By Ingrid Burke
Special to Plumas News
During their meeting March 22, members of the Plumas Charter School board of directors received an update on the school’s plan to build a new Quincy facility. They also heard about program changes being implemented due to easing COVID restrictions, and reviewed student assessment results and associated instruction adjustments.
PCS Executive Director Taletha Washburn reported that the “8o% plan” for the school’s new building, set to be built on property at 1425 E. Main St. in East Quincy, has been submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and that feedback on that plan has been received.
Next, the contractor needs to make adjustments to the plan based on the feedback, said Washburn. Once the plan reaches 100% completion, it can be submitted to the county planning and building departments.
One item Washburn highlighted for the board was the addition of a solar system to the building plans, which would potentially enable significant energy savings for the school.
With a reduction in COVID restriction tier from red to orange in Plumas County, PCS “took a critical look at our program offerings to add more onsite choices for students who want them,” said Washburn. Representatives from each of PCS’s learning centers (Quincy, Indian Valley Academy in Taylorsville, Greenville, and Chester) shared the specific ways teachers and staff have been able to extend their programs. A reduction in school social distancing from six feet to four feet means that more students can now be present in a given space.
PCS is currently providing a hybrid program that includes on-site instruction, from-home instruction, and independent study. Every site added more on-site time, whether through additional days of on-site instruction, extended on-site instruction hours, new opportunities for tutoring and office hours, or increased student cohort sizes.
“It was really fun to see everyone creatively problem solve,” said Washburn. “Everyone did a really nice job figuring out how to extend services to students.”
“That’s all positive,” said board president Steve Hill.
The board was provided with the results of students’ recent mid-year assessments from each learning center, and administrators shared their interpretations of these results and how they would be used to design future instructional changes.
“We’re seeking to identify concrete actionable items for our students,” said Washburn. For example, one challenging area that was identified across all learning centers was mathematical writing. To address student struggles in this area, administrators presented various plans, such as using office hours more purposefully, more carefully exposing students to writing across all subjects, increasing general academic writing competency, and adding math and writing labs to target any learning gaps.
Assessment data, and all other board meeting documents, can be viewed on the PCS website (plumascharterschool.org) by clicking the round Board Meeting button on the home page.
The board was informed that PCS’s open enrollment period is currently open through April 12. This period provides families a priority window to sign up for PCS’s programs, which often fill up. Washburn shared preliminary enrollment numbers for the 2021-22 school year, and indicated that final numbers would be available at the next meeting.
The board also heard a report from an attendance subcommittee made up of board members and school administrators who had been meeting with students struggling with attendance and work completion. The subcommittee reported positive interactions with these students and shared that they would stay in touch to monitor their attendance and progress.
The board also approved a preliminary plan for a general fund reallocation based on Payroll Protection Program loan forgiveness monies. The majority of these funds will be spent on “much-needed” improvements at various sites, said Washburn.
PCS board meetings are held the fourth Monday of every month at 3:15 p.m., and they are always open to the public. Currently, attendance is virtual via Zoom. This month, an additional special board meeting is set for April 12, also at 3:15.
To learn more and view agendas and minutes, click the round Board Meeting button on the home page of the PCS website at plumascharterschool.org.
Ingrid Burke is the public relations specialist for Plumas Charter School.