12-7-15 Shoreline School Board Meeting: Leadership Shift, Kindergarteners Doing Well, A High School Student Speaks Up

Monday, January 11, 2016

Directors Potter (from left), Jacobs, and Nicholson
take the oath of office at the 12-7-15 meeting
Photo by Marianne Deal Stephens

By Marianne Deal Stephens

Oath of Office and Reorganization of the Board
Once a year, the Superintendent of Shoreline Public Schools renews the Oath of Office. Board President Mike Jacobs, in his last official act as Board President, administered the Oath to Superintendent Rebecca Miner. She vowed to “support the Constitution of the United States and the State of Washington and will faithfully discharge the duties of the Office of the Superintendent of the Shoreline School District No. 412, in the County of King, State of Washington, according to the best of my ability.”

In turn, Superintendent Miner administered the oath for three Directors reelected in November: Mike Jacobs, Dick Nicholson, and Richard Potter. Following the oath, the Board quickly reorganized.

David Wilson became the new Board President, and Debi Ehrlichman assumed the office of Vice President.

Consent Agenda
The evening’s 21-item consent agenda included:

  • Acceptance of gifts from Echo Lake PTA ($6000 for class projects and student experiences), Meridian Park PTSA ($7197.88 for assemblies, 6th grade camp, and music), and Syre Elementary PTSA ($6050 for assemblies and field trip transportation).
  • Approval of the final SEA Certificated Salary Schedule.
  • Approval of Interlocal Agreement with Fircrest and DSHS for education of the students “through age 21 who have not met high school graduation requirements and reside at Fircrest.”
  • Authority and Project Budget for Feasibility/ Design Phase for: Ridgecrest Fire Alarm Replacement Project; Shoreline Stadium Field Replacement and Track Structural Coating Project; Shorewood High School Security Fencing.
  • Approval of Extended Field Trips: Shorecrest music students to All State in Yakima in February; Shorewood DECA students to the State Competition in Bellevue in March; Shorewood Drill to State Competition in Yakima in March; Shorecrest AVID students to four Eastern Washington colleges in April; Ridgecrest 6th graders to Warm Beach Camp in May; Echo Lake 6th graders to Camp Orkila in May.

President Wilson publicly thanked Echo Lake PTSA, Meridian Park PTSA, and Syre PTSA for their gifts, saying that “the common theme here is tremendous support” in the form of donations that “fill our needs and enrich our schools.”

Dual Language Program: Exploration Update
A summary of the District’s research and possible proposal will appear in a separate article. (Shoreline School District exploring Dual Language Program)

WaKIDS Assessment Results
Dr. Michael Power, Director of Assessment and Student Learning, offered a summary of the first Shoreline WaKIDS results. This assessment is a required part of the newly acquired State-Funded Full-Day Kindergarten at five Shoreline elementary schools. All ten Shoreline elementary schools offer full-day kindergarten, but state funding currently covers five: Briarcrest, Echo Lake, Lake Forest Park, Meridian Park, and Parkwood. In 2016-17, state funding for all day Kindergarten will expand to all elementary schools.

WaKIDS, the Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills, is a State transition process “that helps ensure a successful start to the K-12 experience and connect the key adults in a child’s life” (OSPI WaKIDS).

Source: WaKIDS, OSPI

The WaKIDS Whole-Child Assessment involves teacher observation during usual class activities; kids are not pulled out and tested.

Source: Shoreline School District

Teachers assess six areas of development and learning: Physical; Social-emotional; Language (oral); Cognitive; Mathematics; Literacy (print). Since the observations include so many characteristics for each child, there are many pieces of data and the teachers’ work is intensive. The District provided some release time [substitutes were hired] for teachers. Meetings with parents at each school explained the process and the WaKIDS program.

While there is currently no state data for 2015, a comparison of Shoreline in 2015 to the state in 2014 shows that our kids are starting out well.

Source: Shoreline School District

Dr. Power pointed out that approximately 20-22% of our kids need some additional skills, and that the high percentage in literacy “is a testament to our families who provide language-rich homes.”

Over time, the District will use the information for planning purposes. Board Vice President Ehrlichman asked what the State plans to do with the information, and wondered if results would be shared with the early childhood programs. Dr. Power assured the Board that the information is primarily for the teachers, though the State does need proof that all day kindergarten is working in order to support the funding. One of the advantages of WaKIDS is that it “makes you look at the child, the physical child” and not only at the child’s work. Over time, the District will work with kindergarten teachers on how to use this data.

Revisions to Policy Regarding Release of Student Directory Information
Public Information Officer Curtis Campbell presented an update to Policy 3250, which concerns the release of student directory information. In its previous form, the policy “did not clearly state that photographs, video images, and email addresses are considered directory information.” Along with the policy change, the Opt-Out Form will be updated. This form allows parents to request that their student’s name, image, or other pieces of information not be released for any reason. Mr. Campbell noted that parents often, in the flurry of paperwork at the start of a new school year, sign the form without realizing its full ramifications.

Discussion about the policy led to a related but separate issue regarding volunteers and parents taking photos during the school day. The District will come out with photo guidelines in early 2016.

New Policy for Library Media Centers
Policy 2021 outlines the purpose of library media centers, which “will be used to support and extend the classroom program of instruction” and establishes procedures for selection of materials.

2014-2015 Year-End Financial Report
Director of Finance and Business Services and Deputy Superintendent Marla Miller presented the 2014-2015 Year End Financial Report. Though the District’s Fiscal Year ends August 31, the final reports come out in late fall after all transactions have closed.
Source: Shoreline School District
In addition to the items highlighted above, officials offered a few comments about particular budget variances:

  • The Children’s Center did better than in 2013-2014 because of higher enrollment;
  • Electricity and natural gas expenditures were under budget due to: the mild winter; a change in heating method at Shorecrest; and low energy prices;
  • Tax collections were higher than expected because of increased real estate activity.

The District submits a detailed year-end report to the State, which can be viewed on pages 175-249 of the December Meeting Packet.

Community Comment
Shorewood Senior Krystin Kalvoy has chosen the issue of the school year’s late start as her civic project. She described how the late start is “detrimental to all students taking AP courses, especially when Labor Day is late.” With East Coast schools 3-4 weeks ahead of us, “we have to cram the material”, and students must work through holidays. The calendar “causes additional stress” for teachers and means that “counselors are cramming along with us” to help students with college applications in the fall. Krystin realizes that “there are more elementary kids than high school kids” yet wonders if child care would be easier for elementary parents if the school year started earlier.

Shoreline Education Association President David Guthrie circled back to the WaKIDS presentation, wondering what will be done with the data, and expressing concern that this is part of “data-driven testing madness.” He commended the board for realizing that WaKIDS means a lot of extra work for teachers, and asserts that measures like WaKIDS are a factor in the looming teacher shortage. Mr. Guthrie spoke about teaching as “our [teachers’] deep joy meeting the world’s deep needs” and asserted that “we have a joy deficit.”

Board Requested Discussion
Director Richard Potter thanked community member Ray Koelling for his leadership of the Shoreline STEM Festival. Mr. Koelling will be moving from the area, but noted that since he will be traveling 300 miles to come back to attend the 2016 festival, he hopes that others will travel just a few miles to participate. The STEM festival grew from Mr. Koelling’s vision, and now has a steering committee and will be incorporated as a nonprofit. The 2016 STEM Festival will be held on May 14, 2016.

New Board President David Wilson thanked outgoing President Mike Jacobs with a Dodgers baseball cap since the two share a passion for baseball.

Action Item: Authorization to Pay off LGO Bonds
The Board adopted Resolution 2015-18 which allows the District to pay off LGO bonds early. Doing so will save the taxpayers in interest payments, and lower the District’s overall debt. The move has been thoroughly explored with financial advisors and the legal team.

Board Reports
Members of the Board praised several recent events, including: recent high school plays, the fundraising dinner put on by Shorecrest Culinary Arts, Highland Terrace’s Science Fun Night, and the Veteran’s Day celebration at Parkwood.

They also commended:


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