More than 3,200 students will report to Churchill County schools on Monday for their first day of instruction, while teachers will attend their first district-wide meeting Friday morning.
Summer Stephens, the district’s second-year superintendent, said instruction at the Northside Early Learning Center starts Aug. 26, but more information will be forthcoming to parents. Additionally, Stephens said the Back-to-School nights begin next week at the individual schools. Instead of being held on the same day and time, this year’s times have been staggered.
Stephens said school begins at 8:10 a.m. at both the middle and senior high schools, while the three elementary schools — E.C. Best, Lahontan and Numa — begin at 8:25 a.m. with their Breakfast after the Bell program.
“When kids are not hungry, they are more attentive and more engaged,” Stephens said, adding the individual principals are working out the details of the Breakfast after the Bell program at their respective schools.
Ending time for all the schools Monday-Thursday except Lahontan Elementary is 3 p.m. Stephens said the bell will ring at 2:50 p.m. at Lahontan because of the crowded situation with buses and traffic. Since Friday afternoon is a collaborative meeting day, school ends between 1:10-1:30 p.m., depending on the school. This year’s bus schedule is on the CCSD website and Facebook page. According to the school district, the buses will still use the transfer system.
Churchill County Sheriff Richard Hickox reminds motorists to beware of buses loading and dropping off students.
“Stopping for a school bus that has its red flashing lights and stop sign extended is the law; it is a must do and not a suggestion,” he said. “This applies to all roads that are not divided by a physical barrier such as is out on the Reno Highway between Leeteville and Bench Road.”
Stephens said several positions remain open at some of the CCSD schools including a counselor, an automotive instructor’s position and teachers for music, English and special education at the high school, but she said most of those openings should be staffed by the first day of school.
Although the high school has been offering Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses for years, Stephens said the name has been changed to Career Pathway Courses to represent the broader appeal and need for those classes.
“We’re training to change the thinking around,” she said. “Who are those courses for?”
She said all students enter a career at some stage of their lives, and since the high school and Western Nevada College are working together, Stephens said it’s important to change the mindset of academic vs. hands-on courses.
Stephens said the school district has received some major funding for its programs. A $48,000 Perkins Reserve Component grant will go toward new auto shop equipment, and the district also received a state CTE grant. A cyber security grant will go toward a program of study for that area, and a $54,000 culinary arts program grant will expand the course’s catering and entrepreneurial side. Another grant will upgrade the welding ship for agricultural (ag) mechanics.
Starting her first year at Churchill County High School will be ag teacher Tamra Herschbach, who was Nevada’s Ag Teacher of the Year. Herschbach, who is originally from Fallon, last taught in the Lyon County School District.
“She brings a lot of experience to the program,” Stephens said.
Because of budget cuts, the school district decided to fill the Lahontan Elementary School position with Kimi Melendy, who is also the district’s director of Educational Services.
Other areas seeing change include the annual job fair. Stephens said it will be known as the Life Ready Fair and includes students in grades 8-12. JumpStart, a program in which students enroll for dual college and high-school credits, began earlier in the month; however, Stephens said a dual enrollment program will begin at the high school whereby teachers instruct a dual enrollment course, but only at Churchill County High School. Courses affected by this plan include chemistry, math, art and video production. She said English 101 and 102 will be taught at the high school.
Other programs are helping the school district reach every learner. Stephens said the profile of a learner drives everything the school district does. Furthermore, she said it’s important CCSD guarantees a viable curriculum in all subject areas from K-12.
Stephens said online instruction has been increasing. During the 2018-19 school year, 400 students took at least one class. Adult Education will partner with WNC, and Stephens said this will allow more students to access the college-level classes and programs.