Matthew On The Issues

Washoe County needs a fresh set of eyes and ideas. Honesty, Integrity and Authenticity aren’t old school traits.

  • Community Unity
    “Washoe County School District culture is in need of transformation. Unity and trust must be restored between the district and our communities.”

The current organizational culture and climate of the Washoe County School District needs improvement and the trust rebuilt through accountability between trustees and those who entrusted them. The decisions we make should be responsibly focused on the child, the educator, the future and the community. These decisions should represent good judgement within reason and be in the best interest of the child, the teacher and the community. By listening to teachers, parents and the community there is no longer isolation and community unity is strengthened. By being transparent there is nothing to hide. Honesty has always proven to prevail for our benefit and will not conceal for the purpose of deception, sophistry, cheating or trickery to our detriment. We know we mustn’t water down our children’s education. Both in and out of the school we need a supportive, cooperative and uniting boost of value! The attitude of belief and purpose can be restored and the sense of pride renewed. This is our Reno, our children, our Washoe County, our District and there are many in the community waiting in the wings to support us and volunteer. We need to resuscitate our valuable youth programs. It’s time to encourage and reconnect community no longer isolate.

Good Trustees can do this! Trustees that spend time at schools will do this.

  • Student Focus “Time to focus on the student and when we realize a motivated student believes in their own unique meaningful purpose, potential and ability, we will know the propelling force of excitement that breeds success. We can elevate the smaller percentage already in “the margin” and those outside “the margin“ where no one is marginalized, but normal margins are replaced with extraordinary achievements and the outside margins are replaced with opportunity, sustained growth, gains and excellence.”

We see children light up the world when they get it. When they realize that “who they are” holds value, they will never be the same. By helping each child discover their own unique interests gifts, talents and competencies one child does not feel alienated, but propagates with great propulsion toward their future. With all children realizing they are special and valuable, no one child feels bigger or lesser than any other and we reduce bullies. We follow up on this by providing the vital emotional, stress management, time management, interpersonal and soft skills, all of which children need and employers look for in hiring employees. We can not let our children get used to malaise. Mediocrity is the enemy and educational melancholy is the result of failure. Children need to know there is a unique and extraordinary purpose for their life waiting to be unlocked that no standard can explain. It will be necessary to understand more about the student and pass that info to the next teacher.

When we dig deeper into the core of our student we unlock unparalleled potential.

  • Future Focus “It’s time for students to discover their future ambitions, set attainable goals of pursuit, plan for them, be prepared for them and then introduced to them. We must help guide each student by illuminating their path, revealing all options and placing tools in their hand. Young minds are our future, we need to lead them out of any stupor. We can not permit futures to be thrown away for lack of understanding.”

Our children face a real deficit if they leave school without a plan after graduation and our community faces a continued burden. Many students do not make it to graduation because they fizzle out before they find their own abilities or believe there is something they can aim at that will fulfill their meaningful desire and purpose. Children need economic courses to know they are prepared for life. When children begin to know who they are before high school they can then plan a post -graduation A, B and C path earlier in high school. More than ever, all certifications, trade schools and internships need to be available to those who are not pursuing college. We need more comprehensive or enhanced programs that introduce children to all of the many options available that fit them for their future. We must know more about our students by high school than the normal standard margin. There is extraordinary opportunity outside the margin. We need to have a growth portfolio profile of each child from K-12 and see them through to graduation. The child must know their potential to truly honor themselves as valuable and attain the remarkable. 

  • Safe, Teacher Enriched Schools “Our schools should be safe, our educators free to teach for depth and understanding, not merely be pressured to prepare students for test regurgitation for the sake of short term numbers vs long term functional purpose. We must relieve inequitable burdens placed on teachers and allow them to teach from insight, passion and creativity.”

Our precious teachers are pressured more than ever before away from creative “human aspect teaching” and the invigorating passion that all educators once enjoyed when they decided to teach should always be theirs and if lost, restored. Educators deserve good pay and benefits. We must find ways to increase the funding at the National Median and reduce class sizes. Our teachers and students must be in a safe learning environment 24/7 and we can do this now. We must not tolerate any abuse to teachers by students and or abuse from students to students. Everyone deserves a good education and those that are disruptive must be given help early. If we believe in and revere the justice system in place for adults, that cannot govern themselves we must also do the same for our students to support a sense of morale obligation and expectation. Our teachers need the burden of resistance to teaching lifted away as soon as possible. All intolerance and behavioral problems must be mitigated to allow a safe and healthy learning environment. Plans for the external safety of our schools can be re-enforced as well as our technological platform safeguarding. A child that doesn’t believe in themselves or have hope tends to be disruptive, let’s trade that in for opportunity afforded to each child. We must back-up, empower and support our Teachers and School Police Officers with the resources and assistance they need and remove interfering factors and barriers. Our educators are doing an excellent job, let’s give um a hand.

Take the handcuffs off teachers so they can do their work.

  • Character And Civic Duty For Students
    “Character for our kids is a basic fundamental value and a natural remedy to many of our behavioral problems when taught. Employers look for well rounded candidates. Character provides the structure strong students use to make good decisions for the rest of their lives. Without students knowing how to serve well and be well served, our institutions, occupations and communities will suffer, but we can correct this now.”

We can have our older kids strengths mentor younger kids weaknesses and be involved in role play to teach about peer pressure. We can help them find out who they are (identity) vs their idol (identity confusion). We can practice empathy by doing things like: role playing “a day in the life of a bullied child”, “a day in the life of a teacher”. We can have students go out of schools and help charities and provide services to our community e.g visit retirement homes, paint walls, etc. as part of learning responsibility and their civic duty. Character is the recipe to slow bullying and emotional maturity realizes we are all diverse and must include each diverse person with respect. We can bestow upon every child that another human should only be judged by character alone. We will then have children that will be strong, productive and responsible members of society. Many employers are missing this employability key trait known as character, in their potential candidates. This is a must-learn for the child before entry to our community and will bring our schools together.

Pull the weeds surrounding character by the root.

  • WORKING AROUND GLOBAL COVID PANDEMIC.

 I understand that the COVID pandemic situation must not be allowed to cripple our educational system. I understand the importance of planning ahead for the unpredictable and know this takes a comprehensive, cooperative approach. A well thought out A, B and C plan is imperative. In this ever-changing world and especially in these unprecedented times, I understand that “all hands must be on deck to research and deliver the best technologically sound, interactive platform by which the student is educated”. We all understand that as a community we must be of good attitude, responsible, nimble and flexible in order to overcome this pandemic and continue to deliver valuable and vital knowledge to our students, whether at school or remote. We will need to partner with technical industry leaders to find our best solutions.

Other important issues that need eyes:

  • Low employee morale
  • Special Ed and services to Schools
  • Workload of educators
  • Educator need of increased pay and benefits
  • Cyber-bullying 
  • Drug program 
  • Information Technology and strategy 
  • Allow teachers to share ideas freely
  • Too much testing
  • Emotional health
  • Resource stewardship
  • Internal and external accountability
  • Mental health awareness and where to get help 
  • Comprehensive and updated discipline for poor behavior
  • Assessments review
  • Student voice and surveys
  • Community activities and after school programs 
  • Departments working together 
  • Improved relationship with Nevada, the DOE and the community
  • Healthy food 
  • Commission per pupil 
  • Not contracting out school services e.g. food services
  • Family wellness
  • Rezoning 6th to middle school
  • CTE integration with occupation
  • Community unity collaboration and volunteer work

And many more…

Superintendent Dr. Kristen McNeill has stated her core beliefs are: Honesty, Integrity, Kindness and Transparency. 

I think we can all agree with this and push for more. We can ignite the child purpose, encourage their ability and let them let their light shine into the community.