Friday, August 1, 2014

A Message from the Superintendent of Schools
August 2, 2013

Welcome to the 2013-2014 School Year

Having finished my first month as Superintendent of Churchill County School District, I thank everyone for such a warm and sincere welcome. A special thanks to the Board of Trustees for selecting me to lead the school district as we continue on the path of education reform.

In many ways, schools today are not so much different than those of past generations. Students are still expected to come to school regularly and attend classes. They have homework assignments that need to be completed, books to read and papers to write. As students move from elementary to middle and high school they have the opportunity to participate in a variety of clubs, activities and athletics which help develop leadership skills and an understanding of how to work with others to attain a goal. However, education is continuing to evolve. The way students and teachers interact and access information is much different than in the past. Reading a book can be done using the physical book or an e-book read on a tablet, PC or Kindle. Audio books are available so that students who learn better through listening, can read and listen to materials at the same time. Assignments can be completed on a personal computing device and submitted to the teacher electronically.Teachers and students are able to interact with information in real time and have immediate access to events occurring across the globe through YouTube, FaceBook or Twitter. Education has become more focused and personalized to fit students’ needs and interests.

For years, people have talked about the need for schools to teach 21st Century skills. These skills are talked about as if the 21st Century was some futuristic time. The time is now. We are in the second decade of the 21st Century and these skills are required for today’s learners. The skills include the traditional core content outlined by the Common Core Standards, ensuring that students are learning the 3-Rs at high levels of understanding. Students need to develop information, media, and technology skills to enable them to connect and interact with the world around them. They need to be creative, critical thinkers, able to problem solve, communicate and collaborate with others. And, finally, students need to have the opportunity to learn career and life skills which teach leadership, accountability, self-direction and responsibility.

It is difficult to imagine what the world will be like when today’s kindergarten students graduate from high school. Looking back over the past thirteen years, cell phones were large and cumbersome, lap-tops were the new technology and any kind of tablet technology was unheard of. In the early 1900’s knowledge doubled every 100 years. By the end of WWII, knowledge doubled every 25 years. Currently, knowledge doubles every 13 months. Nano-technology is changing the way we perceive computing. It is increasingly difficult to identify what careers and technologies our current students will face in their future, yet it is imperative that we prepare them to adapt to their ever-changing environment. This is a huge challenge for our community and our schools, but one that is extremely important for the development of our students.

Thank you, again for the warm welcome I have received these past few weeks. I am looking forward to serving the students and families of Churchill County.  Please feel free to stop by and say hello.

Dr. Sandra Sheldon, Superintendent