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Schools, city cover common purpose

Teri Vance
tvance@nevadaappeal.com
Will Contine, 10, explores part of the "Discover Tech: Engineers Make a World of Difference" exhibit at the Carson City Library.
Photo by Cathleen Allison | Nevada Photo Source

Following up on the commitment to better fuse the missions and goals of both entities, officials from the city and school district met Thursday in the second of what they plan to make regular semiannual joint meetings.

“It’s a show of the importance of education as a community resource and a resource for our Democracy,” said Mayor Bob Crowell. “The education of our youth affects all of us. Democracy functions at its best when we have an educated populous. So does our economy.”

Carson City Supervisors and school board trustees met in November and resolved to work hand in hand.

On Thursday, they heard presentations on school safety and updates on a variety of community partnerships.

Sheriff Kenny Furlong explained a strategy implemented in the last year to cover the schools in the district.

He said the sheriff’s department applied for a grant to fund two additional officers in the school district. Having been denied the grant, he said, they created an alternate plan.

One officer is stationed at Carson High School and primarily serves that school and Pioneer High School.

Two other officers, while continuing their regular duties, also check in on the schools throughout the day. One is assigned to the schools on the west side and the other on the east side, with emphasis on each of the middle schools.

“All of the feedback has been tremendously positive,” Furlong said.

He said, however, it would be better to have two additional officers assigned full time to the district, focusing most of their time at the middle schools.

“We really need at least three,” he said.

“We saw what happened in Sparks, and we saw how a community can be brought to its knees in an instant.”

Tammy Westergard, development director of the Carson City Library, told officials of the success of the partnership between the library and the school district.

“It’s an unprecedented link,” she said. “We are helping the high school with some of the goals they have with digital literacy. Students are able to learn by doing and practiced what they’ve learned in class at the library.”

She said the used book store moved out of the library to make space for the programs to serve youth, supplementing the school district.

“The quality of programs are in line with what families would enjoy through expensive summer and after-school camps, and at the library these opportunities are free to all youth,” she said.

“Educators from the Carson City School District and leaders from other youth-serving organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada are engaged partners, and the kids love it.”

Ben Contine, community engagement coordinator for the Carson City School District, drew a link between quality education and economic development.

“We have the responsibility as a school system to be engaged in high-level work development,” Contine said. “It’s in our best interest to ask, ‘Are our students ready for what’s next?’,” he said. “But the second question is also important. Is our community ready for them?”

He invited representatives from Dream It Do It, Adams Hub for Innovation and the Northern Nevada Development Authority to discuss the importance of the skilled workforce and the partnerships they’ve created with the schools.

“Carson City’s done a great joh promoting manufacturing,” said George Gussak, of Dream It Do It. “Slowly companies are going to start coming here. Education is key.”

Also at the meeting, Carson City Fire Chief Stacey Giomi and Michele Lewis, career and technical education administrator, introduced a partnership next year to teach an emergency medical technician training course next year at Carson High School.

Trustee Candace Stowell gave a presentation, arguing the Carson City master plan include an education element. She said the city and schools working together could better address transportation issues and better serve the homeless population, as well as increase resources to make both the city and schools better.

The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for January.