Renewing Carson City Schools strategic plan
Since 2011, the Carson City School District has seen a long list of accomplishments including free full-day kindergarten at all schools, a mobile device for every student in grades three through 12, a school-based health center and increased accessibility to courses in science, technology, engineering arts and math.
Addressing a room full of more than 100 participants, Superintendent Richard Stokes credited the Empower Carson City 2017 strategic plan with the successes outlined in the meeting. At the same time, he called on those gathered to help shape a new plan for the district.
“I have worked without a plan and I have worked with a plan,” he explained. “It’s 180 degrees. It keeps us focused as a district on where we’re going.”
The original plan was formed through a series of public meetings in 2011. It’s time, Stokes said, for that plan to be refreshed.
“We want you to take a look at the objectives and see if they still ring true,” he said. “Are they still the type of education systems you see as pertinent and current?”
Stokes addressed what they had accomplished in the last five years and what still needed work. Some of the major projects, such as the 1:1 mobile devices for all grades, the Jumpstart program with Western Nevada College, the STEM curriculum, wellness committee and graduation tracking and increased student passing rates.
However, Stokes said there still are areas for growth, including still working on the formalized communications in the district and individual sites, formalized system of internships and job shadowing opportunities, a complete learning centered model for the elementary schools and an increased digital presence.
Under the direction of moderator Steve Lewis, of the University of Nevada, Reno Cooperative Extension, participants divided themselves into groups based on the strategic plan’s five goals.
“I would encourage you to be drawn to what your talents and passions are,” Lewis said.
For this first meeting, many of the groups met to introduce themselves to each other and discuss why they decided to join the specific group.
“We went through our goals and what is actually happening in the school sites,” said LeAnn Saarem, facilitator for the group on parent engagement. “We have identified new ideas already.”
Not everyone present had a child in the school system — there were several representatives from Carson City organizations who were present to give their input to better connect the students with them.
Deepti Arun, 11, a Carson Middle School sixth-grader attended the meeting with her father. They joined the Community Partnerships group.
“I thought I’d just learn about what’s going on,” she said.
She joined the group for its potential to affect lives.
“It helps kids think differently,” she said. “It helps them with their learning.”
School board trustee Ron Swirczek ran for the school board in 2010 on the platform of creating community partnerships. That process evolved into the creation of the strategic plan.
“If you have true community partnerships, it completely raises the level of achievement and gives every one of these kids an opportunity for success in life,” Swirczek said.
Each group reviewed the objectives outlined under the individual goals. They’re tasked with to go over each strategy and objective then make suggestions to revise or update them.
The groups will meet again on Sept. 29 to review the suggestions. Participants will present their recommendations at the Oct. 20 meeting.
A draft will be finalized on Nov. 27 to be presented at the Dec. 13 meeting of the Carson City School Board. Anyone is welcome to attend the meetings and provide their insight. All meetings will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Carson Middle School cafeteria.