In October 2012, Senior Pastor Nathan DuPree of Encounter Church, Jerry Bowden, Community Action Officer of the Reno Police Department, and Beau Lorentzen, Detective of the Washoe County School District Police, all attended the National Adopt a School Conference where an overview of the Turn Around Agenda was presented. The Turn Around Agenda template was thought of as a refreshing answer to a difficult situation in the Reno/Sparks area. The situation that is referred to is the collaboration between agencies in helping promote our mission of healthy schools and healthy environments by providing a myriad of services designed to bridge the gap between the school, students, and parents; thereby maximizing student success (i.e. mentoring, implementation of an innovative reading program, and centralized community array of resources available 24 hours) through “Prevention”. Thus, the 360 Blueprint program in the Reno/Sparks area was initiated. The thrust of the program is to prevent academic failure and to find solutions to the academic and social needs of the high-risk students and their families through simultaneously building multiple levels of relationships and an array of services (mentoring, innovative reading program for first graders “Read to Succeed” using Kindles and electronic book applications, and access to a community-wide resource center).
The 360 Blueprint program has a vision to specifically target two Washoe County public schools during the first year of implementation. The two schools selected are Mount Rose Elementary School (MR) and Rita Cannan Elementary School (RC). These schools were selected due to their high Free and Reduced Lunch rate percentages (MR =62.4% RC = 97.2%), their Limited English Proficiency rate percentages (MR = 17.6% RC = 50.2%) and access to church representation within their zoning areas.
Our approach for community collaboration, implementation of the program, and evaluation is practical; the use of community churches (volunteers/mentors), University of Nevada Interns (volunteers/mentors) and public school partnerships, supported by law enforcement (volunteers/mentors and police presence on campus) to effect positive social change in the communities we serve. Washoe County public schools will serve as the primary referring vehicle of social services to help those in need, by partnering with the local churches, The Reno Police Department, The Washoe County District School Police Department, Washoe County School District as a whole, AmeriCorps (Read and Succeed Program curriculum and support), The Turn Around Agenda collaborative (mentoring curriculum and support) and community stakeholders to address a myriad of complex issues encountered within our community (low reading proficiency levels in our elementary schools, lack of social connectedness, and lack of daily survival resources- i.e. food, coat etc).
Therefore, to “Prevent” Washoe County’s future at-risk population of students who can not read or are below their reading level who potentially could suffer from bullying from their peers and other potentially detrimental effects that often coincide with repeating a grade, we propose to you and present the 360 Blueprint program.