By Sharon Snell

The School Board meetings in November and December had little business on the agenda. In November a public hearing was set to consider objections to the sale of Piper’s Opera House to the County. Hearing no objections, the Board approved the sale for $300,500. The School District can still use Pipers for performances or events such as graduations.  Another item approved was the 2016-17 District audit as presented by Jim Sciarani. Mr. Sciarani commended the work done by Supt. Todd Hess and the Board for their efforts in making the tough decisions to control expenses during the transition to new leadership for the 16-17 school year.

Board reports centered on the successful year Storey County schools are enjoying. Beautification projects are occurring throughout the District. Middle School Academic Olympic training has begun. Elementary schools and the Middle school achieved a 3-star rating or above from the State. High school scores are still being determined. Sports and cheer teams at all levels are working hard. Several individual student athletes have been recognized for their contributions. Board members complimented Shawn Marie Chapman, principal at VCHS, for improved student environment. Ms. Chapman implemented a DNF or Do Not Fail list to help struggling students. A school newsletter is being published by the journalism class. Counselor Caren Baum sends out weekly emails to the senior class and families highlighting important dates and opportunities. Feedback from parents has been positive. Ms. Baum started a new program called Safe Tell for all Storey County students. In addition to sharing the school and student successes, some Board members reported on their attendance to the Nevada School Board Association conference, and it may interest some to know that Storey County School Board member Dawn Miller also is a member of the Nevada State Board of Education.

The January Board meeting had a short agenda. New business included the election of a Board President and Clerk for 2018.  Jeff Nevin was elected to continue as President and Dawn Miller was elected to continue as Clerk. As a formality, Board protocols were adopted for the year.

In Board reports Todd Hess stated that Nevada Superintendents would be visiting and taking a tour of Tesla. Mary Lou Walling has been hired to help with grant writing. Retired teacher Everett Shropshire has been hired as an academic coach to help support the students participating in Jump Start through Western Nevada CC. (Jump Start allows qualifying junior or senior Storey County students an opportunity to achieve an AA at the time as their high school diploma.) Todd introduced Tricia Wentz, new coordinator for Jump Start at WNCC. Ms. Wentz made a short presentation, then answered questions.  This program, in its 4th year, is successful in both participation and academics for District students. Some Board members expressed disappointment with the online component used this year. Essentially the expectation for these classes was that there would be more live online lessons, skyping, and teacher support. In actuality, the students primarily receive computer assignments. The online option is an alternative available to juniors, but teacher instructed classes on the college campus are available to all Jump Start students. It seems likely this discussion will continue at some later date.

The next School Board meeting is scheduled for February 21st in the high school training room at 5pm.


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