CUSP: Expanding Partnerships in Nevada

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