My Turn: Helping effect positive change within our schools |

My Turn: Helping effect positive change within our schools

TAHOE/TRUCKEE andamp;#8212; Parents for Public Schools is a national organization aimed at improving public schools in the United States by mobilizing parents as active participants in charting the course for public education. Parents for Public Schools of Truckee-North Tahoe was formed as a chapter of the national organization in 2010 to bring the voice of parents to the table as our school district faces huge challenges in providing strong public education to students in the twenty-first century.Since our inception, PPS-TNT has sought to learn everything we can about our local school district. Weandamp;#8217;ve educated ourselves about school board governance, district finances, curriculum, and the education code. PPS board members have attended forums focused on the value of parent involvement in the success of a childandamp;#8217;s education. Weandamp;#8217;ve hosted forums including andamp;#8220;Parents and Teachers Talking Togetherandamp;#8221; at Glenshire Elementary School. Last spring, we even facilitated a school board workshop focused on what we, collectively, can do to become a andamp;#8220;Destination School District.andamp;#8221;We see a andamp;#8220;Destination School Districtandamp;#8221; as one having schools so respected and high-achieving that people are attracted to move to our area for the schools. As this occurs, local businesses will be able to hire highly sought-after employees, new businesses will relocate to the area, and property values will increase more quickly over time. This influx of people, business and resources in turn will feed the growth and improvement of the schools in a positive feedback loop.As in every district in California right now, public education in TTUSD stands the risk of heading straight off a cliff if major changes are not made. The challenges are very clear andamp;#8212; our school district is currently facing large budget shortfalls and is likely to continue facing them for the foreseeable future. Combine this fact with dramatically shrinking enrollment numbers in some of our schools and increasing options for local students to attend other schools in our area, and we have a andamp;#8220;perfect stormandamp;#8221; facing the district. However, with every crisis there comes opportunity. We at PPS-TNT intend to help the district embrace that opportunity.One clear opportunity comes from the new leadership in our district. PPS applauds the hiring of Dr. Robert Leri as our new TTUSD Superintendent of Schools. Rob joins us having worked as deputy superintendent of educational services at Arcadia Unified School District in southern California since 1996. Arcadia is in the top performing 5% of school districts in the state of California.With this new leadership, we believe it would be foolish to squander any time or energy indulging in anything other than optimism and the highest expectations. This is a great chance for us all to step up and share with Rob our vision of becoming a andamp;#8220;Destination School District.andamp;#8221; We envision a district where our children are engaged and challenged, our parents are empowered, and our teachers and administrators are respected professionally and supported for their invaluable service. And we see our community at large joining us with their support. This vision is entirely achievable.Given the current and ongoing budget crisis, it is clear our district must make some very difficult decisions without delay. We can either let our schools go off the proverbial cliff, attempt to tread water and deal with the symptoms as they arise, OR we can seek out transformational solutions that have a positive impact in our schools. Of course, this wonandamp;#8217;t be easy. Parents, teachers, and administrators must become even more focused on what is best for our students, while letting go of things that weandamp;#8217;ve become attached to but which have not led to improved student achievement. We think it remains imperative to adopt the goal of becoming a andamp;#8220;Destination School District.andamp;#8221; TTUSD is one of the best-funded school districts in the state and is located in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. We can become such a district.Parents for Public Schools of TNT is ready to put all of our energy behind our new superintendent and to help effect positive changes in our schools and district. The budget requires it, we support it, and our students deserve it! We encourage more parents in TTUSD to join us in helping make the voice of parents heard and helping define the future of our district. Please visit us at or email Together we can turn our crisis into hope, opportunity, and success.Please join us on Tuesday, April 24, at the Truckee Park and Recreation Community Arts Center at 6:45 p.m. for a welcome reception we are hosting in honor of Dr. Robert Leri. The reception will include brief presentations by Rob Leri and by Parents for Public Schools of TNT President, Leisa Peterson. RSVP by searching andamp;#8220;Parents for Public Schools of Truckee North Tahoeandamp;#8221; at;#8212; Leisa Peterson is president of Parents for Public Schools of TNT.

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