School board OKs revised 2018-19 calendar, gets an earful about Right at School program

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Mike Neumeister, area director for the Boys and Girls Club of Snohomish County, appeared before the school board to request that the Boys and Girls Club be reinstated as an on-site program.

With six snow days to make up after the recent snow, the Edmonds School Board at its March 12 meeting unanimously approved a revised 2018-19 school year calendar. The revised calendar includes one additional make-up day — since the original had just five — pushing the last day of school from June 20 to June 26.

One calendar change included moving the end of quarter date for secondary schools from March 29 to April 12 to accommodate the loss of instructional days during the third quarter. This will allow for more instructional time prior to third-quarter grades being due, said Executive Director of Human Resources Debby Carter.

“We also have some days in there where we try to protect them (staff) from meetings,” she said. “So that they can do progress reporting, make phone calls.”

In addition, May 10 has been changed from a “supplemental day” — a work day for teachers, when students do not have school — to a make-up day, Carter said. Supplemental days can be designated for building time (building-directed), individual time (individual-directed) or a combination of both.

To compensate, the May 24 early-release day will become a “building-directed day” — a day without students to allow for administrator-directed staff development. Carter said the decision to make May 24 a building-directed day was significant.

“May is a really crucial time for schools that are working on their school improvement, class placements, preparation for the coming year,” she said. “Without that time, they would have lost some pretty valuable time to work together as a staff.”

The new 2018-19 calendar also includes switching the April 24 early-release day to an “individual-directed day” for individual-certificated staff members to work on individual professional development, collaborate with other certificated staff and work on other certificated duties.

“Things like teachers working on end-of-semester grades would fall into this category,” said district spokeswoman Kelly Franson.

In another change, the April 26 early-release day will now be a building-directed day for staff. To view the revised 2018-19 school calendar, click here.

Superintendent Kris McDuffy praised the efforts of Carter and Executive Director of Student Learning Rob Baumgartner to figure out the best way to make up snow days.

“It isn’t as simple as tacking on days at the end of the year,” she said.

In addition, the school board heard testimony from Mike Neumeister, the area director for the Boys and Girls Club of Snohomish County, about the board’s decision to contract with Right at School as the district’s only on-site, before- and after-school enrichment program. Starting at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year, Right at School will replace the Boys and Girls Club and the YMCA as on-site child care providers. The three schools that use Kids Krew out of the City of Mountlake Terrace will offer dual on-site child care.

Since the announcement that the district will be replacing the current on-site child care providers at 13 of the district’s 22 elementary and K-8 schools, several parents have criticized the school board for not making the decision a transparent process. Some parents are also concerned that rates at Right at School — which boasts equality and affordability — are higher than the rates for child care at the Boys and Girls Club.

“Many parents are not sure what to do,” Neumeister said. “They can’t afford the higher fees Right at School charges.”

Neumeister requested the school board reinstate the Boys and Girls Club as an on-site child care provider in the 2019-20 school year or make accommodations to transport the students to the Boys and Girls Club locations in either Lynnwood or Edmonds.

Right at School offers discounts to military families, families with multiple children in the programs and students on free-or-reduced lunch, but for families that do not fall in those categories, the cost for child care doubles, said parent Matt Faber.

“If you want an equity of opportunity, it’s not there,” he said.

Faber also questioned the board’s decision to not offer the Boys and Girls Club — which has provided on-site child care for more than 20 years — the opportunity to provide dual child care alongside Right at School, as it is doing with Kids Krew.

“If we’re looking to have just the same across the board, why are there other schools that still have the programs that were in place beforehand?” he asked.

District officials apologized for the lack of transparency for entering into the agreement with Right at School without consulting parents.

“The opportunity is missed to further engage with our community,” Superintendent McDuffy said. “But we are where we are, and the board’s taken action for us to move forward with our commitment.”

The Right at School program will be offered at each of the district’s 22 elementary and K-8 schools at the start of the 2019-20 school year as part of a one-year commitment to see how the program does in the schools, McDuffy said.

For more information about Right at School, visit a FAQ page on the Edmonds School District website or the Right at School website

–Story and photo by Cody Sexton

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