Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nevada Department of Education began thinking about how to improve students’ ability to continue their learning in a remote environment. “The pandemic highlighted existing inequities when we made the rapid shift to distance learning last March,” said Jhone Ebert, Nevada State Superintendent of Public Instruction during a recent webinar about the public-private partnership. “From that moment forward, we realized we could not ignore disparities and inequity anymore.” For Nevada, that boiled down to three things: 1. devices and internet connectivity; 2. the need for high-quality educational content; and 3. easy access to that high-quality educational content.
These three needs are what drove the movement towards building a public-private partnership between the Nevada Department of Education, Nevada Gold Mines, and Discovery Education. “We wanted ready-made, high-quality content that included core subjects. We also needed support for families. The Discovery Education Experience digital K-12 learning platform provides that support,” said Ebert.
Connecting students and educators to the digital resources they needed meant Nevada Gold Mines had a way to directly invest in their community. For Nevada Gold Mines’ leadership, education is much more than what happens in a classroom or at a computer. “Education is a cornerstone on which communities are built,” said Greg Walker, Nevada Gold Mines Executive Managing Director. Nevada Gold Mines’ role in the partnership was all about supporting education as a foundation of community, for the growth of the community. “Our participation in this partnership was about supporting this foundation, and the growth of the community where we live and work.”
With the desire to support their local community, Nevada Gold Mines reached out to the Nevada Department of Education. From that initial outreach sprang conversations between Superintendent Ebert and Executive Managing Director Walker, which ultimately led to the rich partnership that is benefitting Nevada students today. According to Ebert, “We are grateful for the support of community partners, like Nevada Gold Mines, who understand that investing in education is the key to making Nevada a better place to learn, work, and live.”
For the students and educators of Nevada, this public-private partnership means consistent and quality educational resources, no matter where learning is taking place. For other school districts and other companies across the country, this partnership demonstrates the power of collaboration and community investment to deliver real solutions in education.