Matthew Montognese On The Issues

District E encompasses the area of Hug – McQueen and TMCC HS.
View the District map here:

Washoe County needs a recharge.
A change of focus, a fresh set of eyes and ideas will help us climb to the mountain-top from 45th in the Nation. Washoe needs a compliment of logical common sense leadership that protects the rights of the community. A new perspective that does not waver in position by the face of opposition while keeping the best interest of students, teachers and community FIRST. Now is the time to remember the unique potential available to all in our Country, and in Washoe, the narrative can be one that dispels mediocrity and complacency, finding that which ignites, unites and looks for the best! Honesty, Integrity and Authenticity are seen in actions. Trust is a must, children belong to parents, educators are valuable and are to be honored. Trust is built by humble ears that respect and hear…

Please take a look at the bullet points and italicized areas first, (6 total) dig deeper if needed. There are videos and publications in the menu • • • (upper right) “Meet Matthew Videos and Publications.” A short audio clip at bottom of this page.

  • Community Unity – Family Involvement, & The Budget
    “Washoe County School District culture is in need of transformation. The expectation is higher than what is delivered as a whole and under-performing schools will no longer be tolerated. We pay taxes for each school in the district to be successful and we need our great teachers to stay in Washoe. Unity and trust must be restored between the district, our educators, families and our communities. Cohesiveness and collaboration can be championed to achieve common goals which transcend through our community in new innovations and positive relationships.”

The current organizational climate of the Washoe County School District needs improvement. The trust must be rebuilt through transparency, accountability and honesty between the district, the community and the trustees of those whom entrusted them. The decisions trustees make should be responsibly focused. These decisions should represent good judgement within reason and be sensitive to the best interest of the child, the teacher and the community. By listening to the input of teachers, parents and the community there is no longer isolation and community unity is strengthened. By being transparent there is nothing to hide. Honesty has always been a good guide and proven to prevail for benefit where it will not conceal for the purpose of deception or sophistry towards undue detriment. We know we mustn’t water down and be held accountable to our children’s proper education. Both in and out of the school we need a supportive, cooperative, unifying boost of value! I will vote to bring our communities together with the district. I would support any motion to create an independent budgetary review committee comprised of expert members of the community to review the budget. The money simply must go to the classroom. I don’t believe anyone of the board currently is a forensic accountant and a committee would look at the budget past and present to see if any mistakes were made. We all know how important transparency and accountability is and this step would move to show these core values. A review will further equip us to move forward with the budget. There are some lingering questions about the budget in the mind of the community so I think it prudent to check it out before prejudgement. The attitude of belief and purpose can be restored and the sense of pride renewed. This is our Reno, our children, our Washoe County, our District and there are many in the community waiting in the wings to support us and volunteer. We need to resuscitate our valuable youth programs. It’s time to encourage and reconnect community and no longer isolate it. Pumping money into failing schools has not worked and there is a need for systemic change. In the near future as more private and charter schools are created, there will be more school competition and if reform is not achieved quickly school choice will provide for our students needs and separate our communities as we will see overcrowding in “good schools” and an uneven balance from one schools attendance to the next. Our families must play a part and be included and honored.

Good Trustees can reconnect the community! Accessible trustees that spend time at schools will do this.

  • Student Focus
    “Time to focus on each student and when we realize a motivated student believes in their own unique meaningful purpose, potential and ability, we will know the propelling force of excitement that breeds success and security. Each child, regardless of the outter shell, ethnicity or diversity holds intrinsic value. We can elevate those in “the margin” as well as those outside “the margin“ where no one is marginalized, and margins are replaced with extraordinary student achievements, opportunity, sustained growth, gains and excellence.”

We see children light up the world when they get it. When they realize that “who they really are” holds value, they will never be the same. By helping each child discover their own unique interests gifts, talents and competencies one child does not feel alienated, but propagates with great propulsion toward their future. With all children realizing they are special and valuable, no one child feels bigger or lesser than any other and esteem is precipitated throughout a new climate of culture as we reduce bullies and insecurities. We follow up on this by providing the vital emotional development, stress management, time management, interpersonal and soft skills learning, all of which developing children need and employers look for in hiring employees. We can not let our children get used to malaise or look to their idols for meaning. Mediocrity is the enemy and educational melancholy is the result of failure. Children need to know there is a unique and extraordinary purpose for their lives waiting to be unlocked that no standard or margin can define. It will be necessary to understand more about the student and pass that info to the next teacher. Some students have a rough home life, they need to learn to discern “what healthy looks like.” I will vote to support focus of the whole of each student in every socio-economic position and close the nonsensical gap. We must study our children as they study and encourage them to learn to use their own cognitive mechanism of thought.

When we dig deeper into the core of our student we unlock unparalleled momentous potential.

  • Future Focus
    “It’s time for students to discover their future ambitions, set attainable goals of pursuit, plan for them, be prepared for them and then introduced to them. We must help guide each student by illuminating their path of potential, revealing all options and placing tools in their hand. Young minds are our future and we need to lead them out of any stupor. Our local economy is awaiting great home-grown candidates. We can not permit futures to be thrown away for lack of understanding.”

Our children face a real deficit if they leave school without a plan after graduation and our community will face a continued burden. Many students do not make it to graduation because they fizzle out before they find their own abilities or believe there is something they can aim at that will fulfill their meaningful desire and purpose. Our next generation needs to know their direction of trajectory to succeed and the proper tools to reach and invigorate our local economy. Children need personality and aptitude tests as well as economic courses to know who they are to be confidently prepared for life. When children begin to know what they are made of before high school, they can then plan a post-graduation A, B and C path earlier in high school. More than ever, all certifications, apprenticeships, trade schools, vocational training and internships need to be available to those who are not pursuing college. We need to identify those interested, to be acquainted with those that offer these programs and have them visit schools to provide information. We need more comprehensive or enhanced programs that introduce children to all of the many options available that may fit them for their future. We must know more about our students by high school than the normal standard margin. There is extraordinary opportunity outside the margin. We need to have a growth portfolio profile of each child from k-12 and see them through to graduation. The child must know the “real world” awaits and the child must know their own potential to truly honor themselves as valuable and believe they can attain the remarkable. I will support a future focus for every child and this will support our community for the long haul.

We build the future of our students who build our communities!

  • Safe, Teacher Empowered, Enriched Schools & Curriculum
    “Our schools should be safe, our educators free to teach for depth and understanding, not merely be pressured to prepare students for constant and predictable test regurgitation for the sake of short term numbers vs long term functional purpose. We must relieve inequitable burdens placed on teachers and allow them to teach effectively from insight, passion and creativity. Our educators as subject matter experts and parents with interest should inform curriculum, not merely outside organizations.”

Our children need to articulate and have a real knowledge of the struggle of our new Nation to our independence, why this is important and how our freedoms unite America as we continue to unite and form a more perfect union. Our Constitution and Bill of rights protect all we have. Our precious teachers are pressured more than ever before away from creative “human aspect teaching” and the invigorating passion that all educators once enjoyed when they decided to teach should always be theirs and if lost, restored. I am an advocate for teachers, educators deserve good pay and benefits. We must find ways to increase the funding to the National Median and reduce class sizes. We can find ways to lead in new effective ideas and goals for school reform and through innovation in technology and emotional areas, we can provide more grants from government programs. Our teachers and students must be in a safe learning environment 24/7 and we can do this now. We must not tolerate any abuse to teachers by students and or abuse from students to students. Everyone deserves a good education and those that are disruptive must be given help early. If we believe in and revere the justice system in place for adults, that cannot govern themselves; we must also do the same for our students to support a sense of moral obligation and expectation. Our teachers need the burden of resistance to teaching lifted away as soon as possible. All behavioral problems must be mitigated in practical effective ways to allow for a safe and healthy learning environment. Plans for the internal and external safety of our schools can be re-enforced as well as our technological platform and safeguarding. A child that doesn’t believe in themselves or have hope tends to be disruptive, let’s trade that in for opportunity afforded to each child. We must back-up, empower and support our Teachers and School Police Officers with the resources and assistance they need and remove interfering factors and barriers. We must value our Professional Service Employees, Classified employees and honor their contributions. Our educators are doing an excellent job, let’s give um a hand. I will support any measure to give teachers the ability to teach objectively and creatively, because every child is different and every educator needs the freedom and latitude to teach. We must expand upon and reform our core curriculum, and teachers as the subject matter experts will properly inform us on this with our parents. I would vote for a panel mixed with teachers, parents, curriculum experts and the community to look at curriculum and send out surveys that request information from parents with their opinions and ideas of importance before curriculum reform. School is not a place to teach social-construct, open sexuality, or stereotype, but to teach academia, emotional maturity/intelligence and learn to judge others by a character of respect, attitude and honor ALONE in our free nation, not to force any object of thought or bias. We must represent the community rightly and teach for truth, understanding and depth. Children belong to parents and educators are honored. We must find ways to retain and incentivize our educators and champion higher learning programs to support and enhance more thorough subject matter training.

Take the handcuffs off teachers so they can do their work and invest in those that invest in our children.

  • Character And Civic Duty For Students
    “Character for our kids is a basic fundamental value and a natural remedy to many of our behavioral problems when taught. Employers look for well rounded candidates. Character provides the structure strong students use to make good decisions for the rest of their lives. Without students knowing how to serve well and be well served, our institutions, occupations and communities will suffer, but we can correct this now. Character is honor, respect and understanding for fellow man, hard work attitude, and vision.
    No person can any longer be judged by anything other than character content.”

We can have our older kids strengths mentor and tutor our younger kids weaknesses, leadership for the mentor and someone to look up to for the mentored. Children can be involved in role play to develop critical thinking skills “real life scenarios” teaching about peer pressure, ethics and citizenship. Student focus can help children find out who they are (identity) vs their idol (identity confusion). We can practice compassion and empathy by doing things like: role playing “a day in the life of a bullied child”, “a day in the life of a teacher”. We can have students go out of schools and help charities and provide services to our community e.g visit retirement homes, paint walls, etc. as part of learning responsibility and their civic duty. Character is the recipe to slow bullying and emotional maturity realizes we are all diverse and must include each diverse person with respect. We can bestow upon every child that another human should only be judged by character alone. We will then have children that will be strong, productive and responsible members of society. Many employers are missing this employable key trait known as character, in their potential candidates. This is a must-learn for all children before entry to our community and will bring our schools together. I will vote to create civic duty and character in our students who by testing their thought process learn common sense. We must help any troubled child who may have a character flaw understand the behavioral deficit they exhibit that may be suppressing their true ability and burying their potential causing disruption to others.

Pull the weeds surrounding character by the root.


Note from CDC:

Aside from a child’s home, no other setting has more influence on a child’s health and well-being than their school.  The in-person school environment does the following:

  • provides educational instruction;
  • supports the development of social and emotional skills;
  • creates a safe environment for learning;
  • addresses nutritional needs; and
  • facilitates physical activity.


Matthew’s thoughts-

I’d rather see in person learning/teaching as we are social beings, but we need a choice as a community.
Whatever the decision, we must provide families distance learning that is up to the task. If we open we know prior proper planning prevents poor performance.

Students need to be educated about the virus, as they understand the: who – what – where – when – why, they can be well informed and WILL make good choices.

We understand that the COVID pandemic situation must not be allowed to cripple our essential educational system or stunt our student emotional, physical and academic growth. We must also take healthcare leaders, parent and educator concerns seriously. What are we finding in daycares, can this tell us anything? Will we administer any antibody tests to see what T-cells are doing? The importance of planning ahead for the unpredictable takes a comprehensive, cooperative approach to find what is in each persons best interest while not negatively effecting another persons health. There are many different circumstances and it will take continued modifications, actions and monitoring to respond astutely by making “safe choices,” but we can begin to inform ourselves now what the plan will look like. Everyone has a choice and for some staying home is the answer, but for many others it’s time to get back to school, but we must see a tactful plan. We are cognizant of these facts and must perpetuate decisions of reopening based on statistical facts, not irrational fear or a “one size fits all mentality” free of careful consideration. A well overarching thought out phased A, B and C contingency plan is imperative for all levels and schools corporately as well as individually, as no school will share the same circumstance and are fluid, but each should share the same fundamental precautions to keep families and educators safe. In this ever-changing world and especially in these unprecedented times, we must understand that “all hands must be continuously on deck” to research and deliver the best technologically sound interactive platform, by which the student is educated if it must be (Plan C remote learning) and find solutions that work for getting teachers and kids back in school permanently at some point (Plan A). If a (Plan B) is a hybrid model, we can keep kids in school full-time by spreading out to community centers or look for other large event centers or venues that can accommodate at a reasonable price (during their down times), large spaces for lecture style learning to provide more distance between children and teachers where we reduce each school capacity and the childcare burden on parents. A unified community, thinking outside of the box will render ideas that create best results and provide a safe and suitable agreeable method and model for reopening. It is by far, better to have the child in school and we all understand that for many reasons, but as a community we must be of good attitude, vigilant, very creative, responsible, responsive, nimble and flexible in order to collaborate together to navigate this pandemic and continue to deliver valuable and vital knowledge to our students, whether at school or remote. If we want to be successful we will need to partner our community and educators to get in the trenches together to create open dialogue. We need to start thinking about partnering our educators and technical industry leaders to create and develop quality remote learning and to find our best educational growth distance-solution- platforms, if distance learning turns long term (Plan C). CDC, pediatricians, epidemiologists, researchers and health officials studies with recommendations and guidelines inform to protect those with weaker immune systems or underlying conditions as well as mitigate the spread of the virus. We must be responsible. We must push to find out more ask health officials to look for child appropriate tests and consider the common importance of staying home when sick. Testing for children via the diagnostic tests are highly accurate, but invasive, while antibody tests are not as trustworthy and less invasive. Testing early and often to form a baseline idea of continued analysis to inform our action and response would assist statistically, but at this point very invasive for children. Understanding through fact at what extent we fortify and safeguard our buildings and spaces as evidenced through testing results would be the most logical approach, but current tests have not yet graduated to be child friendly. The current recommended standard of 6’ physical distance, face covering in the classroom and sanitation responsibilities included in each persons occupied or vacated space can be set at or above recommendation to reduce the spread. Many work out in our County daily using physical distance, hand-washing, face covers and these guidelines are effective. As per a daily report of the degree by which the virus is measured in an increase in severity or decreasing variance and behavior would inform what firm restrictions, and precaution are appropriate at each individual school and must be enforced without fallout. We must also bare in mind that diligence and tactful planning beforehand must be consistent in prevention. Screening, testing, prevention strategy and logistics, is of the utmost importance to fight a battle with an invisible enemy and to understand to a practical degree the effective approach that will ensure the health and safety protection of our educators and families. It will take a baseline approach, with a service mentality from us all. We depend upon each person making “safe choices” while thinking about one another’s safety first, from child, parent, educator, and administrator. We will be stronger if we are guided by and held together by good will/character and a perception that meets reality.

Other important issues that need eyes:

  • Suicide prevention
  • Low employee morale
  • Special Ed and services to Schools
  • Workload of educators
  • Educator need of increased pay and benefits
  • Cyber-bullying 
  • Drug program 
  • Information Technology and strategy 
  • Allow teachers to share ideas freely
  • Too much testing
  • Emotional health
  • Resource stewardship
  • Internal and external accountability
  • Mental health awareness and where to get help 
  • Comprehensive and updated discipline for poor behavior
  • Assessments review
  • Student voice and surveys
  • Community activities and after school programs 
  • Departments working together 
  • Improved relationship with Nevada, the DOE and the community
  • Healthy food 
  • Commission per pupil 
  • Not contracting out school services e.g. food services
  • Family wellness
  • Rezoning 6th to middle school
  • CTE integration with occupation
  • Community unity collaboration and volunteer work

And many more…

Superintendent Dr. Kristen McNeill has stated her core beliefs are: Honesty, Integrity, Kindness and Transparency. 

I think we can all agree with this and push for more. We can ignite the child purpose, encourage their ability and let them let their light shine into the community.