Carson City School District administrators, including Merri Pray, Cheryl Macy, Tasha Fuson and Tanya Scott, provide feedback and think of ways to develop improvements for the district’s strategic plan on Sept. 21, 2022 at Carson High.
Photo by Jessica Garcia.
Local residents Dan and Stephanie Dement, parents of two in the Carson City School District, happily have returned to Northern Nevada looking to be involved in their community and offer their children a supportive educational environment.
“We were always talking about coming back to the eastern side, and we found a great place here,” said Dan Dement, who attended Reno’s McQueen High School and the University of Nevada, Reno. “Carson High School has changed a lot since the Carson High that I grew up with and swam against and played baseball against, and we wanted to understand a little more of what was going on.”
Wednesday’s CCSD Professional Learning Community meeting in Carson High School’s library, typically hosted on a quarterly basis, drew the Dements in to learn how they could get involved on a higher level with the district’s work.
Stephanie Dement said their daughter, who attends Carson Middle School, quickly adapted and has been satisfied with her teachers and making friends while their son at CHS has been challenged getting to know more students on the bigger campus but likes his school, too.
“We’ve been engaged in our kids’ schools in one form or another and knowing what’s going on policy wise and have a little bit of input and what might be going on and being able to put our 2 cents in,” she said.
PLC meetings are opportunities for local residents, parents and school officials to provide input on the strategic plan. Administrators, staff members and the trustees seek input on improving CCSD’s systems to better meet the goals, objectives and strategies of the plan.
Meetings in the past year have approached particular themes. PLCs in 2021 focused on critical race theory and equity. Participants were invited to breakout rooms in person or by Zoom to express thoughts on more controversial or complex topics while discussing their goals.
Superintendent Andrew Feuling said the reformatted process for Wednesday, in which participants were encouraged to write down their thoughts on post-it notes on any goal of the strategic plan posted around Carson High’s library or placed on tables, provided a new chance for members who have been engaged in the process for a while and helped to bring all the concepts “to life” for CCSD.
“It’s really just an opportunity for folks to have that final say on maybe some areas that they haven’t had a chance because they’ve been so involved in previously with one of the goals,” Feuling said. “We definitely value their opinion on not just the goal they spent all their time on.”
The meeting brought about 25 school staff and community members. Trustee Stacie Wilke-McCulloch said although she would have liked more people in attendance, interested community members can always submit feedback through the district’s website at www.carsoncityschools.com.
“I think the strategic plan has been very important in driving the direction of the district the last 10 years,” she said. “It helped us get that Race to the Top grant at the time, and I think a lot of those programs still exist and are carrying over.
“I’m looking forward to seeing some of the suggestions and seeing how we can incorporate those into making the next five years as progressive as the last 10 years with the plan.”
Now that the district staff and board has collected comments, Feuling said the school board will reconvene at a meeting in October to determine how to use the input and refresh the language for the current plan. He hopes to regain parent involvement and interest in volunteering in the schools on a long-term basis.
“It’s kind of a reset a little bit with the times we’ve been through and refocusing efforts with the instructional efforts in the classroom,” Feuling said. “Mrs. (Tasha) Fuson (associate superintendent of educational services) has done some amazing work with Cheryl Macy (director of equity in curriculum and instruction) and some of the other folks on that end in trying to bring that back to the forefront. That instruction in the classroom trumps everything ultimately with the experience the kids have in the engagement and learning environment.”