Relocating to Northern Nevada: For young and old, your career starts here
Special to the NNBV
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is adapted from the 2019 edition of the Northern Nevada Relocation Guide, a publication produced in partnership with The Reno+Sparks Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada. Go here to view the digital version of the second annual magazine, which will be inserted in the upcoming Sept. 30 print edition of the NNBV (for subscribers).
RENO/SPARKS, Nev. — From the first days of kindergarten to graduating from the University of Nevada, Reno with a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree, the educational systems in Northern Nevada provide students all they need to reach their educational goals.
More kids in Washoe County are finishing their basic required education than ever before. In 2010 the graduation rate for Washoe County School District was a dismal 62 percent (although it was a few points higher than the state average of 58 percent). In 2017 and 2018, however, 84 percent of students graduated on time, the district reports, with 49 percent of WCSD students earning advanced or honors diplomas.
The district-wide goal is to achieve a 90 percent graduation rate in 2020 — although Damonte Ranch, Galena, Incline, McQueen, Reed and Reno high schools eclipsed that mark for the 2017-2018 school year, the district reports.
From an enrollment standpoint, 63,794 students were enrolled in the Washoe County School District for the 2018-2019 school year. The district encompasses 62 elementary schools, 14 middle schools and 14 high schools, and 66 percent of educators in the district hold a master’s degree or higher.
Kristen McNeill, interim superintendent of the Washoe County School District, says the district’s foundation will always be to provide a quality public educational experience to all students regardless of race, gender, abilities, language or culture.
“It’s vital that we prepare all of our students, from pre-kindergarten through high school, for the world outside the classroom,” McNeill says. “The education our students receive will stay with them throughout their lives, and we are grateful to all of our educators who have taken on this tremendous responsibility — this is a calling. Each of our staff members plays a vital role in the promise of public education — to produce community-minded and contributing individuals.”
Three new schools opened in 2019: Desert Skies Middle School in Sun Valley; Sky Ranch Middle School in Spanish Springs; and Nick Poulakidas Elementary School in South Reno. These state-of-the art schools address overcrowding at elementary and middle schools, McNeill says.
Additionally, the district significantly renovated and refurbished many of its older schools using funding from the 2016 ballot initiative WC-1. Forty-six percent of schools in the district were built before 1975.
“We want all of our students to be able to learn and grow in an atmosphere that is conducive to learning,” McNeill says.
Aside from the main school district, there also are a handful of private educational institutions in the area, including Sage Ridge (grades 3-12), Bishop Manogue Catholic High School and Davidson Academy, all of which provide personalized learning for exceptionally gifted middle and high school students.
Students seeking college degrees often attend Truckee Meadows Community College or the University of Nevada, Reno. In spring 2019, there were more than 10,600 students registered at TMCC.
In 2015, the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents approved two bachelor’s degree programs at TMCC — logistics and public safety. The college also offers baccalaureate degrees in manufacturing and dental hygiene, as well as dozens of associate degrees and certificates.
University of Nevada, Reno, meanwhile, is the educational capstone for many residents of the Truckee Meadows. Founded in 1874 in Elko, UNR is the state’s sole land-grant institution. It’s also a designated Research 1 University by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the foundation’s highest research designation.
More than 21,400 students enrolled at UNR in spring of 2019, including 3,200 graduate students. The university offers 426 degree, certificate and minor programs, including 129 graduate programs.
Kevin Carman, the university’s executive vice president and provost, says UNR students can expect to receive an outstanding education from faculty who are scholarly leaders within their disciplines.
“As they learn, they will have the opportunity to be directly engaged with research and have opportunities to serve the community through programs such as internships and service-learning classes,” Carman says. “Students will benefit from modern, cutting-edge facilities, such as the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, the Pennington Student Achievement Center, the E.L. Wiegand Fitness Center and the Pennington Engineering Building.”
The university has corporate partnerships with regional businesses so that certain degree programs dovetail with employer needs in key industry sectors such as gaming, technology, engineering, mining and logistics.
The university powers the economic engine of Northern Nevada in many other ways as well, Carman says.
“Our medical school, nursing, public health, and social work programs provide a skilled workforce to meet the rapidly expanding and social welfare needs of the region. Our education program provides teachers and administrators for the WCSD,” he says. “Our College of Liberal Arts provides expertise to law enforcement through its criminal justice program and talented musicians, artists and performers who contribute to the local arts and entertainment sector.”
The “COVID-19 Relief Fund” will distribute grants to individuals, businesses, governmental services and charitable nonprofits, says Community Foundation CEO Chris Askin.