Committee: Carson school vision plan as easy as A,B,C(ommunity)
March 14, 2012
Community involvement – from parents to business leaders – is essential to creating a successful, healthy student, members of the strategic planning committee told school board members on Tuesday evening.
“Through this plan, we will do what is right for our kids and for our community,” said Ben Contine, chairman of the committee. “The plan, as we give it to you tonight, is ambitious – because that’s what our students deserve – but it is also responsible.”
Formed out of two board workshops in August to collect community insight, the committee established a vision for the school district then created steps to turn that vision to action.
“The community stepped up, came together and listened,” said Jody Ostrander, a Carson High School freshman and student representative on the committee. “This is huge for students.”
From the original meetings during which more that 100 people participated, five themes were identified: Community partnerships, engaged families, healthy students, rigorous curriculum and exceptional faculty and staff.
Subcommittees were formed around each theme to create a plan to achieve those goals.
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That overall plan was presented during Tuesday’s meeting, where nearly 50 committee members attended.
Community Partnership: Although businesses and schools often collaborate now, the plan calls for a formal program, along with a recruiting team to involve more organizations.
It also calls for job-shadowing and internships programs to help prepare students for college or the workforce.
Engaged Parents: The committee recommended parents and schools sign a contract to outline expectations of each.
Annual surveys would be used to assess home and school relationships, and schools would work to be more accessible to parents.
Healthy Students: Carson High School health teacher Erin Been served as chairwoman of that committee.
“I believe it is a crucial element of the plan because it deals with the well-being of the student,” she said.
The committee emphasized the importance of maintaining a student’s social, emotional and physical health.
A major goal set forth by the committee is to establish a school-based health clinic.
In addition, students will be given information to support physical fitness as well as healthy food choices. The committee also requested that a health component be integrated daily.
Curriculum: Empire Elementary School technology teacher LeAnnn Morris said ideally the committee would like to see each student paired with a piece of personal technology.
“We know there are a lot of logistics to work out, but we’re really excited about how that would look and what we could do to make that happen,” she said.
A portfolio will be created for each student in the fourth-grade to create goals and progress will be monitored throughout that child’s education.
More opportunities will be available for high-achieving students as well as increased numbers of pre-kindergarten programs.
Exceptional administrators, teachers and staff: Increasing internal communication from the district office to individual schools will be key.
Professional development goals will be determined collaboratively and teacher morale will be assessed annually.
Carson Middle School teacher Lisa Schuette was among about a dozen committee members who voiced their approval of the plan.
“We’re celebrating relevancy,” she said. “We’re celebrating shared responsibility.”
Mike Jackson, president of The Micromanipulator Co. in Carson City, said the plan gives him optimism for the future.
“It’s a struggle in this area to find the engineering capability we need,” he said. “With our struggles, this is one of the most powerful documents you can give me to continue to grow our business in Carson City.”
One group spoke in support of the plan in general, but argued more emphasis should have been placed on literacy.
“What chance does a student who struggles to read have for success in high school?” asked Sheila Ward. “To put it bluntly, none.”
The board unanimously adopted the plan, with trustee James Lemaire leading a standing ovation for the members of the committee.
“What a terrific job,” he said. “What a heroic amount of work in a short amount of time.”
Also at the meeting:
• Carson High School teachers Angila Golik and Patrick Mobley spoke out against the proposed schedule change next year.
Both said that while they’re not opposed to the change, necessarily, they think it is being made too quickly and without teacher input.
Principal Ron Beck presented a plan at last month’s board meeting to move from a six-credit semester to seven, adding an additional class daily.
• Trustee James Lemaire announced he will not seek re-election. He encouraged candidates to file by Friday for the District 2 seat.