Public sets education priorities | SierraSun.com

Public sets education priorities

Christine Stanley
Sierra Sun
Jason Kelley/Sierra SunSeana Doherty talks to a room full of community members at the Education Matters town hall meeting Monday,
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The buzz-word for May was “education,” and over the course of the past month, hundreds of parents, educators and citizens gathered to discuss the topic and vocalize their ideas.

Monday night those findings were presented to the Truckee-North Shore community in a final Education Matters forum in Kings Beach ” a town hall meeting that was the culmination of 11 community gatherings at local schools and discussions with service clubs in the region. The findings will change the way educational funds are distributed in the community and will help the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District launch its five-year plan.

“This is just the beginning,” said school district Superintendent Dennis Williams. “All this information will be shared with the [Tahoe Truckee Unified School District] board of trustees, and they will give staff direction. Many of these things you will see take place in the next school year, others you will see during the [2007-08] school year.”

Education Matters is a collaborative effort among the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation, the Tahoe Truckee Excellence in Education Foundation and the Lahontan Community Foundation.

Brainstorming sessions fostered hundreds of ideas ranging from broad topics such molding students into well-rounded citizens, to the nitty gritty of banning soda machines at schools. Participants talked about language, they talked about teachers, they talked about sports, funding, nutrition, curriculum; the lists went on and on.

Finally, all of those issues were whittled down to the eight major topics that the community found most important to the creation of quality education for all students of all ages.

From this point, the education collaborative, the school district, Sierra College and community organizations and resources will move forward in expanding, developing and implementing the practices, tools and people that will make those desires a reality in Truckee and on the North Shore.

With the community’s priorities in mind, the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District will begin developing a five-year strategic plan that will set a concrete vision and goals. Local funders, such as the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation, the Lahontan Community Foundation and Excellence in Education, will also use the data to better tailor their grants.

“As an organization, we have been hungry for this for a long time,” said Laura Brown, executive director of Excellence in Education. “We would like to get out there and make some changes, and we will mindful of these ideas during our fall granting period.”