Churchill County School District Superintendent Dr. Sandra Sheldon recently spoke at May’s Churchill County Economic Development Authority council breakfast to discuss where the school district was headed.
Sheldon said the goals are as follows: Ensure excellence in instruction with high expectations for all students; implement a rigorous and relevant curriculum to meet the Nevada Academic Content Standards, utilize assessments and data to monitor and measure growth and achievement; maintain positive climate and culture providing safe; secure and nurturing learning environments; incorporate parent and community partnership to maximize positive impact on student success; and the budget will be fiscally responsible in all matters and attempt to maximize each dollar for student success and district efficiency and transparency.
Sheldon said the school board met in February and developed goals they would like to see the district meet. She said the goals would be given to the leadership team and an action plan created for each goal.
“There are some many good things happening in the district,” Sheldon said. “There are some incredible things happening with instruction but they’re all happening in isolation and there’s no real coordination and so my first goal is to work with the principals and put together school performances plans.”
Sheldon said the district’s completed comprehensive needs assessment will show what is happening in the school and allow each department to develop a plan to improve instructional strategies and student achievement.
“The board wants to bring in more rigor, depth of work, problem solving, more creative thinking and more depth of knowledge to instruction,” Sheldon said. “Part of that is our jump start for high school program in partnership with Western Nevada College. We have around 40 junior and senior students who are registered for that program.”
Sheldon said one of her personal goals for students at the high school is for every student to complete one online class before they graduate since online education is becoming a trend.
Sheldon said they are moving forward with the Smarter Balance Assessment test this year.
“We’re making sure that our materials and resources are aligned with the new system,” Sheldon said. “We’re also making sure that the teachers are comfortable with the implementation of the standards that are in the Nevada Academic Content Standards.”
Sheldon said the district wants to provide more professional development for teachers on how to integrate technology into the classroom. She said the district would like to explore flipped classrooms and 1:1 ratio technology which would allow the students the opportunity to use technology inside the classroom.
“We want learning to be more interactive and we want the students to be more engaged in the learning,” Sheldon said. “Instead of just sitting there having someone lecture about the Crimean War, we would like the students to have the ability to explore and compare different wars and do deeper thinking about possible common themes.”
Sheldon said as the district moves forward, textbooks and learning materials will shift to online and tablets. She said that would allow the students to become more interactive with the material the students are learning.
“We want to house a positive climate and culture to providing safe, secure and nurturing environments,” Sheldon said. “A lot of that has to do with upgrade to our facilities and the secure entrances that we put in. We also put in a lot of fencing to keep kids in and to keep them safe and being able to use those fences to channel people into the main entrances so they don’t just walk in onto the playground.”
Sheldon said the district has a bullying program called Olweus, which they hope becomes better implemented. Sheldon said in order to make this program work better every licensed staff member would become certified in the program to make it effective throughout the district. She said it would provide teachers and students with the proper tools to handle bullying situations and even help the students who are engaging in bullying activities.
“The See Something, Say Something program is already in our schools,” Sheldon said. “That program will also expand into the community so it will be able to help everyone in our county. We currently have some signs in the schools but hopefully soon we will be putting signs up around the community and in some businesses.”
Sheldon said businesses that have the signs in their windows would be considered a safe haven if an individual needs one. She said since the program has been in effect, it has already been used several times.
Sheldon said the district is hoping to start working with businesses in the community to get internship programs. She said with the new Dairy Farmers of America dairy milk ingredient processing plant and Drone program the district is hoping to work with them to see what their needs are, to hopefully bring specific classes to the schools.
“We’re trying to reach out to parent to get input from them on how we work better with them and the students,” Sheldon said. “We have created a news letter called, the community wave, that parents can sign up for to receive information about events happening in our district and schools.”
Sheldon also said with the recent budget cuts the district would be focusing more on how to keep the ending fund balance at 4 percent.
“That is one of our main goals,” Sheldon said. “There’s no reason why we can’t keep that 4 percent in place and not eat into it. We need to improve our finical status and there’s no reason why our district can’t be the top in the state.”