Signatures & CTE

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Signature Academies & CTE

Career and Technical Education (CTE) program offered throughout the Washoe County School District reflect the local and national industry demand. These programs focus on student achievement and global competitiveness through sequenced courses that teach technical skill integrated with academic knowledge while providing opportunities to gain and master 21st century competencies. CTE courses provide opportunities for earning college credit and industry certifications; participating in internships and advanced research; and developing leadership capacity, a commitment to civic participation and building a community network.

WCSD Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs are organized around the Nevada Department of Education program areas, which present a complete range of courses that empower students to explore their interests, apply their knowledge to real-world challenges, and identify a postsecondary pathway. WCSD offers sequenced CTE courses in six program areas:

  • Agriculture & Natural Resources
  • Business & Marketing Education
  • Education, Hospitality & Human Services
  • Health Science & Public Safety
  • Information & Media Technologies
  • Skilled & Technical Sciences

CTE programs are open to all students. These programs are delivered at each local high school.

Signature Academies also feature CTE programs at most schools and at the Academy of Arts, Careers & Technology, a career technical academy high school. Signature Academy programs are magnet programs that require an application, acceptance, and maintenance of established requirements for continued participation.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Call the Signatures & CTE Department at 775-327-3945 or visit the WCSD CTE website at Learn more about Nevada CTE at and the national CTE initiative at

Signature Academy (SA) Magnet Programs

Signature Academies are four-year themed high school programs designed to engage and motivate students through a rigorous course of study; applied curriculum that includes opportunities to earn college credit and industry certifications; community partnerships that help students connect school and the real world; and leadership activities where students can gain necessary 21st century skills.

Students enter the program in 9th grade and complete a four-year program of study, which includes job shadow, internship, and advanced research opportunities. In each high school, 75% of the available openings are dedicated to students who live in that school zone. Up to 25% of the available openings are reserved for students who live in other school zones.

WCSD has two Signature Schools. These are comprehensive high schools in which all students are enrolled in one or more Signature Programs through completion. These schools are:

  • Academy of Arts, Careers & Technology, offering 7 career academies
  • Wooster High School, offering the International Baccalaureate programs

WCSD offers these Signature Academics:

Damonte Ranch High School

Academy: Performing Arts Center (PAC)

Programs: Dance, Theater, Instrumental Music (Orchestra and Band), Choir

Galena High School

Academy: STEM Academy

Programs: Project Lead the Way – Aerospace & Environmental Engineering

Hug High School

Academy: Health & Human Services Academy

Programs: Sports Medicine, Human Development and Culinary/Baking

McQueen High School

Academy: Global Studies Academy

Programs: International Studies (World Languages) and Fine Arts

North Valleys High School

Academy: Center for Agricultural Science & Engineering (CASE)

Programs: Agricultural Engineering Agricultural Resource Management

Reed High School

Academy: Enterprise Project

Programs: Biomedical Studies, Human Services Civil & Environmental Engineering

Reno High School

Academy: Red House Project

Programs: Animation, Web Design, Graphic Design & Video Production

Spanish Springs High School

Academy: Spanish Springs Academy

Programs: C3 Media – Publications, Web Design, Graphic Design & Photography, Video Production Sports Medicine

Sparks High School

Academy: Tech Science & Manufacturing Academy

Programs: Graphic & Web Design, Drafting & Manufacturing Technologies

Admission by Application

Students wishing to participate in a Signature Academy must apply for admission in the fall of their 8th grade year, meet the minimum criteria, and be selected through a lottery process for the Academy of their choice.

*Note: In special cases, students can enter an Academy after 9th grade. These students must meet the minimum criteria for participation, have completed the program prerequisites, and be granted permission by the school’s Academy. These situations are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Participation Requirements

Students applying for a Signature Academy program should be interested in the academy theme, committed to completing the full program, and meet the minimum requirements for academic achievement, attendance, and self-management (based on the two years prior to admittance). These criteria are:

  • Demonstration of consistent “C” work in grade-level core academic coursework (2.0 GPA in core classes, no Fs)
  • Attainment of grade level scores on standardized tests administered within one year of application (Math, English/language arts)
  • Regular school attendance (90%, all reasons included)
  • Demonstration of appropriate self-management abilities (no major discipline events/suspensions, few minor discipline events)


Students meeting the entry requirements for consideration will be entered into a lottery for available spots in the Academy of their choice.

Signature Understandings and Variance

All students receiving an invitation to attend a Signature Academy must agree to and sign the “Understandings of Acceptance and Attendance” in order to confirm their acceptance of an Academy spot. Additionally, students residing outside of the zone of attendance for the Academy to which they confirm acceptance must sign the Signature Variance form, agreeing to abide by the conditions associated with the variance, and may be required to meet with school administration before Academy acceptance is finalized. All students are provisionally accepted, dependent upon their final grades, attendance, credit accrual, and behavior for the semester prior to entering a Signature Academy.


Transportation is only available for WCSD Signature Schools, Wooster High School and Academy of Arts, Careers & Technology (AACT). Students accepted to these schools can access bussing from/to stops at the high school nearest their home, as well as Cold Springs Middle School and Pleasant Valley Elementary School. Parents must provide transportation to the bus pick up and drop off location, as schedules will not overlap to allow for door-to-door service.

Students accepted at all other WCSD Signature Academies are responsible for their own transportation to/from the school. No transportation will be provided for the 2017-18 school year.

Athletic Participation

Students accepted at the Academy of Arts, Careers and Technology (AACT) are eligible to participate in athletics at their zoned high school only.

Students accepted to all other schools are eligible to participate in athletics at that school. Students who do not reside in the school zone of the Signature Academy will enter on a Signature Variance which will allow them to participate in any sanctioned sport offered at that school (NAC 386.787) at any level other than varsity for the first year. In the event that the Signature Variance is revoked for any reason or a student opts to leave the Signature Academy during high school and returns to his/her own zoned school, the student will lose athletic eligibility for the remainder of that school year and for an additional 180 days (for any sport in which the student’s name appeared on a varsity NIAA roster NAC 386.786). FOR MORE INFORMATION: Call the Signatures & CTE Department at 775-327-3945 or visit the website at

Signature Schools

AACT High School

The Academy is a Signature high school for students in grades 9-12 who have a focused interest in one of seven career pathways:

  • Business Management
  • Communication Arts & Media
  • Culinary & Hospitality
  • Education & Training
  • Engineering
  • Medical Careers
  • Natural Resources & Animal Science

The Academy offers rigorous academic and career curriculum to prepare students to be highly competitive in both a university and career setting. This includes Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses, college-level career curriculum taught by industry professionals, and a focus on developing 21st century skills through service learning, job shadows/internships, and leadership activities. In addition to earning AP college credits, students completing a four-year program at the Academy can earn up to 21 college credits in their career area.

Students who excel at the Academy demonstrate strong personal leadership skills through active participation in their career academy, a commitment to academic excellence, consistent daily attendance, and positive self-management that supports the Academy’s community values. Students selected to attend the Academy accept responsibility and accountability for their academic and social behavior in order to gain the most benefit from the school experience.

The Academy offers many opportunities that are similar to traditional schools such as spirit weeks, dances, student government, annual performances, and various clubs. Additionally, all students participate in the student organization associated with their chosen career pathway, such as SkillsUSA, FBLA, HOSA and FFA. These organizations offer opportunities for leadership, competition, networking, and travel. The Academy does not offer programs in the traditional arts (music, art, and drama), ROTC, or athletics. Student may participate in athletics at their zoned school. As well, the Academy is a member of the National Technical Honor Society (NTHS), recognizing and honoring student excellence.

The Academy is centrally located at 380 Edison Way in Reno. The facility features cutting edge laboratories in each career area, equipped with the most up-to-date technology and equipment available. For students enrolled at the Academy, transportation is provided from various pick up locations throughout the district.

Apply: Students interested in becoming an Academy Trailblazer (full-time) must submit a Signature Academy application, meet the minimum criteria for attendance, and be selected for available spaces (lottery).

Please note: In special cases, students who need an advanced level career course that is not offered at their home high school may be given permission to attend the Academy as a part-time student. These situations are considered on a case-by-case basis and must be approved by administration. FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit the website at or call 775-327-3920.

Wooster High School - IB

Wooster High School is a Signature high school offering International Baccalaureate (IB) programs for all students.  Founded in 1968, IB was designed for internationally mobile students preparing for a university education. Today, IB’s mission is to create a better world through education by providing a comprehensive and rigorous curriculum that encourages international-mindedness in students and prepares them for a high quality university experience. Wooster High School IB offers the following programs:

  • Middle Years Program
  • Diploma or Certificate Program
  • Career-related Certificate Program

The primary objective of the IB program is to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect (IB mission).  Through integration of knowledge and skills, along with focus on independent, critical and creative thought, the IB curriculum focuses on educating the whole person in the context of a lifelong journey toward responsible citizenship.  IB students earn college credits through IB course exams.

Students who excel in an IB program of study are motivated leaders who love learning; hard workers who take an active role in school and community; and responsible students who are curious, open-minded, reflective and eager to expand their understanding of the world through creativity, action, and service.  IB students are provided with academic, social, and leadership experiences that prepare them to compete and excel in the world community.

Middle Years Program – Grades 9 & 10

IBMYP provides a learning framework that encourages all students to think creatively, critically and reflectively.  Students are challenged to connect their learning to the real world by participating in service learning projects and problem-solving initiatives.  Communication, intercultural understanding, and global engagement are emphasized through the study of eight subjects, including a foreign language.  The MYP philosophy is for all 9th and 10th graders, not just those who intend on participating in the IB Diploma Program or the IB Career-related Certificate program.

Diploma & Certificate Program – Grades 11 & 12

The IB Diploma program is an academically challenging, balanced educational program that prepares students for university and life success.  Recognized worldwide, the Diploma curriculum addresses students’ intellectual, social, emotional, and physical well-being through focus in six subject areas, as well as two languages.  Diploma students also complete Core requirements by exploring the nature of knowledge, undertaking an in-depth research essay in an area of interest, and enhance their personal and interpersonal skills through creativity, action, and service.  Students completing a full two-year program may be eligible for an IB Diploma.  Students completing a portion of the requirements will be eligible for an IB Certificate.

Career-related Certificate Program (change to Career Program) – Grades 11 & 12

IBCP (formerly IBCC) provides students with both an academic and practical foundation to support postsecondary educational and specialized career training.  With a focus in Sustainable Resources (Energy Technology), Entrepreneurship, photography, accounting, ROTC, metalworking and human development, IBCP’s program of study features rigorous academics, applied knowledge, critical thinking, communication, and cross-cultural engagement. IBCP students take a minimum of two (2) IB Diploma courses; complete a sequence of career-related coursework; and complete the IBCP Core, which consists of Approaches to Learning (ATL) course; a Community and Service program, a reflective project, and completion of a language development course.

Apply: Students interested in attending the Wooster High International Baccalaureate (IB) program must submit a Signature Academy application, meet the minimum criteria for attendance, and be selected for available spaces in the program (lottery).  For students accepted to a Wooster IB program, transportation is provided from a student’s zoned high school. FOR MORE INFORMATION:  Visit the website at or call Wooster High School at 775-321-3160.

Speciality Schools

TMCC High School

A WCSD magnet school, TMCC High School is a middle college high school offered in partnership with Truckee Meadows Community College.   TMCC High School has two pathways for mature, motivated high school students who are ready to focus on their future now:  degree pathway and technical pathway.  Degree-seeking students in grades 10-12, complete high school diploma requirements while pursuing an associate degree at the TMCC Dandini campus.  Career-minded students in grades 11 and 12, complete high school diploma requirements while pursuing a skills or achievement certificate in a technical career field at TMCC Pennington Applied Technology Center (ATC).  At both locations, students are accepted based on criteria reflecting college readiness.   Students enrolled at TMCC High School are seeking educational and career goals on an accelerated path through dual credit college courses and as part of the registration/enrollment process establish a college graduation plan.  For the degree pathway, the goal for students enrolling as 10th graders is to graduate high school with an associate degree and a graduation plan will guide course enrollment each semester to result in an AA or AS.   Degree-seeking students who enroll their junior year will earn transferrable college credits in their last two years of high school, and may earn enough credit for an associate degree upon high school graduation or within a semester following graduation. For career-minded students attending TMCC High School at ATC, the goal for students enrolling as 11th graders is to graduate high school with a TMCC certificate in a career field and their graduation plan will guide course enrollment each semester to achieve that certificate.  TMCC High School students may complete English, social studies, and math at the high school level.  Other classes taken by the student are graduation requirements and are attained through dual-credit college courses.  College classes are tuition-free; students are responsible for expenses associated with college classes such as books, supplies, and transportation to the campus.

Students who wish to enroll in TMCC High School must complete an application and be accepted to the program.  Students must also apply and be accepted to TMCC.  Students who are accepted must withdraw from their zoned high school, as TMCC High School is a separate, accredited high school. Regarding athletics and zoned school activities such as band or ROTC, students may design a schedule around the demands of the sport or activity.  Some students find that they are not able to develop a schedule that accommodates an activity at the zoned school.  The rigor of the high school with a cross-curricular, project-based curriculum and a heavy college course load, demands considerable time and attention, and students need to consider the demands before applying.

Hug High School - GATE Institue

The GATE Institute is a partnership between the GATE Program and Procter Hug High School, an Advanced Placement (AP) Capstone school. With GT-endorsed teachers, specially designed GT classes in core content areas, dual-enrollment, accelerated course pathways, early enrollment in AP classes and flexible scheduling, identified GT students in ninth through twelfth grades can expect to take classes based on interests, strengths, and readiness. Students passing six (6) AP exams, including the AP Capstone Seminar and Research courses, can earn an AP Capstone diploma. With the added element of focused, passion driven community service and a comprehensive GT internship, students combine GT instructional strategy, flexible scheduling, AP curriculum and research to pursue a high level of distinction and fulfillment.

Qualified students are invited to apply for admission. This model is appropriate for gifted scholars who are prepared for advanced coursework and acceleration, yet still desire a traditional and comprehensive high school experience. Students successfully completing this model are self-motivated learners who are college and career bound. FOR MORE INFORMATION: visit or call the GATE Program office at 775-861-4451.

North Star Online School

North Star Online School is a fully accredited, tuition-free, full-time virtual public school that provides K-12 students the flexibility to learn in a variety of environments using a curriculum that meets rigorous state education standards. North Star serves the residents of Washoe County and offers online learners the opportunity to complete required coursework (except mandated testing and high school final exams) off campus. Our school offers gifted and talented, honors and advanced placement courses and accepts some college courses for dual credit. Students can participate in extracurricular activities and take one or two classes at their zoned school as needed such as band, choir and ROTC.  North Star offers virtual Live Lessons, on campus Blended Learning, field trips, on-campus activities and clubs as well as Back to School, End of the Year celebrations, Parent university trainings, and a PTSO for our families.

A computer, high-speed internet connection, printer, and microphone headset are required at home but students are encouraged and welcome to use the equipment available at North Star’s campus. Interested students and families must submit an application and if accepted, students will enroll at North Star and withdraw from their zoned school with the expectation that they will earn a North Star Online (WCSD) high school diploma and are expected to participate in North Star’s graduation ceremony. Virtual education is not suitable for everyone and an online education requires a disciplined approach with parents playing an essential role in ensuring students’ achievement and accountability. Successful North Star students are motivated, independent learners who self-advocate and seek assistance when needed. Located on campus, our highly-qualified, enthusiastic teachers are accessible to students via email, phone and face-to-face meetings. Our full time, K-12 counselor is available for academic, career and personal guidance. North Star Online School provides flexibility in the student’s learning schedule and the potential to graduate early. We follow the WCSD Balanced Calendar and students are required to complete courses by the end of each semester.  The North Star students are offered a broad selection of engaging, challenging courses in order to prepare them for college and/or skilled careers. FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit:  or call North Star Online School at 775-353-6900.

Innovations High School – Nevada’s 1st Big Picture School

Innovations High School is the first of its kind in Nevada.  We educate one scholar at a time, so each scholar’s curriculum is determined by his or her own unique interests, background and learning style.  All scholars work on projects in real-world settings related to their interests and develop strong relationships with advisors and project mentors.  At Innovations, we enroll families, not just scholars.  Our student body is diverse and our expectation is that our scholars will graduate and be truly career and college ready. Our Highly Qualified Advisors (teachers) build strong relationships with our scholars in order to respond to the work the scholar is doing at his/her internship site. Advisors are trained to identify the learning opportunities both at the internship and at school.

Benefits for Scholars:

  • Relationships with adult mentor and advisor, 9th Grade – Post Graduate
  • Small workshops – scholar to advisor ratio of 15:1
  • Learn skills such as: organization, punctuality and time management
  • Become engaged in her/his work and take ownership of her/his learning
  • Understand the importance of rigor, relevance and relationships in education and the development of long-term goals
  • Project or problem based learning in all workshops tied to real world problems
  • Service learning projects in all advisories
  • Powerful student voice to guide school governance
  • Public audience for quarterly exhibitions of learning goals, projects and personal progress
  • School of P.E.A.C.E (Parent Education and Child Enrichment – For pregnant or parenting teens and their young scholars)

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  visit:  or call Innovations High School at 775-333-5150.