Edmonds School Board approves Replacement Technology and Capital Improvement Levy; special election set for next February

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edmondssdlogoThe Edmonds School District Board voted unanimously to place a Replacement Technology and Capital Improvement Levy on the ballot for next February during Tuesday’s meeting.

The four year, $59 million measure will replace the 2012 voter-approved measure that is expiring in 2016. It will increase current levels of classroom technology for instruction and student learning, including the rollout of 1:1 Chromebooks for grades 3-12. The levy, which needs a simple majority to pass, also will address certain facility needs. A special election will be scheduled for Feb. 9, 2016.

“It is not a new tax,” Edmonds School District Nick Brossoit said. “It replaces the current levy that expires.”

The vote was 4-0 with Board Member Ann McMurray absent from the meeting.

In the Student Learning Report, Executive Director of Student Learning Lara Drew reported that the district received positive feedback on the Jump Start program, a pre-kindergarten for children preparing to enter kindergarten.

Eighty-four percent of the staff, who responded to a survey, were satisfied with Jump Start. The plan for next year is to schedule one consistent week across the district for the program instead of the two weeks this year. The date likely will be the second week in August.

The plan also is to have a four-day program for the children and one day for teachers to work on class placement and to debrief the week. The feedback received indicated that most of the staff felt four days was better than five days for the children, Drew said.

This year was the first time that the Edmonds PreK program was open to all students in the district. Programs at Cedar Valley, Chase Lake, Mountlake Terrace, Oak Heights and Meadowdale started the week of Oct. 5. Programs at Beverly, Lynnwood and Lynnwood will start the week of Oct. 19.

The second year of the Smarter Balanced Assessment brought changes in the testing schedule and the graduation requirements vs. college and career readiness standards. Students will now do their retakes in the fall and winter rather than just winter. Students also will have the opportunity to choose the assessment that they are retaking to meet high school graduation requirements.

Drew told the board that the state is recommending that districts proceed slowly with purchasing science material.

“Publishers don’t necessarily have curriculum that are aligned,” Drew said. “We want to proceed with caution investing in curriculum tools.”

The district currently has two science units in grades K-6, while many other districts have three units, Drew noted. The district will be looking into the feasibility of adding another science unit.

Drew said that the district will be looking to join with another school district to explore Math and Science Partnerships, which are professional learning for K-12 teachers and learning activities for students. The district on its own hasn’t been eligible for the partnership in the past.

The rollout of Chromebooks for all students in grades 7-8 and students in grades 3-6 at College Place Elementary and Cedar Valley Community School is going well.

“The Chromebooks are alive and well in schools,” Drew said. “Teachers are really exploring new types of instruction.”

One of the advantages of Chromebooks is the opportunity for teachers to provide immediate feedback to students, Drew said.

“It highlights the power of the technology,” she added.

In the Secondary Report, Assistant Superintendent (Secondary) Patrick Murphy told the board that the district has updated its policies for Highly Capable Students.

One change mandated by the state was replacing the word “nominate” to “referral” in the definition of the program. Murphy noted this change emphasizes that the process involves a student demonstrating something that warrants a referral.

In addition, high school students now can be referred to a Highly Capable Program. The previous cutoff was eighth grade.

The district also is taking additional steps to reach out to the community and trying to reach underserved populations including ethnic groups, students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged students and students for whom English is a second language. Written material is being translated into different languages, Murphy said.

In response to a resident’s question about 3.3 acres of real estate near Esperence Park, Superintendent Nick Brossoit said that the district is in active negotiations with Snohomish County for the possible sale of the land from the district to the county. Brossoit, in response to another question about an interlocal agreement with the City of Edmonds for the athletic (crumb rubber) fields at Woodway Campus, said that the district’s attorney is engaged in discussions with Edmonds about some proposed language in the agreement. In the event that the Edmonds doesn’t contribute financially through the agreement, the district would be able to cover Edmonds’ portion of the costs of the fields.

The Board unanimously approved:

  • The use of the General Contractor/Construction Manager Project Deliver Method for the Madrona K-8 School Replacement Project. In this method, the General Contractor is brought in at the start of the project and assists in the development of the project.
  • The district’s Executive Director of Business and Operations, Capital Projects Director and the Director of Budget and Finance to be the authorized agents for construction of the new Alderwood Middle School and the new Lynndale Elementary School.
  • The selection of Mahlum Architects as the architect for the New Madrona K-8 School and an agreement with Mahlum Architects for the pre-design work.
  • The demolition of Lynndale Elementary School.

The Board recognized October as Filipino American History Month and National Principals Month.

The Board also honored 42 student artists, many of whom were present at Tuesday’s meeting, for their artwork in the 2015-16 school district calendar. The calendar is mailed to 15,000 households and is entering its 25th year of publication. For the third year, the Foundation for Edmonds School provided a grant to the district that enabled the calendar to be printed in color.

— By David Pan

Student artists whose work appeared in the 2015-16 calendar were honored by the Edmonds School District Board of Directors Tuesday night.
Student artists whose work appeared in the 2015-16 calendar were honored by the Edmonds School District Board of Directors Tuesday night.

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