Tonasket schools wrapping up school year

TONASKET – The Tonasket School District schools wrapped up their year with their annual reports at the regular school district board meeting on Monday, June 13.

Tonasket Elementary School Principal Jeff Cravy reported strong results from the annual North West Education Association (NWEA) testing. He said 81 students made gains of at least 15 points on their previous scores and of those 81, eleven made gains of more than 20 points in the reading test and 22 made gains of more than 20 points in the math test.

Cravy also told the board there would be some movement of certain staff members into different areas of the school next year. Julie Conkle and Lissa Mensik will both be moving to third grade while Gail Morris and Jim Huckaby will be moving to second grade, Steve Robeck will become the math specialist and Kim Fitzthum will be full-time in the library.

Tonasket High School Principal Jeff Hardesty said the master schedule is on its way to being completed. He said over the next two weeks, the staff at the high school will go through the schedule, sorting numbers and deciding which classes to keep or eliminate when there are small numbers for some classes.

Tonasket Alternative High School Lead Instructor Chelsea Freeman told the board the alternative school started with 17 students in September and grew to 29 students by the end of May. She said the goals for next year are to continue to track Levels and Steps, promote the alternative school to the high school and the community, administer NWEA three times yearly and use data more efficiently and to be prepared for budgets cuts between 10 percent and 20 percent.

Tonasket Outreach Program Director Carol Lanigan said the program had five graduating seniors this year. She said three were parents, one was raising her siblings and the fifth was working. She said she was proud of the five of them graduating. She added that five eighth graders were promoted to the ninth grade. The September headcount for the program was 35 but by the end of May, the program had 48 students.

During this meeting, the board heard from the district’s food service provider, Eric Smith, regarding the rates for meals.

“The USDA mandates that the prices for paid student meals are equal to what we’re reimbursed by the state for unpaid meals,” Smith said. “We have six years to match these two funds, so I’m proposing a quarter increase in meal prices for the next two years.”

Since the board did not wish to increase meal prices every year in order to reach the matching point, they voted for the quarter increase to current meal prices, an option that both the Omak and Oroville School Districts chose to do as well.

The board then approved Policy Number 2190: Highly Capable Programs.

“In accordance with the philosophy to develop the special abilities of each student, the district shall offer appropriate instructional programs to meet the needs of highly capable students of school age,” the policy states. “The framework for such programs shall encompass, but not be limited to, the following objectives: a. expansion of academic attainments and intellectual skills; b. stimulation of intellectual curiosity, independence and responsibility; c. development of a positive attitude toward self and others; and d. development of originality and creativity.”

The board also approved Policy Number 2409: Credit for Competency/Proficiency.

“The board recognizes the value of preparing students to be global citizens with the skills to communicate in English and other world languages,” the policy states. “In our state’s diverse communities, it is not unusual for students to have various opportunities to develop language skills, for example, through experiences of using the language at home, attendance at language programs offered in the community, learning online, extended-day opportunities in lieu of the full 150 hour class-time credit, or time spent living abroad. The district encourages students and their families to take advantage of any language learning opportunities available to them.”

Finally, the board approved of six summer athletic programs: summer basketball for boys and girls with Glenn Braman, open field/soccer with Darren Collins, summer football camp with Jay Hawkins, wrestling camp with Dave Mitchell, summer lifting and conditioning program with Jim Williams and the volleyball summer program with Nellie Kirk.

The board will have a public hearing regarding the redistricting of the board member districts at 7:15 p.m. before their 7:30 p.m. board meeting on Monday, June 27.