Churchill County School District trustees agreed at their Thursday meeting to pursuit involvement with the Challenge Grant to promote additional STEM education.
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Rachel Dahl, executive director of the Churchill Economic Development Authority, and Carol Lloyd, director of the Churchill County Library, discussed how the training would certify students in four programs needed in today’s workforce: CISCO networking, CISCO security, Microsoft certification and web design. For example, she said anyone who qualifies to take classes could be employable with the certificate.
“This is a difficult time in getting IT (Information technology) people,” Dahl added. “The surveys we have show the job demand is in the top 10.”
Dahl said the entry pay level with a data certificate could be as much as $45,000 a year.
“This does not prevent them from continuing their education in any other capacity,” Dahl said.
If Churchill County receives the grant, Dahl said their plan is to offer two sessions this summer and additional blocks consisting of four sessions each in the fall and spring.
Dahl said the application that is co-sponsored by CEDA, the library and Western Nevada College is in the second round, and she should receive news in March if the grant application is successful. Lloyd said the Oasis Academy and CC Communications are among the entities supporting the grant application.
Lloyd said she feels this program will benefit the students and people in the community.
Dr. Sandra Sheldon, CCSD superintendent, said the district may need to develop prerequisites for students who are not ready to enroll in the certification program. Furthermore, she said two teachers are willing to become certified in order to instruct the classes.
“This is a program not like Jump-start,” she said. “It’s a certificate program. There are still some pieces to be worked out, but it’s a great opportunity for us.”
Jump-start is the collaborative program in which high school students take college-level classes from WNC.
“It looks like Churchill County is a leader in education,” said trustee Rich Gent.
Trustee Clay Hendrix said the program should make CCSD more competitive and better.
In other CCSD business ….
Trustees approved Hendrix to be the new president of the school board, succeeding Ron Evans.
A jobs for Nevada graduates mentor program has been implemented into the high school at not cost to the district.
Maintenance projects undertaken during the winter break included the installation of additional insulation and replacement of heating systems, focus on annual inspections for fire alarms and elevators and replace concrete and some playground equipment.
The board tabled discussion on student discipline until the trustees receive more information on additional drug testing for students, which would include the $28,000 cost and overall effectiveness of the testing.
“The money should be going to teachers and supplies and materials,” said Becky Dodd, president of the Churchill County Education Association.
“We need to educate children and to ensure these funds for drug testing do not impact other programs.”