By Sharon Snell
Lots going on in the Storey County School District these days! The following report is a summary of 3 Board of Trustee meetings held in May and June. The agendas/minutes for the May meetings can be found on the District website under May 11th and 17th HERE.
The summary for the June 1st meeting can be found in this report, but the entire current Board Packet for June 1st is also available on the website. Official minutes for June 1st will be available on the District website in the second week of July before the next Board meeting on July 12th.
On May 11th a planned Workshop was facilitated by Jim Huge, a hired consultant. Mr. Huge is highly regarded for his expertise in assisting with planning and training. He has extensive experience in public school administration, personnel development, and strategic planning. Much of the discussions during this meeting centered around Strategic Planning. This is a very good thing! Topics included District strengths as well as a vision for the future. Some of the issues discussed were student achievement, safety, facilities, business and school partnerships, and communication, all of which are important! An examination of all expenditures was part of these discussions. Very encouraging! The future of Piper’s Opera House was also brought up.
The summaries of the May 17th and June 1st Board meetings will be melded together, because many of the discussions/actions related to continuing topics. Once the opening routines of business were completed in both meetings, the following announcements, reports, and presentations were made.
Business Manager and Budget Todd Hess introduced Amanda Hoff, recently hired as Business Manager for the District. In May Todd was concerned that rural Districts would be losing some per pupil funding for 2017-2018. This was based on funding formulas being discussed in the current legislative session, making the preparation of a 2017-2018 budget difficult. In June he was pleased to report that, in fact, there may be a slight increase available in per pupil spending. Although the final figures on funding are not yet available, the Board voted to approve the 2017-2018 budget Todd presented. This budget based funding on last year’s per pupil allotment and endeavored to reflect actual spending. Todd reported that some grants may be available and he would like to see a concerted effort to pursue them. In May the Board approved the District applying for a Social Worker Grant, such a good idea!
Superintendent/Presentations Todd Hess and all Board members thanked retiring teacher Wendy Young for her 29 years of service to SCSD. Wendy has been both a math and special educations teacher and coached our Academic Olympics teams to 6 State Championships. Todd and all Board members also commended music teacher Amanda Eddy for the expansion and excellence of her music program. It now boasts 72 students and Ms. Eddy had students representing the District in state finals and honor choirs. Jacob Mangosing, an 8th grader, spoke of his experience at honor choir and thanked the Board for supporting the music program. (I love it when the Board can hear from the students!) Todd also thanked Willie Knox for her on going contribution and service to the backpack program at Hillside Elementary. Todd enjoyed an impressive tour of the TESLA facility. He is encouraged with the idea of a 2-year certification in Career Tech Education that could lead to jobs starting at $52,000 plus benefits.
John Kinkella, Dean of Students Services at WNC, spoke about the Jump Start Program available for VCHS. He thanked Storey County for partnering with Jump Start and commented on the success students have had with the program. This program offers an opportunity for qualifying students to obtain an AA at the same time they receive their high school graduation diploma.
Claire Fite, director of therapeutic services for the Community Chest, reported on a Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness program titled “Pinwheels for Prevention.” Gallagher students participated by taking part in discussions and making paper pinwheels that were displayed in businesses in town. The pinwheels are a national symbol for child abuse prevention and represent a “bright future.”
Board Reports Melissa Field, SCSD representative to 4th Ward School Board, reported that the VCHS prom was held this year at 4th Ward. Fourth Ward School would like to continue partnering with our schools. Fourth Ward has several fundraisers coming up, the first occurring on July 8th titled “What’s Under That Dress?” Melissa reported she enjoyed attending the Aces game where the VCHS softball team was allowed to take the field at their respective positions for the ceremonial first pitch.
Gary Hames thanked VCHS and VCMS staff for their intersession and extra-session experiences offered to students. He congratulated the HS relay and baseball teams for their accomplishments.
Colleen Conley and Melissa Field both commented on a field trip taken by the Academic Olympic team from the middle school. Colleen introduced Ryan Conley and Jacob Mangosing, who reported on their trip. Colleen was happy to see that the District would be pursuing grants and partnerships.
Dawn Miller reported on a legislative hearing regarding the teacher evaluation process. (So much more to say about this, but it will have to wait for another time.) She also reported enjoying the recent music and drama performances.
Jeff Nevin congratulated both the relay and baseball teams. He was in attendance at the recent groundbreaking ceremony for Phase II of the Community Chest’s Youth Center. He also was grateful to the Aces for their support of the softball team.
New Business (sort of) Much of the new business during these meetings is no longer new. Essentially plans for graduation presenters were approved. All Board members agreed that Senior Awards night was very successful. A minimum of 11 different graduating seniors received varied scholarships from local, state, and university organizations. Two seniors, Tom Redican and William Webb received standing ovations upon hearing of their enlisting in the US Armed Forces under the GI Bill. Benita Carbone, Ireland Franklin and Colt Hess received Honor Society Awards. Dual diplomas (AA and VCHS) went to Benita Carbone and Sam Strahan. Bethany Fuller was named salutatorian and valedictorian for the class of 2017 is Sam Strahan. All graduations have now been completed. Good luck to all!
There was a discussion concerning the future of Piper’s Opera House with the school district. Todd requested approval for an appraiser to help the District make a decision. There is a very complete article regarding this topic in the June 9th edition of the Comstock Chronicle. The big picture is that at this time the Storey County School District would like to get away from being the property manager for the Opera House. There will be more on this for sure.
The last topic was a presentation from Jim Huge on the outcomes of the Workshop he facilitated on May 11th. Mr. Huge submitted paper work that outlined a proposed SCSD Strategic Plan covering core values, vision, goals, and specific measurable objectives to evaluate progress toward the goals set. He also submitted a draft with suggestions for an updated Superintendent Evaluation form based on the proposed Strategic Plan. Impressive work! I encourage anyone interested to go to pages 33-43 of the supporting documents in the Board Packet dated June 1st. I venture to say it has been a very long time, if ever, that the Storey County School District has considered such a detailed plan. It is a work in progress, but it is a very good start in the right direction.
There were no public comments reported at any of these meetings. The next Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for July 12th at 5PM in the VCHS Training Room.