Washoe County School District Excels in Inclusive Practices

Group hug
Sparks Middle School "Bear Power" poster

Washoe County School District is making a difference for its 65,000 students by approaching inclusive practices systematically through ongoing training and technical support. Inclusive Practice is a district focus and schools have chosen to focus on it as part of their School Improvement Plans.

In the summer of 2015, we began district-wide training on inclusive practices. While many schools are implementing inclusive practices at their sites, we are celebrating Sparks High School for their full implementation of co-teaching and Sparks Middle School’s Early Childhood program for their inclusive practice. The teachers, students, and the administration staffs have been amazing, opening their doors to walk-throughs, cameras, and the press.

Sparks High have teamed all of their core subject teachers and they  implement all six styles of co-teaching, depending heavily on station teaching, parallel teaching, and alternative teaching while using the team teacher, one-teach one observe, and one-teach one assist sparingly.

The outcomes for students is 95% and above student engagement, increased repetition of new content, and increased student collaboration as observed in walkthroughs. Students report increased support from teachers and peers through exposure to multiply learning styles, increased collaboration, increased friendships, and a feeling of belonging. Teachers report growth through collaborative and collegial support.

The Sparks MS Inclusive Pre-K program has become an integral part of the school wide community. Together the teachers, Dawn Nahorniak and Hillary Stamps, have established a classroom that fosters positive relationships. Their students work well together and have established a respectful community of learners. They provide high quality early childhood instruction while adhering to the Nevada Pre-K Standards as the guiding framework for their curriculum; standards are integrated into the daily lesson plans. This Sparks MS Inclusive classroom is one of the model demonstration sites for the Nevada TACSEI Program. They utilize strategies and curriculum from the TACSEI program and participate with the Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention for Young Children (TACSEI) Program. Both teachers are considered mentors modeling social emotional strategies and curriculum supports for use in the classroom.

Washoe County School District have dedicated staff who are making a difference for their students through inclusive practice daily.

Submitted by:
Jenny Ricci and Lisa Daane
Washoe County School District

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