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Indy Education: Welding attracts diverse student body in White Pine County

Plus: State board giving up on school start time regulation, and schools recognized for STEM education.
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]

Julieta Perales, a first grade teacher at Ann Lynch Elementary School in Las Vegas, helps a student during a reading lesson on Dec. 11, 2018. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

News briefs

📕 State Board of Education approves Read by Grade 3 subcommittee — Following a state audit that found that new literacy targets set for the Read by Grade 3 program were likely not ambitious enough, the State Board of Education voted Wednesday to create a subcommittee that would discuss what score on an assessment should trigger an intervention plan and guidelines for how to retain students. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jhone Ebert said any recommendations from the subcommittee would need to go before the board for final approval. 

🔬 Eight Clark County schools earn recognition for science, technology, engineering and math education — The Governor's Office of Science, Innovation and Technology recognized eight Clark County School District (CCSD) campuses and two educators for their STEM initiatives. That marks 27 CCSD schools with the governor’s STEM distinction. The schools honored this year include Lomie G. Heard Elementary School in Las Vegas and Rancho High School in North Las Vegas. Southwest Career and Technical Academy teacher Dana Cuni was named the Southern STEM Teacher of the Year and Lied STEM Academy teacher Claire Romzek was named the Southern STEM Advocate of the Year.  

School Spotlight

From left, White Pine High School teacher Chris Baldwin watches as student Kenna Brunson welds a horizontal tee joint during their class on March 7, 2024. (Chris Baldwin/Courtesy)

Ely high school students picking up useful welding skills 

About half of the students in White Pine High School teacher’s Chris Baldwin’s welding classes are female. That’s a big change from the all-boys welding classes Baldwin was used to when he attended the eastern Nevada school in the ‘90s. 

“I have a lot of girls pursuing this career and a lot of them really want to figure out what there is out there,” he said. 

Five percent of the estimated 771,000 welding professionals in the U.S. are women, according to the American Welding Society

It’s a profession that’s in high demand. The American Welding Society estimates about 330,000 new welding professionals will be needed by 2028 due to an increased number of jobs and anticipated attrition from welders who are retiring or changing careers. The American Welding Society estimates the national median salary for welding jobs is $53,500, but some specialties such as welding research scientists can pay a salary of about $89,000. 

Baldwin said in Nevada, most welding jobs are connected to the mining industry, and salaries can range anywhere from $38 to $52 an hour. 

“The industry is huge in Nevada right now. It's sought out,” he said, adding that he gets calls regularly from his former employers looking to hire students. 

Junior Kenna Brunson started taking welding classes during her first year of high school. Welding is a skill that’s commonly needed on the ranch her family lives on. 

Kalley Adams started welding even earlier, in seventh grade, as part of her ranch work fixing troughs for the cows. She also has uncles who are welders for a local mine. 

Brunson and Adams consider welding to be a backup career option that could also be useful in their personal lives for home projects. Both girls otherwise want to pursue nursing. 

Baldwin estimates most of his students see welding as a backup plan, and are applying the skills they are picking up to help out their families. 

“Whatever they do, as long as they get a little bit out of this class … the opportunities just go up from there,” he 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

Rural school advocates hope next Clark County superintendent will be more supportive

Mesquite and Moapa-area schools have historically felt “forgotten” by the school district. Will a new superintendent change that?

Extra Credit

Bishop Manogue president goes on voluntary unpaid leave after 'brown kids' comment surfaces

Bishop Manogue Catholic High School’s president requested to be placed on unpaid leave after a recently fired coach accused school leaders of making comments against “brown kids,” the Reno Gazette Journal reported. 

Educational, cultural hub opens for CCSD’s native students

A new CCSD educational support center is available for Native American and Alaskan Native students and families, KLAS-TV reported. 

‘A challenging problem’: CCSD’s student absenteeism remains high

More than a third of students were chronically absent from school during the 2022-2023 school year, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. 


📕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 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. 

📝 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 for families focused on providing a better understanding of what bullying is and is not. The session will also explain parents’ rights on bullying matters, the bullying appeal process, risk factors and how to counteract those risk factors. The event will be held at the Family Support Center located on 1720 S. Maryland Parkway. 

Featured social media post

Here’s an opportunity to help Canyon Springs High School provide professional clothing for its students. 


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