Even though school started for the rest of the grades last week, this is the first week of class for kindergartners. This year most of the classes are full-day instead of half-day - and they're quite a bit smaller.
This year the Nevada Legislature approved a bill that allocated extra funding for full-day kindergarten. That means that classes went from as many as 36 children down to 20 or 21 schools like Echo Loder Elementary School.
"When you have 28 kids in a classroom, it's like herding cats. When you have 21, you have more student-teacher interaction," says Principal Dina Ciaramella.
And that's especially important in many of the district's elementary schools that have extremely high rates of English Language Learners.
At Echo Loder, 89% of the students are learning English as a secondary language.
"You want to get a drink? No quieren agua? Vien para aca..."
Romelia Frediani is bilingual. And although she says that makes communication with her students easier, it also means she has to teach many things twice.
"We are having to repeat ourselves a lot. There's a lot of repetition. So having a smaller class size, that means more time with our kids."
The 2013 Legislature also approved funding specifically for English Language Learner programs for the first time in Nevada's history.
Ciaramella says that will allow Echo Loder to hire additional teachers to help out.
District-wide that translates to 62 new positions for kindergarten and ELL - about $9 million total.
And that's letting everyone breathe a big sigh of relief.
"It's all about concentrating- how do you get our ELL's up to par?...I think for the first time in the last couple of sessions, the district is feeling much better," says Washoe County School District Board of Trustees President Barbara Clark.
In the last session, legislators also approved additional funding for pre-kindergarten programs, reading literacy and reducing class sizes through third grade.
Written by Arianna Bennett