CCSD discusses STEM, Jump Start, JAG |

CCSD discusses STEM, Jump Start, JAG

Aly Lawson
Northside Early Learning Center students have fun with botany last spring. The last CCSD board meeting dicussed FOSS (Full Option Science System) kits which cover different science areas including soil, earth and life.

The Churchill County School District Board of Trustees met last night to discuss the latest on the district’s STEM, Jump Start and JAG programs.

Educational Services Director Kimi Melendy gave the report on CCSD’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) development. She said this has included FOSS (Full Option Science System) kits across grades that cover the three different areas of the science system including life, earth and physical science. Specific topics range from animals to electricity, soil to the solar system.

Superintendent Dr. Sandra Sheldon added eighth graders have studied genealogy as it relates to chromosomes and the programs also have students connecting with technology. Additionally, the district is working toward adding more STEM labs and more modern equipment to encompass younger grades and better serve students and teachers.

“So it’s all encompassing,” Sheldon said in summary. “I think our curriculum has become much more robust over the last few years.”

Churchill County High School Principal Kevin Lords reported on the Jump Start program including that at the close of last semester, the CCHS program had a 97 percent pass rate.

“Our pass rate’s very high. Our program’s set up for success,” he said. “They have lots of support with the program.”

Sheldon noted the exceptional pass rate.

“That is amazing; that is absolutely amazing,” said Trustee Kathryn Whitaker. “If we had a graduation rate that high, we’d have a party.”

Chairman Clay Hendrix said he concurred with Whitaker’s comments.

Lords also reported on the JAG (Jobs for American Graduates) program, adding 90 percent of those seniors earned their high-school diploma; the school is also looking to have more students in the program. He said an instructor has time for plenty of monitoring, field trips and exploring job skills.

“It’s really a nice program,” he said. “The feather in the hat is the program doesn’t cost us anything.”

Sheldon said JAG is funded by the legislature, and the majority of districts across the state are showing positive results. JAG was launched in Nevada to address the high school dropout rate.

Melendy also gave a report for Educational Services’ Patty Fleming, who is retired and working only part-time but helping provide middle and high school math curriculum support to teachers and for students.

The board and Melendy discussed the efforts being put forth and a focus on “rich tasks” for meaningful instruction and better understanding.

“I don’t think there’s a silver bullet or every district in the country would be using that bullet,” Lords said of effective development for math instruction. “I think you just keep working.”

Trustee Tricia Strasdin pressed him if he thinks professional development works.

“Professional development with follow through will help,” he said, emphasizing the support shouldn’t just go away.

District nurse Stefanie Utz provided an update on district practices regarding disclosing public health information to parents. Sheldon commended Utz on her excellent work and expertise over the years.

No legal counsel meeting was necessary as had been listed on the agenda.

The next board meeting will be Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. in the Old High School auditorium (“The Pit”).