Edmonds School District - Citizen Planning Committee

Information for Terrace Park School parents & staff


The Edmonds School District's 'Citizen Planning Committee' met on November 4, 2013.

Meeting agenda

Education Subcommittee activity:

College & Career Readiness (CCR):

The Edmonds School District is working to improve the "College & Career Readiness" of district students.  Outreach efforts are taking place in district middle schools to encourage students to achieve at their highest levels.  Each middle school now has "College & Career Readiness Specialists".

We reviewed the District's CCR "Framework" as developed by district CCR Specialist Mark Mattison.  We looked at district CCR initiatives that have been taken thus far.  The emphasis is on middle school students as middle school students are in the best place to establish a program to ensure a path beyond graduation from high school.  The district believes college is attainable for all who want it - they simply need guidance and support as they progress towards graduation.

Middle schoolers are also at the point in their academic careers where they may decide to pursue a more rigorous course of study, and make plans to take high school coursework providing them with college credit - or the ability to waive college minimum requirements.

The district hopes for success with outreach efforts to students in disadvantaged socio-economic groups.  Through scholarship programs, every student has the financial resources to obtain a post-secondary education.  The district hopes to hire four new CCR Counselors to continue these efforts in the district's high schools.

Completing the FASA will be required for every senior.  The PLAN and PSAT will be administered to all 11th graders this year.  The Edmonds Public Schools Foundation donated $15,000 to cover the PSAT fees for district students.  The district is working on ways to enable undocumented students to complete the FASA.

Strategic Vision

Superintendent Brossoit has asked the Education Subcommittee to assist with the development of the district's "Strategic Vision" statement.  As part of this "vision" process, Dr. Brossoit has asked us to brainstorm ideas without regard to budget or money.  In other words, if the Legislature were to bestow "McCleary" funds to the district, how would we invest these new resources?  While we continue to explore this topic, we've so far developed the following ideas:

Full Committee business:

Common Core State Standards

Lara Drew, the ESD's Executive Director of Student Learning, provided an overview of CCSS to the full CPC Committee.  Some highlights:

Additional observations: The new standards sound like small building blocks, which allow students to move through a logical sequence to acquire knowledge and then build on what they already know to gain new skills, etc.  It also allows time to “plateau”, giving students more time for information to soak in before they have to move on to the next building block.  This is probably very effective for 60+% of the student population, but the narrower scope, very measured progression from one skill to the next, as well as the “plateau” time makes me wonder how the new standards will impact students who are operating at or near the highly capable range.  

Capital Projects Bond:

Superintendent Brossoit continued the discussion on the capital facilities bond measure on the February 11, 2014 ballot.  In a related note, the Lynnwood City Council approved the District's plan for the old LHS site (Costco). 

Prop. 1 is the Replacement School Programs and Operations Levy for the general fund (requires simple majority to pass), and Prop. 2 is the $275M Capital Projects Bond issue (requires a super majority to pass). 

Subcommittee Reports:

Boundaries & Enrollment + Facilities & Operations Subcommittees:

Due to the increased state funding that will be provided as a result of the McCleary decision, the district needs to prepare for the additional space needed to support all day Kindergarten and lower class sizes in K-3 classrooms.  Added capacity of approximately 53 elementary classrooms is needed.  In the short term, 1 (ea.) portable will be added at Spruce, Lynnwood, and Mountlake Terrace Elementary schools for the fall of 2014.  Further expansion by modular vs. portable additions to those and other elementary schools were discussed.

Revenue from district lease properties (Costco etc.) has been delayed significantly by the economy.  Projects that were planned to utilize lease revenue are still unfunded (replacement of Lynndale Elementary, Madrona K-8, Alderwood Middle).

Addressing these needs, as well as a list of safety, HVAC, roofing, and other needed capital improvements is what is driving the $275M bond measure. 

District elementary capacities #1

District elementary capacities #2

2013-2014 4th Day Count of Students

Education Subcommittee:

The Education subcommittee reiterated the subcommittee's endorsement of the district's application for professional development "waiver days", which had it's first reading before the full committee at the October CPC meeting.  The full CPC Committee unanimously recommended the district's "waiver day" application to the School Board of Directors after hearing the second reading.  The school board has this item on the November 12th agenda.

College and Career Readiness at Middle Schools – District working on ways to let kids know about college and career choices, particularly trying to “catch” kids who are the least likely to recognize their potential or the possibility that college could be an option for them.  Looking to match these kids up with a counselor who can advise them.

Dr. Brossoit then reported on the work done thus far by the committee on developing the district's "Strategic Vision".  The subcommittee is providing their input for hopes and dreams that could help shape an “ideal” school district.  Common themes centered less around funding, and more around community support and involvement; and capturing the enthusiasm and capabilities of community members to help support students.

CPC Meeting minutes

If you have any questions or would like more information about the CPC or its activities, please don’t hesitate to contact Terrace Park's CPC Representatives - Kim Baca and Doug Vavrick.   

For additional information regarding the CPC, please visit the Edmonds School District's webpage for the Citizens Planning Committee.


The Edmonds School District's 'Citizen Planning Committee' met on October 7, 2013.

Meeting agenda

Education Subcommittee activity:

Waiver Days:

The district is in the process of applying for professional development "waiver days" from the State Board of Education.  Superintendent Brossoit provided additional background information and answered questions regarding wavier days, professional development, and the application process.  He then asked the education subcommittee to provided add feedback on the district's proposal, and if inclined, to endorse the district's pursuit of the waiver.  Parental input and feedback is a required component of the application process, and in this situation, the CPC fulfills that role.

In 2010, a ESD "Professional Development Committee" convened to examine the various options for incorporating professional development time into the academic calendar.  This committee determined "waiver days" was the best choice from poor options.

In the event the State Board of Education rejects the district's application, the 2014-2015 and beyond school year calendars will revert to 10 half-days, with students receiving instruction in the morning, and teachers working on professional development in the afternoon.

Ideally, the state provides funds for teachers to participate in professional development opportunities, however no such support yet exists.

The district intends to get its application in as early as possible with the hope it will receive a decision - and thus be able to plan with certainty - as early as possible.  The State Board of Education will take up waiver day applications at its January 9th meeting, however there is no way of knowing when it might render a decision on the district's application.

It was suggested that the district explain and educate parents and the community the rationale and fiscal reasoning behind seeking "waiver days".  Supt. Brossoit was supportive, and suggested an article in the district's monthly newsletter would be an appropriate place to share this information.

Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

The district is preparing to meet the requirements imposed by the Common Core State Standards, scheduled to begin during the 2014-2015 school year.  Supt. Brossoit reports that the district actually has little to do in this regard, as the district's existing curriculum is largely "highly aligned" with the CCSS - particularly the "Math Expressions" and "Literacy Benchmark" curricula utilized in the elementary grades.

We heard a presentation from Sarah Schumacher, the district's Manager of Secondary Education.  She provided us with a history of CCSS, and explained how Washington State has been a leader in developing the program's standards and assessments.  Sarah's PowerPoint presentation is a good primer on CCSS.

Students will be assessed under the CCSS using the "Smarter Balanced Assessment" (SBA) standardized tests.  The English language tests will include a writing/essay portion, requring students to express reading comprehension, logic and analytical skills, and persuasive writing abilities.  Those interested in learning more about the SBA may take practice tests here: http://sbac.portal.airast.org/practice-test/  The SBA will be implemented starting with the 2014-2015 school year, and replacing the Measurement of Student Progress (MSP) tests currently used.

The district in in the process of realigning the format of elementary school progress reports to reflect the incorporation of the CCSS into the curriculum.

Full Committee activity:

Subcommittee Reports:

Boundaries & Enrollment + Operations Subcommittees:

The Boundaries & Enrollment and Operations subcommittees held a joint meeting to discuss the district's capital project needs, particularly in response to the upcoming addition of all-day Kindergarten and reduced class sizes for grades 1-3, which will require the addition of approximately 50-60 new classrooms to our local elementary schools.

Data presented to the committee:

Education Subcommittee:

The Education subcommittee reported on the subcommittee's endorsement of the district's application for professional development "waiver days", which was immediately moved and seconded and moved to first reading before the full committee, which unanimously endorsed the district's "waiver day" application.

Full Committee business:

Finance:

The district's Executive Director of Finance and Operations, Stewart Myhre, led a presentation on "School District Finance 101".  (color version here)  A Citizen's Guide to the District's Budget was circulated, and committee members were invited to request a copy of the district's actual budget from Stewart if they were interested.  Stewart outlined the various accounts that fund the operation of the district, from the purchase of school buses to making payroll and repairing dilapidated buildings.  Some examples of the facts and figures shared:

Capital Projects Bond:

Superintendent Brossoit then led a discussion regarding the district's need to place a capital facilities bond measure on the February 2014 ballot.  In plain language, Supt. Brossoit explained that with the upcoming move to all-day Kindergarten and more classes in grades 1-3, the district simply needs more classrooms.  The district's total wish list is nearly $700 million worth of capital projects, so a prioritization process was used to select the most necessary and worthy projects for inclusion with this proposal.  The project list can be found on page seven of the district's hand-out on the bond proposal.

Many other local districts will have capital project bonds on the February 2014 ballot, and a sample of what they're asking for from their constituents can be found here.

The $240 million proposal works out to an additional $9.75 a month or $117 a year in property taxes for a home with an assessed valuation of $300,000.

CPC Meeting minutes

If you have any questions or would like more information about the CPC or its activities, please don’t hesitate to contact Terrace Park's CPC Representatives - Kim Baca and Doug Vavrick.   

For additional information regarding the CPC, please visit the Edmonds School District's webpage for the Citizens Planning Committee.


The Edmonds School District's 'Citizen Planning Committee' met on September 9, 2013.

Meeting agenda

Full Committee activity:

Committee Chair Scott Spears welcomed members old and new.  We went around the room, and every member identified themselves and the school they represent.  District HR Administrator Debby Carter then provided an overview of the CPC, including organization, history, and priorities.  Scott then provided his own overview of CPC from his perspective.

Committee work assignments were then discussed:

    Education Subcommittee: 

        The Education subcommittee will work to develop the "Edmonds Strategic Direction 2020" vision statement.

        The Education subcommittee will analyze and advise the board regarding the district's application to the State Board of Education for professional development "Waiver Days".

    Boundaries & Enrollment:

        The Boundaries & Enrollment Committee will identify the district's needs and available resources required to support the implementation of all-day Kindergarten.  Will schools need portable classrooms or additions?  Will the district need to construct new buildings?  The subcommittee will take a systemic look at the entire district, including feeder patterns, in order to best utilize district resources and allocate new facilities.

    Operations:

        The Operations Committee will conduct an inventory and overview of the district's surplus property.  They will work with the Boundaries & Enrollment subcommittee to identify all-day Kindergarten capacity and facility needs.  The influx of new Kindergarten students provides the district with only two options:  redistrict attendance boundaries, or construct new facilities.  Will the district need to investigate proposing a bond measure in a future election (February 2014?) to pay for new capital expenses related to all-day Kindergarten?

    Full Committee business:

Communication between principals and CPC representatives is CRITICAL.  At a minimum, CPC representatives must transmit CPC meeting notes and/or minutes to principals.  Ideally, CPC reps attend parent meetings, and are introduced by principals and school leaders to parent gatherings.  Reps are available and accessible to parents.  CPC representatives and principals must work together to determine what, when, and how potentially sensitive information should be shared with the larger school communities.

Superintendent Brossoit briefed the committee on the district's current fiscal status.  While the Legislature has provided additional funding, these funds don't replace the $50 million in state funding that has been lost since 2009.  The August 2010 Supplemental Levy brings in approximately $8-9 million/year the district otherwise wouldn't have.

The lawsuit that evolved into McCleary v. State of Washington provides a ray of hope, as the court retains jurisdiction over the matter and must approve state educational spending priorities.  Superintendent Brossoit believes the 2018 trigger imposed by the Washington State Supreme Court in the McCleary opinion will result in an infusion of an additional $2-3 billion in funding to the state's school districts.  Unfortunately, much of the "new" funds will go to "pay back" prior cuts and to pay for new unfunded mandates.

In the 2012 legislative session, budget writers cut 1.9% from certified employee salaries and 3% from classified employee salaries.  "New" funding must first pay back last year's cuts.

Education Subcommittee activity:

Waiver Days:

Committee Chair Superintendent Nick Brossoit began this year's work with a discussion of waiver days.  The district has an obligation to provide professional development opportunities to its teachers, and to train teachers and administrators on new policies and procedures (i.e. TPEP, CCS, etc.).  The district cannot afford the $420,000 per day it costs to pay teachers for non-instructional days.  Obtaining waiver days - and then applying the waiver days to professional instruction - is the district's only responsible course of action.  Old solutions such as late arrivals or early dismissals (or a combination of the two) created complicated and confusing schedules.  Ideally, these days would be paid for by the state, but since they are not, the district must utilize the waiver day process to provide professional development opportunities for teachers.

Superintendent Brossoit made it a point to adamantly state the following several times:  "No one wants to use instruction time for professional development".

Strategic Directions 2020:

Superintendent Brossoit is interested in developing a "strategic vision" for the Edmonds School District.  This document will provide a long-range strategic direction for the district.  This vision will guide the district as it develops ways to invest and reinvest potential new revenues into the district's mission.  The final document must be flexible so that it will adapt to changing conditions and an uncertain future.

Several committee members were unfamiliar with some of the terms used in the draft 'Strategic Vision', so Superintendent Brossoit spent some time defining phrases such as the "Danielson Framework", "Common Core Standards", "Smarter Balanced Assessment", etc.  Superintendent Brossoit used this opportunity to remind members that the costs to implement the new "Teacher and Principal Evaluation Plan" (TPEP) and "Common Core Standards" are being born by the district.  There is no outside funding associated with these mandated changes.

Superintendent Brossoit hopes to involve the entire district community in the development of the district's vision statement.  He pointed out that 70% of the district's taxpayers don't send their kids to ESD schools.  They - along with other interested groups - should have a voice in what they want from their public school district.

1st draft of Strategic Vision 2020

CPC Meeting minutes

If you have any questions or would like more information about the CPC or its activities, please don’t hesitate to contact Terrace Park's CPC Representatives - Kim Baca and Doug Vavrick.   

For additional information regarding the CPC, please visit the Edmonds School District's webpage for the Citizens Planning Committee.


The Edmonds School District's 'Citizen Planning Committee' met on May 6, 2013.

Meeting agenda

Subcommittee Reports:

Education:

Year in Review:

The student email proposal died on the vine.  Student email addresses for every student isn't a priority for the administration.  The board was split on the topic.  Board members had concerns with students using district email accounts to harass other students.

Student uniform policy adjustment will be presented to the board at the next meeting.

Drop-out prevention & Review of ELL programs:  Suggestion to create a ELL advisory committee of interested parents and educators.  District is gathering data to best target application of academic coaches using funds obtained from a grant from the Hazel Miller Foundation.

College & Career Readiness: Implementing policy of notifying teachers when high school student is only failing their class.  "Why is the student doing well in other classes, but failing yours?"  Continuing work to expand access to AP, IB and Honors programs.

Subcommittee meeting notes

Operations and Boundaries/Enrollment:

Recap of recommendations for transfer policy adjustments.

Full Committee activity:

Budget & Legislative Update:

    Good news:  No proposed reductions or cuts.  ESD appears to have $10-15 million in restored funding.  Senate proposal has $10 million, House proposal has $14 million, and Governor's proposal has $15 million.  District is compiling recruitment lists should it have resources to hire additional teachers.

April Community Budget Meetings:

    Priorities are to reduce class size, increase teacher support in the classroom, and invest in infrastructure and support programs.

TPEP Update:

    Principals are learning how to evaluate teachers under the new criteria.  Teachers are learning how to teach under the Danielson Framework.

    The ESD is ahead of most every other district.  1200 teachers and 75 administrators have been trained.  Two "Principal Coaches" have been hired to work with principals.  Training will be ongoing for current employees, and will take place for new employees.  The district anticipated hiring 84 teachers for the 2013-2014 school year.

    The District continues to enjoy excellent cooperation with the EEA.

If you have any questions or would like more information about the CPC or its activities, please don’t hesitate to contact Terrace Park's CPC Representatives - Kim Baca and Doug Vavrick.   

For additional information regarding the CPC, please visit the Edmonds School District's webpage for the Citizens Planning Committee.


The Edmonds School District's 'Citizen Planning Committee' met on April 8, 2013.

Meeting agenda

Subcommittee Reports:

Education 1 & 2:

On-Time Graduation:  JoAnne Fabian from the Everett School district gave a presentation to the Education Subcommittees on drop-out prevention.  JoAnne shared information on Everett’s efforts to increase graduation rates, including intervention strategies, barriers to graduation, funding information, and data/tracking methods.

ELL Program update: Kay Wysocki and Gretchen Fleming presented information highlighting the challenges and achievements from the ELL program over the past year.

Subcommittee meeting notes

Operations and Boundaries/Enrollment:

Using Food as an Incentive in Schools: The Operations and Boundaries and Enrollment Subcommittees heard from Barb Lloyd, Food Services Director, regarding the work the Wellness Committee is doing surrounding this issue. Barb presented the language the Wellness Committee plans to incorporate into the Local Wellness Procedure 8600 R1.  The Operations subcommittee agreed with the proposed language.

Full Committee activity:

2nd reading of Student Dress/Student Uniform Policy:  The CPC reviewed the draft language for the revised Student Dress policy 8255 which would allow schools to adopt/implement a student dress code.   There were some concerns regarding the phrasing of the opt-out provision of the policy, as well as the potential expense to the school district to accommodate students who may not be able to afford uniforms.   The revised policy (attached) was approved with only one nay vote, and will move forward to the school board for approval.

2nd reading of revised Implementation of Credits policy 7510 R1:  The CPC again reviewed the revised policy language that would allow high school students to apply to waive or substitute certain credits to meet graduation requirements.  The  revision was approved unanimously, and will be sent to the school board for approval.

Nominating committee:  A nominating committee with representatives from each quadrant of the district was formed to begin preparing for the May CPC meeting.  In May, nominations will be taken for the 2013-14 CPC Chair and Vice Chair positions.

Announcements:


CPC Meeting minutes

If you have any questions or would like more information about the CPC or its activities, please don’t hesitate to contact Terrace Park's CPC Representatives - Kim Baca and Doug Vavrick.   

For additional information regarding the CPC, please visit the Edmonds School District's webpage for the Citizens Planning Committee.


The Edmonds School District's 'Citizen Planning Committee' met on March 4, 2013.

Meeting agenda

Subcommittee Reports:

Education 1 & 2:

School Uniforms:  The committee heard a first reading of the revisions to district policy 8255 – Student Dress.  The revision includes language that would allow schools to institute a school uniform policy, if desired.  Discussion after the reading focused on clarifying the opt-out provision, and also on questions regarding funding for the provision which would  provide accommodations to students who cannot afford uniforms.   The second reading is scheduled for the April CPC meeting.  If approved, the policy will move forward for review/approval by the school board.

Waivers:  A revision to district policy 7510 (graduation requirements) had its first reading before the committee.  The revised policy provides more clarification and consistency for handling student requests to waive credits (P.E., for example), and to receive credit for outside activities (youth orchestra, for example).  The second reading is scheduled for the April CPC meeting.  If approved, the policy will move forward for review/approval by the school board.

Drop-out prevention:  The Edmonds School District experiences a 12% drop-out rate.  The drop-out rate is defined by taking the number of high school students entering 9th grade and subtracting from that the number who graduate high school four years later.  The district has analyzed why students drop out in an effort to determine how the drop-out rate can be minimized.  The number one reason why students fail to graduate is because they fail to earn enough credits.  The largest category in which high school students fail to earn enough credits to graduate is 'electives', which might sound silly at first until we learn that electives comprise the largest component of credits students must complete in order to graduate.  The inability to acquire enough 'elective' credits is compounded when students have difficulties with core requirements like English, math, science, or social studies.  When students falter in these courses, they are often pulled from elective classes to make-up failed or missed core requirement classes.  A student missing opportunities to earn elective credits when pulled out of elective classes to repeat or retake math, science, social studies, or English classes might reach the point where they realize they'll never be able to accumulate enough elective credits in order to graduate on time.

The district has realized it is now time to compare and contrast the different strategies employed to get students to graduate on time.  They understand the need to quantify the impacts of the various programs and initiatives to discern what works and what doesn't.  The district has been investing resources in teacher professional development so teachers can intervene and assist these students before more drastic interventions are required, or the student becomes dismayed at the amount of work and/or time still required in order to graduate.  The district proposes to establish a committee to evaluate existing programs to gauge effectiveness.  The Everett School District has done a remarkable job of reducing drop-out rates and increasing college attendance rates, and we should look to them for ideas of how we can proceed.  The committee will schedule a meeting with leaders from the Everett district to find out how they've achieved their successes.

The district also realizes that drop-out prevention begins in Kindergarten.  Thus, one of the most important steps the district could take towards reducing high school drop-out rates is to find resources to provide all-day Kindergarten to every student entering the Edmonds School District. 

Drop-out statistics

Operations and Boundaries/Enrollment:

Boundary Special Exception:  The Operations and Boundaries and Enrollment Subcommittees were asked to review and determine if a special exception could be made that would allow students living within a very short walking distance to attend the neighborhood school closest to their home, even if their address is not within the boundary area of that school.  After consideration and review of the boundary areas and other contributing factors, it was determined that a special exception would not be possible.  The current transfer process provides an opportunity for families to transfer to the desired school when capacity exists. 

Full Committee activity:

Student Assessment Update

Assistant Superintendent Tony Byrd provided information on the student assessment data gathered over the past several years, and what trends the data suggests. 

    ESD elementary assessment data

    Statewide assessment data

Announcements

Linda Hood is seeking volunteers to help with the “Expanding Your Horizons” event at EDCC on 3/27.  The event is a science and math conference aimed at high school girls to increase exposure/interest in STEM-related fields.  Contact Linda at linda.e.hood@gmail.com or visit www.edcc.edu/future/eyh/ for more information. 

Meeting minutes

If you have any questions or would like more information about the CPC or its activities, please don’t hesitate to contact Terrace Park's CPC Representatives - Kim Baca and Doug Vavrick.   

For additional information regarding the CPC, please visit the Edmonds School District's webpage for the Citizens Planning Committee.

In a related matter, Superintendent Brossoit's "Superintendent's Roundtable" topic for the month of March was the Citizens Planning Committee.  I (Doug Vavrick) attended, and here's my report on the proceedings:

Superintendent Brossoit began with an update on legislative efforts – or lack thereof – to comply with the McCleary decision.  An attendee asked if the Superintendent knew what tools (‘remedies’ is the legal term) the court had at its disposal to compel the legislature’s acquiescence to the Court’s opinion.  He responded by describing what has happened in other states when courts have ruled the legislature has shirked its responsibility to adequately/fully fund public education. 

Under the theory that the actions of legislators represent the wishes of their constituents, Superintendent Brossoit then launched into a short commentary where he bemoaned the citizenry’s reluctance to tax themselves to pay for the things they themselves demand their government provide.

Superintendent Brossoit then switched gears and introduced ESD Human Resources Administrator Debby Carter, who outlined her presentation on the CPC as follows:

1.       History/background of the CPC.

2.       Structure of the CPC.

3.       Issues & topics discussed and analyzed by the CPC.

4.       Additional information/questions about the CPC.

This is the 24th year CPC has been in existence.  It was originally conceived to serve as an advisory board to the elected school board, and to provide community input to the school board.  The board uses the CPC as a sounding board for their ideas and proposals.

 She outlined some of the operational minutiae, such as committee and meeting structure, and how agendas and work plans are developed.

 She described the committees, and the issues they’ve tackled.  Boundaries and Enrollment is tasked with monitoring growth and development within the district to anticipate future changing needs.  The subcommittee has dealt with the closure of Evergreen and Woodway elementary schools, and made adjustments to school attendance boundaries.  The Operations subcommittee has contributed to policies and procedures surrounding “waiver days”, inter-school and inter-district transfer policies, developed capital project priority lists, and has examined the practice of using food as an incentive in district schools.  The Education subcommittees have looked at district email accounts for all students, the potential implementation of school uniform requirements in some schools, ELL programs in secondary schools, and ELL outreach efforts to the ELL community.  The committee has also looked at career and college readiness along with the related issue of addressing drop-out prevention.  Credit waivers for P.E. and credit waivers for outside activities are in the process of being vetted by the committee.

 She then shifted gears to describe the process the committee went through in response to the School Board’s mandate to review communication protocols between CPC representatives and the school communities they represent.  CPC representatives must convey information to their schools, and conversely share their school’s concerns with the CPC.

 This concluded her discussion, so the floor was opened to questions and comments. 

 One attendee – apparently a frequent participant at Superintendent’s Roundtable discussions – asked if the CPC had opportunities for “regular taxpayers” like himself to attend meetings, observe proceedings, and potentially offer comments.  Nick chimed in by noting that the doors are open and the building is a public facility, so community members are free to come and observe.  Debby followed up by saying this is something the CPC might want to address down the road, and it might be worth discussing amending the committee’s by-laws to incorporate some sort of public comment and/or participation component to CPC meetings if there are citizens who wish to share their thoughts.

 The meeting ran about 10 minutes late, and had a total of 18 attendees, including CPC Chair Bran Furby, myself, Debby, Supt. Brossoit, D.J. Jakala, and Board Member Diana White.


The Edmonds School District's 'Citizen Planning Committee' met on February 4, 2013.

Subcommittee work:

Education 1 & 2

1.       School uniforms:

a.       Latest draft of proposed policy now has opt-out language per CPC subcommittee input. (Prior policy is here)

b.      Opt-out language will be further tweaked to simplify waiver process, and will then be presented for approval at the March Education Subcommittee meeting.  If the technical changes are approved at the March subcommittee meeting, it will likely be advanced for first reading before the full CPC committee that evening.

2.       Outside Credit Process:

a.       District PE teachers strenuously objected to the proposal, fearing it would result in a wave of students abandoning high school PE classes for outside opportunities.  They see their jobs at risk when large numbers of high school students opt-out of their PE classes.  The first edit to the latest draft of the proposed policy change addresses their concerns, as it requires all students to complete ½ of a credit in “an approved Edmonds School District P.E. course”. 

b.      Outside PE & Music activities - $30 fee imposed.  When students obtain credit outside the school environment, district teachers still must give a “final exam” or grade a “final project” in order to assign a grade and ensure completion of the outside activity.  The fee noted on the draft policy is an attempt to recoup the district’s costs of providing staff to assess these outside credit activities and projects. 

c.       The form designations noted in the drafts are only temporary, and do not comply with the district’s form and policy nomenclature. 

d.      Paragraph “g” on the last page of the draft policy is mandated by the Washington Administrative Code (“WACs”) when districts implement opt-out and credit transfer policies.

Regarding paragraph “g”, there was some committee discussion regarding Washington State and U.S. History requirements.  Currently, Washington State History is presented as a four-week unit within U.S. History classes.  Washington State History is being moved to 7th grade as a stand-alone class, and 8th grade U.S. History will now follow up on 7th grade Washington State History.

This led to a discussion regarding high school students who transfer in from out of state or from another country.  While they are still required to meet the state’s state and national history credit requirements, the district has innovative tools to help the affected students (approximately 170 for 2012-2013) meet these requirements and graduate on time.  The district has an on-line course where students can satisfy the requirements, and is contemplating holding a “Saturday school”, where students unable to engage in the online course can complete the requirement with one long day of intensive study on a Saturday.  Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Schools Patrick Murphy said these options have reduced the number needing the credits to graduate on time from 170 to less than 100, and there are still a few months left in the school year for the rest to complete the requirements.

There was also discussion regarding the timing of the opt-out and credit transfer process, with committee members seeking assurance that approval for the outside credit or waiving the requirement by opting out must be obtained in advance of the outside activity.  “The request must be made prior to the experience” became the committee’s phrase to describe the request.  District staff also agrees and demands the pre-approval requirement to avoid retroactive/ex post facto implementation. 

3.       High school science – and high school credit for the work – in middle school: 

a.       Meadowdale High School & Edmonds-Woodway High School offer 9th grade biology to some – but not all – students via their Honors Biology courses, while Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace High Schools offer 9th grade biology to all students. 

b.      Meadowdale staff found their “Introduction to the Physical Sciences” (IPS) courses overlapped and repeated some of the material taught at the middle schools in the 8th grade IPS classes, so they revised the high school curriculum to avoid the overlap/duplication and better build upon the middle school IPS curriculum.  This solution should be explored and potentially expanded in some way to all district middle schools and/or high schools.  The IPS course can be an excellent spring-board to triggering student interest and aptitude for more advanced study of physics and chemistry. 

c.       As options for offering new classes, credits, and academic pathways in science to middle schools has been explored, it has become apparent that efforts to move science classes around has massive personnel impacts, as teachers need to be reassigned – and often retrained, some classrooms might have to be reconfigured for laboratory work, and class schedules must be rewritten.  None of these prerequisites can happen in the short-run.  Adding additional classes science classes to middle schools will take years, not months. 

d.      Assistant Superintendent Murphy stated that Superintendent Brossoit has conveyed to staff he would like to see efforts expended to fill every existing seat in every existing middle school science classroom while we take the steps necessary to offer additional science classes in our middle schools in the future.  If we can’t have new classes today, we can at least maximize the utilization of the existing middle school science classes. 

e.      The “ultimate goal” of all this groundwork is to create an “advanced science path” for 7th and 8th graders that will launch them in to advanced science study in high school – and beyond, much like what currently exists for advanced middle school math students. 

f.        If we’re going to offer middle school students advanced science classes, will they be able to earn high school credit for their high level of academic coursework?  The consensus is that advanced work should receive the correspondingly appropriate advanced credit. 

g.       The Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board (“HEC Board”) is about to raise the minimum requirement for entry into a Washington public college or university from 2 science credits to 3 science credits.  Students will be demanding additional science courses and options to fulfill this requirement in preparation for application to Washington State colleges and universities, and planning for the provision of additional science courses and options now is necessary. 

4.       Increasing Graduation Rates/Lowering drop-out rates: 

a.       The ESD has signed a one-year “probationary” contract with www.nodropouts.com, a for-profit company providing online learning to high school drop-outs who still wish to finish their education and obtain their diploma.  Sales representatives will use district lists and other investigative tools to track down drop-outs and ask them if they are interested in completing their education.  They will first be given the option of re-enrolling in the ESD, where they will be welcomed back with open arms and given every encouragement and opportunity and strategy to graduate.  If they don’t wish to return to the ESD for whatever reason, they will be then given the sales pitch to enroll in the online classes offered by nodropouts.com.  This company is currently working with the Northshore School District. 

b.      We spent some time discussing the successes Everett’s “Chief Academic Officer” Terry Edwards has had wherever he’s worked.  Assistant Superintendent Patrick Murphy worked with Terry when they were both at the Bremerton School District.  In Everett, graduation rates have skyrocketed under Terry’s initiatives.  We reviewed an interview with Mr. Edwards where he shared his observations on improving graduation rates. 

Key to his successes are the following tools:

1.       Establishment of a committee to study data and identify trends – included every high school principal and all of the district’s special ed and ELL administrators.  Weekly meetings focus on how to increase graduation rates.  Once data solidified, committee needs to ask “What do we do next?”.

2.       District established a “Graduation Trajectory”, designed to easily convey to students, teachers, and parents what credits must be accomplished – and at what rate they need to be earned - in order to graduate on time. 

3.       District provides lists to teachers – with student names – letting teachers know who is failing their class – BUT PASSING ALL THEIR OTHER CLASSES.  Onus is then placed on the teacher of the one class the student is failing to figure out why they are able to succeed in their five other classes, but are failing in the one class.

4.       Every high school employs two “Success Counselors” tasked with taking the lists of kids failing one class and following up with the kids and the teacher to improve their performance in the one class they are failing.

5.       The study of failure provides insights as to how to achieve success.  Why are kids failing a particular class more than another?  Does the curriculum need to be addressed?  Are the kids not adequately prepared in prior classes for more advanced coursework?  Are grading processes inappropriate for the material taught?

6.       Has experienced concurrent successes in raising college attendance and AP test utilization.

Operations:

The Operations and Boundaries and Enrollment Subcommittees continued their review of the transfer process for both inter-district and intra-district transfers.  The focus is on comparing our procedures and policies with those of neighboring districts, and determining if the ESD policies as they currently exist have a negative impact on enrollment or resources.

Assistant Superintendent Ellen Kahan was available to answer procedural questions generated by the subcommittee at last month’s meeting.  Also in attendance were District employees Shelley Roehl and Sherri Dooley, who processes elementary and secondary transfer requests, respectively.  

Subcommittee members had a number of questions pertaining to deadlines, notification, priority, consistency across policies, and the factors that affect the outcome of individual requests.   Shelley and Sherri were able to explain the process clearly, and although there are many differences between how elementary transfers and secondary transfers are handled, virtually all of the variations are a direct result of the more complex capacity and staffing patterns that exist at middle and high school levels (i.e.  having two first grade classrooms at an elementary school level provides a clear picture of how many 1st graders an elementary school can support, while the different class period structure at the middle and high school level offers many ways to impact enrollment capability by juggling course offerings and students’/ teachers’ schedules.  The procedural differences are a direct result of these variables.  In addition, recent updates to the transfer request form (P-138) have eliminated many of the contradictory elements that were present previously.   The ESD website has also been updated to make it easier for users to find current information about transfer policy, forms, and the schools that are “open” or “closed” for transfer for the coming year. 

Lingering concerns were related to the provision for prioritizing elementary applications based on daycare location, communication of the secondary transfer application deadline, and some very minor inconsistencies in the procedures.  There was insufficient time to resolve all of these concerns this month, but overall the subcommittee felt that the current processes do not have a negative impact on enrollment or resources.  It seems clear that every effort is being made to avoid negatively impacting enrollment, not only for the current year but also planning for the projected impact in subsequent years due to enrollment growth patterns and other factors. 

CPC General Meeting:

A.      Subcommittee Reports: 

1.       Education Subcommittee

a.       Uniform Policy update

b.      Credit waivers/credit for outside activity update

c.       High school science credit in middle school/additional science offerings in middle school

d.      Drop-out prevention 

2.       Operations/Boundaries & Enrollment Subcommittee

a.       Review of inter- and intra-district transfer policies, and their effect on enrollment and resources. 

B.      Communication Protocols for CPC members: 

1.       The December CPC meeting discussed potential communication strategies and protocols for conveying CPC information to school communities, and for conveying school community concerns and priorities to the CPC. 

2.       The ideas brought forth at the December meeting were discussed and refined by ESD HR Director/CPC Coordinator Debby Carter and CPC Chair Brian Furby, resulting in the hand-out that was then circulated around the room.  The hand-out provides an overview of the committee’s purpose, bylaws, and suggested strategies for communicating with principals and school communities. 

3.       Principals are responsible for the communication portals and processes within their schools, such as school websites, school newsletters, etc.  CPC representatives are encouraged to work with their principals to establish protocols and processes for disseminating CPC information and gathering school community feedback.

Meeting Materials:


January 7, 2013

The CPC met on Monday, January 7th.  Highlights include: 

The Operations and Boundaries/Enrollment Subcommittees have joined forces to review the district transfer process, both for intra-district and inter-district transfers.  The processes are being reviewed for clarity, consistency, and also in comparison to the processes from neighboring districts.

 If anyone has any thoughts or experiences with the current transfer process, especially any that have had a noticeable impact on students or enrollment at Terrace Park (i.e. sibling transfers, transportation issues affecting transfer students, capacity limitations, etc.) please let me know so that we can consider any recurring issues during our review.

The Education Subcommittees have combined to review several issues, including:

Student Learning - Dr. Byrd provided an update on student learning.  He noted that student performance across ESD is improving, although students are making more improvements in literacy than in math and science.  Student competence in math remains a concern.  The Puget Sound area is in the top 5% for employment opportunities in math and science fields, but area employers are indicating that they frequently have to recruit elsewhere to find qualified employees.  Efforts underway to address this include:

Communication – There is an effort to determine how information from the CPC is communicated back to the school communities, and if there is a way to improve this communication.

Please let Kim Baca or Doug Vavrick know if you have any feedback on how the CPC topics and activities are communicated back to our school community at Terrace Park, or if you have suggestions for how that communication might be improved.  

Doug maintains a website with summaries of the CPC proceedings dating from October 2011 to the present.  http://dvandkq.net/cpc.htm

Meeting Materials:


December 3, 2012

Subcommittee Reports -

 

Operations:

 

The Operations Subcommittee began our review of the district’s inter-district and intra-district transfer processes.   Stewart Mhyre, Director of Business and Operations, shared that there is a perception that the transfer process may be more cumbersome within the Edmonds School District than in neighboring districts.  Subcommittee members were provided with copies of applicable ESD policies (8105 R1: Over-Enrollment and Intradistrict Student Transfer Procedures, 8520: Admission of Nonresident Students and Interdistrict Transfers, and the Elementary and Secondary Transfer Application), as well as the equivalent policy documents for Mukilteo, Shoreline, and Everett School Districts.   Some minor contradictions and discrepancies were noted, and the subcommittee was tasked with reviewing the policies in greater detail before the next CPC meeting. 

 

Several questions came up during the report to the full CPC, mostly centered around the numbers of students that transfer out of the district vs. into the district, and how to identify the reasons for this, etc.  It was determined that the first step to understanding this broader topic is to continue with the plan to research and address any underlying procedural issues that may be a factor. 

 

Boundaries and Enrollment:

 

Assistant Superintendent Ellen Kahan shared feedback she has received from parents affected by the proposed boundary change affecting several NE quadrant elementary schools (Martha Lake, Hilltop, Hazelwood, etc.)  For the most part questions have been limited to procedural questions, and it seems that the change is being well-received by the affected families. 

 

The boundary change recommendation will be put forward to the School Board, with a first reading scheduled for 12/11/12, and the second reading on 1/29/13. 

 

The Boundaries and Enrollment subcommittee will join forces with the Operations Subcommittee at the January CPC meeting to research the transfer process issue. 

 

Education #1 and #2:

 

Education Subcommittees #1 and  #2 reported that they will be merging, as many of the issues these subcommittees are focusing on over the coming months are interrelated.

The subcommittee had planned to discuss three topics at tonight’s meeting, but questions surrounding PE waivers and credit for outside course offerings remain, causing the other topics to be pushed back for later consideration.   Assistant superintendent Patrick Murphy will be meeting with high school P.E. teachers on 12/18 regarding the implications of granting waivers for intramural sports.  This could potentially free up students’ course schedules to allow for other classes.  

 

The waiver process being formulated will impact graduation policy wording, so work on aligning these procedures is underway. 

 

Announcements and Reminders -

 

·         Bridging the Digital Gap: A memo of understanding has been drafted between the school district and the Edmonds Public Schools Foundation that will allow the school district to grant surplus laptop computers to 300 low-income families via a lottery system.  The Foundation will assist families with finding low cost internet service. 

·         The Superintendent’s Roundtable discussion this month is on December 5th from noon-1:00 pm in the DSC boardroom, and will focus on food service. 

·         Spruce Elementary has been recognized as a 2012 School of Distinction for outstanding improvement in student achievement.  

·         The next CPC meeting is scheduled for January 7th, 2013. 

 

Small Group Discussion -

 

Before adjourning, the CPC members met in small groups by school district geographic area/quadrant to discuss how we as CPC representatives communicate back to our school community and Principal, specifically:

·         What communications strategies do you use with your Principal?

·         Do you and the Principal have an established process to communicate with the school community regarding CPC activities?

 

Discussion ensued, with most of the issues for high school communication being quite different than those at the elementary level.  Elementary schools seem to report having much more communication in general between the PTA, school administration, and the families.  Issues that were identified as potential communication barriers regardless of the elementary/high school environment included:

·         The District e-news only goes out to about 4,000 out of the 19,000 students households.  Several people thought that this information should be sent out by the individual schools, or otherwise made available to a wider audience. 

·         Several representatives reported that their PTA/PTO meetings fall on the same night of the month as the CPC meeting.  This makes it more difficult both for the reps to communicate back to the school, and to receive communication from the school community about issues that are of interest. 

Comments were recorded and left with Sherry Joos.

 

Meeting adjourned.


November 5, 2012

News and Announcements:

Subcommittee Reports

Education Subcommittee #1:

The Education Subcommittee #1 then began work on its monthly business.  This month, we discussed access to college and barriers to college for district students.  Assistant Superintendent Tony Byrd shared some of the things he learned while interviewing middle school and high school students - and their counselors - about their plans for/expectations for college.  He asked several focus groups he assembled to list what they perceived as the biggest obstacles to their attending college after graduating high school.  The "barriers" they listed are, in order:

  1. Money
  2. Sufficient academic rigor in high school courses
  3. Information (about how to apply, how to obtain financial aid, pre-college testing, etc.)

Nationwide, approximately 35% of high school graduates will commence the process of obtaining a four-year degree, with only 19% ultimately acquiring a degree within four years.  In the Edmonds School District, 64.4% of students pursue a two-or-four-year degree.  (34.8% of ESD students will begin the process of obtaining a four-year degree).

We reviewed a Gates Foundation study that analyzed the reasons high school graduates don't go on to higher learning opportunities.

The Edmonds School District in investigating the establishment of a college readiness project aimed at middle school students.  Grades received - and classes taken - in middle school impact the classes taken and the grades received in high school, which are an extremely important component of what is required to gain admittance to colleges and universities in the 21st Century.

Education Subcommittee #2:

The Education Subcommittee #2 reports that they are continuing to discuss the potential for offering middle school classes that can qualify for high school credits.  They note that Integrated Physical Science (or Earth Science) might be offered to 8th graders.  Traditionally this has been the first science class taken at the high school level, so offering it in 8th grade would allow those students to move directly to Biology as a high school freshman.   Further discussion is needed, as concerns were noted ranging from transportation (if the option is only offered at some middle schools) to the impact on both special education and advanced students (whose needs are not adequately met currently).

The committee revisited their investigation of P.E. waivers and substitution credits, and found that the situation is less straightforward than previously thought.   It appears that every high school has a different process and evaluation criteria for allowing waivers.  Assistant superintendent Patrick Murphy will meet with high school principals to begin developing more uniform criteria.

Operations:

The Operations Subcommittee reviewed a list of district properties, as well as several issues associated with development of the properties and generation of lease revenue.  Properties discussed included:

Lynnwood Place (site of the old Lynnwood High School) - Development of this property is proceeding as planned.  Cypress and Costco continue working with the city of Lynnwood, with the Phase 1 development well underway in the permitting process.  Phases II and III to follow.

Lynnwood South (site of the current bus barn/maintenance facility - Google Map view: http://goo.gl/maps/PGs68)  The location of a storm and sewer line and easement running through the center of this property makes development of this otherwise desirable retail location tricky.  The district is working with the city to see if the re-sizing of the existing lines (needed for increased capacity resulting in part due to the development of the Cypress property to the north) can be done concurrently with moving the lines and the pump station.  A real estate consultant has been asked to forecast the most likely commercial configuration for the property, thereby helping to develop a proposal for relocation of these city easements.

Lynnwood City Center (across from the convention center - Google Map view: http://goo.gl/maps/KQIay)  A gas station that was once located on the current site of the convention center caused soil contamination due to leaking underground storage tanks.  Contamination has leeched into the soil of the district property across the street, and will likely be a factor in development of the property.  In addition, the lack of access from 196th street (due to proximity to freeway onramp and also property slope) is a factor.  Most likely “best use” of property would be as a site of a hotel, but would require any developer to purchase adjacent properties to the west to obtain street access from 196th.

Melody Hill (Google Maps view: http://goo.gl/maps/VaJr3)  Rezoned by MLT a few years ago as “Freeway Tourism”.  Sound Transit may want a small easement in the future, but the site is not big enough for use as the maintenance facility or as a Sound Transit stop.  There are currently organizations renting space in the facility, but their leases expires in August and will not be renewed. Demolition to follow the tenants vacating the property.

Former Evergreen Elementary site (Google Maps view: http://goo.gl/maps/mCAzH)  Potential future Sound Transit stop.  The City of Mountlake Terrace is also interested in developing this area to support its economic and business expansion plans.  A potential environmental complication exists, as a small ditch which runs through the top portion of the property is currently identified as a salmon stream.

DSC (former Scriber Lake site - Google Map view: http://goo.gl/maps/2SKAg)  Planned for use as future site of Bus and Maintenance Services, as well as the District offices.  However, Sound Transit is also looking at this site as one of five possibilities for its future Link light rail Maintenance Facility (plus the properties to the north currently occupied by DSHS and Mayes Testing).

A list of capital projects that will be funded by the 2012 Capital Levy was reviewed (projects include traffic-related safety improvements at Hilltop, Spruce, and Martha Lake Elementary schools, as well as roofing upgrades at Oak Heights, Cedar Way, Hazelwood, and the Former Woodway H.S.).

In contrast, the lengthy unfunded capital projects list was reviewed once again, making a clear case that lease revenues are urgently needed, and that property development is a high priority.  A bond measure will also likely be needed, and the committee will discuss potential bond issues (when is the right time for a bond measure, what will it look like) at a future meeting.

Finally, the committee discussed an issue referred to the CPC by the School Board regarding the district’s current transfer process.  The committee is tasked with determining if the current process results in an adverse impact on enrollment, and recommending any modifications that would support effective staffing, planning, and resource management.  Discussion ensued, with the committee identifying four pieces of information that are needed to facilitate further investigation:

How many students reside outside of the district but are served by ESD?

How many students reside in the district, but are served outside of ESD?

How many students reside in the district but attend an ESD school other than the school in their own attendance area?

Is it practical to approve transfer requests for the duration of a student’s years at a school (i.e. approving a transfer request in Kindergarten, with the approval remaining valid through 6th grade), without knowing what the enrollment growth/decline may be at the affected schools?

Stewart Mhyre, Director of Business and Operations, to collect student enrollment/transfer figures for the next meeting.

Boundaries and Enrollment:

The Boundaries and Enrollment Subcommittee is continuing their work on recommendations on a boundary change to address over-enrollment at Hilltop and Martha Lake Elementary.  At the October meeting, the committee provided the first reading of their proposed boundary recommendation, and concerns were voiced regarding bussing for the students affected by the “sibling grandfathering” clause, which would allow new students who have older siblings already attending Hilltop or Martha Lake the option to remain at these schools.

The subcommittee is recommending that bus service be provided as follows: “Currently enrolled and new students entering under sibling clause will be provided transportation, if eligible under regular transportation guidelines, for one year.”

Assistant Superintendent Ellen Kahan has held information meetings with parents at the affected schools, with additional meetings planned.  So far she reports that the response from parents has been understated, most likely due to the fact that the changes primarily affect new students, and provisions for siblings are included in the recommendations.

The reading of the subcommittee’s recommendation constitutes the second reading for the CPC, and the recommendation was approved by the committee members.  The recommendation will now be put forward to the School Board, with a first reading scheduled for 12/11/12, and the second reading on 1/22/13.

CPC members asked if the timing of the recommendation would impact Kindergarten registration, but because Kindergarten registration does not begin until 2/17/13, and there is no Kindergarten/District Fair scheduled for 2013, the recommendation is expected to be in place in time to avoid any confusion.

Full CPC Committee:

TPEP:

Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning Tony Byrd and Human Resources Director Debbie Carter provided an update on the status of the new Teacher and Principal Evaluation Process (TPEP).

The new criteria are in response to Washington State Education Reform Bill E2SSB 6696.  Implementation of the new process must begin with the 2013-2014 school year, with full implementation in 2015-2016.  The new evaluations must utilize one of three instructional frameworks selected by the state:

Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching

The Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model

The Center for Educational Leaderships (CEL) 5 Dimensions of Teaching & Learning

ESD has selected Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching.

An overview of this reform of the evaluation process is available here: Overview of TPEP   The Education subcommittee on which I serve spent much time providing input on this process during the 2010-2011 school year, and those interested in learning more about this process will find a wealth of information in the minutes from prior meetings below.

Hand-outs:


October 8, 2012

News and Announcements:  

Sound Transit is expanding its Link light rail system, including service to Lynnwood which is planned to open in 2023.  To prepare for the expansion, Sound Transit will need to significantly increase its vehicle fleet.  The existing maintenance facility in SODO is not sufficient to serve the needs of an expanded fleet, and as a result an additional maintenance facility is needed to meet capacity needs by 2020. 

 

Sound Transit is currently evaluating five potential sites for the new maintenance facility - four of which are on the Eastside/Bellevue corridor, and one is in Lynnwood.  The Lynnwood site being considered is the Edmonds School District property near 208th and 52nd (Scriber Lake), which the District is currently planning to utilize as the future site of the District administrative offices, as well as Transportation and Maintenance Services.  The current District office location immediately south of the EdCC is slated to become the new alternative high school site, in part because of its proximity to the community college. 

 

If Sound Transit decides to use the Lynnwood location, they have imminent domain and would be able to purchase the site for fair market value (i.e. no lease revenue).  Sound Transit will be holding a public meeting on October 11th from 5-7 at the Lynnwood Convention Center to share details about the study and get feedback.

 

Subcommittee Reports -

 

Operations:

The Operations Subcommittee reviewed a list of Capital Projects that have been and/or are slated to be addressed by revenue generated by levies, bonds, state construction assistance, and grants from 2004 to the present.  Other large pending projects (replacement of Lynndale Elementary, Alderwood Middle, Madrona, DSC and ALC) will be funded by lease revenue from district properties. 

 

There is a list of smaller scale capital projects that fall outside of what can be addressed by the above revenue sources.  These projects are listed on a Master List of Unfunded Capital Improvement Projects (CIPs), sorted by school and ranked in terms of priority.  The total cost of all unfunded CIPs is $57,285,723.  Over the course of the year, the subcommittee will be reviewing any available revenue sources in relation to these unfunded needs.  For Terrace Park, the list of unfunded CIP’s in order of priority is:

 

·         Re-engineer Commons window/wall system  (estimated cost $30,000)

·         Replace leaking boiler sections (est. $10,000)

·         Install roof tie-offs (est. $210,000)

·         Security system upgrade: new intrusion alarms, electronic main entrance access (est. $93,000)

·         Replace original boiler with condensing unit (est. $400,000)

·         Security System Upgrade: new external site video surveillance system (est. $110,000)

 

Education #2:

The Education #2 Subcommittee is looking into the possibility of increasing the number of middle school classes eligible for high school credit.  Currently eligible classes are Algebra I, Geometry, World Language, and Biology.  Students must test into the math classes, and Biology is only offered at the middle school level at Edmonds Heights K-12.  The committee is looking into several issues including how 8th graders at Edmonds Heights are handling the Biology curriculum, and how to address situations in which only a handful of students qualify for Geometry or Algebra, making it potentially impractical to offer the class. 

 

The committee has also been asked by the School Board to research and/or develop policies to address the issue of P.E. waivers at the High School level.  The committee finds that existing District policies - in conjunction with the WAC and RCW policies - already appear to address the issue, but will seek confirmation from the Board. 

 

Boundaries and Enrollment:

The Boundaries and Enrollment Subcommittee provided a first reading and recommendation on a boundary change to address over-enrollment at Hilltop and Martha Lake Elementary.  The boundary recommendation would affect only new students beginning in the fall of 2013, shifting some enrollment from Hilltop and Martha Lake to Hazelwood Elementary.  As a result, some of the southern neighborhoods currently served by Hazelwood would then shift to Cedar Way and Brier Elementary.  The committee recommends a “sibling grandfathering” option, in which new students with older siblings that already attend Hilltop or Martha Lake would have the option to remain at these schools. 

 

A concern about bussing service for those students who opt to stay at the original home schools was discussed, and will be researched at a subsequent meeting. 

 

Education #1:

·         School Uniforms - The Education #1 Subcommittee heard presentations from parents, a student and a school Principal in support of school uniforms.  Two schools (Cedar Valley and College Place Elementary) have expressed interest in implementing school uniforms.   The communities at these schools have indicated that uniforms would:

o   Provide a sense of school community

o   Reduce bullying

o   Make children feel more secure/less intimidated by eliminating the pressure of having vs. not having expensive clothes

o   Increase self-respect

o   Reduce cost for families

o   Instill an feeling of “I am dressed to learn” vs. “I am dressed to play”

 

The subcommittee and the School Board are not tasked necessarily with providing a “yes” or “no” answer to the question of school uniforms; rather to research and create a procedure to allow interested schools to adopt school uniforms if they choose.   Any policy would include community and student input, an opt-out provision, and would likely include having one day per week where uniforms are not required (i.e. “casual Friday”).  Several CPC members spoke in support of the idea, and several expressed concern.  Further survey of the affected communities is needed. 

 

·         Student e-mail - The subcommittee is also looking into the possibility of implementing district-issued student e-mail accounts.  The primary goals of providing student e-mail accounts would be: allow access to systems and services (college applications), access educational tools (online math support), access to online services (Google Docs, Word Press), correspondence with teachers, and password reset capability for applications that require it.   

 

A poll of other school districts in the Northwest shows that nine of the 12 districts that responded do provide district-managed e-mail accounts to students, while three do not. 

 

Discussion ensued, with questions ranging from cost, cyber bullying, and how long the accounts would need to be maintained after graduation. 

 

Meeting adjourned - 9 pm

Hand-outs:


September 10, 2012

The Edmonds School District's Citizen Planning Committee held its first meeting of the 2012-2013 school year on September 10, 20012.  Agenda

In introductory remarks, CPC Chair Brian Furby shared his goal of improving the flow of information between CPC representatives and school principals.  The principal should be communicating school positions to the CPC representative, and the CPC representative should be providing reports and updates on CPC activities to the principal.

For 2012-2013, a fourth subcommittee has been created.  The four committees are:

1. Boundaries & Enrollment.  This committee expects to continue work on adjusting attendance boundaries for elementary schools in the NE Quadrant.  Affected schools include Oak Heights, Martha Lake, Hilltop, Brier, Cedar Valley, & Alderwood.

2. Education #1.  It appears this committee will focus primarily on elementary-level curriculum and other classroom issues.

3. Education #2.  It appears this committee will focus primarily on secondary-level curriculum and other classroom issues.

4. Operations.  This committee will discuss building facilities and district operations, budgetary matters, food service issues, and other non-curriculum issues.

CPC members unsure of which committee they should attend are invited to discuss their options with their school's principal.  I have selected to continue working with Tony Byrd and the "Education #1" subcommittee.  Terrace Park's other CPC representative (Kim Baca) has elected to serve on the Operations subcommittee.

Ken Bogle, CPC Rep from MTHS, shared his experiences from having attended the "Parent Leadership Meeting" convened by Board member Susan Phillips.  The goal of the meeting was to coordinate fundraising activities among the myriad community groups bringing in revenue from community events and fundraising drives.  These groups have pledged to work together, coordinate efforts, and support each other's efforts as they work to raise money for the hundreds of different school-based organizations offering athletic, music, artistic and other activities and opportunities for students.

Stuart Mhyre, the district's new Executive Director of Business & Operations, provided the commitee with the data from the "4th day head count".  As of yesterday, the Edmonds School District had 18,854 enrolled students.  The budget approved by the board had assumed 18,824 students enrolling for the 2012-2013 school year, so a margin of error that small is commendable!  The 4th day head count is important as it helps determine state funding for district students.  The State of Washington provides the Edmonds School District with approximately $5200/year per student, so an accurate - and as large as possible number - is sought.  It is for this reason that school began on a Wednesday this year.  If school starts on the Tuesday after Labor Day, the "4th Day Count" takes place on a Friday.  It has been the district's experience that some families don't send their children to school until the week after Labor Day, and that some children who are in class the first Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are absent on Friday as families continue summer activities.  Conducting the count on the Monday after Labor Day includes those students not starting school until the Monday after Labor Day and includes those who are pulled out for excused absences on Friday.

The full committee met to discuss the topics assigned to the committee by the School Board for 2012-2013. Suggested work plan

The full committee then adjourned, and members dispersed to their subcommittees.

Education Committee #1 assembled and we all introduced ourselves to each other.  Board President Gary Noble then shared his interest in having the subcommittee explore the delivery of ELL services to district students.  ELL services used to be concentrated in a few schools, with ELL students encouraged to transfer to schools offering ELL services.  This resulted in many ELL students forsaking ELL services so they might remain at their neighborhood schools with their neighborhood school friends.  Several years ago, a change was made to provide ELL services at every neighborhood school.  While this has made ELL more accessible to more students, it has stretched the ELL teaching staff thin, and in many instances, only one ELL teacher is available for an entire school.  The three greatest district staff proponents of providing ELL services in every school are no longer with the district, so Director Noble is wondering if we should explore reorganizing the district's ELL program once again.

The subcommittee next heard a presentation on providing email accounts to students from ESD Technology Manager Kim Mathey.  The district would like to offer every ESD student a ESD email address.  The district sought the input of the subcommittee.  There are many reasons students should have access to a "professional" email address.  Many colleges and employers require email addresses, and a standardized ESD email address is likely to be more appropriate for formal correspondence than self-selected "Yahoo" & "Gmail" email addresses.  Students have access to many online learning options, however these resources (Kahn Academy, ePals, TurnItIn.com, etc.) all require email addresses to set up accounts and to log in to use.  Students will have collaborative options for sharing such as GoogleDocs, blogs, cloud computing & data storage, etc..  Some committee members expressed concerns that this might create or exacerbate a "digital divide", where those with computers and Internet access will enjoy an advantage over students who don't have computers and Internet access at home.  The district is exploring keeping school libraries open after school, and is currently providing the Edmonds Public Schools Foundation with refurbished laptops to provide to students qualifying for the free and reduced price lunch program.  Ms. Mathey also shared that local Internet Service Providers such as Frontier and Comcast offer unpublicized Internet access plans for low income families for $10 per month.  Some of these same companies also sell laptop computers to low-income families for as little as $150, understanding that consumers can't access the Internet if they don't have a computer.  While we had a few concerns over ensuring universal access, the committee was unanimously in favor of encouraging the ESD to provide email addresses for every ESD student.  We also encouraged the district to pursue an "opt-out" strategy, whereby every student will be assigned a district email address unless the parent proactively opts the student out of the program by submitting a written request.  We were told that if all students have district-provided email addresses, teachers - particularly at the high school level - will have a much easier time communicating with students, maintaining class lists, and will realize other administrative efficiencies as the email system will be tied in to the student's Skyward account.  The district is working with legal and risk advisors to develop policies and procedures for the proper use of student email addresses.  A disciplinary process will be developed for those who abuse the resource. 

September 10, 2012 CPC Meeting Minutes


For two years, I served as the CPC representative for Hilltop Elementary School.  I've decided to keep the Hilltop-specific information on this page as it might be useful to others.


Information for Hilltop Elementary School parents and staff


April 9, 2012

The Edmonds School District's Citizen Planning Committee met on April 9, 2012. Agenda

ELL:

The Education Subcommittee met to hear Gretchen Fleming, the District's ELL coordinator, provide an update and overview of the District's ELL program.  Certified ELL teachers are being deployed to elementary and high schools with large ELL populations.  These positions are funded by grants.  These ELL teachers provide "sheltered instruction" to ELL learners who remain in their "mainstream" classrooms but who are "pulled out" for ELL instruction.  These teachers are supported with workshops in their buildings and at the ESC, and by para-educators in their buildings.

The program has expanded at the high school level to include all four district high schools.  High school students were opting to remain at their home schools, so the ELL programs were delivered to them at their home schools rather than try to induce students to attend other schools to obtain ELL services.  This has resulted in increased participation in ELL programs at the high school level, which in turn attracts additional funding providing additional staffing resources.

For example, at EWHS, which has ELL for the first time this school year, 29 students are served by one ".6 FTE".  7 of these ELL students are "Level One" in English proficiency, meaning they are at the lowest level of English language use and comprehension.  Next year, these numbers will warrant the assignment of one full-time "FTE" to provide ELL services to EWHS students.  Rising numbers are resulting in the addition of ELL staff to Meadowdale Middle School.

This is good news, as ELL needs within the district continue to grow and change over time.  In 1990, the district served approximately 200 ELL students.  Now there are 1900 ELL students in the ESD, comprising 10% of the district's total student body.  The largest language groups, in order of distribution, are Spanish, Ukranian, Vietnamese and Arabic.  The fastest growing populations are Arabic and Western African speakers.  There are trends across the district, and at individual schools. Cedar Valley has huge numbers of ELL students (approximately 170), while Maplewood has only two.  Some neighborhoods have high concentrations of speakers of languages that don't exist at all at other schools, so it's difficult to predict future trends.  Immigration spikes seem to follow geo-political events, as evidenced by war and strife in West Africa driving the latest round of immigration to the United States and to the Edmonds School District.

The district believes providing ELL services at the student's neighborhood school provides the best results for the greatest number of students.  They are finding fewer students deciding to drop out/opt out as their needs can be met at their home/neighborhood schools.

STEM:

We next finalized our thoughts and comments for the Board of Directors regarding the ESD's attempts to introduce a vibrant STEM curriculum, and the conversion of MTHS into a "STEM Magnet School".  The committee is generally supportive of STEM with a few concerns: 

TPEP:

We reviewed and finalized our list of priorities we'd like to see contained within the revised teacher and principal evaluations imposed by the Legislature:

Teacher priorities:

  1. Teachers readily available for parent and student consultations.

  2. There is clear communication of expectations, assignments, and curriculum to both parents and students.

  3. The teacher is culturally sensitive.

  4. The teacher is personable.

  5. The teacher is a good listener and responsive to feedback.

Principal priorities:

  1. Articulates a clear vision for the school, and is subject to consequences for not doing so.

  2. Effectively partners with the community.

  3. Accountable.

  4. Visible on campus.

  5. Approachable.

  6. Sets and enforces an appropriate and rigorous learning tone for the school.

  7. Culturally sensitive and promotes cultural sensitivity at the school.

The full committee then gathered and heard from Board Member Susan Phillips, who told us about the "Expand Your Horizons" event scheduled for May 4th at Edmonds Community College.  This event, led by woman leaders from businesses in the technology sector, is designed to empower and expose high school girls to the possibilities presented by careers and opportunities for girls/women within the technology sector.  This program fits well with the district's emphasis on STEM education, and will hopefully steer more girls towards studies and potential careers in STEM-related fields.

Interested female high school students should contact their guidance counselors to get signed up for the program.  There is no cost to attend the program.

The Education Subcommittee reported our work on ELL, STEM and TPEP outlined above to the whole committee.

The Boundaries & Enrollment and the Operations Subcommittees reported on their joint meeting regarding overcrowding at Hilltop, Martha Lake, and Oak Heights Elementary Schools.

The district feels that current overcrowding issues can be addressed with minor adjustments to the attendance boundaries of six to nine elementary schools.  The district intends to implement these adjustments on a "rolling" basis, meaning current students can continue to attend their current schools.  Newly arriving residents will send their kids to the "new" neighborhood school.  The district lists "sibling preference", "transportation", and "middle school assignment" as "unknowns" at this time, meaning they do not know if siblings will be allowed to follow their older siblings to their "old" neighborhood school, what, if any, transportation will be provided to get students from the same neighborhood to two different schools, and how these new boundaries will impact assignments to district middle schools.

Regardless of all the missing pieces to the puzzle, the district is committed to moving forward, and the district will have a proposed resolution for the CPC committee to review at the May meeting with hopeful CPC approval early in the 2012-13 school year.  The district anticipates a first presentation to the board in October, a second reading in November, and board approval in December.  The district has already committed to meetings with interested parties at the affected schools on or about September 10, 2012 to explain how this will be implemented and to address parent concerns.  These new attendance boundaries would be implemented for the 2013-2014 school year.

Personally, I'm waiting to see the details before developing an opinion on this plan.  If the new boundaries seem logical and don't have bizarre results like pushing schools outside of their own attendance boundaries, then I'm inclined to support the proposal.  If the proposed new attendance boundaries produce absurd results, then I'm inclined to oppose this proposal.  As of now, there are simply far too few details to warrant the development of any conclusions at this point in time.

Budget & Legislative Updates:

Marla Miller, Director of Finance for the district, brought us up to speed on budget matters as related to the ongoing Legislative session.  Everything currently proposed is relatively benign to the ESD.  Proposals to reduce school employee benefits and pensions are state-wide and don't directly impact ESD funding for classroom operations.  The District is formulating the 2012-2013 budget, but with the state budget still in flux, much of the district budget remains unsettled.  Those interested in learning more about the 2012-2013 budget can find answers to their questions here: http://www.edmonds.wednet.edu/domain/128

Debby Carter, the Human Resources director for the district, next reviewed legislative developments regarding the TPEP program referenced above and elsewhere.  New legislation has given the Legislature greater oversight of the TPEP process, and has imposed a mandatory "long-form" evaluation on every teacher at least every four years.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you might have regarding the CPC or anything I've shared here.

Doug Vavrick
CPC Representative
Hilltop Elementary School
doug.vavrick@gmail.com


March 5, 2012

The Edmonds School District's Citizen Planning Committee met on March 5, 2012. Agenda

STEM

In the Education Subcommittee, Mountlake Terrace High School Principal Greg Schwab came to speak about the addition of the S.T.E.M. Magnet program to MTHS

The district's experience with "Project Lead The Way" laid the groundwork for ramping up STEM education with the addition of the STEM program at MTHS.  The program/curriculum consists primarily of existing courses that were repackaged to create the STEM program.  The plan is to offer three paths for STEM students: 1. Aerospace, 2. Robotics and computer science, and 3. Biotechnology, however the district is still fleshing out the details of the biotech track.

The program has attracted 52 9th graders who will enter the program for the 2012-2013 school year.  Of those 52 students, 25 will be coming from other district quadrants, and four students are attending from outside the Edmonds School District.  MTHS' current robotics club will soon be joined by a Rocketry Club. 

The district plans on starting the marketing of the STEM program to parents and students earlier next year, so that interested 9th graders-to-be will have more time to investigate and sign up for the program.

Greg Schwab shared that the original intent of the STEM program was to "poach" IB students from Edmonds-Woodway High School.  Committee members had concerns that programs like STEM should be designed for and marketed to all students.  STEM needs to be accessible to all who want it.  Committee members also encouraged the district to improve the elementary and middle school math curriculums so students leave middle school prepared for a high school STEM education rich in advanced mathematics.  Greg Schwab confided that they now realize STEM should be made available to all.  All STEM classes at MTHS are designed to be "mainstream", in that students not in the STEM program will also have access to the classes, assuming they've fulfilled the prerequisite requirements.

Greg Schwab also shared his understanding that 9th graders should have access to an introductory STEM class that does not require Algebra I as a prerequisite, as not every 9th grader arrives having completed Algebra I in middle school. 

In response to the discussion regarding better math preparation at the elementary and middle school level, Asst. Superintendent Tony Byrd shared that the district is unveiling a new middle school math curriculum (extending "Math Expressions" to 7th and 8th graders in middle schools) in an attempt to prepare more students for the STEM program and eventual careers in STEM-related fields.  The new "Common Core Standards" (CCS) also call for more rigorous algebra in 6th grade.  The district is trying to figure out how to offer more algebra to more 8th graders for the 2012-2013 school year.

Our area is a "hotbed of high-tech", and STEM education addresses a local need in our community, and provides enormous opportunities to connect with different kids in different ways.  Rigorous hand-on project-based learning utilizing real-life applications of science and math prepares students for well-paying careers in fields in high demand by area employers.

TPEP

We watched 10 minutes of a video presentation (Assessing Teacher Effectiveness) by Charlotte Danielson, a renowned leader in teacher evaluation circles.  We reviewed her framework for evaluating teachers with the goal of better understanding the categories and criteria used to evaluate teachers.

On April 20, 2012, while students are enjoying a day off from classes, the district's 1200 teachers will be meeting in the MTHS gym to hear the district's update on the TPEP process.  Charlotte Danielson's work figures prominently in the path being followed by the ESD.  Other districts pursuing the same evaluation philosophies are Bellevue, Lake Washington, Northshore, and Everett.

Different frameworks are being developed from librarians, music teachers, P.E. teachers, etc., where standard teacher evaluation criteria might not apply.

Full CPC Committee

Over-crowded elementary schools:

I have good news and "other" news to report regarding the district's plans for addressing over-crowded elementary schools in the NE quadrant.  The good news is that they've backed away from the proposal to dump three or four portables on Hilltop's fields, and expanding Hilltop's gym into the parking lot.  The "other" news is that the district feels they can once again reconfigure the attendance boundaries of Hilltop, Martha Lake, and Oak Heights to shift students to underutilized schools in the SE quadrant.

The Boundaries and Enrollment and the Operations sub-committees heard a presentation from district staff regarding their proposal for reconfiguring attendance boundaries.  The larger committee wasn't allowed to see the hand-out that was distributed to the members of the two subcommittees, as we're told it's still too much of a work in progress to be disseminated further.  The subcommittees report that they'll have a proposal for us to review at the April CPC meeting that will contain proposed new attendance boundaries for the three elementary schools.  Here's what they've shared so far:

While all options are still technically on the table, the district proposes to address overcrowded schools by adjusting attendance boundaries.  Construction of a new elementary school would cost approximately $30 million and would take 3-5 years.  A new proposal to expand Oak Heights Elementary into a "mega-elementary" by adding a wing with five new classrooms and expanding the multi-purpose room at a combined cost of $6.5 million has been placed on the back-burner for now, along with the proposal to convert the Alderwood Early Childhood Education Center back into Alderwood Elementary School.  The district estimated it would cost between $500,000 and $1 million to upgrade the Alderwood facility back into a fully functioning elementary school, and then a home would have to be found for the Early Childhood Education Center.  Also on the back-burner are plans to add "permanent portable" classrooms to, and to expand the gym/multipurpose rooms at Hilltop and Martha Lake Elementary Schools.

We're told that there will be much more information for us to evaluate at the April CPC meeting.

Diversity of the Citizen Planning Committee

Concerns were raised with the lack of diversity reflected on the CPC.   It was pointed out that there are 11 schools not represented on CPC, and three of the school board members have not appointed CPC committee members as they are allowed to do.  It was suggested that the district attempt to identify schools without representation and attempt to have representatives appointed to CPC who also  represent the diversity of our community.

Snow days

District HR manager Debby Carter led a discussion on the development of the district calendar, and the processes involved with making up snow days.  There are 14 groups that must sign off on the district calendar, and making adjustments to the calendar after it has been agreed to would require the agreement of those 14 groups, so fiddling with the calendar after it has been implemented is troublesome at best.  Thus, the assignment of half-days, staff education days, furlough days, and snow make-up days does not take place in a vacuum.  Committee members urged district officials to better communicate the process used to set the district calendar - and thus determining snow make-up days - to parents.  If CPC members have no idea how the district calendar is developed, then the average district parent has no way to understand the processes involved.  District staff said they would work on more/better ways to convey this information to parents.

Meeting minutes


February 6, 2012

The Edmonds School District's Citizen Planning Committee met on February 6, 2012.

In the Education Subcommittee, we continued our work on "TPEP", or the revised "Teacher and Principal Evaluation Process".  We were reminded that the three most important influences on children/students are - in this order:

  1. Parents

  2. Classroom teachers

  3. School leaders (i.e. the principal)

Teachers want better evaluation criteria so they can become better teachers.  Merit pay, or pay based upon evaluation results, is not on the table at this point in time.  The program will be fully-implemented state-wide for the 2013-2014 school year.

First, we reviewed the work we've done thus far.  The subcommittee then broke down into smaller groups, where we further refined and developed our themes we feel are important when evaluating teachers and principals on their communication and collaborative skills.  Key themes were encouraging both the quantity AND the quality of communication between teachers, principals, parents, and other interested stakeholders. 

We reviewed and critiqued a few of the evolving drafts from the current pilot program.  The Central Valley, Wenatchee, and Snohomish School District examples were shared, along with a template provided by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).  We reviewed packets of samples for both teachers and principals.

We found the Wenatchee model to be the most favorable of the examples provided thus far, but we have concerns with all of the examples that the evaluation rating scale isn't rigorous enough.  In some areas, it is impossible to imagine that any teacher or principal could ever receive the lowest ranking using the definitions described in the criteria.  No situation would be allowed to deteriorate to the point where such a ranking would be given.  Similarly, several of the criteria describe what a teacher or principal must do to obtain the highest rating, and our thought was that the definitions described what should be the minimally acceptable criteria. 

For example, the Snohomish School District lists the following as their description of a teacher who receives a rating as "exemplary" in the category "Maintaining Accurate Records":

"The teacher's system for maintaining instructional and non-instructional information on students is standardized, regularly maintained, and tied to district reporting systems.  District resources are leveraged to to make the information timely and meaningful.  Students contribute information and interpretation of the records."

To us, the above seemed more like a description of the bare-bones minimum requirements for classroom record-keeping, and less like a description of what would be required for a teacher to obtain a rating of "exemplary".

The full committee then assembled for the general meeting and subcommittee reports.  The Boundaries & Enrollment sub-committee met with the Operations sub-committee to continue their review of the strategies and proposals available to deal with chronic overcrowding at three NE Quadrant elementary schools - Hilltop, Martha Lake, and Oak Heights. 

The district has the following options:

I shared the view of the staff and parents at Hilltop that Hilltop was uniformly opposed to the installation of additional permanent portable buildings on our campus, and has serious concerns with the preliminary siting of the proposed expansion of Hilltop's multipurpose room/gym.  The subcommittee chairs welcomed our position, and said they would find our input helpful when formulating their ultimate recommendations to the full committee, and then on to the school board.

We were reminded and encouraged to vote for, support, and advocate for passage of the replacement tech school levy on the February 14th ballot.  A detailed accounting of how funds from the 2008 tech levy is available on the district's website.  There are two documents - one for the district's elementary/K-8 schools, and one for the district's secondary schools.

Should the legislature mandate additional cuts to basic education funding, district administrators believe that we can mitigate potential cuts to state revenue streams with existing district resources. 

The district anticipates having approximately 62 fewer FTEs for the 2012-2013 school year due solely to declining enrollment.  Declining enrollment saves the district money, but it costs jobs.

We received a report on the work done by the EAACH (Equity Alliance for Achievement) committee.  The committee has 150 volunteers in its database, and can consistently count on 40-50 active participants who are working to address the committee's concerns.  Chief among the committee's goals are to empower parents and families by educating them on the policies and procedures that craft public education.  Parents new to our country, culture, language, and political systems are encouraged to participate in their child's education and in our democracy by becoming activists on behalf of their child's education.  The district has over 2000 families where Spanish is the primary language spoken in the home.  The next most frequently spoken language is represented by approximately 150 families, so it is no mistake that much of the committee's work involves outreach to the district's Hispanic and Latino communities.

February 6, 2012 CPC meeting minutes

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you might have regarding the CPC or anything I've shared here.

Doug Vavrick
CPC Representative
Hilltop Elementary School
doug.vavrick@gmail.com


January 9, 2012

The Edmonds School District's Citizen Planning Committee met on January 9, 2012.

In the Education Subcommittee, we continued our discussion of what's important to parents when it comes to communicating with teachers and principals.  Study after study brings us to the inevitable conclusion that the two most important people in a child's life are the parent and the teacher.  The leadership of the child's school also has a huge impact on the quality of education provided by the school.  Study after study tells us that high performing schools have high performing leaders.

Dr. Tony Byrd, Assistant Superintendent for Student Learning and the staff coordinator for our subcommittee, again passed around the chart showing the current evaluation criteria, and the framework for the new system to be implemented for the 2013-2014 school year as mandated by ESSB 6696.  The 8 school districts and one consortium of small rural Eastern Washington school districts continue with their pilot programs, and continue to share their progress with districts across the state.  The process and programs are described in great detail at the state's website devoted to the process: http://tpep-wa.org/.  The Snohomish School District is one of the districts participating in the pilot program, and has begun the process of fleshing out their criteria.  Dr. Byrd shared their draft of their proposed principal evaluation criterion #7 as an example of what type of results these processes are producing.

We then broke up into groups of two to develop lists of ideas or concepts that were important to us when thinking about how teachers and principals can best communicate with parents.  The groups of two then combined into groups of six to share and refine the proposals, and then each of the larger groups shared their ideas with the committee.  Here are a few of the ideas that were discussed:

Teachers:

Principals:

The Education subcommittee next heard from Edmonds School Board Director Gary Noble, who wished to speak to us regarding changes the board has made this year to the district's ELL program.  Previously, the secondary school ELL programs had been concentrated at Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood High Schools.  This year, the program was split so ELL programs could be added at all four high schools.  Director Noble was opposed to this shift, as he finds value in keeping the programs co-located and centralized.  He's asked our committee to monitor this change to ensure spreading the program out doesn't dilute it's effectiveness.

The full committee then assembled and heard reports from the subcommittees.

The Building & Enrollment subcommittee will be meeting with the Operations subcommittee next month as the two committees address the district's issues regarding facilities and capacities. 

Alleviating overcrowding at Hilltop, Martha Lake, and Oak Heights is a priority. 

The district is exploring the addition of portable classrooms to accommodate growing student populations at these three schools.  The district thinks that adding portable classrooms will impose unreasonable demands on existing multi-purpose rooms as the additional students would need P.E. and lunch periods in these already overtaxed facilities.  Thus, adding a couple of portable classrooms would also require adding an additional multi-purpose room to these schools.  This ratchets up the price tag of adding portable buildings.  While a "permanent portable" classroom can be installed for approximately $200,000 ea., adding a multipurpose room will cost approximately $1/75 million per school.  The total cost of adding two portable classrooms at three schools then balloons to approximately $12 million.  The district owns land for a new elementary school at 501 184th St. SW across the street rom Lynnwood High School.   The ball-park figure for constructing a new elementary school is $30 million.  Considering the continued growth of housing in the North-East quadrant of the district, the construction of a new elementary school at this location seems not to be a question of why, but of when.

The Operations committee looked at Google Earth images of the footprints of the three elementary schools and discussed site location problems with Ed Peters, the District's Facilities Manager.  Portable classroom sites must be level or else site preparation work become prohibitively expensive.  Most proposed portable classroom sites at Hilltop would conflict with plans to re-work the parking lots and driveways to improve traffic flow patterns before and after school.  Interestingly (at least to me), these three schools are all located within unincorporated Snohomish County, and while Ed Peters has been working with county zoning and land use staff to see how laws and regulations would impact the proposal to add portable classrooms to these campuses, it appears that county zoning and land use regulations are more restrictive than what applies to other district facilities in other political subdivisions. 

District memo re: portable classroom and multi-purpose room addition room costs

One other item that was shared as we discussed overcrowding at the elementary schools in the North-East quadrant are the new rules applying to students wishing to attend Madrona or Maplewood.  Slots at Madrona and Maplewood will now be assigned to quadrants, with an equal number of kids from each quadrant offered spots at these two schools.  It is expected that this will draw a few kids from these three schools as there are now additional slots at Madrona and Maplewood for kids from our quadrant.

Committee member Mark Dillan spoke on behalf of the Edmonds Public Schools Foundation.  The foundation has money to give to district schools, but because there aren't enough trained grant writers asking for funds, the money goes unspent.  Time constraints have inhibited the ability of teachers and staff to apply for grant money.  Mark has suggested holding a "grant writing seminar" for parents and other school community leaders to learn how to write successful grant applications so this money can get out to the schools as intended.  All who are interested are invited to email Mark at mdillan77@yahoo.com.

District Human Resources Director Debby Carter again reminded us to remind everyone else to vote for the Technology and Capital Facilities Replacement Levy on the February 14th ballot.  The replacement levy doesn't increase the tax rate - it only renews an existing levy.  A large chunk of the funds from this levy are dedicated to fixing the parking lot and driveways at Hilltop.

Dr. Byrd shared the "District Improvement Plan" with the committee.  The plan is mandated under No Child Left Behind for all school districts in the United States with schools not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).  Only four school districts in Washington State are not subject to this requirement.  Mercer Island is one of those districts, which helps explain what it takes to get excluded from the list.  The plan requires the district to identify specific weaknesses, and then to establish policies and procedures to address the shortcomings.  There are various categories and classifications where improvement may be mandated.  The Edmonds district has improvement plans for reading, and math at several schools and for several distinct sub-groups of students (special needs and ELL).

Dr. Byrd spoke about the "Math Expressions" program now in use at all district elementary schools.  This curriculum was adopted to improve math achievement in all district elementary schools as part of a prior District Improvement Plan.  The curriculum was brand-new when introduced in 2007, and is now used by most districts in the state, including Bellevue and Shoreline.  Middle school math instructional materials are next for review, and it is contemplated that the "Math Expressions" program will be expanded to the middle schools for a seamless math curriculum.

Finally, Dr. Byrd led a discussion on the impacts of poverty and economic strife and stress on students.  He shared a couple of sobering statistics:  In the "average" home of the average child who qualifies for free or reduced-price school lunches, you will find an average of between zero and four books of any kind or sort.  In the "average" middle-class home, you will find an average of between 300-400 books.  Furthermore, studies have proven a 90% correlation between family income and student performance.  In other words, if a student's family is struggling economically, there is a 90% chance that the student's achievement will be negatively impacted.

Meeting minutes

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you might have regarding the CPC or anything I've shared here.

Doug Vavrick
CPC Representative
Hilltop Elementary School
doug.vavrick@gmail.com


December 5, 2011

Hilltop Community,

The Edmonds School District's Citizen Planning Committee met on December 5, 2011.  Per the usual schedule, the sub-committees met separately to discuss their business before the entire committee met to hear from the other committees and to hear presentations to the entire body.

In the Education Sub-Committee, we continued our examination and discussion of the state and district processes underway to reform and improve teacher and principal evaluations as mandated by state law. (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=6696&year=2009)

Asst. Superintendent Tony Byrd was unable to attend due to illness, so substituting in his place was Debby Carter, Executive Director for Human Resources for the district.  She was an excellent source of information.  Also attending was Ryan Nyman, a Social Studies teacher from Lynnwood High School, who sits on the district's Teacher Task Force On Evaluation Restructuring and participates in national advocacy and research on the subject through involvement with the Center for Teaching Quality.  According to Debby and Ryan, The Center for Teaching Quality has been a leader in the research and development of "best-practices" for revising and enhancing teacher and principal evaluations.

Debby Carter handed out the following materials to committee members:

We learned that the teacher evaluation updates will only apply to certificated teachers working in classrooms.  Paraeducators, counselors, and other professionals working in the school community are not subject to these evaluations.

8 school districts and a consortium of 8 small Eastern Washington school districts are currently participating in a pilot project to revamp their evaluation processes.  These pilot programs have provided a wealth of information to the Edmonds School District, and have identified specific issues the district supports, and issues over which the district continues to have concerns.

Key to the process is the development of the rubrics that will define and describe what a teacher meeting the various evaluation levels will look like.

The new system will trade a satisfactory/unsatisfactory rating scale for a continuum with four categories.  An unsatisfactory teacher who needs much improvement will be rated as a "1".  A marginally better teacher will be rated a "2".  A strong teacher will be rated as a "3", and the cream of the crop will be rated as a "4".  The rubrics will flesh out, define, and describe in detail what a "1", "2", "3", or "4" looks like in the classroom, enabling evaluators to use a commonly-accepted rating scale to produce evaluations relevant in any school, in any district across the state.

These "rubrics" will be defined by the state, but how they are interpreted, and how they will be refined to fit within individual districts, is up to the individual districts.  The Edmonds School Board has tasked the CPC with defining how the definitions and descriptions should look with respect to the new teacher evaluation criteria #7 ("Communicating & collaborating with parents and school community") and the new principal evaluation criteria #8 ("Partnering with the school community to promote student learning").

Immediately and overwhelmingly, CPC members expressed a desire to comment and participate in the development of all eight criteria for both categories.  It will be interesting to see how that interest is handled by district administrators.

Because a teaching certificate is a legal right, there are huge implications for imposing discipline upon a certificated teacher.  Thus, there is a huge incentive to produce an evaluation process that withstands legal scrutiny and challenges from teachers who are disciplined as a result of negative evaluations.

Several committee members wondered if this process is designed to create evaluations that can be incorporated into determining a teacher's compensation.  It certainly appears that these evaluations can be used in such a way should decision-makers choose to tie teacher pay to classroom performance.

Teachers and principals are evaluated annually, and this schedule will continue under the new scheme.  Under the current system, teachers with a proven history of success are eligible for "short-form" evaluations, and new teachers and those working to improve their skills receive "long-form" evaluations.  It seems that some version of this arrangement will continue under the new system, simply because principals can't conduct "long-form" evaluations on every teacher, every year.  The hypothetical example of a high school with 70+ teachers was used to demonstrate how annual long-form evaluations of every teacher could easily become the sole focus of a principal's workday.

Ryan, the Lynnwood High School teacher, views this as a unique opportunity for teachers to enhance their professions.  He views the new system as a huge improvement from the teacher's perspective, where star teachers will be better recognized and those needing assistance and further professional development will be quickly identified and mentored.

The full committee then assembled. 

First to report was the Operations Sub-Committee.

The Operations Sub-Committee reviewed the district capital project "wish list", with an eye towards utilizing the resources the district hopes the voters will approve on February 14th when they vote on reauthorizing the district's technology and capital facilities levy.

The Ops Sub-Committee will meet with the Boundaries& Enrollment Sub-Committee in February to discuss overcrowding at Hilltop, Martha Lake, and Oak Heights Elementary Schools.  Options on the table are once again redrawing attendance boundaries and bringing in portable classrooms.

As an aside, I sat on the Boundaries & Enrollment Sub-Committee last year, and we addressed this issue back then.  At that time, we encouraged the district to consider building a new elementary school on district-owned property across the street from the new Lynnwood High School.  It seems as if this option is again "off the table", so I will work to see that this is again considered as an option for overcrowding in our corner of the district.

I reminded the entire committee that it "only" costs approximately $30 million to construct a new elementary school.  Building a new school pencils out if adding portables (and/or remodeling to accommodate portables), or remodeling to add classrooms and/or multipurpose rooms at two or three schools exceeds the $30 million price of a new school. 

I firmly believe that our corner of the district will continue to add population as we continue to grow and develop, and ultimately the addition of another elementary school to our district sub-area is inevitable.

The Boundaries & Enrollment Sub-Committee met with the principals from two of the three elementary schools in the North-East quadrant to also discuss the overcrowded elementary schools at Hilltop, Martha Lake, and Oak Heights.  (Hilltop's principal was unable to attend due to illness.)

The principals of Oak Heights and Martha Lake described their schools and how they currently accommodate the large numbers of students.  Both expressed a desire for an additional multi-purpose room for their schools, so that P.E. classes and student lunches could co-exist in separate rooms.

It appears that the district would like to consider the use of portable/modular classrooms as a potential fix.  Adding portable classrooms to existing campuses can often be inappropriate, as lunch room, library, plumbing, music and other communal resources are unable to accommodate the demands presented by additional students.

The full Citizens Planning Committee next heard from Marla Miller, Executive Director for Business and Operations for the district.  She addressed previous concerns regarding anticipated overcrowding at Lynnwood High School and an anticipated underutilization of Mountlake Terrace High School.  The district's worries have subsided somewhat.  The district, along with data provided by the district's contracted demographer, has determined that Lynnwood High School is at the peak of their enrollment trend, and that student numbers should gradually decrease over the next few years, alleviating the projected overcrowding problem.

Similarly, the district and its demographer predict that population and demographic shifts, combined with the conversion of MTHS to a STEM Academy starting with the 2012-2013 school year, will eliminate district concerns regarding the underutilization of MTHS. 

The district now feels that enrollment at these two schools is stable, and no further actions need be taken to address the situation.

Next, Debby Carter gave an overview of District Policy 8207, the "Harassment, Intimidation & Bullying" (or "HIB") policy.  The district had a robust anti-harassment/intimidation/bullying policy before the changes recently mandated by the State Legislature.  The district needed to only tweak the policy in minor ways to comply with the new state requirements.

Some highlights of the district's "HIB" policy:

Finally, Marla Miller attempted to give an update on developments in Olympia regarding the state budget.  She provided a brief outline of the Governor's proposed budget, along with a handout on the Governor's proposals.  Marla shared that most believe no movement will take place during this month's Special Session, and that we'll have to wait for next year's regular legislative session for a resolution to the crisis.  I shared my best-guess, based upon my experiences working in the legislature, that the Legislature will likely require two Special Sessions after the regular session ends at the end of March, and it might be well into May before we know the full details of how the shortfalls will be addressed.

Doug Vavrick
CPC Representative
Hilltop Elementary School


November 8, 2011

Hilltop Community,

The Citizen Planning Committee met on November 7, 2011.

In the Education subcommittee which I attend, we heard a fascinating and inspiring presentation from James Sullivan, a STEM teacher at Brier Terrace Middle School.  Mr. Sullivan is an nationally-recognized expert on STEM education.

Mr. Sullivan brought amazing examples of the types of projects students work on in his "Sci-Ma-Tech" (Science, Math & Technology) program at BTMS.  A closely related program also used in the district is called "Gateway to Technology".  We learned that the program developed by Mr. Sullivan has been adapted and is currently in use in over 75 middle schools around Washington State, and was recently endorsed by representatives from The Boeing Company as an example of precisely what they want to see happening in our schools in Snohomish County.

The middle school STEM elective program (called STEM Foundations) for 7th and 8th Graders is now in effect at all four district middle schools (Meadowdale, College Place, Alderwood, & Brier Terrace).  The district intends to use STEM initiatives to enhance algebra and geometry skills in all students, with a particular interest in using STEM initiatives to help under-performing math students grasp concepts and learn to love math, science, engineering, and technology.  Mr. Sullivan reports that his STEM classes are a rich blend of traditional middle school students and students from BTMS's Challenge Program.  His class even has three students who are legally blind - and who are thriving in the program.

In furtherance of this goal, Boeing - along with other partners such as the University of Washington, Seattle University, and the Puget Sound Biotechnology Advisory Committee, have pledged support for the establishment of a STEM magnet school at Mountlake Terrace High School beginning with the 2012-2013 school year.  A description of the program is available here.  This effort is styled to accomplish two goals:  Bring a STEM magnet school/academy to the Edmonds School District, and to bolster declining enrollment at MTHS.

Mr. Sullivan reports high interest in extra-curricular STEM activities, particularly through the Technology Student Association, or "TSA".  The TSA holds annual engineering competitions, and BTMS has done well in these contests.  The competition begins with district-level competitions in January, and culminates with the state competition in Bellevue in March.

The district will hold a STEM open-house at Meadowdale Middle School on November 16th, from 6-8:30 PM.  The district will discuss and take questions about the middle school STEM programs as well as the new STEM Academy at Mountlake Terrace High School.

Next, the subcommittee addressed the status of English Language Learners (ELL) programs in the district.  15 years ago, the district served 200 ELL students.  Now the district serves 2000 ELL students, representing an increase of 900%.  Those 2000 students speak over 70 different languages.  Cedar Valley Elementary is the most heavily ELL school, with 50% of the student body described as an "English Language Learner".  The district recently shuffled staff around to replace paraeducator ELL "teachers" with certificated ELL teachers at every elementary school, including Hilltop.  ELL programs have been established at the following district schools: Meadowdale ES, Oak Heights ES, Mountlake Terrace ES, Hilltop ES, Westgate ES, Martha Lake ES, Hazelwood ES, Cedar Way ES, Meadowdale MS, and Edmonds-Woodway HS.

ELL students are classified into three possible categories:  Level 1 students have little or know knowledge of the English language.  Level 2 students are more advanced, and Level 3 students are approaching academic fluency.  Experts on ELL say it can take from 5-7 years for a student to pick up "academic English", meaning they understand the language well enough so that it doesn't become an obstacle to learning.

The Edmonds School District believes that every ELL student should have an opportunity to go to college, and that it is the responsibility of the entire school to educate ELL students.

Next, the full CPC committee met.  

The Operations subcommittee reported that they are working on building prioritization lists, where district capital building and repair projects are ranked in order of need.

The Education subcommittee reported what I've shared above.

The Boundaries and Enrollment subcommittee reported that they met with the MTHS principal to discuss MTHS's relatively low enrollment.  The school isn't losing kids to transfers to other schools.  All evidence indicates there are simply fewer kids in the MTHS attendance district.   Because of the decline in enrollment, the school has lost a couple of programs, such as their sports medicine program, the student store (which has recently been re-opened), and the coffee cart, which is part of the school's marketing program.

Under consideration are changing feeder school patterns to shift more kids to MTHS from the other three district high schools, adding more programs to MTHS to attract kids currently attending other schools, and of course the STEM Academy discussed above.  It is hoped that the STEM Academy will draw kids from across the district who wish to participate in a state-of-the-art program designed to give them a fast-track to a rewarding career in the technology fields.

It was mentioned by district staff that surveys over the years have demonstrated that 35% of school-aged kids living in the Edmonds School District don't attend district schools.  They attend private schools, are home-schooled, or are not in school at all.  A suggestion was made that perhaps public schools could be marketed to the kids who go to school elsewhere.  The district is also considering surveying kids to see what would attract them to MTHS.

After the subcommittee reports, we then heard from district staff about the Move 60! program.  The Move 60! program is an effort of the ESD and what was formerly known as the South Snohomish County Health District (now "Verdant").  The health district received a windfall when Swedish bought in to Stevens Hospital.  The funds are being reinvested into the community to improve community health, and the Move 60! program is part of this effort.  In all, $2.2 million was given to the district for a three-year program to bring additional physical fitness efforts to elementary school children.

This year, the program is spending $915,000 of the $2.2 million to deploy the before or after school program to eight elementary schools this year: Cedar Valley, College Place, Hazelwood, Lynndale, Maplewood, Meadowdale, Mountlake Terrace, & Spruce.  Funding pays for one teacher to administer the program across the district, and a paraeducator overseeing the program at each school.  Move 60! spends a trimester at a school before moving on to another school.  Three schools are served at a time.  It is anticipated that the program will come to Hilltop next year.  The program also provides funds for busses, so students won't have to miss out due to transportation issues.  Each school is allocated slots for 50 kids, and the program has been averaging 100 applicants per school.  Students are first identified for participation by school staff.  Special consideration is given to kids who might otherwise participate in organized sports such as baseball, basketball or soccer, but who don't due to financial constraints.  Priority is also given to children the staff feel could benefit from additional exercise and a reinforcement of healthy lifestyle choices.

Finally, we discussed the reform of the processes used to evaluate teachers and principals.  The district has two steering committees working on new criteria and rubrics, one for teachers and the other for principals.  The current system "grades" teachers and principals using a "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory" designation.  The new system will employ four levels of performance, providing more information about the skills, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses of teachers and principals.  The legislation driving this reform (E2SSB 6696) also requires annual reports using the new data to provide greater detail of how teachers and principals are doing.


October 10, 2011

Hello,

My name is Doug Vavrick.  I am the parent of a 1st grader at Hilltop.  This is my second year as Hilltop's representative to the Edmonds School District's Citizen Planning Committee (CPC).  I hope to use this page to communicate information I receive to the Hilltop community, and for the Hilltop community to communicate concerns, ideas and suggestions for me to take back to the CPC.

What is the CPC?  According to the district's website (http://www.edmonds.wednet.edu/19631085131330817/site/default.asp), the Citizen Planning Committee was created by the Edmonds School Board to advise them on the long-range needs and issues of the school district.

The Citizen Planning Committee meets as a whole, and also meets in subcommittees.  The three subcommittees are:

1. Boundaries and Enrollment (attendance areas, feeder school patterns, enrollment and building utilization)

2. Education (curriculum and other similar issues)

3. Operations (budget, finance, facilities)

Last year, I served on the Boundaries and Enrollment subcommittee.  This year, I decided to serve on the Education subcommittee, which is going to be busy this year as we tackle several meaty issues. 

The Education subcommittee is addressing the following issues for the 2011-2012 school year:

The full committee is also working with the district to help ensure the renewal of the Technology and Capital Facilities Levy, which will be on the February 14, 2012 ballot.  This renewal won't raise taxes.  Tax rates will actually go down incrementally if the levy is approved thanks to declining property values.  I hope you've all seen the pink technology posters around the school.  They inform parents and other visitors to the school that the monies generated under the 2008 Technology and Capital Facilities Levy produced real results for our students and classrooms by providing technology used on a daily basis in every classroom in every district school.

We've learned that only half of district parents are registered to vote, and only have of those registered voters bother to cast ballots in school levy elections.  We're working on ways to increase parent voter participation rates, including voter registration drives at PTA events and reminding all parents that they can register to vote at any school office, fire station, library, or even online: http://wei.secstate.wa.gov/olvrsite/

I welcome your comments, concerns, ideas and questions.  Please feel free to email me at doug.vavrick@gmail.com.

Thank you,

Doug Vavrick
CPC Representative
Hilltop Elementary School