Air of Change and Optimism Abounds for Clark County Public Schools
Published 11:30 am Friday, March 11, 2022
For many years, public education has had the appearance of being a bureaucratic monolith that is more interested in self preservation than teaching.
School systems near and far would churn out graduates who were either not prepared for the rigors of college or life for that matter. Blame shouldn’t be placed on the educational systems alone, but those parents and students who were blind to the future because they did not see the value in learning, the pursuit of knowledge.
But things are changing for Clark County Public Schools through Superintendent Molly McComas’ leadership and vision.
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McComas seeks to engage and create relationships between the school system and the community. Rather than seek refuge in academic silos staffed by career educrats and adopt a top-down approach to leadership, McComas is building from the base up by reaching out to stakeholders, parents, teachers, students and staff to inspire a conversation around building a better school system. McComas believes that student outcomes shouldn’t necessarily be driven so much by data and standardized tests as they are by adopting an empowered approach to education that involves everyone to generate success, even if it means throwing out the old playbook.
Moreover, McComas is seeking a real world approach to education — one that treats students as individuals who have different skills and career aspirations. In the past, earning a college degree was seen as perhaps the only pathway to success, but that attitude is changing.
“We really limit ourselves when we say, ‘What do you want to do when you go to college?’ We are really speaking to a small minority of students who want to go, be successful and finish. Those are some of the metrics we really need to start looking at more closely and have a good, honest, vulnerable conversations inside the schools so that we are not pushing every student to think that they have to go to college. We want to push all types of programs and opportunities,” she said at a recent Winchester Human Resources Association meeting.
That approach to education is refreshing on so many different levels.
CCPS educates around 5,000 students, but enrollment numbers are down from pre-pandemic levels.
We know that the pandemic was hard on students, staff and parents. Fed up with federal and state nonsense concerning schools and the pandemic, many parents have pulled their kids out of the school system — 613 students are being homeschooled — 250 more than what the district usually experienced pre-pandemic.
However, as the masks come off, things seem to be improving for CCPS. There is an air of optimism not only about the Cards’ chances in the state tournament, but the quality of a good education. Mock Trial and Governor’s Cup teams have gained accolades. West Point Military Academy recruiters are visiting. One senior has been accepted to Yale and others are poised to do great things when pursuing various dreams and career ambitions.
Strong schools need strong communities who are actively involved in everything from academic excellence to basketball games.
We praise McComas’ enlightened approach to education and wish her and CCPS the best as the school system reboots itself after the pandemic, changes the present paradigm so as to build a better tomorrow.