PROGRESS: Local public, private schools see gains in 2009
Carson City School District
Despite declining enrollment and funding, the Carson City School District has found ways to increase efficiency.
One of the best ways, said Superintendent Richard Stokes, is the growing partnership between the school district and the city.
“We’ve contracted with the parks and recreation department to maintain our fields and open spaces,” Stokes said. “That was a good thing for us.”
The district has also incorporated a new student information database.
Although reductions had to be made, they weren’t as severe as had been anticipated. Bus routes slated to be cut were later restored.
“We ended up not having to reduce our transportation services,” he said. “We were happy about that.”
To prepare for future cuts, the district organized a strategic advisory committee consisting of community members and had a “good, positive, honest exchange,” Stokes said.
Silver State Charter Schools
Silver State High School changed its name to Silver State Charter Schools, adding seventh and eighth grades into its program.
Principal Steve Knight said about 50 middle-schoolers enrolled this year, bringing the student population up to around 525, and new students are arriving every day.
“The middle school is doing excellent,” Knight said. “The high school, as usual, is fantastic.”
The school is also making plans for a new 65,000-square-foot building next to the Carson City Airport, with the intention of expanding its high-tech program.
“I never dreamed that we could be offering a choice in education to so many people who are so appreciative of our method and our success,” Knight wrote in column earlier this year.
Carson Montessori School
Staff at Carson Montessori School spent the summer remodeling the site with the help of their family members.
“We had completely transformed our building,” said Principal Jessica Daniels.
She said the school’s reputation – it achieved “high achieving” status under the federal guidelines of No Child Left Behind last year – has helped it grow from 136 students last year to maximum capacity of 168 this year.
“Word-of-mouth has been wonderful,” Daniels said. “We have very happy students and happy parents. We have excellent programs.”
Bethlehem Lutheran School
Bethlehem Lutheran added 10 students this year, going from 147 to 157, said Principal Lonnie Kargas.
“To grow in an economy like this, that says we’re doing something right,” he said.
He said the construction of Sierra Lutheran High School in Indian Hills may draw more students to his school, knowing they have a nearby high school to attend once they graduate the eighth grade.
St. Teresa of Avila Catholic School
St. Teresa School added a daycare and preschool, offering two classes for 4- and 5-year-olds starting in August. Longtime Carson City educator Jan Sullivan returned to the classroom to teach and direct the program. Sullivan retired as principal from Fremont Elementary School two years ago.
The daycare-preschool program is in the former convent, south of the school office on South Richmond Street.