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Kids succeed despite district impediments

School districts across the nation and attention deficit disorders are often used in the same paragraph. There are so many young people now suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar and other syndromes that affect their learning and require hard work to overcome their challenges.

I give credit to these youth who work at achieving order in their lives and success in their projects. I suggest the administration of the Clark County School District and other giant school districts start to emulate these young people who, in spite of their challenges, “learn” how to learn, organize their lives and succeed.

Let me say at the outset I am pro-public schools, but we do need to address some issues. With 321,644 students in 2013, CCSD is the fifth-largest school district in America. One of my family members works for our local learning monstrosity. My daughter is a teacher in another of the largest school districts in America.

In school districts across America, students are subject to arbitrary bell schedules, teachers endure surprise administration visits, and moving from one job designation to another is a tortuous task.

One person going through a district job change likened it to taking your car to a dealership. They have every mechanic look at the car and every one of them comes up with a different analysis of what needs to be done.

Admittedly, the person changing jobs was a bit frustrated. Having worked last year in one capacity, the person applied for a new position with the district over the summer. Pro-actively, the person started the application process in May, called the school district to learn about the hiring procedure (the potential hire would receive an email invitation for an orientation). The person received an invitation, attended the orientation, and with new ID badge pinned, worked one day — only to receive a frantic email from the new supervisor, “Call HR immediately.”

After two days of trying to find out what was wrong, (more than one human resources person said the file was fine and there was no problem), contact was made with an HR guru. This person knows the system but apparently is the only one in all the district who does. The issue unearthed, the guru took responsibility to help work things through. This person needs many kudos and a raise.

Three weeks into the school year, more than three months after submitting the initial application, verbal approval was given, but resubmittal of a university diploma, high school transcripts and references were needed (all of which the district has in other department files), as was another $60, the second in less than a year, for a background check.

Oh! And that email about the orientation that indicated being hired — well, that email was wrong — it was a different “required” orientation.

Why the redundancy? The human resources guru explained that under the Clark County School District’s roof reside two separate entities. “We are like two corporations in the same building. … We don’t share anything. It is a problem we know about, but it will be a long time before it is fixed.”

Politicians sell consolidation of small government entities using the promise that it will bring more efficiency, better intellectual security by reducing document redundancy and minimizing overhead and workforce costs. If these two school districts are analogous of “bigger is better” they are not shining examples.

We want our kids to focus and have consistency, yet we put them in schools with bell schedules that change every day with different class lengths. It is like the person who developed the bell schedule couldn’t make up his mind.

We want our kids to keep their desks, lockers and rooms orderly and be able to keep track of their assignments; yet a simple job change within the school district is a mass of unorganized records and approvals that become questioned approvals before they are really approved.

Our principals and teachers are governed and fired by federal and local mandates that base student success on testing, but local administrators take away “learning” days to add unannounced visits (never mind if there is rehearsal for a major concert that evening — officials don’t seem to care if they pull the rug out from under our kids) and more testing days to test on testing ability.

Perhaps those setting arbitrary bell schedules should try working such an inconsistent schedule. Or those testing just to determine how the student will test (rather than let them study and learn during those hours) should receive their pay based on how well they spend their income. Or those who arbitrarily walk into a school, unannounced, to do an assessment of the teaching staff, should likewise allow the public free access to their office 24/7 or have their major deadline (a presentation to the board of directors) stymied by an all-day social visit by the chief financial officer.

I once again commend those students who improve themselves in spite of physical, emotional or developmental challenges. You have much to teach “know-it-all” grown-ups about identifying the real issues before us, focusing on mastering a resolution and moving forward to success!

Go for it, kids! You have my vote!

Cat Trico has been a resident of Boulder City since 2003 and is a past president of the Senior Center and co-founder of the Decker Lake Wetlands Preserve. As an author and editor, she contributed to “Rights, Responsibilities, and Relationships” for youth. She can be reached at cat.circa1623@gmail.com.

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