CCSD does uniforms survey | NevadaAppeal.com

CCSD does uniforms survey

Aly Lawson
alawson@lahontanvalleynews.com

April is Month of Military Child, and the school district created purple ribbons in solidarity with these students, who on average move six to nine times from Kindergarten to grade 12 as well as experience deploying parents and other challenges.

The Churchill County School District Board of Trustees met Wednesday to discuss public comments as well as the Discipline and Attendance Uniform Subcommittee's recommendation to not move forward with uniforms.

During public comment, a parent brought up "a rash of bullying and violence incidents that have taken place in the school district in the last month." He gave a few examples and expressed concern over the acts being labeled accidents as well as inaction going against district policy to provide a safe, respectful learning environment.

The student's mother also commented that her daughter, who is now home-schooled instead of attending Churchill County Middle School, was "afraid to go to school there" after being threatened and her scratched eye later becoming infected; the mother said her child broke out in hives the day before going back to school.

"I went to school here; I want my kids to graduate like I did," the mother said, adding the school should have her child's back. "Right now she's home-schooled but she misses her friends and misses her teachers."

A student's grandfather added the board should read the related Facebook conversations if they hadn't, to gain a better picture of the community perception. He said he's not sure what the answer is but that's why the board exists, to "fix it."

Trustee Richard Gent requested the issue be added to the next meeting's agenda.

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Also during public comment, several students, parents and a teacher spoke to a fear of advanced placement classes being taken away.

A Churchill County High School junior disputed AP calculus and chemistry potentially being eliminated for his senior year due to not having at least 15 students enrolled. Given his career aspirations (seeking a math major), he was deeply concerned as well as worried about the extra cost and time to take those classes in college. The student's father, who has a master's degree in mathematics, agreed.

The father said CCHS would be the only public high school in Northern Nevada not offering calculus to seniors. He added that result would come at an extreme expense to his family and the other nine interested students.

Four other students expressed concern, saying AP classes are important when applying to respected universities — and one who had already taken AP chemistry said the teacher had taught him so much. Tyler Marsh said he aims to be a genetic engineer and work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; he added he worked with his counselor on a four-year plan at the beginning of his high-school career.

"What other upper level classes do you have to offer me in science and mathematics that have helped me reach these goals that I have made?" Marsh posed.

A few speakers said the Jump Start program wasn't a good fit due to being off campus, not being accepted at some universities or a different type of course.

"There are 162,000 Spanish-speakers in the state alone," one student mentioned when discussing AP Spanish, and she added many student-athletes are interested in AP courses and juggling them well.

Superintendent Dr. Sandra Sheldon requested the topic be on the next agenda and said during her board update that no classes have been cancelled at this point.

The Discipline and Attendance Uniform Subcommittee reported on a recent uniforms survey. The idea was to potentially implement uniforms in Kindergarten through fifth grade. Of the 57 percent parent sample and small staff sample size still pending, 54 percent said yes and 41 percent no (one parent vote per student). The committee reported they tried to keep their minds as open as possible while they researched cost, other districts and examined survey comments.

"Overall we would suggest a 'no vote' at this time since it was such a close margin," said Kristin Sheldon, district parent and community engagement coordinator.

Trustee Carmen Schank said she had visited Fallon's Oasis Academy charter school and asked teachers what's the one thing contributing to high academic scores.

"Every one said uniforms," she said, adding when she was a Cub Scout leader it unified the group as a team.

Some of the committee members and trustees also discussed how uniforms may aid discipline problems but also limit self-expression.

Michele Taylor, Naval Air Station Fallon student liaison officer, said she found uniforms don't have a hand in academic success but did change the learning environment.

"There was a lot of thought and effort put into this," said trustee Kathryn Whitaker of the data and research.

The board moved forward with the Student Academic Support Program ("Greenwave Program") that promotes academic rigor and trains teachers on higher learning strategies for students as well as encourages students to take AP classes.

The board approved the tentative budget for next school year, and it will be finalized in about six weeks when government funding comes through.

Training to be provided by Nevada Commission on Ethics' Yvonne Nevarez-Goodson will be rescheduled because of a schedule conflict due to the legislature. The Nevada School Performance Framework will also be discussed at a later date.

In closed session, the board discussed negotiations and strategies regarding the Churchill County Administrators' Association, Churchill County Education Association, and the Nevada Classified School Employees Association.

The next board meeting will take place April 26 at 6 p.m. in the Old High School auditorium ("The Pit").

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