster, students can choose to commit to a four-year plan at the end of which they can receive the IB diploma. To obtain the diploma, they must take exams in six subjects, write an original 4,000-word essay and perform community service. Students also can elect to receive certificates by choosing to attend one or more IB classes of their choice.

Wooster’s IB program has 410 students, from freshmen to seniors, enrolled this year. About 95 percent of these students come from outside Wooster’s zone to attend classes, even attracting several youth outside the Reno-Sparks area and other states.

On June 16, Rosenbloom will assume the IB coordinator position from Daryl DiBitonto, who has served in this capacity since 2003. DiBitonto has been hired as the headmaster at Sage Ridge School, an independent, college preparatory campus in Reno.

“I see the IB program building on the tradition of excellence and where we are now and taking it to greater heights,” DiBitonto said. “I’m also delighted and thrilled that Josh, as a Spanish teacher, is going to be taking over as coordinator.”

Tech Café opens doors to digital tools in the classroom

The fourth annual Technology Café will run from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Truckee Meadows Community College in the Sierra Building.

The Washoe County School District, along with KNPB Channel 5, is sponsoring an educational technology showcase with an offering of various demonstration booths and in-depth instructional sessions. Participants will have the opportunity to see how technology can be applied to a WCSD classroom.

Those interested in attending can register at

Sierra Vista offers GED program for parents and community

RENO – Sierra Vista Elementary School parent Marisol Arellano is ready to receive a general education diploma (GED) that counts in the United States after having already received a degree in Mexico that is not recognized in this country. The school’s principal, Jonna AuCoin, is proud of Arellano, a mother of four with two children attending Sierra Vista, for taking initiative.

“For me, it’s very important,” said Arellano, who currently is not working but hopes to find a job and assist her children after receiving her diploma. “If I get my GED, I can help my kids with their homework and be more involved with what’s going on with them.”

Through a Wells Fargo grant, four teachers at the Reno school are offering a 12-week GED prep course for parents and community members who have not received a high school diploma. The grant gives Sierra Vista $3,000 for the program, which covers teachers’ salaries and a portion of the course fee.

The classes are being held from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and participants also study for two hours on their own throughout the rest of the week, making the course a minimum of a six-hour weekly commitment. The class alternates locations between a Washoe County library and Sierra Vista’s own computer lab.

The cost of the test is $65. Members who sign up for the class are asked to pay $30 to hold them accountable. The remaining $35 is covered by the grant. If the participant does not pass the test the first time, however, the cost of any subsequent tests taken is covered for one year.

Classes started on March and nearly two dozen showed for the first night.

“They just want to do so well,” said Sierra Vista dean Michon Pincolini, describing how the participants stayed hours beyond their designated time on the first two days because they were so intent on preparing for the GED test. “With the economy the way it is, it’s excellent timing because there are parents laid off and this gives them something to do during the day that makes them feel good about themselves. I think this ultimately affects the kids at home and the parents are being good role models.”

The teachers at Sierra View say they will accept as many as want to come to learn the core subjects in which they will be tested: math, language arts, science and social studies. Those who are not eligible for taking the GED prep course after taking a test will be placed in a pre-GED adult basic skills class, also offered in Spanish, that offers extra support for limited-English speakers or those not quite ready for the actual test. That class teaches students basic concepts, such as fractions and decimals.

Sierra Vista staff discovered a large interest in having such a program available through its home visits to get children back into school as well as through adult study circles to help those kids.

“It seemed there was such a need and if you really want to be a community center, which we really want Sierra Vista to be, that we’d need to offer these classes,” AuCoin said. “We were just focusing on our kids in home visits, but when we talked to older kids, they told us their parents had dropped out and really wanted to go back to school.”

Computers have been supplied by, which has refurbished computers for Sierra Vista at a reduced cost of $93 per machine. Sierra Vista will hold an event on March 25 at 3:15 p.m. at which 15 computers will be distributed to students who have enrolled in the Every Home ‘A’ Classroom program and completed a 15-hour computer training program.

The NNLC, which is also helping to support the GED program, has been relying on grant money to help supplement GED programs in schools such as Sierra Vista, but it’s possible that the economic crisis may leave this program without funding. AuCoin said she hopes the NNLC will continue to fund the GED program.

“The focus of the District obviously has been the strategic plan and to have more kids graduate – every child, by name and face, to graduation,” AuCoin said. “You don’t want to forget about the parents because I think if we can support our parents in obtaining their education, it’s only going to be a win-win for our kids. They’re going to see the value, they’re going to get the jobs, their pay is going to go up and the way they live is going to improve.”

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Schools in Brief by Tribune Staff

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