Mary Alber
Special to the Bonanza

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October 18, 2012
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Learn about and engage in local education

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. - In the next few weeks, Incline community members have several opportunities to learn about and participate in the development of our local education system.

Aside from Wednesday's Washoe County School District Board of Trustees candidate forum at Sierra Nevada College featuring Dale Richardson and Lisa Ruggerio, residents are encouraged to attend the Data Summit for Incline WCSD schools on Wednesday Oct. 24, 6-8 p.m., at Hyatt Regency Ballroom (main building).

WCSD staff will facilitate conversations around student and school performance trends for K-12 schools, including school climate survey results. Attendees will be encouraged to ask questions and provide input during discussions about WCSD Pathway targets and college readiness.

In November (date to be determined), the next community meeting of Vision 2020 for education will be held (co-chaired by Kathryn Kelly and Madylon Meiling). It will build upon the kick-off meeting held Sept. 11 with our new WCSD area superintendent, JoEtta Gonzales, and area performance director, Kelly Humphreys.

At that initial gathering in September, about 15 educators and community members expressed their concerns and hopes for the future of education in our community. Though difficult to summarize the variety of ideas, opinions, and visions expressed in this limited space, I offer a few highlights that appeared to be broadly shared:

1. Key strengths: we have a unique, somewhat fractured community of talented, resourceful, and passionate members who value high quality, exceptional education and see this as a key factor for community development in general.

2. Key opportunity: this community has the potential to work together more effectively in supporting all students' individual needs; toward creating a nationally recognized center for outstanding educational opportunities for learning at all ages; an "education destination" that attracts new students, families, and businesses to our community.

3. Key initiatives and actions needed:

a. improve communications about positive news and developments and actions being taken to close gaps; more transparency and collaborative dialogue.

b. effectively organize latent community talents and resources to create a refreshed, compelling, unique local education vision with clear goals.

c. meet less, act more to achieve goals and vision in a timely way.

The Data Summit on Oct. 24 is a great opportunity to learn where our public schools are now - the baseline, so to speak. After that, the Vision 2020 process aims to facilitate community collaboration to define where we want our education system to be in 1, 5 and 10 years.

For those unable to attend these meetings - and those who can - go to the Education Forum at to view data, presentations and meeting notes and also to engage in constructive dialogue that taps into and builds upon each of our wisdom, creativity, and skills to create an outstanding education system that makes us proud to live here.

As many communities around the country are realizing, public schools need deeper parent and community involvement in order to stay ahead of the tsunami of changes in student learning expectations and the tools available to achieve them (such as mobile and computing technologies for every student and teacher).

If we don't move quickly in understanding and meeting these needs, we'll miss the boat that other communities have already boarded!

If you have questions or want to know how you can actively help with local education development, please contact me at

- Mary Alber has an MBA and a PhD in Transformative Learning and Change, formerly an information and technology consultant with Anderson Consulting and independent advisor to Boards of Directors of two conglomerates. She is an Incline Village resident with two children in local schools and a passion to develop excellent education opportunities for all 21st century students.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Oct 18, 2012 12:31PM Published Oct 18, 2012 12:30PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.