Re-elect Barbara McLaury and new members Howard Rosenberg, Dave Aiazzi and Lisa Ruggerio took seats around the Board of Trustees table alongside current members John Mayer, Barbara Clark and Estela Gutierrez. The board’s first order of business was electing Clark, Aiazzi and Ruggerio to president, vice president and clerk positions, respectively.
Aiazzi comes over from Reno City Council, Rosenberg from his position as a professor at the University of Nevada, Reno and Ruggerio from work with The Chamber. Ruggerio said she is looking forward to working with Superintendent Pedro Martinez and the rest of the board on furthering the county’s education.
“My top priorities are to continue the momentum of the work that Mr. Martinez is doing and to continue the momentum of the school board and sticking to the Strategic Plan,” Ruggerio said. “I want to continue to develop those community partnerships. I think that is something that is very important and we need to continue to get that community involvement into the schools.”
Ruggerio said al though she is new to the Board of Trustees, she is familiar with the work of her fellow board members and she looks forward to working together in the group.
“I have actually worked with each of the board members in a variety of capacities so I think it is going to be a perfect fit and I look forward to getting to work and becoming a cohesive group,” she said.
On the business side of the Board of Trustees’ agenda came an approval of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant to the Nevada State Library and Archives for Sparks High School’s Better Access Project. The grant proposal requests $100,000 to fund the purchase 35 desktop computers, 20 laptop computers, a mobile cart, and computer infrastructure for the Sparks High School library lab, as well as non-fiction books and DVDs to align with the Common Core State Standards.
Sparks High librarian and teacher Janet Carnes witnesses daily the lack of computers needed to aid students with research and essays. She said the demand for computers by 1,250 Sparks High students has increased not only from the demand for digital reports, but from the school’s recent program implementations.
“We just became a Teaching Incentive Fund (through the U.S. Department of Education) grant and part of that is we are a STEM school now,” Carnes said. “We need the technology to do the things we need for science and math to be the STEM school. We are also accepting students into the (Microsoft IT Academy) to become leaders to the other students. A portion of the computers in my library were hand-me-downs so they don't function as well as they should.”
Carnes said updates to laptops needed to maintain Windows 7 made 16 laptops obsolete and said many of the other laptop computers, which are part of the mobile computer lab, are functioning very well. The grant will also remove many of the VHS tapes for DVDs for students and update the non-fiction section to adjust for the Common Core Standards the district has adopted.
“The first big change is going to be a massive weeding,” she said. “We are going to adjust some of the configuration at the lab, the way it is to run cables in and some of the lab will have to be moved and get additional furniture.”
Carnes said the updated lab will accommodate the changing student environment as well as the parents of the students. Carnes said many parents are unaware the computer lab and library services are available to them as well.
“One thing that isn’t being done right now that I hope to improve is parents being able to come into the lab,” she said. “The school district now requires parents to register their students online rather than on paper and pencil and you can look up the student’s grades. They have much use for the computers as well. I am hoping that getting some upgrades and putting out more information will help bring those parents in.”