Links to Learning

This program provides educators in the Washoe County School District with monetary awards to fund projects that would otherwise be paid by the educators.

Links to Learning gives monetary awards to elementary and middle school teachers from 17 schools to help fund projects that otherwise would come out of the teachers’ pockets or would not be funded at all. The teachers submit proposals for projects to be funded, and committee members evaluate these proposals. These proposals may be up to $300 per teacher, or teachers may submit in groups for projects that require more funding. (Example: 5 teachers may request funding for a project that costs $1,500.)  The applications are coded during the evaluation process so members do not know the teachers or schools.

For FYE 2017, 298 educators received awards totaling $69,000 for 152 projects.  In addition, the Links to Learning program was able to award $50,000 to WCSD Career and Technology Education for the Signature Academies at three local high schools.  These academies are four-year themed programs that help jump-start students’ futures.  Equipment purchased included robotic kits, drone curriculum, 3D printers and other educational packages.

Over 12,000 students benefitted directly because of Links to Learning awards.

Also this year, in collaboration with Barnes & Noble, books valued at $1000 were distributed to 13 elementary school libraries.

In addition, the Links to Learning program was able to award $50,000 to the WCSD Career and Technology Education for the Health Science Signature Academies at Reed, Reno and Spanish Springs High Schools. These academies are four-year themed high school programs that help students jump-start their future. Depending on the high school, the health sciences programs focus on pre-med, biomedical research, sports injuries, kinesiology and emergency medicine. The reports also indicated that hundreds of students in future years will also benefit from the items purchased with the Links to Learning funds. Overall, the evaluation reports completed by teachers and school staff documented that approximately 13,000 students benefited directly because of the funds awarded to schools.

Through a grant, we have been fortunate to receive books from the Molina Foundation, a foundation in southern California, which promotes literacy. Assistance League pays for the shipping, and the Molina Foundation ships the books, which we then unpack, repack and distribute to elementary and middle schools, the E.L. Wiegand Early Learning Center, and Kids Kottage.  The books are then given to students to take home for their own enjoyment.  In FYE 2016, we received 5,000 books, with a retail value of $42,000.