The Mineral County School Board wrapped up two full days at the “Leadership for Learning” Conference held in Reno, with the entire state’s school boards attending under the Nevada Association of School Boards.
Opportunities arose to meet with other small district representatives that are also dealing with the crisis of underfunding. The desire to purge out the negatives and bring in the positive academic standards is not without a need for appropriation of proper funding, resources and great commitment, but the state has offered tax abatements and other changes within the political arena which diminished public school achievements in various areas. Limited funds seemed to be a problem within the smaller county school systems, where businesses and larger demographics are not contributing.
A past teacher of the year, who is now in administration within Clark County stated it best – “It’s better to build up children, than to fix them as adults.” An important thread of information was the vital need of public education and the need to inspire our children to be all that they can be.
There was a consensus that there will always be students that prefer to be a worker bee, while others will strive to be college ready, but our curriculum and testing scores are created as “one size fits all” when the reality is it can in no way fit everyone the same. And when the educational process doesn’t quite fit all of our students, and educational success is measured in one way, the public schools are criticized.
So many layers of the public school system were presented at the conference, which dealt with understanding the overall functions within the educational processes. One speaker, Dr. John Draper, framed his talk as “Myths versus Truths”. His truths enlighten the audience, as the “talk” didn’t match up with the “truths” in most cases.
The fact that graduation is on the rise was a truth which not only countered the myth, it also matched the experience within the Mineral County School District. “By identifying the struggling students and creating a base of volunteers that can tutor or by using teachers or upper grade students that can assist in extra ways, the failure ratio can change. Poverty has proved to create a learning gap, as the support system is just not there, but identifying this early and being proactive it will create great results,” Draper stated.
Draper also encouraged public involvement to creatively build public support as a community and build up our teachers within the schools. “The needs and successes aren’t apparent unless the community becomes involved.”