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Get Informed

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Dec 2012

Incline Education Needs YOU!

Dear community members and education advocates of Incline Village:

Your help is needed to guide our local education visioning, planning, and leadership decision support.

Please review this “State of Education” summary and most importantly COMPLETE THE SURVEY at the end:


Education Planning Overview and Survey


Thank you very much for your time and consideration!

- Mary

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Nov 2012

Announcing: Vision 2020 for Incline Education Action Team Meeting

A N N O U N C I N G!                                                       (Click here for full graphic version of announcement)

Vision 2020 for Incline Education Action Team Meeting
Tuesday November 13
4:00 – 6:00 pm
Donald W. Reynolds Community Non-Profit Center – upstairs training room
(Parasol Foundation Building, 948 Incline Way)

Intention for our meeting:
To invent possibilities for Incline Village to become known as an Education Destination that
inspires and engages our community and others.
To create a shared vision for education in our area through 2020.

Agenda – Visioning & Planning Process:
Step 1: Desired Future Whole group – Participants share their personal visions for IV as and education destination. Education leaders share their vision & broad plans.

Step 2: Break-out groups generate aligned vision statements.

Step 3: Where are we today? Review current reality through data and perceptions

Step 4+:  Creative Tension -  Next meetings to identify gaps and generate solutions

Please come prepared to share your thoughts, hear new ones, and align around a shared vision. To review existing visions and assessment work to date, here are  related links and documents:

Vision 2020 organization, purpose, and process (June – Aug. 2012)

Vision 2020 Education Report summary (Sept. 2012)

WCSD Incline Schools K-12 Vision and Improvement Plan (Incline Great Schools Committee report, 2010):

WCSD Incline Schools K-12 Data Summit Book (FINAL 10-31-12)

Nevada Department of Education Reports of Accountability : charts that compare data across districts and schools

WCSD Superintendent Pedro Martinez’s Action Plan to 2017

Sierra Nevada College (private non-profit, four year)

Lake Tahoe School mission and philosophy (private K-8)

Tahoe Expedition Academy (private K-8)

E-Learning Cafe (non-profit, and proposed charter school)

Education Alliance of Washoe County

ALL interested community members are welcome and encouraged to attend this meeting – whether or not
you attended any prior meetings or are affiliated with a school.

 Sponsored & conducted by IV/CB 2020 Vision team
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Nov 2012

Public school summit calls for community engagement in education

[As printed in Tahoe Bonanza, Oct. 31, 2012]
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — A special shout out to the Washoe County School District and the new area Superintendent, JoEtta Gonzales, and Area Performance Director, Kelly Humphreys, for our first ever “Incline Data Summit” on October 24.
As the first of its kind in the District (a K-12 vertical report and session), attendees reviewed 66 pages of performance data about our schools that focused on how our students were doing on the “Pathway” to graduation, college and career. With the help of 16 other school leaders and staff from WCSD, breakout groups of attendees discussed the data and floated ideas for moving forward to ensure that all children in the Incline public schools are receiving a “top notch” excellent education.

In her self-introduction, JoEtta shared that she arrived 2 months ago from Arizona where she had been a teacher, principal, district administrator and earned her doctoral in Educational Leadership and Policy Development. (According to the WCSD website, she has implemented initiatives in curriculum development, professional learning, and systemic change).

She expressed her strong commitment to engage the Incline community to ensure that all voices are heard and all student needs are being addressed. Acknowledging that the “elephant in the room” was the recent news of a newly proposed charter school in Incline Village, she deferred discussion of this item to the November 7th brown bag lunch with Pedro Martinez (new Superintendent) at Parasol Building at noon.

Kelly and Program Evaluator, Ben Hayes, overviewed the current accountability system in use and the new one being rolled out this year and then opened discussion of the data book at each of the 6 tables (10 people per) in the Hyatt Ballroom. Several nonlocal WCSD representatives joined each table to take notes and solicit thoughts, questions, and ideas for improving K-12 education.

The breakout table discussion time was segmented into three data areas:

1) Context: Demographics and School Climate and Safety Survey Report for the High School. (The elementary and middle schools opted to use the new Tripod Assessment program for which data is still being compiled.)

2) Growth Measures and Proficiency: Starting in the Spring of 2013, NV schools performance will be based on a new accountability model. The current “AYP” (Adequate Yearly Progress) indicator by school will be replaced with a “Growth Performance Model” that weights student growth measures (60 percent), proficiency levels achieved (30 percent), and attendance (10 percent). The new model aims to motivate and continually challenge individual student growth along the full spectrum of aptitudes whereas the current focus is to move non-proficient students within an age cohort up to a minimal proficiency benchmark at annual check-points.

3) Graduation and College Readiness: includes indicators such as 8th grade Algebra 1 completion rates and performance, Adequate Growth rates in Math and Reading, 12th grade AP completion rates and performance, SAT performance, college enrollment rates, remediation rates ( percent of graduates required to take remedial courses at UNR or TMCC because math and/or English scores are below cutoff) and persistence rates ( percent of graduates who remain enrolled at UNR and TMCC after the first semester).

At the end of each data section, a worksheet asked the same three questions: “What conclusions can I draw from data? What is the connection to other points along the Pathway and to student achievement? What is missing or needed to strengthen/complete this relationship or my understanding?” As Kelly and her team compile discussion and worksheet notes from the evening, community members are welcome to send her your thoughts and reflections on these questions.

For those in the community who were unable to attend this stimulating event and want to review and comment on the data, the report is available via this link: Incline Data Summit Book (FINAL 10-31-12).

Due to limited column length in this publication, look for another column next week with details about the Summit content and discussions. In the meantime, go to the Education Forum discussion to share your questions, reflections, perspectives, and suggestions (click on highlight words).

Please continue to get informed and engaged with local education advancement on Nov. 7 with Pedro Martinez and on Nov. 13 with the Vision 2020 process for education.

— Mary Alber has an MBA and a PhD in Transformative Learning and Change, formerly an information and technology strategy consultant with Andersen Consulting (Accenture) and an independent adviser. 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. To help out, contact her at mmeekalber@gmail.com

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Nov 2012

Time to get engaged in Incline education!

[This column was published in Lake Tahoe Bonanza www.tahoebonanza.com , Nov. 7, 2012]

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — As the front page story indicated in last week’s Bonanza (Nov. 1), a proposal for a NV-sponsored K-12 public charter school to be located in Incline Village was denied approval on Oct. 21. This proposal was first discussed in public at the Oct. 19 WCSD School Board candidates forum (though no members of the charter development team were present).

People have expressed concerns about not being aware of the proposal earlier and about its potential negative impacts to the WCSD public schools. As I understand, the charter proposal development team (mostly eLearning Café board members) plans to resubmit the proposal.On Oct. 24, the WCSD Data Summit for Incline took place which I began to review in last week’s column. I especially appreciated the well-orchestrated opportunity for community members to study the extensive performance data provided and to discuss and provide input to school development directions. Click here for the 75 page Incline Data Summit Book_FINAL_10-31-12[1].I encourage all readers to embrace these two developments as opportunities to engage more fully in education advancement for students and adults of all ages in our community. What do I mean by this? And what kind of positive engagement is possible?Having studied the charter proposal and spoken with Kathryn Kelly and other supporters about it, I observe that the charter proposal has arisen out of a sincere perception that the public schools aren’t meeting all of our students’ needs and an alternative, blended learning public program will fill in the gaps and become an asset to the community by attracting new students and families who wouldn’t otherwise come to live here.This perception is supported by the current NV Governor (Sandoval) and Superintendent (Guthrie), who both believe that school choice and competition for students is one of the best ways to compel improvement of existing schools — or the closing of those that fall too far behind.

Though a few of us are working to create an executive summary of the performance data provided by WCSD at the Incline Schools Data Summit, I can point to a couple summary measures that we should probably focus on: WCSD’s new assessment approach tracks individual students on their “pathway” to success — which means graduating and doing so with enough credits and skills for college and good careers.

At the moment, only 49 percent of Incline 2nd graders are currently considered “On Pathway” to reading success — compared to 64 percent of 2nd graders across the district. Similarly, the district’s “Early Warning System” assesses graduation risk based on factors including state test proficiency, attendance, mobility, credit attainment, and retention.

In Incline, nearly 64 percent of middle school students (6 to 8th grades) appear to be at some risk of not graduating — with 35 percent considered at high to moderate risk of not graduating.

Unfortunately, the overall trends in student achievement growth rates and graduation likelihood do not appear to be going in a positive direction in our schools.

Could this correlate with Student Climate Survey data indicating that only 50 percent of high school students say they are academically engaged in their coursework?

Are these performance and engagement levels acceptable? What happens if the NV charter gets approved and WCSD students are attracted to the innovative and more engaging blended-learning ways of learning? Do we want and expect Incline Schools to become the flagship K-12 system in the district? If so, what can parents and community members do about it?

Come explore these important questions on Nov. 13 at the Vision 2020 for Education Action Team official kick-off, taking place at the Parasol Building (Donald W. Reynolds Community Non-Profit Center), 4-6 p.m. Objective: to brainstorm, discuss, define and align around a shared vision for education in Incline Village going forward. Come with an open mind to share and explore potential initiatives. See description here: Flyer for Vision 2020 for Incline Education Meeting 11-13-12.

As always, I encourage your participation in these forums so that we might bring together and “synergize” this community’s unique abundance of creativity, talent, time, and resources.

To access the Data Summit report and to share your questions and ideas on these topics, please visit the North Tahoe Education Forum at www.isaefforourkids.com/getinformed/ or contact me at mmeekalber@gmail.com.

Thank you for your support and engagement!

— Mary Alber has an MBA and a PhD in Transformative Learning and Change, formerly an information and technology strategy consultant with Andersen Consulting (Accenture) and independent business advisor. She is an Incline Village resident with two children in local schools and a passion to develop excellent education opportunities for 21st century students of all ages.

To discuss this article and share your ideas in the topic discussion forum, click here.

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Oct 2012


[The following was published in North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, Oct. 16, 2012 - includes both announcement of community learning and engagement events as well as a summary of an earlier meeting - interpreted through the eyes and ears of this author. ]  

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

-          Meet WCSD School Board candidates representing Incline Village schools: Wednesday Oct. 17, 7 to 9 in SNC TCES building; Lisa Ruggerio and Dale Richardson will describe how they propose to support Incline Village’s education excellence goals.

-          Attend the Data Summit for Incline WCSD schools on Wednesday October 24, 6 to 8pm 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 September 11 with our new WCSD area superintendent, JoEtta Gonzales, and area performance director, Kelly Humphreys. At that initial gathering in September, about fifteen 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:
    • improve communications about positive news and developments and actions being taken to close gaps; more transparency and collaborative dialogue
    • effectively organize latent community talents and resources to create a refreshed, compelling, unique local education vision with clear goals
    • 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 www.isaefforourkids.com/get-informed/ 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 mmeekalber@gmail.com.


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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Sep 2012

Vision 2020 Town Hall & Final Report


The full FINAL REPORT of the council for Vision 2020 process in Incline Village and Crystal Bay has been released:  Vision 2020 IVCB FINAL Report

The education specific findings and recommendations are on pages 25 to 29 or click here for Extract of  Vision 202 related to Education topics: Vision 2020 FINAL Report – Education Extract

What are the Next Steps?  We need all Education Advocates to help define the future of Education!

The Vision 2020 town hall held last Tuesday to prioritize future community-wide initiatives was not heavily attended by student-aged parents and educators. Whether due to late school night timing or the lack of interest in advancing education in our community, the education theme was prioritized as fourth out of the five areas being voted on.  Note that in this list of prioritized themes with some issues of each, the aspects relate to education are in bold:

1) Community Development : attract young families, declining population economic development, tourism, downtown identity, , etc.

2) Governance :  More local control and autonomy, need plenary form, central focus, local leadership and Local Action Committees to empower local planning and change relative to TRPA, State, County, and School District

3) Quality of Life : Improved ability to “age in place” and welcome wagon for new families

4) Education :  ensure greater continuity and alignment from elementary through high school and colleges like SNC (called “pK-16”), increase use of technology and blended learning, reduce out-migration of students, address bi-lingual performance gap, tap into “brain trust” of community and businesses for volunteer educators, leverage outdoor education opportunities, ensure small class sizes, raise graduation rate and academic performance for all students so whole system moves from being OK or “good” to great, outstanding, world class.

5) Mobility : improve connections between sidewalks for walking, hiking, biking, improve ADA accessibility and public transit, leverage water taxi

Allan Parker, part-time entrepreneurial professor at UNR, was the NRDC committee member who presented the education theme findings to those assembled.

Allan’s top recommendation is to create an “educational council made up of local community members to ‘build a platform for action’ and help ‘tap into funding’” (p. 27) while a subgroup could look at the “feasibility of working outside the WCSD or even creating a new school district.”  Such councils are comprised of residents, businesses, parents, administrators, and students and their tasks include completing a needs assessment for elementary through high school and determining funding needs.

The Education break-out group (about 15 people out of 160) further discussed key initiatives such as technology-enabled learning to meet more rigorous learning standards and goals and address each student’s unique aptitudes and passions and need for engagement in their learning. And how more engagement in learning leads to increased graduation rates and academic achievement for ALL students, and decreased remediation rates of IHS graduates attending UNR and TMCC.

Most participants felt that achieving such objectives will require more investment and autonomy than WCSD or NV government can provide at the moment. However, as Jim Clark reported in Bonanza last week (August 28), the new NV State Superintendent of Schools, James Guthrie, has met with some local education advocates and is open to proposals for more public school autonomy if the education advocates in the community can create a vision, plan and process for doing so.

WCSD’s new superintendent, Pedro Martinez, expressed similar encouragement at his Aug. 23 Town Hall when he advised us to move beyond the challenges we’ve faced in the past and organize around innovative plans to become a flagship K-16 system in the district and state. Both the WCSD and state leaders agree that we could be given greater independence if we demonstrate that we have the ability to orchestrate and harness community expertise and resources. This was also the overarching theme of all NRDC council findings: form Local Action Committees to plan for and implement change initiatives.

Are we ready and able as a community to build upon the work of the Incline Great Schools Committee and the WCSD Envision 2015 plans to collaboratively create a truly world-class education destination here in the NE Corner of Lake Tahoe?  Most importantly, are YOU able and willing to participate in its’ creation?


The very FIRST meeting of the  

 Vision 2020 Education Action Team

Tuesday September 11

 7:00 – 9:00 pm

 Parasol Foundation – main floor

 ALL interested community members are welcome and encouraged to attend - whether or not you attended any assessment meetings or the Aug. 28 Vision 2020 Town Hall.


  • Review findings and recommendations related to education from the Vision 2020 community assessment process and the priority-setting Town Hall
  • Establish education initiative priorities by attendee voting
  • Form working groups to study top initiative areas and evaluate potential actions

Come prepared to dive into discussion by reviewing this education extract of the Vision 2020 Final Report:

 Vision 2020 FINAL Report – Education Extract

 If you want to participate but are unable to attend on Sept. 11, please vote for your priorities, ask questions, and engage in dialogue by clicking here to join the Vision 2020 Action Team discussion Topic.


Note:  A professional facilitator with a background in education will conduct the meeting. 

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