• obrien lions

     2023-2024Handbook & Resource Guide
    5000 Silver Lake Road, Reno, NV 89506
    Phone: (775) 677-5420 • Fax: (775) 677-5423
    School Mascot – Lion
    School Colors – Green & Blue

    Non-Discrimination Statement: The Washoe County School District and O’Brien Middle School are committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin or ethnic group identification, marital status, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, religion, age, mental or physical disability, military or veteran’s status in educational programs or activities, and employment as required by applicable federal and state laws and regulations.  No District employee, including, without limitation, administrators, faculty, or other staff members, nor students shall engage in acts of bullying, harassment, or discrimination on the premises of any public school, school-sponsored event, or school bus in the district.  Prohibited behaviors include cyber-bullying, sexual harassment, hazing, intimidation, and retaliation.

    You are a valued member of this community!

    Disclaimer: This handbook contains references to Board Policies and other documents pertaining to the rules and regulations of the Washoe County School District.  O’Brien Middle School and Washoe County School District reserves the right to revise any of these documents during the course of the school year.  For the current version of any of these documents, please check the District’s website at www.washoeschools.net/Policy or O’Brien’s website at www.washoeschools.net/obrien throughout the year.


    Welcome & Beginning of the Year Information

    What to Expect the First Two Weeks

    Family Engagement

    Whole School Policies

    School Map

    P.R.I.D.E. Matrix

    Bell Schedules

    School Event Calendar

    Washoe County School District Policy Links

    Welcome to the 2023 – 2024 School Year

    Dear O’Brien Families,

    We are excited to welcome you to the 23-24 school year at 5000 Silver Lake Road! Your teachers, administrators, and support staff have been planning and preparing all summer to bring you a year of progress, love, and learning. We hope to see everyone at Prideland Day Orientation on August 7 from 8am-12am.  We will also host Open House from 5pm-6pm on August 30th. We look forward to seeing you there!  year of progress, love, and learning. We hope to see everyone at Prideland Day Orientation on August 7 from 8am-12am.  We will also host Open House from 5pm-6pm on August 30th. We look forward to seeing you there!  

    A diagram of a student drop offDescription automatically generated

    First Day of School Guidance

    Our school busses will arrive on campus between 7:00am and 7:20am daily. For the safety of our learners, the earliest time that students are permitted on campus is 7:00am. When students arrive on campus by bus, they will be dropped off behind the school near the courtyard and student entry doors, depicted in purple on the map below. Students who are dropped off or who walk to school should utilize the Student Entrance Walkway designated in blue on the map below. The family drop off route is depicted in orange below and should allow for a safe and smooth traffic pattern. 

    What to Expect The First Two Weeks

    The first day of school is Monday, August 14th. School will begin at 7:30am daily. School will end at 1:54pm every day except for Wednesday when school will end at 1:06pm. We will spend the first week of school community building and learning how to access resources and navigate learning community and classroom policies and procedures. Learners will familiarize themselves with the P.R.I.D.E. Matrix, accessible on our website and within this handbook, and will also experience their first social emotional learning, restorative practices, and bully free zone lessons. Students will also learn all about our virtual school currency system called “Lion Loot” and how they can earn Lion Loot to purchase items from the student store and to also purchase a variety of privileges.

    Towards the end of the two-week period, students will learn all they need to know about the laptop that they will be issued for the year and how they will care for and utilize this state-of-the-art learning tool. You can expect that your student to come home with permission slips and or class syllabi requiring your signature before we issue our learners their devices.

    Student Drop Off, Pick Up, & Transportation

    WCSD Transportation will continue to be provided to students that live in areas where transportation had previously been provided.  Parents must register for bus transportation by accessing https://www.washoeschools.net/Page/176. The routes with times and locations for stops will be published on WCSD website in the days just before school starts.  If students will be dropped off in the morning or will be walking, we are asking that students arrive no earlier than 7:00am and no later than 7:20am.  This will allow our learners to eat breakfast before heading to class. Once students arrive on campus via bus, family transportation or by walking, they are required to remain on campus until the end of the school day unless a guardian picks up their child early by checking them out in the main office.  This is a safety expectation as we want to ensure that students remain within the safest learning environments. All guests picking up our learners must present a valid photo ID.  Please direct specific transportation questions to the Transportation Department: (775)377-7769.


    Safety is of the utmost importance to us as we foster a healthy and progressive environment for ALL members of the O’Brien learning community.  O’Brien continues to maintain a zero-tolerance policy for bullying, alcohol and drug use, hate speech, and violence of any kind.  These behaviors are taken seriously, and any learner engaging in said behaviors will receive both consequences and restorative lessons.  We expect our scholars to respect each other, our staff, our campus, and themselves.  The policies and procedures found in this handbook are meant to support the highest of expectations for safety. Your learner will participate in monthly fire, shelter in place, and evacuation drills as we empower them to not only behave safely but also to have safety centered mindsets. One area of safety that is often outside of our access and jurisdiction is social media. If you see something that may have a negative impact on a learner or our learning environment, please report it immediately by calling (775) 677-5420, or by utilizing the Safe Voice Reporting system at  http://safevoicenv.org/ .

    bully safe voice & no hats hoods or sunglasses

    Family Engagement

    Thank you for taking the time to read through this handbook with your child.  We hope to cultivate a strong and supportive connection with our families. If you are on Instagram, please consider following us at obrien_lions and be sure to update your annual contact information as you register your child to ensure you receive our weekly Connect Ed messages each Sunday evening beginning August 13th. Additionally, we invite you to browse our website: washoeschools.net/obrien on a regular basis. You will also find our “Prideland Families” section that will provide you with up-to-date information at your fingertips!  We invite you to our quarterly Family Engagement Team meetings where we encourage you to share your “hopes and dreams” for your learner and contribute to decision making and planning for the quarter.

    Your student will learn within a smaller learning community, referred to as their “Pride” each year they attend O’Brien. They will have a team of math, ELA, science, and social studies teachers along with their counselor and their dean, and these teams will remain together throughout their middle school experience. This is designed to create a personalized experience where your learners are known by name, face, and needs.  Many of our interdisciplinary teams roll up with their students, allowing for established relationships to continue.  Grades are updated every Monday, so we encourage you to check in with your child every Tuesday or Wednesday to access Infinite Campus and explore your child’s progress and set goals for the week!

    family partnerships = #1

    Your student will learn within a smaller learning community, referred to as their “Pride” each year they attend O’Brien. They will have a team of math, ELA, science and social studies teachers along with their counselor and their dean and these teams will remain with these teams throughout their middle school experience. This is designed to create a personalized experience where your learners are known by name, face, and need and where you and your child know and access the same team of educators that you have built relationships with year to year. Grades are updated every Monday, so we encourage you to set a standing family appointment each Tuesday or Wednesdays to access infinite campus and explore your child’s progress and set goals for the week!

    personalized model

    Family Resource Center

    The North Valleys Family Resource Center (FRC) is housed here at O’Brien Middle School on the northwest side of campus by our fields. This resource center is deisgned to provide families in the North Valleys area with access to resources like housing assistance, emergency assistance with bills, cloths and Food Bank access as well as referrals for counseling and other helpful services that may support your family and or your learner.  The FRC is open Monday through Friday 9:00am-5:00pm.  Phone: (775)227-7271 or (775)227-5031.

    family engagement

    O’Brien Whole School Policies

    targetAll policies are in place to create a safe and enriching environment for all members of our learning community.  Policies are subject to change and exceptions may occur based on student needs and staff discretion.  The intent of each policy is to set high yet fair expectations that assist in teaching learners how to engage in academia and society productively.  We believe that families are our most important partner in helping to ensure that all learners access the richest learning environments. We ask that families check in with their children each morning to ensure that they are in uniform, are in possession of their charged O’Brien laptop and that all items stored in their laptop case and on their person are safe and appropriate. Additional teacher, team, and department-based policies may be found in the syllabus of each teacher that your learner has.

    Dress Code & Standard Student Attire

    The 2023-24 school year is the last established uniform year that requires students to dress in standard student attire as established by O’Brien family votes and board approval five years ago.  The required standard student attire is black, white, or gray polo or collared shirts with or without the O’Brien logo, black, white, or gray sweatshirts with or without the O’Brien logo and black, tan, or gray bottoms to include jeans, and non-see-through leggings. Hats and hoods are not permitted to be worn in the building as we need to be able to see and identify learners in order to maximize learning experiences and safety.  Students must wear close to shoes on campus.  Shoes may be any color as long as the colors do not impede learning or provoke conflict.  If a color or style of shoes is associated with any misconduct and/or poses a safety risk, the school reserves the right to implement a safety plan prohibiting future wear of problematic color(s), style, and any other article of clothing that correlates with risk. Safety plans may impact singular students or the whole school.  Blue tops and gray bottoms will continue to be required in PE uniforms, and students who have PE must dress out daily unless specified by their assigned PE teacher.

    Every five years families have the right to vote to establish or negate standard student attire requirements, and families will have this opportunity this year to vote about O’Brien students having standard student attire or free dress in future years. All members of the learning community must adhere to WCSD’s dress code policies, which can be found on our district website, in addition to O’Brien Middle School’s dress code policies daily and during earned or awarded “free dress days” and spirit days and weeks.

    Dress Code Progressive Behavior Expectations & Outcomes:

    1st Dress code violations will result in a warning along with an opportunity to have parents drop off uniform clothing or borrow loaned clothing if it is available.

    2nd dress code violations will result in a lunch detention and a phone call home along with an opportunity to have parents drop off uniform clothing or borrow loaned clothing.

    3rd dress code violations will result in the same consequence as the 2nd code violation and will trigger a major behavior referral.

    Students who have had a 3rd or more dress code violation may be held in ISS for the day if they aren’t able to change into dress code appropriate clothing.

    Student IDs & Hallway Passes

    Students are required to carry their Student ID daily. Student IDs are required to board the school bus, to obtain served lunches, to check out items from the library, and to present upon staff request for identification and safety purposes. Students will also need their Student ID to access the restroom, hydration station, athletic equipment at lunch, or other specified resources throughout the year. If a learner loses their student ID, the school will replace it at no cost the first time.  Any additional occurrences will cost the student $1.00 each time.


    For the 2023-24 school year, each student will be assigned an O’Brien laptop, charger, and laptop case. These devices are permitted to be utilized for academic purposes and carried to and from home and school.  Students are required to bring their charged laptops to school daily. Students and families are 100% responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen laptops issued to their child and may be required to reimburse the school for lost, damaged, or stolen laptops, chargers, and laptop cases. Laptops, chargers, and cases will be checked out to students like a library book, and these items will remain on record until safely returned at the end of the school year. Students and families may obtain permission from their child’s advisory teacher to store their devices in their classrooms if needed. This laptop policy is subject to change, and students who mishandle their laptop, charger, or laptop case may lose the privilege of having a device checked out to them.

    Progressive Behavior Expectations & Outcomes Regarding Laptops:

    The 1st occurrence of laptop misuse or abuse will result in a warning and a parent phone call.

    A 2nd occurrence of lap top misuse or abuse will result in a requirement to leave the student laptop in their advisory charging cart rather than transporting the device to and from home.

    The 3rd occurrence of lap top misuse or abuse will result in the device being assigned back to the school and the learner being permitted to utilize school devices only in restricted and monitored settings.

    Cell Phone/Personal Devices

    away for the day

    Cell phones and personal devices are to be unseen and in silent mode once on the bus or on campus before school, during lunch, or after school. Students are permitted to access personal devices in a supervised setting with staff member permission for the device to be taken out and used for family communication or for academic or reward-based purposes. O’Brien Middle School and WCSD will not be liable for lost, damaged, or stolen devices and families are encouraged to have their children keep valuables, including cell phones, personal devices, or ear buds at home. Students and parents are welcome to utilize the main office to make and receive phone calls. Additionally, while we strive to teach learners how to be upstanding citizens in a digital world, it is the responsibility of each family to monitor student engagement in social media and web-based activities. We encourage families to regularly walk through social media and web-based activities being accessed to ensure that they are positive and empowering.

    Progressive Behavior Expectations & Outcomes Regarding Cell Phones:

    The 1st technology violation receives a warning.

    A 2nd violation will result in a parent phone call along with the phone being confiscated and secured in the main office for student pick up; a minor behavior documentation will occur.

    A 3rd violation results in a call home and the phone will be confiscated and secured in the main office for the parent to pick up.

    A 4th violation results in a major behavior referral; the phone will also be confiscated and secured in the main office for parent pick up. The student will then be placed on a technology behavior plan moving forward.

    Earbud Policy

    Students are permitted to use earbuds on the bus on the way to school as long as their cell phones are set to play but remain unseen. Students may use lion loot to purchase an “ear bud pass” enabling them to listen to music during lunch, but once the music is set to play, the phone must remain unseen.  Students may not bring Bluetooth speakers to campus as playing music or videos aloud is not permitted.

     Bags & Backpacks

    We are pleased to continue providing all needed learning supplies to all learners daily. Each student will be issued an assigned laptop and a laptop carrier style case. These lap top cases can carry a library book, notebook, personal hygiene products, and some other supplies. TRADITIONAL STUDENT BACKPACKS ARE NOT PERMITTED as they pose safety risks including the risk of damaging the device due to lack of protection and the risk of transporting unsafe items onto campus.  Families are welcome to purchase their scholar small and slim black, white, or gray laptop backpacks intended for 13”-15.4” laptops if they do not want the issued carrier bag; please see approved backpack options that follow or connect with our office to see samples, receive guidance, or obtain validation for a desired purchases of laptop backpacks and/or carrier bags.  

    Approved backpacks:


    Food & Drinks

    All members of the O’Brien learning community are encouraged to carry and utilize water bottles. Hydration stations are located throughout the building for these purposes and water bottles are permitted to be utilized in classroom settings unless otherwise specified by a staff member for safety purposes related to a specific lab or activity. As a general rule, all other types of food or drink may only be accessed and consumed in the cafeteria and outdoor eating space attached to the cafeteria. Students who are pre-issued a lunch pass by a staff member may carry their lunch to the elective classroom door or academic wing door where their teacher will meet them.  All others will consume their lunch in the cafeteria before being excused to play outside or engage in intramural activities during lunch. Exceptions will be made for medical purposes as directed by staff. Students are not permitted to chew gum on school grounds.

    Lion Loot

    Lion Loot is a virtual currency that students may earn by showing attributes within our Lion P.R.I.D.E. matrix which stands for Productivity, Respect, Integrity, Determination, and Empathy.  Students may utilize Lion Loot to purchase items from the student store, to purchase free dress day passes, or other rewards and raffles. This, in addition to positive behavior referrals, are a part of our Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) system established to help realize our mission and vision reinforcing those actions and attributes that inspire academic, social and emotional growth within our learners.

    Planners & Planner Use

    All lion learners will be required to utilize their virtual O’Brien Planner within Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Teams daily. Student planners are utilized for weekly progress monitoring where learners record their letter grade percentages for each class every Tuesday. Because teachers update their grades before Tuesday each week, this is the perfect day to check in and plan tutoring sessions, review assignment and project deadlines, and set goals for the week. We encourage families to sit down and review their child’s virtual planner along with them on Tuesday evenings. Planners will also be used for various assignments, reflections and activities as required by our staff and teachers.


    Attendance plays an essential role in a learner’s success. Students who miss class time are at a greater risk of falling behind academically, socially, and emotionally. Our learners are expected to attend school on time 90% or more of the time when healthy to receive the optimal benefits of learning.  Students who miss school more than 10% of the time are considered chronically absent and prompt school interventions and support.

    There are no excused or unexcused absences in WCSD.  The types of absences are exempt and non-exempt.  Absences for which documentation is provided by a medical, mental, or behavioral health professional are exempt from consideration when calculating chronic absenteeism.  All other absences, regardless of reason, are considered non-exempt and count towards chronic absenteeism. 

    If your child is ill and has symptoms that may be contagious (E.g., fever, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea), please keep your child home from school.  It is the responsibility of the student to request make-up work from their teachers when they return to school after an absence.  Students have the number of days absent plus one day to complete the work and be considered on time. Most assignments can be found on a teacher’s Microsoft Teams classroom portal.  Our learners are also encouraged to email their teachers for work or clarification of work.

    Students Attendance in WCSD is governed by NRS Chapter 392 as well as Board Policy 5400 and all attached Administrative Regulations and Procedures. Please visit the WCSD Policy website for detailed information on policies. 


    Learners are considered “present” and “on time” for class when they are seated in their assigned seat before the tardy bell rings at the onset of each class period.

    Tardy Progressive Behavior Expectations & Outcomes:

    A 1st tardy will result in a warning.

    A 2nd tardy will result in a teacher implemented consequence.

    A 3rd tardy will result in a minor behavior referral and a phone call home.

    Students who earn 2 or more minor behavior referrals for tardies will be issued a major behavior referral by their individual teacher or by their teacher team if 2 or more minor behavior referrals and documented parent phone calls have been made by one or more teachers.

    O’Brien Bell Schedules


    If an “At home learning” or “Distance Learning” day is called, a connect ed message will go out from the District Office Leadership. Students should plan to log onto Microsoft Teams for each class at the times above. If a student is unable to access Microsoft Teams, they should email or call their teachers for more information. Any work missed due to an “At home Learning” or “Distance Learning” day being called, will be permissible to make up at a later date. Students will not be penalized for returning without assignments being complete but will be responsible to access missed learning upon their return by collaborating with their teachers. 

    WCSD Policies & Regulations



    Safe and Respectful Learning Environment:

    Student Behavior

    Student Bullying, Harassment

    Gender Identity

    Student Dress Code

    Student Uniforms (for Uniform Schools)


    Plagiarism and Cheating Prohibited

    Use of Personal Electronic Device by Students

    Responsible Use and Internet Safety

    Student E-mail

    Student Attendance

    Service Animals

    Transportation of Students

    Release of Students during School Hours

    Student Records and Information

    Student Activities (secondary)

    District Recognized Athletics (secondary)

    Volunteer Screen and Background Checks

    Protocols for Visitors to District Property

    Student Behavior Manual