Today’s post is written by Dr. Angie Taylor of the Washoe County School District’s Board of Trustees.
Here at Washoe County School District, we make a big deal about our world-class education.
Now, I know what you’re going to say – “Angie, aren’t you a little tiny bit biased? Doesn’t everybody think they have the best of whatever it is they’re proud of?”
And I’ll admit, it’s true. I am a little tiny bit biased. I love our school district. I love our dedicated teachers and staff. I love our enigmatic, diverse students. I love our families and community members who really engage with WCSD to give every child in this region the best possible education available. Sure, things aren’t always perfect. We can always improve and grow, and sometimes outcomes don’t always meet my expectations. But at the end of the day, I recognize that what our district has is special and important to 64,000 students. We have the single biggest opportunity to make an impact on the future of this community. While the district isn’t perfect, it’s ours. As for the impact on our students and future- we’re doing a pretty darn good job.
Ok, I get it. You know I love our district. Not only is my love deep, it’s easily substantiated. WCSD is doing great things, and receiving national recognition for our efforts.
Several national publications have celebrated WCSD in the past few months, praising our hard work and innovation.
In a brief published by Education First (a national strategy and policy organization), WCSD was praised for “doing more with less” despite massive budget cuts, directing resources to data-driven teaching, and turning around low-performing schools. The report also recognized that achievement gaps are closing among students attending schools in WCSD, thanks to teamwork among staff members and administrators district-wide. Education First recognized us as one of the top 10 districts on the rise, nationwide.
Considering there are more than 13,500 districts in the country, that is high praise. But that’s not the only national recognition WCSD has garnered.
We also rank among the best communities for music education, according to the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation. This award is given to school districts that demonstrate a commitment to supporting music education and ensuring opportunities for music learning in the curriculum for all students. Because WCSD was selected to receive this honor, we serve as models for other educators looking to develop music education programs.
While we’ve received national accolades, we’ve also been recognized for having the most college-ready high school in the state, according to a study conducted by the Washington Post.
Earl Wooster High School in Reno is ranked first among Nevada public high schools whose students take, and pass, college-level tests. The study measured the number of college-level tests given to graduates, the percentage of graduates that passed at least one of those tests during their high school career, and the percentage of students whose families qualify for meal subsidies at the school. In all, 12 WCSD schools ranked in the top 20 high schools in the state.
As you can see, our district works very hard to provide a balanced education to every student while utilizing our limited resources. Our teachers act as pioneers in music education, and ensure students graduate high school both college-and career ready.
Taking note of these recognitions, knowing the amazing things happening here in WCSD, and seeing the world-class programs provided to our students every day, it’s hard not to love the district like I do.
While our 90% graduation rate goal by the year 2020 may seem lofty to some, it’s easy to see that we are right on track to see those students cross that stage. And in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Dr. Angie D. Taylor has a long history of excellent leadership, people development and community service. In the fall of 2014 she was appointed to the Washoe County School District’s Board of Trustees, becoming the first African American to serve in that capacity. In addition to serving on the WCSD Board, Taylor is the President and Chief Executive Officer for Guardian Quest, Inc., an organization specializing in providing training, organizational development and leadership solutions for corporate, government, educational and military clients across North America. She is also the Founder/CEO of ExcelQuest Community Development Corporation, a training agency that works specifically with the faith-based community and small non-profit organizations.
Regardless of her role, Taylor is committed to adding value and making a difference. She is passionate about many things and has intentionally positioned herself to work within those areas. Education, personal development and faith highlight the areas she loves while also driving her success.