Year in review, a look ahead

The birth of the new millennium did bring a touch of magic to the Carson City School District.

"The huge highlight of the year 2000 was the community support of the bond," said Superintendent Jim Parry. "That was certainly number one for us."

After voters rejected a proposed $48 million bond in the 1996 elections, they approved an $18 million bond this year designed to increase safety, improve technology and replace outdated systems in the school district.

The bond improvements will be Parry's legacy to the school district when he leaves his post as superintendent at the end of June.

"The nostalgia of it all really hasn't hit me yet," Parry said. "I'm so steeped in what we're working on. You've got to keep focused on the irons in the fire."

And he's got plenty of irons.

As Parry looks back over the last year, he sees many accomplishments throughout the district but sees many projects ahead in 2001.

This year, the schools at all levels have focused on increasing literacy. The elementary schools have incorporated various programs to promote early childhood learning.

The middle schools are working to remediate the students who have fallen behind and prepare the students for high school where they will have to pass the proficiency exam in order to graduate.

"We want to make sure that no students fall through the cracks of the proficiency exam," Parry said.

The high school gained statewide and national recognition for the innovative programs being offered, such as the culinary arts program and the video production class.

Parry will not be the only longtime district employee to bid farewell next year.

Kirk Kinne, principal of Bordewich-Bray Elementary School will also end his ##-year career in education.

Associate Superintendent Mary Pierczynski will assume the superintendent position and Parry anticipates a smooth transition.

"Mary and I have been working together for three years in anticipation of this. She has been riding along in the wagon for three years, and now I just have to hand the reins over," Parry said. "She knows how the horses have been moving."

Interviewing for Pierczynski's and Kinne's position will begin in March.

"We're going to make every effort to promote from within," Parry said. "That's been our theme and our philosophy. That will be one of our goals."

District officials have already begun interviewing to find a new fiscal manager to replace Marge Fowler, who retired earlier this year.

Other changes have also and will be seen.

The last year brought Doug Ponn to the school board and Joanna Wilson will join the board next month.

"They continue this profile of board members that really care about the school district and the welfare of the children," he said. "That's really important."

The students saw a small miracle as well.

Members of the graduating class of 2000 were the first to receive the Millennium Scholarship, which pays for students to attend a Nevada college or university if they graduate from a Nevada high school with at least a "B" average.

Millennium Scholars at a university receive $80 per credit hour and those enrolled in a community college receive $40 per credit hour.

"I think the Millennium Scholarships are great for students and families," Parry said. "It has a real impact on the students incentive to maintain their grades."

A mixed achievement for the district was the addition of two sheriff's deputies working at the schools.

"We have two really good people who care about the kids but are ready to deal with a crisis head on," Parry said.

The first item on next year's agenda is to plan and begin work on the first $9,000 of the school bond.

"We're going to be in an intense crunch to plan for the bond projects," he said. "Then we've got to get everybody out of the schools the day after school is out and get the contractors in."

The second big project for the district is to replace all the math books in the school district. Associate Superintendent Dorothy Todd will spend about $400,000 to match texts with the curriculum.


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