CUSP founding member Dr. Margaret Ferrara of UNR CoE (center bottom) gets funky with motivational spirit as the program begins to soar. Like the swirling colors in tie dye, Washoe County schools, The University of Nevada and committed community members come together to form something sweeter than themselves alone- a partnership that will further the education of all in our area.Read More
Nevada is not simply focused on Common Core State Standards (CCSS) but more inclusively, Nevada Academic Content Standards, a broader term that includes multiple content standards. The higher education faculty in the College of Education at the University of Nevada, Reno realized that our work needed to inform and make an impact in our urban and largely diverse school district. Therefore, we have become more inclusive in our partnerships and now include the community, the university, and the school district in a partnership focused on student success to be career and college ready.
One of our first explorations in 2014-2015 was to move beyond our two partnerships with schools in the district to become more inclusive and integrated into the district and local community. We have designated this new initiative as CUSP – Community, University, and School Partnership. This partnership holds the principles of Professional Development Schools but brings in more leaders from the school district in curriculum, teaching, and assessment, as well as representatives from the community, into the collaboration. CUSP brings together faculty from across the district, university, and community to make meaningful connections for preservice and inservice learning experiences. These include: (1) district-university professional development initiatives that are captured through involvement with the district Saturday Cafés; (2) continued exploration of service learning projects for university students across the institution; and (3) outreach activities with university campus projects (e.g., writing workshops) to help address challenges in the school district where over 65% of the students are from underrepresented populations.
Led by Margaret M. Ferrara, College of Education, University of Nevada, Reno, the team consists of Linda Vancitters, Field Based IETP Teacher, Washoe County School District; Sherrie Bonderson, Field Based Secondary Teacher, Washoe County School District; Michelle Hinkson, Field Based Special Education Teacher, Washoe County School District; and Mark Romo, Graduate Assistant, Secondary Education, College of Education, UNR.
CUSP: Expanding Partnerships in Nevada
Margaret M. Ferrara, University of Nevada Reno
The Community University School Partnership, known as CUSP, located at the College of Education, University of Nevada PDS, has supported the college’s mission statement as well as to partner more closely with Washoe County School District (WCSD) and the surrounding community. This works is supported in the district through the leadership of Salwa Zaki, Director, Department of Professional Learning. CUSP’s intent revolves around building partnerships for student learning.
Partnerships in education reform are nothing new. Reform involves complex social problems that no one partnership can fix in isolation. CUSP works from a “collective impact” approach. The team uses a centralized infrastructure, a dedicated staff, and a structured process that leads to a common agenda, shared measurement, continuous communication, and mutually reinforcing activities among all participants.
CUSP serves as the backbone of the multiple initiatives that are currently in place to support student learning and teacher leadership at a time when there is a high need to reverse education gaps. We are fortunate that multiple partners share this vision and are working together. This year, CUSP expects growing its membership to include community partners as well as new initiatives that emerge in the College of Education and other Colleges and the school district.
This past May, CUSP hosted its first showcase, during which education leaders and influencers across the state came together to celebrate the progress and further the discussion. To date, several partnerships under the CUSP umbrella include Dean’s Future Scholars, Nevada Mathematics Project, Learning Forward, Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports, Saturday Cafes, NNELI, and Digital Literacy. To learn more about CUSP, visit http://www.cuspnv.org
From left to right: CUSP partners Sherrie Bonderson, Field Based Secondary Teacher, Washoe County School District; Michelle Hinkson, Field Based Special Education Teacher, Washoe County School District; Margaret M. Ferrara, College of Education, University of Nevada, Reno; Mark Romo, Graduate Assistant, Secondary Education, College of Education, University of Nevada, Reno; and Linda Vancitters, Field Based IETP Teacher, Washoe County School District.Read More