Reno’s dismal, but improving, educational statistics belie the reality of the incredible potential for student achievement in Washoe County, Nevada. While overall rankings take into account the entire system and reflect a real challenge, successes abound.
Students from nearly every high school in the Reno / Sparks area – public or private – get accepted at their first-choice colleges — top-tier universities, the most selective private schools and ivy league institutions included.
Public and private high schools in Washoe County offer outstanding educational preparations — to students and families who seek it. Students from local schools can graduate prepared for the toughest college program — if they choose.
And that is the rub. Schools cannot prepare students properly without input, support and work by the student and the student’s support network of parents and mentors. The outstanding education possible here takes help — as I am sure it does in other locales.
Family expectations, student capability combined with opportunity all play a part. School systems in other states may set the bar higher overall — and parents there expect, accept and financially support those benchmarks. To hear the constant “schools get too much money” mantra from sectors of the Nevada community does so much harm — to those here and to our reputation.
By highlighting successes and touting options available in Reno schools, that perception can change.
School options abound — students who don’t fit at one school can get variances to another right now in Nevada schools. Advanced programs such as AP courses increases study options; the International Baccalaureate program fits some students; Truckee Meadows Community College offers dual high school/college enrollment. Each public high school is developing a specialty/magnet program. Charter schools offer other options.
Private schools offer other options. The largest, Bishop Manogue Catholic High School, offers college prep programs and 4-A sports — and a significant percentage of students are not Catholic. Sage Ridge is a more traditional, rigorous elite college prep school program similar to East Coast and big city programs. The area also has smaller, religious-based schools.
More “regular” students have a chance to shine here — and have a great life. Work hard academically AND have time to participate in extracurricular activities — which certainly helps on college applications.
The bottom line: Those who value, and work for, a strong education in Washoe County Schools can prepare for a top-college. We, in just our circle, know students from middle-class Reno schools accepted to and/or attending Cal Tech, Harvey Mudd, Stanford, Notre Dame, Washington State, U. Washington, Cal Poly, American University, Oregon, Oregon State, U.S. Naval Academy, West Point, U.S. Airforce Academy, Embry Riddle, U. San Diego, Emory, Claremont, Berkeley, Swathmore, Middlebury, Tufts, Baylor, Colorado School of Mines, state schools in Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, UNR, UNLV — and on and on.
Getting this type of info out can only help marketing efforts by EDAWN (Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada), The Chamber of Commerce, and state officials to reassure prospective businesses that this area offers an outstanding lifestyle for adults — but for their families as well.