School Board honors student musicians, reviews math program

Music Award Students 2-2016 b
Student musicians were recognized Tuesday night for being selected to go to all-state honors. A full list of the students invited to all-state honors is below the article. (Photos provided by the Edmonds School District)

Tuesday night’s school board meeting began with a celebration for music students selected to join a select group of the best 1,500 student musicians in the state.

The group spent a day in Yakima last week (either Wednesday or Friday, depending on the group) to participate in all-state honors, practice with some of the best musicians in the state and work with professional musicians.

Once the all-state musicians were honored, David Endicott, president and CEO of Music4Life, presented on the group’s accomplishments within the Edmonds School district. Music4Life is a nonprofit organization that provides musical instruments to students in need.

In the last three months alone, Music4Life has donated 17 musical instruments to Edmonds School District schools. Those instruments have a combined value of $20,370. In the 2014-2015 school year, 20 ready-to-play instruments were donated, totaling $15,430.

Middle School musicians
Three of the five middle school students invited to all-state.

“The too-sad fact of the matter is that, in today’s struggling economy, many families cannot even afford to rent a musical instrument, so those students are denied the full, basic education guaranteed by the state constitution,” Endicott said.

A mother who recently moved within the Edmonds School District boundaries addressed the school board. She said her kids won’t eat school lunches at Lynnwood Elementary because they are boring and repetitive.

“This year, I have seen a lot more issues with (school lunches),” she said. “Sometimes there’s not enough fruit or vegetables by the time kids at the end of the line get to the front.”

She offered to volunteer to help make school lunches more fun and educational for kids, and said she has other parents who live within the district who will also help create a new menu.

“We need to get more variety into their meals, because kids who don’t eat hummus as kids won’t eat hummus as adults, same as with turnips or beets or anything else,” she said. “I just want my kids to be able to eat a healthy meal while they’re at school.”

Superintendent Nick Brossoit told her to speak with Assistant Superintendent Patrick Murphy so she could be connected with people in charge of school lunches.

Executive Director of Student Learning Lara Drew presented a report to the board on the district’s math program. The purpose of the report was to find out what Edmonds can do better by figuring out the context of problems within the district and to identify what other districts out-performing Edmonds are doing to excel.

To do that, the district staff looked at grades and scores for students who graduated in 2013.

Students who failed the first semester of Algebra tend to not do well in the second semester. Failing students are disproportionately male, Hispanic and receive free or reduced lunch.

About 53 percent of students who enter a two-year college after graduating from the Edmonds School District go into pre-college math courses — more than the state average of 47 percent. The same cannot be said for English courses, where just 17 percent of students enter pre-college level courses compared to the state average of 24 percent.

Graduates going into a four-year college tend to do much better. Just five percent enter pre-college level math, which is slightly below the state average of 6 percent.

More students do go to college from Edmonds than from elsewhere, though it is impossible to say exactly how many more.

To understand what Edmonds School District can do better, staff members interviewed other schools with higher free and reduced lunch rates but who also got higher scores on math tests. In reviewing other math programs, staff members found they vary substantially between schools, but there are some things in common.

Teacher coaching and support is common among all schools. Some also create school-wide assessments to ensure all classes are on the same level as far as meeting standards.

Many schools said the reason they are so successful is because they focus on state testing standards and teachers are focused on reaching the highest level of achievement within those standards.

Student learning staff members recommend a pilot program for one to three elementary schools, one to two middle schools and one high school during the 2016-2017 school year to see if intense teacher training and release time for math labs for students will help students do better in math.

“We want to create a consistent continuum of support for students,” Drew said.

The school board also heard two reports from Assistant Superintendent Patrick Murphy. First, he followed up on a question from the Jan. 12 School Board meeting about having multiple chaperones on overnight or long-distance field trips.

Now, if students go somewhere overnight, even if there are fewer than 10, they will need at least two chaperones so that if one becomes sick or unavailable, the students will still have a chaperone with them.

Murphy also presented on data from the class of 2015 cohort.

Overall, more students graduated on-time from Edmonds School District high schools than the state average. The only exceptions were Scriber Lake and the E-learning Academy. However, the graduation rate saw a slight dip in 2015 compared to 2014.

Also at Tuesday night’s school board meeting:

  • A pesky typo in Board Policy 6815 was removed. The policy was created in 1993 and no one noticed the word “Retaliation” was spelled incorrectly until recently. It was first presented on Jan. 26 but needed a second reading to pass because it is technically a change to the policy.
  • The district authorized a construction budget and a call for bids to replace the synthetic turf at Meadowdale High School. Infill options will be included in bids from construction companies; this authorization does not lock the district into any one particular infill option.
  • CDK Construction Services was selected to replace windows and doors at Mountlake Terrace High School.

–By Natalie Covate

School Group Student Instrument
MDHS Jazz Choir Mikaela Jones Sop 1
EWHS Jazz Choir Benson Pennington String Bass
EWHS WMEA All-State Jazz Band Elizabeth Abel Trombone
MDHS WMEA All-State Jazz Band Jacob Volz Alto Sax
MTHS WMEA All-State Wind Ensemble Shelby Greif Trumpet
EWHS WMEA All-State Wind Ensemble Rimmy Le Clarinet
EWHS WMEA All-State Wind Ensemble Eric Schultz Percussion
EWHS WMEA All-State Concert Band Kyle Gaul Bass Cl.
MTHS WMEA All-State Concert Band Kaylee McGovern Flute
MTHS WMEA All-State Concert Band Molly Taylor Clarinet
EWHS WMEA All-State Chamber Orchestra Mason Fagan String Bass
EWHS WMEA All-State Chamber Orchestra Andrew Kim Cello
EWHS WMEA All-State Chamber Orchestra Jonathan Mah Viola
LHS WMEA All-State Symphony Orchestra Shintaro Taneda Violin
EWHS WMEA All-State Symphony Orchestra Juliana Bushnell Violin
EWHS WMEA All-State Symphony Orchestra Helen Nguyen Violin
EWHS WMEA All-State Symphony Orchestra Dana Wenzel Violin
MDHS WMEA All-State Symphonic Choir Brent Johnson Bass 2
MDHS WMEA All-State Symphonic Choir Fay Mitchell Alto 1
MDHS WMEA All-State Symphonic Choir Julianna Siegrist Alto 2
MDHS WMEA All-State Treble Choir Megan Hall Alto 1
MDHS WMEA All-State Treble Choir Tara Pope Alto 2
BTMS Baker Band Micah Cortezzo Bassoon
BTMS Baker Band Nahum Cortezzo Trumpet
MAD K-8 Baker Band Jared Perez Trombone
BTMS Rainier Band Ian Sjoholm Tuba
AMS Rainier Band Andrew Vinther String Bass

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