‘Report Night’ at Tonasket School Board meeting

TONASKET – The Tonasket School Board meeting scheduled for Wednesday, June 27, featured a number of reports, as well as announcements of several personnel hirings and a pair resignations by longtime district employees.
Dwight Remick, an ESL financial officer, delivered his F-203 state revenue report. That report uses a mix of next year’s projected enrollment numbers, staffing levels, and average staff placement on the state salary scale to determine the level of state funding to which the district is entitled.
For budgeting purposes, the district is projecting 1040 students, a conservative estimate as last year’s final number came out a shade over 1065 and the district is not expecting any significant enrollment changes.
Remick also demonstrated the new Bud-X budget management tool that the district, and individual administrators, will be utilizing.
The Bud-X system should enable district personnel to monitor expenditures as they occur and enable the board to make annual budgetary decisions based on current numbers, rather than numbers that are two years out of date as is done under the current system.
The other reports were the middle school and high school School Improvement Reports (SIP delivered by principals Jay Tyus and Jeff Hardesty, respectively. Outgoing elementary principal Jeff Cravy had given his report at the last school board meeting.
Tyus said that the middle school’s math scores were higher than the norm across the board.
“That’s one of the goals we were trying to shoot for,” Tyus said. “So we feel we’re well on our way. We’re pretty excited about that.”
Reading scores, he said, were ahead of growth norms overall.
“Not as substantially improved,” he said. “But pretty solid in every area … not just in the middle school but across the board. The middle score missed (one) growth goal and that was it.”
Tyus said that next year’s growth plan was mostly unchanged.
The same proved to be true for the high school, according to Hardesty.
“I’m happy to be said that there is not much change to our plan,” he said. “There’s much to be said about not hop-skipping from one agenda or initiative to another.
“I think in the words of George Bush, ‘We are staying the course’ at Tonasket High School.”
Hardesty said some of his data is not current, as OSPI had not delivered state data to compare the school’s performance.
“I will highlight, however … the pyramid … it was important to see if it was the same or if we were moving it. I’d like to point out that at the beginning of this year we had 24 11th graders not at (reading) standard, and by spring we only had four …
“For 12th graders we went from 26 to just four not at standard…
“The district is moving, but we need to move considerably more to ‘right the pyramid.’”
Hardesty said that the math wasn’t at the same level as reading, though growth was impressive.
“We did not see the same sort of growth as we did in reading,” he said. “We still had 37 11th graders and 32 12th graders not at standard, keeping in mind that OSPI didn’t deliver a consistent standard.
“The data may not be reliable there, but it does tell us something, and that is good. At a glance, the district is moving forward in general. But there will be more to come in the fall once the team has had more time to study it.”
“What it shows is how complicated it is,” said board member Catherine Stangland.
“It isn’t that complicated, but it is a lot of work,” Hardesty said.
The board also lauded both principals’ efforts to recognize students’ efforts.
“Nothing makes a kid try harder than when they can get an ‘Attaboy,’” said board member Lloyd Caton. “That works on adults, too. When we have a positive culture when you’re successful, whether it’s effort or accomplishment, that you’ll be acknowledged, that does something to your culture.”

Personnel

The board accepted the resignations of music teacher Patti Middleton and webmaster Sandy Brightbill.
“I wish to express my deep thanks and gratitude for the opportunity I have had to teach in the Tonasket School District,” wrote Middleton in her resignation letter, which Turner read aloud. “… As a music teacher I have had the pleasure of building relationships with kids, meeting them in sixth grade, and continuing to teach them throughout the remainder of their years … it’s hard to describe what the experience was like, hearing those first notes in sixth grade band and seeing the development of that same group over time.”
Middleton went on to talk about the value of music education, as well as the fact that she was still inspired by her music teacher, Wally Moore, whom she said produced at least eight music teachers out of his classes.
“He loved us as students and demanded our best,” she wrote. “I hope that in some small way I have done the same.
“It is with mixed feelings that I submit my resignation at the end of this year. I will miss the students and the moments of joy I’ve had as their teacher. I also wish to thank God for the blessing He provided for me through this profession.”
Brightbill thanked the district for allowing her to “play” with the district’s website for the past 16 years.
“I have appreciated the trainings and challenges the job has provided,” she said in her letter of resignation. “Hanna (Kliegman) and I agreed that my tenure would cover the interim transition to a site that might have more features to ease some of the frustrations of building a website. The new site has the potential to do this with a new webmaster.”
Brightbill said that, while there some frustrations that came with implementing the site she particularly appreciated the efforts of two students that stuck with the process over the last two years.
“I wish you the best with the new site,” she concluded.
A number of new personnel were recommended for hire: Amanda Chase, high school English teacher; Jennifer Weddle, high school Outreach science teacher for one day a week; Rose Corso, K-5 ESL teacher; Jackie Gliddon for a one year stint as high school volleyball coach; Bertha Villa as migrant program teacher and bilingual summer school paraprofessional; Kevin Haney-Williamson and Janet Ewing as migrant parapros; and Norma Gutierrez and Tauni Allen as bilingual summer school parapros.

Board Actions

In other actions, the school board approved its final reading of the revised Alternative Learning Experience Programs policy; approved a GEAR-UP field trip to an overnight science camp at Central Washington University and approved the middle school and high school School Improvement Plans (SIP).

About Brent Baker

Brent is a reporter for the Gazette-Tribune. Prior to working at the G-T, he was the sports editor for Sunrise Publishing from 2000-2005 in Michigan. He subsequently owned and operated Buckland Media, a high school sports website, in Michigan until 2010. He and his wife Kim, who have an adult son, moved to Tonasket in 2010. Brent started work at the G-T in 2011.

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