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Raising the bar
by Jessica Carner
Jan 13, 2011 | 1185 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
RENO — Washoe County School District (WCSD) is looking to the entire community for help in achieving education reform.

Steven Hull, chief of community engagement for WCSD, said a concept for a community compact to support public education is in the works. Although the details about how the compact will work are not in place at this time, he said the compact will probably involve some sort of agreement to which local businesses and organizations, educators, parents and even students will be asked to “sign on.”

How does one “sign on” to support education?

“Well, the devil is in the details,” Hull said. “We’re not sure how people will sign on at this point. This is all conceptual.”

Regardless of how the agreement is made, the goal is to have every member of the community agree to support learning.

“We have an ambitious strategic plan,” Hull said of the WCSD, adding that the main goal of the district’s plan is to increase high school graduation rates and prepare students to enter the workforce or college.

The goal of the community compact is to raise awareness about the importance of supporting public education and to communicate the high expectations the district has for its students.

“And the students would be a part of that,” Hull said.

WCSD board member Estela Gutierrez said the only way to make positive changes in the school district is through the support of the entire community.

“We can’t do it alone,” Gutierrez said.

Daryl Drake and Fred Boyd of the Reno Sparks Chamber of Commerce are part of the Council for Excellence in Education (CEE) and have been working to develop the community compact.

“I owe a huge debt of gratitude to these gentlemen,” Superintendent Heath Morrison said during a school board meeting Tuesday. “They understand as business leaders that education is absolutely vital to the economy of northern Nevada.”

The CEE, Education Alliance and members of the community are working to develop a compact to create partnerships between individuals and organizations that support the improvement of public education in the county.

“Through the compact, business organizations, service clubs, faith-based organizations, parents and individual citizens would voluntarily commit to specific ways of supporting K-12 education,” a release states.

“The intent is to broaden community support for K-12 education as the district works to improve,” Boyd said.

Currently, Boyd said, CEE is reaching out to a large number of entities in the community for input on the compact.

“We’re trying to bring as many as possible together,” Boyd said, adding community interest in raising the bar for education is strong.

Drake said a lot of organizations and programs already support education.

“We are not creating a new program,” Drake said.

The compact will serve as a means of coordinating existing groups and increasing participation, he said.

“The reason we are not giving a lot of details is we still have a number of people to reach out to,” Drake said. “It is a work in progress.”

Stay tuned.
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