Tuesday night’s Edmond School Board meeting was the last one for 2013, so the meeting began with end-of-the-year celebrations and setting up the board for 2014.
Board members Ann McMurray and Susan Phillips, who were re-elected in November to the school board for an additional four-year term, were re-sworn in and congratulated by their fellow board members.
Additionally, the 2014 board officers were elected. Kory DeMun was nominated to be the Legislative Representative, Diana White will serve as Vice President, and Susan Phillips will take over for Ann McMurray as president.
“Ann, we just really thank you for your service and everything you’ve done for the board,” Phillips said after her appointment as president of the board. “It will be difficult to follow in your footsteps.”
Then, the school board gave certificates of recognition an individual and a group for their contributions to the district, both nominated by Phillips. First was Mark Dillan, who has provided 13 years of service as a member of the Citizen Planning Committee and five years as a member of the Budget Advisory Committee.
“He represents the community and parental involvement that is so vital to the committee,” McMurray said of Dillan.
“I wasn’t going to come tonight because although I appreciate the recognition, the people I work with on the school board are mentors and I learned so much more from you all than I ever thought I would,” Dillan said after receiving his certificate. “Each individual child needs to have the help to become as successful as they can and volunteers are the key. The staff teachers are all wonderful, but parents have to get involved. “
Clothes for Kids also received recognition, for providing clothing for students in need, thus improving their learning environment. A group of eight board members and volunteers appeared before the board to receive the organization’s certificate, noting that their accomplishments within the community would not have been possible without the support and partnership with the Edmonds School District, which refers many of the recipients of donated clothes to the organization for help.
Cedar Valley Community School was then recognized by the Northwest Educational Service District (NWESD) for having test score improvement rated in the top 5 percent of the state.
“This does not happen because one group of bright students happens to make its way through,” NWESD superintendent Jerry Jenkins said. “At the school level there are leadership teams working together, and every day there is quality instruction taking place.”
The school’s principal, CJ Gray, and former principal, Charlotte Beyer, received the award and banner to hang in the school.
The Edmonds Public Schools Foundation reported to the board that they will merge with the Edmonds Alumni Association, and beginning in January, they will be known as the Edmonds Public School and Alumni Foundation.
The foundation also reported that they are anticipating an increase of students participating in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics—a group of subjects commonly called STEM—Expo this February. Approximately 40 teachers across the district have been involved in workshops that teach educators how to prepare scientific research and engineering design projects for the expo. It has been primarily elementary-level teachers participating in these workshops, and as a result, the Edmonds Public Schools Foundation is expecting more students to be asking for project-based learning by the time they reach middle and high school.
Later, Assistant Superintendent Patrick Murphy reported to the board that interviews have begun to secure a school counselor dedicated to ensuring students graduate on time at all four of the district’s comprehensive high schools.
Murphy also reported that there are two major inconsistencies between the curricula offered at the four comprehensive high schools. All incoming freshmen have the option to take honors biology, but if they do not take honors biology, Lynnwood High School and Mountlake Terrace High School students will take a non-honors version of biology while Meadowdale High School and Edmonds-Woodway High School students will take physical science.
The other major inconsistency is in the senior project program. Edmonds-Woodway makes senior project an at-home assignment, while the other three comprehensive high schools have integrated it into the senior English course. Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace high schools have the most in-class time dedicated to the senior project.
Both the cases of senior project and ninth-grade science will be evaluated further before any district-wide standardization can occur, and the district is currently looking at options for both.
All actions taken at the meeting were quick and unanimous. Oak Heights Elementary School and Meadowdale Elementary School were both declared to be in a state of emergency, so as to expedite repairs to classrooms at both schools that were flooded when frozen pipes burst this week.
The board approved a policy that would allow the district to purchase food and beverages for its employees in certain situations where the district is benefiting, such as in a long weekend training session or for volunteers in lieu of paid compensation. Food and beverages purchased must be reasonable and necessary.
The board also approved the full-time kindergarten tuition rate of $360 per month for the 2014-2015 school year.
— Story and photo by Natalie Covate