Shoreline School Board Meeting Summary April 11, 2016: Striving for Equity

Saturday, April 16, 2016

By Marianne Deal Stephens

Consent Agenda
The Board granted approval to the following items:
  • Gifts:
    • $7036.71 from Cascade K-8 PTSA for all Cascade K-8 students to attend camp;
    • $6800 from Cascade K-8 PTSA for classroom field trips;
    • $34,263.15 from Shorewood Boosters for student groups, allocated according to designations donated to the recent auction; 
  • Establishment of Interlocal Agreement with Puget Sound EDS for the Safety Cooperative. The District will participate in a regional Safety Cooperative and gain support for school safety in the form of professional development, threat assessment, crisis team training, and more;
  • Authorization for Parkwood Site Circulation Study
  • Extended Field Trips for:
    • Shorewood State Golf qualifiers to Spokane in May;
    • Shorewood Geology Students to Orcas Island in June “to see the geology students have been taught in class—Puget Sound glaciation, terrane accretion, plate tectonics”;
    • Cascade K-8 Technology Student Association qualifying students to Nashville in June for the National TSA Conference.
Board President David Wilson read Resolution 2016-3, Declaration of PTA Appreciation Week, into the record. An excerpt:
WHEREAS, the Shoreline PTA Council was established in 1955 and is celebrating its 61st year of providing a powerful voice to advocate, communicate, educate and collaborate on behalf of children…
WHEREAS, the Shoreline Board of Directors is grateful to the Shoreline PTA Council’s 16 units for their continuing support for the well-being and education of every child;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Shoreline Board of Directors hereby proclaims the week of April 11 to 15, 2016, as Shoreline PTA Appreciation Week.

Equity Update
Director of Equity and Family Engagement Dr. Tanisha Brandon-Felder briefed the Board on the first few months of her work in Shoreline. She began with the difference between equality and equity:

Source: Shoreline School District 

Dr. Brandon-Felder explained that, while we want to treat all people equally, “small groups of students … are not reaching the same opportunities” as other students. Since there are great things available here in Shoreline, “we want to create access for all students.”

She has been “listening to lead” by interviewing principals, visiting schools, examining data, studying particular programs like CTE, and more. She participates in a network of other Directors of Equity in the Puget Sound area so that they can share ideas and resources.

She is frequently asked “Why start with race?” and answers that it is a starting point while adding that the overall idea is that equity should be viewed “through all lenses.” Dr. Brandon-Felder indicated the recent LGBTQ potluck that recognized and drew together a segment of the population that may not have been included in the past.

As part of her regular equity work, Dr. Brandon-Felder: holds ongoing coaching sessions with principals, meets with staff groups, and offers professional development sessions. The sessions address awareness skills by covering such topics as cultural assumptions, micro aggressions, and pedagogy of the oppressed. As the next step, she will convene and facilitate an equity committee.

Source: Shoreline School District
Acknowledging that “we all have great intent,” Dr. Brandon-Felder described the need to “come together to talk about what equity looks like” in order to come up with a concrete plan. She anticipates that there will be a draft recommendation for Board review by spring of 2017.

Change to School Board Meeting Scheduling Regulations
Superintendent Rebecca Miner presented the First Reading of Proposed Revisions to Policy 1400, which pertains to the scheduling of Shoreline School Board Meetings. As it stands now, the policy requires adherence to a schedule that often conflicts with the actual school calendar. The proposed changes comply to the Open Public Meetings Act and ensure that the district has flexibility which will better serve the Board and the community.

Comments from the Community
Shorewood Graduate, Ridgecrest Teacher, and Shorewood Parent Lisa Witzel commented on the weed overgrowth at Shorewood High School. She suggests that the district do one of three things: rip out the beds “that are being eaten alive” and plant grass; plant rocks; or hire more gardeners. She observed the same conditions at Shorecrest, and regards the situation as a “matter of pride in our district.”

Andrew Edwards, a 7th grader at Cascade K-8, stood up with three other students who recently placed in the State TSA Competition [see previous article]. Andrew and another team member each spent about 500 hours preparing the Video Game Design entry, and they placed 4th in stiff competition. Andrew told the Board that he is “excited to represent my school, my district, and my state” at the TSA National Conference.

Jonathan “Jack” Cameron, a 6th grader at Cascade K-8 who was on the Children’s Stories team which placed 1st, said that “we are excited to have qualified”, as did 7th grader Molly Grauer, who echoed Andrew’s words, saying “we are proud to represent” Cascade K-8 and Shoreline. 7th grader Elena Tapia, who worked with Jack and Molly on Children’s Stories, thanked the School Board for approving the extended field trip. Video Game Design team members Jaeden Caldwell and Myles Parent were not able to attend.

Parent and volunteer Terry Stevens-Ayers offered an update on the Shoreline STEM Festival coming up May 14 at Shoreline Community College. A 4th grader won the contest for t-shirt design, and student registration is picking up. More than 30 exhibitors from a variety of STEM-based organizations will participate, including new partner Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Arts Council. She mentioned that in the future, they are going to increase efforts to include underrepresented minorities by connecting with Natural Leaders and Family Advocates.

Bus Driver Richard Valentine shared that he and his coworkers “had a real safety meeting” with the new head mechanic. Mr. Valentine described the new mechanic as “a breath of fresh air in the transportation department.” He said that, despite the district’s new anti-harassment policy, bullying goes on in his department.

Shorewood PTSA Communications Co-Director Marianne Stephens described Shorewood PTSA’s upcoming “Lattes for Letters” event which will thank teachers who wrote letters of recommendation for graduating seniors with a free coffee drink of their choice on April 25.

Website and Mobile App Improvements
The District’s plan to redo websites and add a mobile app will be discussed in a separate article.

Partial Release Model Tabled
The District will delay any recommendation for a Partial Early Release Model. Results of the community surveys is available online and will be discussed in a separate article.

Board Reports

Director Dick Nicholson attended several events, including the recent Shoreline Public Schools Foundation  Breakfast. The Foundation’s 2016 Growing Great Minds Event on March 31 raised over $90,000.

Director Richard Potter attended a “rather disturbing” presentation at City Hall about sex trafficking. He continues to take part in WSSDA calls on the legislature’s activity.

Director Potter praised several students for their accomplishments: the Cascade K-8 groups that placed in the recent TSA State Competition; Shorewood students involved in the musical Grease; and Shorecrest Track Athlete Wurrie Njadoe who was featured in a recent Seattle Times article [See Shorecrest’s Wurrie Njadoe knew she was home as soon as she hit the track, Seattle Times 4.2.2016].

Director Mike Jacobs attended the “Shoreline Baseballpalooza,” three matchups last week between Shorewood and Shorecrest, and noted the “great numbers” who turned out for Grease at Shorewood.

Board Vice President Debi Ehrlichman thanked Curtis Campbell for a recent PTA Luncheon and congratulated Shorecrest’s Viva Voce Chorale for the first place win that qualifies the group to perform at Carnegie Hall in 2017 [see District news release Shorecrest Viva Voce Chorale qualifies to perform at Carnegie Hall 4.7.2016  ].

Vice President Ehrlichman also saw the Shorewood musical, and remarked that having a professional theater helps raise the bar. She praised the LGBTQ Potluck event for making families and staff feel “like they have a place here” and thanked Dr. Tanisha Brandon-Felder.

President David Wilson attended the March 31 college fair at Shorewood and drew attention to the “great new honors program” at Shoreline Community College [see American Honors Program]. He reported that the showing of the movie “Screenagers” at Kellogg Middle School was packed with parents and community members concentrating on “an issue all of us have to deal with.”

Shoreline School Board agendas and minutes are available online.


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