Churchill County School District survey research is in |

Churchill County School District survey research is in

Aly Lawson
Northside Early Learning Center Principal John Johnson lets students get the wiggles out, letting them Silly String him. In the background are Alison Telles-Gutierrez, left, and Atticus Mayer. Treasa Pursley's class won the General Mills Box Top funding competition.
Aly Lawson / LVN |

The Churchill County School District Board of Trustees met Wednesday to discuss the recent community and staff perception survey results.

Greg Lobdell, CEO of the Center for Educational Effectiveness, outlined findings and reiterated all research belongs to CCSD; the center will continue to help digest and analyze the data including quick turnarounds. He also explained how CEE factors the information to see how results measure up to board goals.

Lobdell said gathering initial baseline data involves understanding if the sample is truly representative and considering what is going on in the district. He also mentioned middle school responses tend to be more positive than high school due to the younger environment being more connected and collaborative.

An executive summary for the board and schools to start delving into the results will be available next week. An aspect Lobdell discussed was questions that began with “I” and “we,” and how response gaps between those questions can act to erode organizational trust. He said CCSD’s gap was fairly small at 21 percent.

Lobdell showed over 90 percent of participating staff are willing to work at changing schools for the better and over 80 percent welcome new ideas. He noted respondents are ready to go after change and possess a willingness to address conflict as well as have a high sense of urgency for the need to improve. Especially compared to other schools, he said he was impressed with the strong result for parents being respectful to each other.

“This is very baseline data. This is where we start,” said Dr. Sandra Sheldon, superintendent of schools.

The board approved a $5,000-$10,000 teacher hiring incentive for upcoming job fairs to recruit for 20 positions. The survey showed an experienced workforce but preparation for retirees is key, Sheldon said. She added it would decrease drawing from the substitute pool and could lead to opening new classrooms. The board spoke to being a more competitive district. Sheldon also said a new job fair banner was made, promoting Lake Tahoe and the Lahontan Valley.

Nate Waite, district technology integration coach, compared the motion to putting gas in a tank and added without being fully staffed with good, quality teachers, any initiative will lack muscle.

Teachers Elena Marsh and Becky Dodd suggested making the salary schedule more competitive to better retain new and current staff.

The board learned Churchill County High School notifies its students of college scholarships and financial aid through intercom announcements, emails, bulletin board postings, an online document, library resources and dedicated staff. A parent expressed somewhere there is a breakdown in disseminating that information. A Veterans of Foreign Wars representative shared the VFW is trying to spread the word about their scholarship that has an upcoming deadline.

John Johnson, Northside Early Learning Center principal, presented how NELC is developing students as young as three to become good learners. He also said the preschool works to cultivate the relationships between family, community and school to forge partnerships that will follow children through their education.

“We are the foundation of all children here at Churchill County,” Johnson said of the district, adding NELC’s goals are to expose students to a positive learning environment and include family in that process.

Johnson highlighted classroom activities including exploration, family nights, field trips and reading immersion as well as newsletters and parent pick-up time communication. He said students tend to enter kindergarten knowing most of the alphabet, some counting and shapes as well as improved social skills and a sense of school routine.

NELC has about 160 students, and Sheldon said she would love to see that grow to 230-250.

Waite, who recently became a Google-certified instructor, and fellow district technology coach Michelle Richardson gave an update on how Chromebook upkeep is a challenge, but students are taking good care of them. The technology department continues to have Tech Tuesdays for anyone interested and meets weekly with Oasis Online.

“Both these people have been really engaged and flexible,” Sheldon said of the coaches.

Trustee Kathryn Whitaker said concerning school performance plans that the board has to hold stakeholders accountable, going beyond document-creation and focusing on making performing well a habit.

The next board meeting is Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. in the Old High School auditorium (“The Pit”).