School year at Tonasket off to a good start

TONASKET-The school board and principals agreed the school year is off to a good start at the board’s meeting on Monday, Sept. 8.

The meeting began with the usual flag salute and then the board took the attendees on an impromptu tour of the remodeled portables located near the district office. The portables have had new energy efficient windows installed, as well as energy efficient lights. New carpets have been laid down, new ceilings have been put up, the portables have been painted and new doors have been installed.

Superintendent Randy Hauff said Central Washington University has furnished one of the portables with new computers for Gear Up and the Spanish G.E.D. course called ConVey. He added that North Valley Community Schools use the portable as well.

During the school reports, Ed Morgan, Tonasket Middle School principal, said he appreciated the high school inviting the middle school to the Pyramid of Intervention workshop. The Pyramid of Intervention is a system to help discover children who aren’t keeping up with their education by assessing them more often.

Morgan added that ASB elections are this week and the final elections will be on Friday.

Jeff Cravy, Tonasket Elementary School principal, was next to deliver his report to the board. He said Megan Huckaby has done an excellent job of leading staff through the new math training. He told the board that the elementary school now has 408 students and that 274 of them came to the open house. The elementary school was set to begin interviewing for the first grade position on Wednesday.

Jeff Hardesty, Tonasket High School principal, was the last to give his report. He said the highest concept with the Pyramid of Intervention is what do you do with kids who don’t get it? Meaning the kids who don’t understand concepts they should have learned by now. The answer is to assess more often to bring help in sooner, according to Hardesty.

“We want to start our Pyramid of Intervention not with Fs, but with the first missed assignment,” Hardesty said. “By December, we’re going to transition from our school-wide Pyramid of Intervention to one where the teachers take the baton and decide who needs the Pyramid of Intervention.”

The board next moved to the second reading of Policy 2412, titled Diplomas for Veterans. The policy states that “the district will issue high school diplomas to an honorably discharged member of the armed forces of the United States who was scheduled to graduate from high school, but who left high school before graduation to serve in World War II, the Korean Conflict or the Vietnam era.” The board voted to approve the policy.

Next, the board moved to the second reading of Policy 2335, titled Health, Family Life and Sex Education. According to the policy at the time of the meeting, effective on Sept. 1, “sexual health education instruction offered by the district shall be medically accurate, age appropriate, appropriate for students regardless of gender, race, disability status or sexual orientation and include information about abstinence and other methods of preventing unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.”

Board Chairwoman Catherine Stangland said that before approval, she wants the first sentence of the policy rewritten, the title changed and she wants the third paragraph moved up to the first paragraph.

In new business, the school board approved two field trip requests, one for a trip to Gonzaga University to leave on Thursday and arrive back home on Friday. The other was for the Future Farmers of America (FFA) to go to the Puyallup Fair on Sept. 20. The club would leave at 1 a.m.

“Every year, they sleep in a classroom and catch a bus,” Director Jerry Asmussen said. “It keeps rowdiness on the bus way down.”

Hauff then recommended Tim Kirk to be hired as the assistant high school volleyball coach for one year. He also recommended Liz Kincaid to be approved to transfer from playground supervisor and Title I secretary to high school/middle school librarian. A supplemental contract was approved for Jay Aitcheson to be the sound technician for the Tonasket School District.

Hauff stated Christy Hudgens is the only emergency certificated substitute this year. He said that Hudgens would get a certificate from the state and then would go through background checks for it to be official.

In final business, Board Vice-Chairwoman Patti Baumgardner stated that she had received communication from a community member about using locally grown food in the schools. Baumgardner wanted to respond and form a group of people to work on this possibility.

Hauff said he wanted to meet with Eric Smith, the food service director and see how using locally grown food would affect the school district’s contract. He also said he wants to know what screening process the foods would be required to go through.

The next school board meeting is on Monday, Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Tonasket School District board room.