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Indy Education: Carson City high schoolers help seniors navigate technology

Plus: Washoe County School Board approves raises for principals, and a Henderson teacher wins the “Oscar of Teaching.”
Rocio Hernandez
Rocio Hernandez
EducationK-12 Education

Good morning, and welcome to the Indy Education newsletter. I’m Rocio Hernandez, The Nevada Independent’s K-12 education reporter. 

This newsletter provides a recap of the latest education stories and highlights interesting educators, students, programs and other events and resources throughout the state. Click here to subscribe to the newsletter and receive it each week via email.

I want to hear from you! Send questions, comments or suggestions on what I should be covering to [email protected]

News briefs

Special education teacher Joseph Kielminski is stunned to hear he was named a Milken Educator Award winner during an assembly at Foothill High School in Henderson on April 12, 2024. (Milken Family Foundation/Courtesy)

🏅Henderson teacher receives national award for outstanding educators — Foothill High School special education teacher Joseph Kielminski was named a national Milken Educator Award winner during a school assembly last Friday. He’s the second Nevadan to receive the award this school year. 

The Milken Educator Awards, often referred to as the “Oscars of Teaching,” celebrate outstanding K-12 teachers, principals and specialists. 

The award cited Kielminski’s efforts to mentor teachers, increase Foothill special education students’ graduation rates and launch initiatives such as the sign language club and a campus cleanup group. 

Along with the recognition, Kielminski will receive a $25,000 cash prize from the Milken Family Foundation.

💵 Washoe County School Board approves new contract with principals’ union  — Washoe County school principals will receive 15.2 percent pay increases as part of a new, two-year contract between the district and the Washoe School Principals' Association that was approved by the board last Tuesday. The agreement goes into effect immediately and is retroactive to July 1, 2023, continuing through June 30, 2025. 

The cost of the proposed agreement is approximately $3.8 million for the 2023-24 school year, and $0.6 million for 2024-25 school year. 

The newly approved contract includes annual leave for eligible employees and provides salary incentives for school administrators who work at schools with large at-risk or English learner populations. The contract also better defines when employees may be compensated for extra days worked and simplifies the grievance and disciplinary process.

School Spotlight

Carson City high schoolers helping seniors navigate the digital era

Carson High School student Dennis Dzwir, left, provides tech support to Don Rowe at the Carson City Senior Citizen Center on Feb. 13, 2024. (Carson City School District/Courtesy)

A new club at Carson High School is working to make a difference, starting with an effort to provide tech support to local senior citizens. 

The Interact Club, which is affiliated with the Rotary Club of Carson City and focused on community service, launched in January. 

Carson High School social worker Bailee Barber is the club’s adviser, and said she decided to launch the club after talking with students involved in the Rotary Club’s summer camp. 

“It's really just been so beautiful to witness all of these students just wanting to change our community,” Barber said. 

Barber said the club’s 20 members identify what community needs exist and choose what projects they want to work on to fill those needs. 

She added that the club got the idea to provide tech support for seniors from the district’s IT director and the director of the Carson City Senior Citizens Center.

"Seniors need access to function in today’s world and it is an isolating feeling being left behind,” said Courtney Warner, the center’s executive director. “The students from Carson High School are making sure seniors get the training and tools they need to access services."

In February, club members began visiting the center twice a month to help seniors to send emails, use social media, shop online, install apps and more.

Barber said the club has found that the seniors are also interested in connecting with the students on a personal level. Club President Jax Whatley, a junior, looks forward to visiting the center. 

“It feels like we're really making a difference, not only in helping them with technology but also in just being friendly and helping them in their lives and talking to them and making those connections,” Whatley said. 

The club is planning on coming back to the senior center next school year and providing training on how to identify online scams after noticing how many of the seniors receive emails claiming they have a package waiting for them and need their credit card information. 

“It's very easy, if you don't know better, to fall prey to those scams,” Whatley said.  

Have a student or staffer who we should feature in the next edition of School Spotlight? Share your nominations with me at [email protected].

Reading Assignments

Judge: Clark County schools may have immunity in lawsuit over 2023 cybersecurity breach

A Clark County judge said she’s leaning toward granting the Clark County School District (CCSD)’s motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit related to a 2023 cyberattack. 

Legislators OK salary increases for CCSD teachers, support staff

Nevada legislators last week finally freed up $173 million to boost salaries for CCSD employees, concluding months of tensions among district leadership, lawmakers and unions.

Douglas County School Board declines to make interim superintendent permanent

After voting against appointing interim Superintendent Jeannie Dwyer to the role permanently, the Douglas County School Board will instead look at the remaining applicants for the position. 

Decades-old idea of axing federal Department of Education revived in Nevada Senate race

GOP Senate candidates propose eliminating the federal department tasked with administering financial aid, collecting data about schools and monitoring educational programs and discrimination as part of their campaign goals. 

Apprenticeship program helping address teacher shortage issue in Southern Nevada

UNLV’s Paraprofessional Pathways Project is helping school support professionals reach their goals of becoming licensed teachers. 

Extra Credit

CCSD budget asks for $452-per-pupil funding increase

The district’s general operating revenues are expected to see a net increase of $107.8 million next year, with about $102.3 million of that from the state’s recent commitment to fully fund Nevada’s pupil-centered funding plan, the Las Vegas Sun reported. 

Think tank with ties to Trump lays out plan to deny free education to undocumented students

An influential conservative think tank has laid out a strategy to challenge a landmark Supreme Court decision that protects the right of undocumented children to attend public school, Chalkbeat reported. 


🍎 Legislature’s Joint Interim Standing Committee on Education meeting — Thursday, April 18, 9 a.m.  

The agenda includes updates on legislation related to restorative justice, students’ mental health and wellness and the work of the State Board of Education. 

📕Henderson Reads Book Festival — Saturday, April 20, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 

The City of Henderson is holding its third annual Henderson Reads Book Festival on Saturday, April 20, at the Water Street Plaza. The event is free to attend and will include live readings and discussions with 15 award-winning authors from diverse backgrounds and cultures. 

📝 Anti-bullying and bullying prevention info session — Thursday, April 25, 10:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.

The Nevada Department of Education’s Office for a Safe and Respectful Learning Environment and CCSD are hosting an informational session to help parents and families understand more about bullying. The session will also explain parents’ rights on bullying matters, the bullying appeal process, risk factors and how to counteract those risk factors to help prevent bullying. The event will be held at the Family Support Center located at 1720 S. Maryland Parkway in Las Vegas. 

Featured social media post

Valley High School senior and soon-to-be Brown University student Devin Womack was featured in a previous edition of the Indy Education newsletter. He’s raising money to cover the costs of college essentials. 


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