Recap of May 23, 2023, Community Conversation

DATE June 5, 2023                                                                   

Recap of LTUSD May 23, 2023, Community Conversation

On Tuesday, May 23, 2023, Lake Tahoe Unified School District (LTUSD) held the first of three Community Conversations. Attendees engaged in dialogue that focused on enrichment and remediation programs in LTUSD schools. Following the tabletop conversations, a panel of community experts provided additional information about enrichment and remediation programs. Panelists included: Peggy Blowney, Executive Director - Tahoe Arts Project (TAP); Matt Smith, Director Mental Health and Wellness – EDCOE; Beth Shepherd, Director of Special Services – LTUSD; Karen Goldberg, English Learner Services Coordinator – LTUSD; Alissa Zertuche, Career Technical Education (CTE) Specialist – LTUSD; Michelle McLean, CTE Specialist – LTUSD.

Participants reminisced about the positive experiences they had during their K-12 education, and many noted that having hands-on experience and exploring their passion has stayed with them throughout their lives. Included in those memories were educational opportunities related to arts and music. The general consensus was that hands-on experience and exposure to the arts and music improves student success. Matt Smith noted that enrichment activities are a key to wellness. When students participate in the arts, their mental health improves which leads to better outcomes including increased attendance. Peggy Blowney pointed out that numerous studies support the fact that exposure to performing and visual arts help children become better students.

Attendees shared enrichment and remediation programs they are excited about. Please see list below:

     Learning Spanish at Bijou

     Two day camping trip

     Support or the Special Needs Community - especially from Beth Shepherd and Darrel Miller

     Great communication - it just might not be effective

     Dual enrollment with LTCC at STHS and Mt. Tallac

     Great caring teachers

     Music is being taught in all elementary schools

     Ski week

     Paradise park trips

     Going on a boat on the lake

     Elementary schools are utilizing the gardens

     Excitement about CTE - the program really finds ways for students to find pathways to meaningful careers

     The new forestry and natural resources pathways and tiny homes



 Below is a list of programs that attendees would like to see implemented or enhanced:

     Class sizes are too large

     Better connection with the Hispanic community

     More early intervention

     More individual connection with families and parents

     Engage parents and community members

     Students in elementary schools should have classes with a musical instrument

     More variety in foreign language classes

     Bring back swimming

     Intramural sports

     Less testing - measure the happiness factor

     Meet students where they are

     More hands-on instruction


     Spend more time writing - better utilization of volunteers

     Modernize libraries

     Bring back middle school theater opportunities

     More STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)

     Longer recess for elementary students

     Ask students what they want

     Implement happiness gauge at the beginning of each day

Highlights from the panel discussion below:

Karen Goldberg explained that the partnership between the Family Resource Center (FRC) and LTUSD is a component of realizing the LTUSD Vision. Ms. Goldberg also pointed out that systems implemented to support English Learners and increased access to translation services are showing a significant increase in student performance.

Ms. Blowney explained that TAP just finished 36 years of bringing performing arts programming to the schools and that they select programs from different genres so students are exposed to different types of performances. Ms. Blowney noted that the majority of children in Tahoe would never see a live performance if it wasn’t for TAP.

Ms. McLean and Ms. Zertuche provided information on the CTE pathways program and the expansion to the elementary schools. The program provides real life experiences so students can explore what they might like to do in their careers. Ms. McLean and Ms. Zertuche put the exploration into context by exposing students to different types of careers with the idea that LTUSD students can find their joy and passion and pursue it in their career.

Superintendent Cutler reiterated the District’s Vision: “to discover and foster the unique talents of all students.” He noted that everything discussed during the Community Conversation helps the District realize its Vision. Dr. Cutler acknowledged the importance of meeting students where they are to provide opportunities for students to learn about their unique talents is critical to everyone's success. The Superintendent recognized that the staff at the District cannot achieve this alone and that he is committed to finding creative ways to engage the LTUSD community. He expressed a sincere desire for parents, students, and community members to provide input and pointed out the various ways people can participate and make a difference.

The next Community Conversation will be held in early September and will focus on attendance and nutrition. The second annual State of the District is scheduled for March 20, 2024. 

Welcome, Guest