2020’s not going to be a throwaway year, Carson High School Principal Bob Chambers promises the students and the Carson City community.
“We are putting our stamp on the fact that these grades are on a transcript and we are preparing you for college,” Chambers said. “This year, we are teaching our students at a level where we can put grades on a transcript and say, ‘Yes, they are ready to go to college.’ My son goes to school here. He deserves an education that’s on par, COVID or no COVID.”
Carson High welcomed Chambers as its top administrator this summer, though he’s not new to the district. He and his wife Mandy originally were hired at CHS as English teachers in the district in 1999. Bob taught English for about 10 years, while Mandy became a school counselor. He’s also served as vice principal as Empire Elementary School. Prior to his experience in Nevada, he earned his master’s degree in educational administration from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix and taught English in the Valier Public School System in Valier, Mont., in 1998-99.
But the Carson City School District has been the ideal place to settle down, he said.
“Our job is to make sure every single student comes through this building and know they have the option and the education, no matter what level, that they are a viable candidate to go to college, if that’s what they choose to do, or that they can have a professional career, right?” he said. “A career where they can live in Carson City and raise a family and not worry about where their next food or their next meal comes from, to be able to have that in their life. That’s our job, to make sure that we’re giving those students those opportunities.”
Chambers said he’s always supported the district’s mission and approach in getting to the next level to show students there is more than one path available to them.
“I think Carson City School District has always done an excellent job of being proactive and is always trying to provide them with the most rigorous college- and career-ready curriculum that they can, and those things can be challenging,” Chambers said. “Those things can be challenging because you’re challenging your students, you’re challenging your teachers, you’re challenging your stakeholders. You’re challenging them with that idea of being college- and career-ready at the forefront of your thoughts, and it’s difficult. It creates tension.”
Any potential stress from COVID-19’s demands are put at ease as well for Chambers thanks to the staff and their willingness to handle any added demands. While students will be accessing their curriculum online at certain times, they will always be able gain help from a teacher as needed. The cohorts have been divided to benefit teachers and students mutually, and Chambers said the structure should work out accordingly and that he trusts his staff to provide his students with quality instruction in the hybrid model.
“If you traditionally think of a teacher’s lecture, they can access that online as many times as they need to get their background information,” Chambers said. “When they come into a classroom, half the student population and teachers can work in a more individualized manner.
“For me, my students, my kids will follow a schedule at home identical to what they’re supposed to be doing here period wise,” he said. “I can’t guarantee that that’s happening in every single household because of all the different scenarios playing out in Carson City, I know that. But I think a lot of parents will take it very seriously and make sure their parents are accessing that to the best of their ability.”
Chambers credits Superintendent Richard Stokes and his reopening committee for ensuring overall operations have continued successfully and that Carson High will ensure its own safety measures and protocols remain in place for families during the pandemic.
“We’re taking steps as a school, we’re going to wear face masks, we’re going to sanitize, clean our buildings, keep our social distancing, all those expectations,” he said. “We are going to be there for our students and our staff. … (The staff) is 90 percent why I felt comfortable throwing my name into the hat and become principal of this high school. I know the staff really well. They’re professional and they’ll show up for the students and do the best job they can do.”