Carson Middle School students will wear uniforms next year, according to a plan presented Tuesday by principal Sam Santillo.
"Everyone's going to be on an equal playing field as far as their dress goes," Santillo said. "It will help create a climate more conducive to concentrating on academics."
The uniforms will be part of an overall behavior program, Positive Behavior Support, being launched next year.
The program, Santillo said, focuses on rewarding good
"We'll recognize and support students through positive reinforcement," he said. "Instead of focusing on punishment for bad behavior, we'll be front loading that by training the kids and teaching them to be respectful, responsible and safe. When they do those things, they'll be rewarded."
The plan is not in response to any particular problems, he said, rather it's a way to free up teacher and staff time to pay more attention to academics.
"School uniforms is really a national trend," he said. "This is not something that's new to public schools."
The Washoe County middle schools - Pine, Traner and Sparks - already require uniforms.
A survey of Carson Middle School staff and parents had a 60 percent approval rating for school uniforms, Santillo said. Responses from parents of students at Fritsch, Mark Twain and Bordewich-Bray elementary schools, which feed into Carson Middle School, came back 3 to 1 in favor of the idea.
The tentative plan for the uniform will likely be a blue polo shirt paired with either black or khaki slacks or skirts.
Shirts would have to be purchased through the school at $10 each. Pants and skirts could be purchased from any outlet.
Officials estimate that the cost to outfit one student with three uniforms would be about $90.
"I think there's an economical benefit to it as well," Santillo said. "A hundred dollars doesn't buy much of anything anymore when it comes to shopping for school clothes."
Financial assistance will be available for students who can't afford the uniform.
Parents of current and future students are invited to an informational meeting to discuss the updated behavioral and dress clothes and to get their questions answered.
The meeting will be 7 p.m. May 6 at Carson Middle School.
Santillo said he expects the program at Carson Middle School will pave the way for other schools in the district to follow suit.
Trustee Randy Carlson said he would like to see that.
"I think that what you're doing is absolutely the right thing for Carson Middle School and maybe possibly in the future for the rest of the school district," he said.