Academic Departments

  • Welcome to Turning Point.  We are an alternative Middle/High School that values both curricular and co-curricular learning experiences.

    At Turning Point, we personally care about each and every student and we work hard to establish a rapport with each student in their community.  We believe in setting goals in both academic and non-academic areas. 

    When family, the community, and school staff work together to support student learning, the results are powerful!

    Effective collaboration among these groups can yield results that mutually support each segment of the education community -- especially the students.

    We are committed to implementing best practices as they relate to each individual student's learning and achievement.  Among these best practices are Common Core State Standards implementation, Washoe County School District Strategic Plan implementation and our own School Rules and Positive Reinforcement Plan.

    Student needs are our priority.

    Below you will find descriptions for each of our departments and content.  Contact information for all staff can be found on the Turning Point Staff Directory page.

    6th Grade- Mrs. Ploe

    6th grade at Turning Point is a self-contained learning environment which introduces students to the rigors that are expected of a learner in middle school. Students will develop executive functioning skills utilizing the Organized Binder System, as well as be given independent critical thinking opportunities using a variety of instructional strategies. Literary skills are explicitly taught during English Language Arts instruction and embedded within content instruction. This middle school program is student driven and instruction is delivered using the NV state standards and student IEPs as our foundational guidance. Intervention Support is targeted and explicitly used with the WCSD iReady program.

    “The classroom is a place where we come to discover who we are and what we can achieve.”


    Mental Health- Mr. Tjeltveit and Mrs. Heaton

    The mental health department consists of Erik Tjeltveit, school counselor, and Margaret Heaton-Ashby, Mental Health Professional. The goal of the counseling department is to help facilitate the social emotional growth of students at Turning Point. We integrate individual support with students as well as group work to help students develop emotional, behavioral, and cognitive regulation. We collaborate with administrators, teachers, and BECS to develop consistency within the school. We strive to create connection, communication, and support with the student’s family, parents, and/or guardians.


    Science- Mr. Beam

    Biology: In biology, students learn about the organization and interactions in ecosystems, the structure and function of plant and animal cells, genetics and heredity, and the process of evolution by natural selection.

    Physical Science: In physical science, students will explore the basic properties of force and energy, as well as simple atomic chemistry and chemical reactions.

    Biomedical Science: In biomedical science, students will explore the various fields in medicine and medical research, as well as the topics of infectious disease, genetic disease, autoimmunity, and the basic function of the immune system.

    Health: Students in health will explore the connections between diet, exercise, mental health, and longevity. They will learn how these factors impact us on both the personal as well as community level.

    Computer Science: In computer science, students will gain firsthand experience working with computers and they will learn to use computers to solve or simplify everyday problems.

    Middle School Science: In MS science, students will practice scientific thinking and the scientific method while exploring real world phenomena.


    Life Skills- Mrs. Stevenson

    The Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) program at Turning point develops Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decisions-Making for life effectiveness. SEL teaches the skills we all need to handle ourselves, our relationships, and our work, effectively and ethically using the following programs and others:

    Zones of Regulation – A curriculum designed to foster self-regulation and emotional control.

    Community Discussion Circles – A framework for nurturing self-exploration, values, and use of productive norms of behavior and community.

    S.O.D.A.S. (Situation, Options, Disadvantages, Advantages, Solution) - The SODAS method provides structure to the process of solving problems and gives students a new way to approach situations where they might have acted hastily or inappropriately in the past.

    SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) - a framework to set clear and effective objectives for personal or professional growth.

    Career Exploration- Mrs. Stevenson

    The Career Exploration Program at Turning Point develops the employability skills for career readiness of personal qualities and people skills, professional knowledge and skills, and technology knowledge and skills. Career Exploration provides students with the opportunity to explore their options, wants, and needs for their future using the following programs and others:

    Nevada Vocational Rehabilitation Pre-Employment Transition Services - Students learn to request supports and services, their rights and responsibilities, identify career interests and supports, develop skills needed in the workforce, and experience hands-on learning in the workplace.

    Virtual Job Shadow – Online tools and resources for workforce readiness.

    Turning Point Student Store – Students practice their job skills working in the student store. Purchasing, stocking, customer service, organizing, and merchandising are a few of the skills students practice working in the store.

    ELA- Dr. Weinberg

    Traditionally, English class at the secondary level is concentrated eighty percent on reading and writing and twenty percent on developing public speaking and presentation skills. Here at Turning Point, we work on these areas with an emphasis on developing real world communication abilities and behavior-based interpersonal skills. The small class size allows for assignments to be individually tailored to each student’s interests and needs. Through individualized instruction, student progress is marked by improvements in writing, reading, and interpersonal communication.

    Physical Education- Ms. Carter

    Physical Education at Turning Point is in alignment with the Nevada Academic Content Standards.  We focus on bodily movement supported by cardio, resistance training, agility, safety, and skill development.  Students also learn to coach one another and work together to promote fitness.

     Reading- Ms. Fish

    Reading and understanding (recalling) what a student reads is the key to success in school. In this class, we will use a variety of methods to help students improve their comprehension skills. Writing is a co-equal partner with reading, and in this spirit will exercise each student's writing skills. With the variety of students in our program, different students will require different instructional approaches. Students will often work on their own and at other times the class will work together. For background information, students may use many resources such as YouTube & Newsella, and others.

    We use both non-fiction and fiction texts and books for our lessons. It is important for our students to understand the basics of how a story flows. This includes: reading for details, following a plot, understanding the point of view of the author, and understanding inferences in the writing.

    Most of all, the goal of the program is to increase the student’s ability to read with greater comprehension and accurately convey the meaning or details of the text.

    "The more one reads, the better one reads. The better one reads, the better one writes."

     Math-Mrs. Greenwell

    Welcome to the wonderful world of math! In the math classroom, students follow the Washoe County School District standard curriculum. Our students will also explore the history of mathematics; applications in science, business, architecture, music, and language; and play math-related games, like chess. Many students will create presentations about famous mathematicians, expand the classroom mural and work with other students as peer-tutors. Our students will receive highly individualized lessons that play to their strengths and their interests. Pi Day (March 14th) is always a celebration in Room 18 where we play around with irrational numbers, hula hoops, frisbees and, of course, pie. We look forward to learning with your student.

    Finance-Mrs. Greenwell

    This is a senior level course that covers banking, investing, credit, paying for college, insurance, taxes and budgeting. Students will learn how to open a checking account, know about borrowing money (i.e. auto-loans, mortgages and credit cards) and how to manage debt, understand compound interest and long-term investing, learn about sources of funding for college or post-secondary training, and use spreadsheets to create budgets to manage personal finances. The students will also have jobs in the student store and participate in a variety of business role-playing activities. These activities will help students gain knowledge of accounting, payroll and benefits, licensing and insurance, profitability, and advertising.

    Construction-Mrs. Greenwell

    This is a senior and junior level course that covers the following topics: safety, reading plans, project management, construction equipment, carpentry, engine mechanics, masonry, plumbing, electrical, welding, auto-maintenance, landmark projects and the history of construction, and construction related careers. Students will participate in safety meetings, learn crane hand signals, design a simple house, know the names of common tools and construction materials, and work together on a class building project (such as a doghouse or raised planter box). In partnership with local construction companies, the students will be able to visit active job sites and speak with a broad range of construction professionals.

    Social Studies- Mr. Calvillo

    My name is Mr. Calvillo, and I am the history teacher at Turning Point, Middle/High School in Reno, Nevada. For the history department at Turning Point, the goal is to promote civil competence by showing students how to actively participate in public life. Through studying social studies: United States History, world history, and American Government, students will gain knowledge and abilities centered in democratic values. They will make better decisions and participate in the global community. Additionally, the history curriculum includes disciplines such as archeology, anthropology, geography, economics, history, philosophy, law, psychology, political science, sociology, religion, mathematics, humanities, and natural sciences. The main purpose of our history courses at Turning Point is to help learners make well-informed decisions for the public good as citizens of the United States.