In the United States, the common strand that runs through our collective lives from ages 7 to 18 years is the experience most of us call “School.” While each individual’s experience may be varied, education in the U.S. is an expected activity that spans 13 years of our lives and culminates as a rite of passage to adulthood.
In 1987 I began my career as a science teacher in a small rural high school in western Wyoming. As I reflect on the human interactions I have experienced during my career, I have used several universal school truths to shape my actions. First, parents want their children to be safe, treated well and engaged in challenging learning activities. Second, students will thrive academically when their physical, mental and emotional needs are met. And third, schools are the most successful when the community is invited to participate.
My family and I moved to Carson City in 2001. Not only did we marvel at the extraordinary beauty of the area, but we also noticed our new town was filled with generous, well-intentioned, family-centered citizens who were proud of their community. What a great recipe for success. These characteristics were clearly demonstrated in the first School Board Meeting I attended.
I clearly remember listening to a presentation that involved the building of a walking/bike path within the city. A host of governmental agencies, engineering and construction firms, and private citizens were on hand to finalize and approve the details of the project. I was so amazed and gratified at the level of cooperation and unity I remember reporting the experience to my wife that evening.
Similar events have played out time and time again as I have observed the citizens of Carson City coming together to support the youth and schools of our Community. One such event happened several years ago when our School Board commissioned several Town Hall meetings in which interested community members were asked to provide input to help guide the direction of our schools. As a result, our citizens identified the educational goals and objectives in a Strategic Plan for the benefit of our children. An electronic copy of the District’s Strategic Plan can be found at www.carsoncityschools.com.
One component of the District’s Strategic Plan is to increase information from the schools to community members.
As such, and with the assistance of our local news agencies, the principals of our 10 schools will contribute a guest column to introduce some of the programs and operations that are part of our school district. These articles will periodically appear throughout the remainder of the school year. I invite you to take the time to read these columns and become familiar with our schools and better acquainted with the activities and opportunities aimed at accomplishing the Vision of our District which is “Our Community Empowers Tomorrow’s Innovators, Leaders, and Thinkers”.
Richard Stokes is superintendent of the Carson City School District.