Perhaps the most visible change to come to the Carson City School District in 2014 will be the new, more secure entrances that should all be complete by the fall — most notably at Carson High School, which should be ready when students return to school Jan. 6.
However, it is just one of many changes in store for the new year as the district aligns itself with new state and federal standards, implements the federal $10 million Race to the Top grant and fulfills its own strategic plan.
“This a pretty interesting time in education,” said Richard Stokes, superintendent of the Carson City School District. “A lot of old ideals are being replaced with new ones. Accountability is changing.”
Mary Garey, principal of Fritsch Elementary School, recently moved with her staff into the recently completed front offices from the temporary ones they’ve been housed in since school started this year.
“We are just so happy with it,” she said. “They did a wonderful job.”
As schools have been remodeled after previous bonds, a controlled-entry system has typically been added in which all exterior doors are locked from the outside once school is in session. Only one door remains open, and it leads to a locked vestibule where visitors must check in with the front office. Once visitors are approved, office staffers buzz them through the second door, giving them access to the school.
Similar systems are being built at all remaining schools — Bordewich-Bray, Fritsch, Mark Twain and Fremont elementary schools, as well as Carson and Pioneer high schools. They are all expected to be complete in 2014 and are funded through the 2010 rollover bond.
Starting in January, parents of middle school students will be asked to give feedback about the standard student attire at those schools, which have been in place for three years or more.
The review process was inspired by the district’s strategic plan to include parents and other residents more, Stokes said.
“We want to be more collaborative,” he said. “It’s really an effort to try to do what the community thinks is in the best interest of the students.”
Bigger changes are being rolled out at the middle schools next month as well. Following up on two meetings held this month, parents and students will learn of a plan to provide each student with a laptop to be used both in the classroom and at home.
The middle school students are expected to receive the mobile devices in the spring, and high school and elementary students should follow suit next school year.
“This will give them the skills they need to be college- and career-ready,” said Susan Keema, assistant superintendent of education in the Carson City School District.
While modifications are being put into place and the state and federal level, Stokes said, the district has already been addressing many of those elements.
“We have a nice road map with our strategic plan, and we have a lot of really great work that’s going on with the Race to the Top project,” Stokes said. “There’s a lot of really great things happening in our district.”