By Eileen Kelliher
Almost 89 percent of high school students in the Edmonds School District are on track to graduate this spring, Assistant Superintendent Patrick Murphy told the Edmonds School Board during their meeting earlier this week.
Murphy provided a statistical snapshot view of projected graduation rates using May data for the class of 2013, reflecting those students who have met state testing requirements in reading, writing and math. Almost 89 percent of this year’s class have met standard in the three areas; last year, that number was 80 percent. School board member Diana White complimented the graduates for this achievement despite going through budget cuts year after year. Board chair Ann McMurray added that the students, “achieved through adversity,” and board member Susan Phillips noted that the accomplishments were made despite changes in course requirements,
Also during the May 14 meeting:
– The board agreed to give space on the district website homepage to a new student-focused non-profit, A Dollar a Day for A Year/Pledge 365. Created by CJ Sternfels, an Edmonds School District 8th grader, it plans to use social media to fund classroom essentials, projects, field trips, books and programs. The district currently provides website space and direct links to three other non-profits: Clothes for Kids, Edmonds Public Schools Foundation (EPSF) and the Edmonds School District Alumni Foundation, whiile alll other nonprofits are named at the bottom of the district’s weekly electronic announcement. Superintendent Nick Brossoit told the board there is no written policy on this issue, but one is being developed based on research into what other districts are doing.
The board proposed that Dollar a Day be accepted on a probationary status and a direct link be put under the Community tab on the district website while the board and staff monitored its operation.
– Director of Facilities Operations Brian Harding reported on changes in the district’s rate structure for community use of school fields and buildings. The goal is to increase rental income while also providing a preferential rate for groups made of 90 percent or more of Edmonds School District students. Harding noted that this procedure change, which followed meetings with community groups, will take effect next fall.
– Harding also reported on possible policy changes concerning animals on campus and in schools, including how to address families that walk their dogs to school to pick up their children. The discussion focused on the need for a policy to address this so that principals have don’t have to police this issue on a case-by-case basis. McMurray, expressing concerns about liability, noted that “The owners are the most surprised when Fido bites somebody.” Board member White noted that she walks her dog up to school to pick up her children and waits outside the fence, adding that she does not want to see the schools turned into dog parks. Business and Operations Executive Director Stewart Mhyre will look further into liability coverage with the district’s Insurance Risk Pool and the board will save this issue for the next meeting’s agenda.
– During the Student Learning Report, Assistant Superintendent Tony Byrd took the opportunity to compliment the Edmonds-Woodway High School Jazz Band’s remarkable success at the Essentially Ellington competition in New York City. He also gave a shout out to the district staff that has the new teacher and principal evaluation system ready to go in the fall.
– The board approved replacement of Mountlake Terrace High School’s theater sound system, as well as two of three Capital Partnership Projects. Lynnwood Elementary School’s large play field will be renovated and the district will contribute $168,000 — or 80 percent — of the cost. Martha Lake Elementary School’s new multipurpose room sound system will be matched by the district 60 percent — or $8,250. However, Mountlake Terrace Elementary School’s request for a matching grant of $14,000 — or 70 percent of the total — to study the installation of a natural play field, an outdoor instruction area and a bicycle pump track area stirred debate. If approved, full cost of construction could be at least $165,000 — 70 percent of that covered by the district. A pump track consists of small mounds that allow young riders to learn how to control their bicycles on different terrains. Concerns were voiced about maintenance of all the small dirt mounds and about liability issues. In the end, the board agreed to study the measure, to give them better facts for considering the expenditure.
– The board also had a first reading of a revision to the student dress code to include a policy regarding student uniforms, based on requests by some schools interested in requiring them.
Finally, the board marked the closure of a 53-year-old community gathering spot — the Robin Hood Lanes bowling alley in Edmonds — by honoring owners Mike Gubsch and Charlie Pascoe, graduates of the former Woodway High School. Gubsch and Pascoe offered free bowling to all Edmonds and Shoreline School District high school students on Monday afternoons. According to district paraeducator Carolyn Nacke, who nominated them for recognition, the Robin Hood Lanes owners paid for the school league team shirts for all Edmonds-Woodway High School students and also covered the filing fee when the teams made it to state play-offs. In addition, lanes were offered free to coaches and advisors so that they could throw parties for the students.
Now that the bowling alley has closed to make way for a Walgreen’s store, Gubsch and Pascoe plan to continue coaching student bowling teams at other venues.
The board next meets on May 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the Educational Services Center, 20420 68th Ave. W., Lynnwood.
School board contributing writer Eileen Kelliher served as a parent volunteer while her three children went through Seaview Elementary, Meadowdale Middle School, and Edmonds-Woodway High School. She works occasionally as a substitute classified employee for the Edmonds School District. http://www.linkedin.com/in/eileenmkelliher/