By Ingrid Burke
Special to Plumas News
On Sept. 30, students at Indian Valley Academy in Taylorsville welcomed candidates vying for the position of Plumas County District 2 supervisor in a virtual town hall forum.
Incumbent Kevin Goss, who is seeking a third term, and his challenger Mike Grant answered questions they had received beforehand and also took questions posed during the forum by community members. An audience of more than 40 viewed the event virtually online via Lifesize technology. A recording of the forum is available on YouTube at https://youtu.be/ZF2LbJSNGPY.
Students participated in every aspect of presenting the event, from helping draft and deliver questions, to timing candidates’ responses, to operating the virtual access technology, to moderating community participation.
Senior Zachary Yolton and junior Kaidyn Holland served as primary moderators, supported by their teacher and IVA site director Ryan Schramel. During the first half of the program, candidates delivered their responses to predetermined questions on the local economy, county budget, wildfire threat, communications, and pandemic response.
After a break, Grant and Goss returned to answer questions posed by the audience through the Lifesize message feature and curated by students. Topics ranged from local health care to climate change to commercial cannabis to candidates’ personal motivation and accessibility.
Students panned the camera to each candidate as he spoke, and the text of the question being asked was also presented on the screen. Community feedback was positive, as evidenced by comments such as “This is pretty cool! Thanks for hosting this virtually PCS!” and “Thank you, Ryan and students for making this debate possible. We appreciate it.”
This is the fourth year IVA students have presented a local supervisor candidate forum. Though a government class is not being offered at IVA this semester, most of the students involved could relate the experience to their U.S. history studies, said Schramel. “This was a super cool experience,” said one student, while another compared the tone of the forum to that of the recent presidential debate: “The candidates were much more respectful to each other than our presidential candidates.”
“This experience benefits the students because it exposes them to local government and engages them as citizens at a local level,” said Schramel. “I am constantly bewildered by the hyperfocus on politics at the national level on the one hand and the total lack of focus on the local level on the other. It’s an incredibly backward approach to federalism. So any chance I have to promote local politics, I embrace wholeheartedly.”
IVA is part of Plumas Charter School, which offers personalized education and seeks to “develop lifelong learners.” Schramel pointed out that involvement in the candidate forum event provided the opportunity to “develop citizens who are both informed and engaged” while also “promoting the learning outcomes that we have identified in our social studies program.”
Schramel acknowledged the Palmaz family, of Genesee, for their generous donation of Lifesize technology to IVA. The system allows virtual access for events such as the candidate forum, and it also provides options for distance learning in the classroom.
To learn more about Indian Valley Academy, call (530) 284-7050. For more information about Plumas Charter School, call (530) 283-3851.
Ingrid Burke is the public relations specialist for Plumas Charter School.
Contact your candidates
Email: [email protected]
Facebook page: Kevin Goss – Supervisor District 2
Email: [email protected]
Facebook page: Mike Grant for District 2 Supervisor