Photo by Chaunce Shrewsbury: Superintendent Krestin Bahr prepares WSSDA award to present to board director and legislative representative, Ronda Litzenberger, for 10 years of board service.
Photo by Chaunce Shrewsbury: Superintendent Krestin Bahr prepares WSSDA award to present to board director and legislative representative, Ronda Litzenberger, for 10 years of board service.
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Community engagement, achievements and funds were discussed during Eatonville School District’s board of director’s meeting and self-evaluation workshop Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 at the district office at 200 Lynch St. W.
Superintendent Krestin Bahr and three of the five board directors attended Wednesday’s meeting and self-evaluation. Matt Marshell, board director, attended the evaluation and board meeting through phone conference; Liza Klumpar, board director, was absent for both parts.
Kim Knight, board business manager, and Kim Henley, board secretary, joined for the regular board meeting.
Public input and engagement were hot topics during self-evaluation discussions. Emphasis was placed on helping the public understand school board language, activities and finances.
Board Director, Matt Marshall, commented about the board’s transparency and the difficulty the public may face when attempting to become informed.
“We definitely aren’t holding anything back from the public,” he said. “However, it is difficult to share [information] in a way that can be easy for people to find and understand.”
Bahr recognized the issue and would like to address it more broadly.
“I would like to increase the knowledge level [all around],” she said.
The Eatonville School District (ESD) hosted a public forum last October at Eatonville Elementary in attempts to foster a more open and face-to-face dialogue. The board stated that over 150 people attended.
“It was really really well done. It was presented well and was well attended,” said Paulette Gilliardi, assistant to the chairman. “I think the format was exceptional. More of that kind of thing needs to happen.”
The board plans to conduct an open forum semi-annually. The next forum is planned to occur with the next few months.
The board began including student body members in their meetings and activities five years ago to help bridge a gap between board members and students.
“[The students] do presentations on the happenings and attitudes in the schools,” said Jeff Lucas, school board chairman. “We take them to conferences and trainings with us.”
Lucas addressed the fact that students don’t always respond the same way to board members as they might to their friends in the hallway.
“They are a great conduit between us old people and the students,” Lucas said.
Other processes for community input have been less successful. Each year the board attempts to garner community engagement for suggested student elective courses. “That’s one [effort] that gets the least amount of community attendance and attention,” Lucas said.
Lucas encourages the community to reach out.
The ESD board invites the public to attend their meetings and encourages anyone that would like to speak or make a presentation to sign up.
Following discussion about community engagement, several awards and shoutouts were issued. Board directors and individuals within the school district were awarded for achievements and exceptional performance.
Ronda Litzenberger, board member and legislative representative, was issued an award from the Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA) for 10 years of service on the ESD board. Litzenberger lags behind Gilliardi whom has a combined service record of 19 years.
Greg Barker, the director of the Association of Washington Leaders Program, wrote a letter of recognition for Tira Hancock, an Eatonville High School teacher, and Michael Sniezak, an Eatonville Middle School teacher. They were recognized for their summer work with over 3400 students.
“The district should be complimented for having such top caliper people on your professional staff,” Barker wrote. “They have certainly brought credit to their schools by their continuing high level of performance and dedication to their kids.”
“For them to give up their summer is pretty astounding,” Bahr added.
Bahr gave a shoutout to one student whom helped avert a fire.
John Fisher and Clay Jamison, maintenance workers, were given a shoutout for their assistance as early as 3 a.m. and all hours during the snow storm. “They were just amazing out there,” Bahr said.
Longshoreman’s Union was shoutout for donating a $200 gift card to one student per school per year during the holidays for 11 years now.
After awards and shoutouts were announced the discussion shifted to finance, legislative initiatives and students.
ESD announced an ADA (American Disability Act) audit on Jan. 25, 2020. The audit is partially in preparation for the currently proposed bond.
Bahr said the contracted company for the audit was excited to come out.
“They were thrilled to be asked to come out to a small district,” Bahr said. “They wanted to thank us for the opportunity, as a small district, being willing to take the charge and being proactive instead of reactive.”
If passed, the bond will assist in making district facilities accessible by all.
The district qualified for an $1800.00 grant for training basic teachers inclusionary techniques for special education students; however, ESD recently peaked just over 13 percent of students requiring some form of special education.
The state doesn’t provide any additional funding for special education needs over 13 percent.
Federal law requires students with special needs be funded. Without additional state funds the district will need to allocate money from elsewhere.
Legislative initiatives that support additional special education funding include tiered system proposals and the special education multiplier law.
ESD received a Gold Star Award for 80 percent of College Bound Scholarship qualified students following through. Bahr has asked to have research conducted on the 20 percent that didn’t.
New classes were approved and ESD will soon offer courses in physiology, anatomy and leadership.
The ESD board will host its next meeting on Feb. 12, 2020 at 209 Lynch Creek Rd. E.
All board member contacts, meeting minutes, agendas and schedules can be found at eatonville.wednet.edu.