School board meeting begins and ends on positive notes

TONASKET-All is good on the Tonasket School District front.

The regular school board meeting was on Monday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. in the school board room with the board of directors and the superintendent of schools.

The meeting started off on a positive note with Superintendent Randy Hauff reading a letter from the Superintendent of Public Instruction recognizing Keith Moeder, a math and science instructor for Tonasket Middle School, for his dedication to a project designed to determine how mathematics items should be scored on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning.

Hauff also read a letter from Margaret Lange about the Tonasket Library’s summer reading program. Lange stated that 40 percent of the kids who started the program this summer completed it as opposed to the 17 percent who completed last year.

The meeting moved to a presentation from Jollie Evans and Julie Conkle who have both been awarded the Teaching American History Grant from the American Institute for History Education, L. L. C. Conkle said part of the grant was access to Cicero with is a program with professional development units and classroom toolbox units. Access to Cicero is granted not only to Conkle and Evans, but to the entire school district and Conkle said once a school distract has access to it, they will always have access to it.

The principal reports began with Jeff Cravy, Tonasket Elementary School principal. Cravy’s report focused on the math materials which are being chosen for the school. Cravy said the elementary school is in the process of choosing between Bridges, which is used by a number of schools in our region and Math Connects which is a new set of math materials. He also said AmeriCorps is helping with other academic areas this year.

Jeff Hardesty, Tonasket High School principal, gave his report to the board, covering five topics. First, he said he had just wrapped up meetings on goals with the staff. He said the meetings were very productive and he is excited about the professional goals of his staff. Next, he said ESD spoke to the staff last Friday, which was Lit Day, about what standards they use to assess students’ grades. He said the staff left with the idea that they need to be very intentional about what standards they assess and why they are deconstructing standards.

Third in Hardesty’s report was the first Pyramid of Intervention, which was last Thursday. He said he was very excited with the Associated Student Body because they voted to buy rewards to be given out during the Pyramid Interventions which shows the ASB is behind the program. Fourth in Hardesty’s report was an upcoming workshop in Seattle on formative assessment which he is attending with Julie Colbert as well as Ed Morgan, middle school principal, and a member of the middle school staff.

The final part of Hardesty’s report was that the high school will be administering the Healthy Youth Survey which he said is a safe way for students to be surveyed about teen issues. When he was done, Catherine Stangland, board chair, asked what kind of intervention would be given to a student who is turning assignments in late. Hardesty replied that those students would be missing out on privileges.

“The week prior to the first Pyramid of Intervention, it would amaze you how quickly students were moving around the school to find out what their missing assignments were and working to turn them in,” Hardesty said.

Morgan gave his report about the middle school next. He said he and the staff met to discuss talking points after the early release last week, during which they discussed when they can meet with students who need extra help. Morgan said it was pretty exciting to hear the staff so excited about working with students. He finished by telling the board the middle school would also be administering the Healthy Youth Survey this week.

The board approved two high school fieldtrips. The first was for a group of students to travel to the University of Washington in Seattle for a two-day, overnight conference “designed to serve Latino high school seniors interested in attending the University of Washington,” according to the request. The field trip would be from Oct. 20-21.

The second field trip is to Washington State University from Oct. 31 to Nov. 1 for the Achievers Preview. During this trip, students will be able to apply for admission at WSU and will receive their decision before they leave Pullman.

The school board next moved to discussing personnel. Hauff told the board they have received resignations from Carolina Cowan, a high school and middle school English as a Second Language instructor; Judy Bunch, a bus driver and Nola Cassidy, a K-1 bilingual aide.

Hauff also recommended hiring Stephanie Vassar for the Title I secretary elementary playground supervisor position, Steve Bradbury for the middle school custodian position, Bobby Rise for a two-day per week contract for individual instruction in special education position, Jean Cravy for the high school math and middle school language arts and science instructor position and Sheila Barnes for the half-time second grade teaching position.

The only extracurricular contract the school board discussed was the approving of splitting the shared C-squad volleyball contract between Jackie Gliddon and Robbie Monroe at the middle school. Hauff next told the board Joyce Fancher was recognized by Washington State for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification bonus. He then recommended Carissa Haug for the emergency substitute teacher position.

The meeting ended on a positive note as well with Vice Chairwoman Patti Baumgardner telling the board she, Hauff and director Jerry Asmussen had met with Eric Smith about the interest in buying locally grown foods. She said Smith was very knowledgeable about the process and has been purchasing fruit from American Produce Express in Okanogan. Baumgardner said cost would be a major factor on whether locally grown food could be bought, but that Smith is willing to work with people.

The next school board meeting will be on Monday, Oct. 27.