Before students return to their classrooms, Superintendent Richard Stokes is inviting them, along with parents and community members, to a presentation on the state of public schools by author and consultant Jamie Vollmer.
“You’ll be energized and uplifted by his positive message,” said Stokes, superintendent of the Carson City School District.
Vollmer, author of the book, “Schools Cannot Do It Alone,” asserts that schools cannot change unless the community around those schools also changes.
It’s a message that resonates with Stokes, who led the process to collect community input, through a series of town hall-style meetings, to craft the school district’s strategic plan. The committee continues to hold regular community meetings and is subject to evaluation from those community members.
“A lot of what he has to say mirrors our concept of education as identified in our strategic plan,” Stokes said. “His message dovetails nicely with what we’re doing in our community.”
On his website jamievollmer.com, Vollmer says attitudes toward public education need to shift.
“Based on his 20 years of working with school districts across the country, Jamie Vollmer argues we are at a pivotal point in our history,” the website states. “Public education is under attack as never before. Bashing public schools has become a blood sport — a dangerous game in which sensational headlines publicize half-truths, statistics are used out of context, and test results are reported in the worst possible light. We are witnessing a campaign to annihilate the emotional and intellectual ties that bind the American people to their public schools. And it’s working.”
Vollmer retorts only those working in the schools know first-hand what really happens there.
“No one has the right to criticize public education unless he or she has spent a warm Friday afternoon in May locked in a room with eighth-graders,” he said. “I will go to my grave with that smell in my nostrils.”
The presentation will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday in the Bob Boldrick Theater of the Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St. It’s free and open to the public.
“I hope people take advantage of him being here,” Stokes said. “It’s a very thoughtful presentation, but people will also be entertained. He’s a lively guy with great stories.”
A presentation for teachers and staff only will be earlier in the day.
It will be the first time in the past 12 years, Stokes said, that all employees will be together in one place.
“I expect his message will be very validating to our staff,” Stokes said.