Shoreline School Board Meeting Summary February 8, 2016

Friday, February 12, 2016

By Marianne Deal Stephens

The meeting was the first for Shorecrest Student Representative Rachel Semon, who will sit with the  Shoreline School Board for the rest of the school year. The Board and meeting attendees welcomed Ms. Semon, and President Wilson summarized some of her accomplishments. Ms. Semon is Co-Captain of the Shorecrest Flag Team, works as part of the stage crew for drama productions, is taking AP classes, and aims to attend a four-year college and major in graphic design.

Gifts and Trips
As part of the evening’s Consent Agenda, the Board approved:

  • a $8,900 gift from Microsoft for the Shorewood Robotics program
  • extended field trips for Shorecrest DECA students to attend the State DECA Competition in Bellevue in March; and for Syre 3rd graders to Tillicum Village on Blake Island in June for the culmination of their Pacific Northwest Studies unit.
President Wilson publicly thanked Microsoft for the support and praised Robotics’ “great program”.

Lockdown/ Lockout Procedures Update
Director of Athletics and School Safety Don Dalziel and Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Chuck Goodwin clarified the difference between lockout and lockdown, and presented a new incorporation of “Run, Hide, Fight” into the emergency protocol with the assistance of School Resource Officer Greg McKinney. Mr. Goodwin began by saying that he and his counterparts in other districts continually evaluate best practices and periodically make changes.

In 2009, the District established a procedure for lockdowns, which was updated in 2012. New changes become necessary as school district preparedness personnel and local emergency services evaluate actual incidents and consider State recommendations.

Shoreline School District emergency procedures consist of protocols which are outlined in simple flip charts in every classroom. Changes are incorporated into staff training and charts are easily updated by swapping out pages rather than reprinting an entire handbook.

A lockout is when a threat is a distance from the school, but poses safety issues. In these situations, once the perimeter is secured, some class activity can continue. 

Lockdown is when the threat is near, on campus, or inside the school building. Both scenarios have particular announcements and steps. When students and staff are inside a classroom during a lockdown, “barricade door” is a new step, and “fight” is an optional, last resort.
Source: Shoreline Schools

Mr. Goodwin acknowledged that “fight” is “controversial in nature” and clarified that it “is not a mandate…[it] is an option.” Officer McKinney stated that everyone has the right to defend themselves and would be protected from liability when acting in that capacity.

Director Dick Nicholson inquired about staff training. Mr. Goodwin, along with local police, will be at all-staff meetings at each school. Director Mike Jacobs asked how students would become aware of the updates, and Director Dalziel indicated that there would be a shorter presentation for the students.

Board Directors asked about locks, doors, and buildings. Director Dalziel acknowledged that the District has many different building designs, and Mr. Goodwin briefly discussed the balance of securing doors while also maintaining egress as required by codes.

Board Vice President Ehrlichman asked about the nature of recent events at Shorewood and Shorecrest which involved internal threats. Director Dalziel discussed what is termed “threat assessment” and described how the local ESD (Educational Service District) is providing approaches for threat assessment.

Officer McKinney assured the Board that “we will have officers on the scene within a couple of minutes”, and Board Vice President Ehrlichman offered that “we are lucky to have a police force close”.

Possible Change to Calendar Model
During the recent contract negotiation with the SEA (Shoreline Education Association, the teacher’s union), a joint SEA/ District committee was formed to examine a partial release day model. Deputy Superintendent Marla Miller, Kellogg Principal Liza Gonzales, and Syre Librarian Heidi Alexander presented the committee’s work and recommendation. The committee included teachers and administrators from elementary, middle, and high schools as well as District administrators.

The committee came about because Shoreline’s model for teacher professional development may have to be altered. The State does not provide any funding for professional development (PD), but has been approving waivers for districts that provide Professional Development. Shoreline’s waiver has allowed the district to reduce the number of student days from 180 to 175 while still meeting requirements for total hours of instruction.

Source: Shoreline Schools

While the State offers no funding for professional days, Shoreline has levy-funded prep days before the school year begins as well as full days during the year. Very few districts — only Shoreline and Edmonds in our region — have full days for Development. Most districts have designated early release days, most often on Wednesdays or Fridays.

The group discussed how teachers would prefer the partial release model so that professional development meetings would be more frequent and allow for a collaborative professional process.

The committee has a draft of a plan, and will gather community input on the idea. Deputy Superintendent Miller envisions four community meetings, with open invitations to staff, PTAs, and parents. The District will present the draft plan, allow time for discussion, and have a questionnaire to “to capture feedback”.

Source: Shoreline Schools

The committee acknowledges that the plan would have significant impact on child care needs and will have separate meetings with childcare organizations to see if they could adapt to a new model.

Director Mike Jacobs commented that the meetings need to be “not just us telling them [families in the District] how it will work”. Since the district needs community buy-in, the community input must make an impact and affect the plan. Vice President Ehrlichman suggested that the topic be shared at the next PTA Coffee, and that the district hold more than four broad-based meetings. Superintendent Miner suggested discussing the topic at already-scheduled Cafecitos meetings [at least two schools in Shoreline have Cafecitos meetings on a regular basis with the building principal and Spanish-speaking parents]. President David Wilson asked Information Officer Curtis Campbell to have information on the website, including FAQ.

Deputy Superintendent Marla Miller will announce the meetings and be available for groups to invite her to their meetings.

Legislative Update
Director Dick Potter recently attended the WSSDA (Washington State School Directors’ Association ) Legislative Conference along with Superintendent Miner, Deputy Superintendent Marla Miller, and Board President David Wilson. The conference consisted of two days of presentations and meetings with legislators.

The State is still not fully funding education. Director Potter relayed that McCleary attorney Thomas Ahearne quipped that “it took less time for the U.S. to put a man on the moon than for Washington State to fund education.”

According to the presentations at the WSSDA conference, Washington is 40th among the states for education funding, and 44th in the percentage of tax revenue spent on education. “It is grim” noted Director Potter as he went on to explain that State Superintendent Randy Dorn “has low expectations” for the legislative session.

Among the current issues:
  • the approaching “levy cliff” which could cause teacher layoffs [note: this topic will be explored in a separate article];
  • the class size reduction measure (which, taken with the levy cliff’s resulting in potential teacher layoffs, is part of “a real dichotomy” in the State);
  • test participation rates which may affect funding;
  • teacher and substitute shortages;
  • delinking the EOC Biology exam from graduation requirements since the exam does not reflect current core requirements.
Director Potter mentioned State Treasurer Jim McIntire’s plan to restructure Washington State’s tax system (See Washington needs to reform its tax system to fix broken school funding, Seattle Times 2.3.16  ). According to the Treasurer, the current tax structure will get worse over time. A 1% increase in the economy yields only 0.4% increase in property taxes.

Comments from the Community
SEA President David Guthrie praised the Partial Early Release Model committee’s work as “a fabulous example of collaboration between management and labor”. President Guthrie explained that the model presented in the meeting “really helps us get to the heart of what professional development is” since the teachers can come together, use data, and revise their teaching. He mentioned that this kind of work also “addresses the joy deficit” in teaching. President Guthrie also praised the District for its work on security by making sure that security procedures follow best practices. He mentioned that some staff work in rooms that lock from the outside and asked that that issue be resolved.

Einstein Teacher Pat Valle articulated concerns about how the new security protocols would be communicated with teachers during staff meetings that only run 30-40 minutes. She wondered if the presentation could happen effectively when there would not be much extra time. Ms. Valle also expressed concerns about how teachers will communicate the changes to students, particularly since the process and material. will have to be age-differentiated.

School Board Reports and Communications
Director Dick Nicholson enjoyed the School of Excellence Breakfast at Lake Forest Park Elementary.
Director Mike Jacobs will be chaperoning the Shorewood Bowling Team to State in Vancouver.
Director Dick Potter went to the well-attended Shorecrest Big Band Fundraiser.

Vice President Debi Ehrlichman has three schools left to visit in her midyear visits to all of Shoreline’s schools. She heard “Stories Live” at Meridian Park Elementary, saw “Force in Motion” at Highland Terrace Elementary, and relayed the success of Shorecrest’s recent STEM Day for elementary students on February 5.

Vice President Ehrlichman drew attention to an article in the latest issue of Parent Map: More Than Band-Aids: Demand for School Nurses Increases, but Funding Doesn’t Follow, Parent Map 2.1.16. The article discusses that, while the need for school nurses is increasing, the state does not provide funding, and Shoreline is the only one of Washington’s 295 districts to have a full-time nurse in each school. District Information Officer Curtis Campbell and Shorewood Nurse Paula Williams are quoted in the article.

President David Wilson praised Shorewood’s Chamber Ensemble musicians and their Director Dan Wing for the recent recital.

Shorecrest Senior Rachel Semon mentioned that the Eastside Band Festival was going on at the same time as the meeting, and that her flag team was performing at the event.

Following the public portion of the meeting, the Board went into Executive Session to review the performance of a public employee.


Anonymous,  February 13, 2016 at 7:29 AM  

Shoreline admins have threatened to cut or eliminate nurses or nursing hours many times over the last decade and a half. Building staff & parents were the ones who stepped up and fought for nurses. The gratuitous back-patting over being the "only" district with nurses at all buildings is a false narrative.

Anonymous,  February 13, 2016 at 8:29 AM  

I suggest that our classrooms receive shades for the windows on the doors. Currently, teachers must tape ratty scrolled butcher paper on them and remember to roll it down and tape it down during a lockdown. Not very safe.

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