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Local schools receive support, recognition


Bernice Mathews Elementary School this month became one of the newest Communities in Schools locations in Nevada. The school, in east Reno near Paradise Park, is one of 13 schools added to the nonprofit’s network this school year. 

Students at Mathews will benefit from CIS’s full-time site coordinators, placed at schools with students identified as vulnerable to dropout. That is primarily Title I schools and those identified as high needs. 

The coordinators use a network of non-profit organizations as resources to help students overcome barriers to learning and attending school – eyeglasses, healthcare, school supplies, clothing, housing, etc. 

“As we continue to recover from the effects of the pandemic, it remains clear that the needs of our children and their families are more pressing than ever,” Washoe schools Superintendent Susan Enfield said. “Communities In Schools of Nevada has always been at the forefront of fighting for our most vulnerable students, helping them to overcome whatever challenges they face. Thanks to CIS, hundreds of our students have turned their educational experiences around for the better, many of whom have graduated and moved on to college or their careers.”

CIS Nevada recently received a $5 million grant from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, part of a total $133.5 million nationwide grant for the organization. It has helped the organization to expand into more schools in the state.

Florence Drake wins national recognition

Sparks’ Florence Drake Elementary School this week was named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. 

Drake was one of two Nevada schools to earn the honor, which recognizes overall academic performance and progress in closing achievement gaps. 

Area Superintendent Lauren Ford said partnership among the school’s faculty and staff was what earned the school its recognition. 

“It is a great example of how much a group of dedicated people can accomplish when they set high expectations for their students and one another, and then work hand in hand to meet those expectations,” Ford said. “I congratulate everybody who devoted their time and talent to ensuring our students made great strides and succeeded academically. They richly deserve this national recognition.” 

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