Welcome back to school

The annual ritual of the first day of school happens today in the Eatonville and Bethel school districts.
From high school seniors in their last year of K-through-12 education, to the kindergarteners who are just getting started, the 2012-13 school year begins with the first bells this morning.
Here's some of what the students, their families and communities should know about what's in store between now and the end of classes next June:
District budget
Reduced about $1 million by trimming expenses at individual schools, but without losing jobs. "At this point, we don't anticipate staff cuts for this school year,GÇ¥ said superintendent Rich Stewart. General-fund expenditures are projected at $21.4 million, transportation fund at $221,186, capital projects at $6.8 million.
New programs
" Read 180 is a program for the middle school and the high school to help struggling readers become more proficient.
" Springboard Language Arts, a middle school curriculum to help prepare students for Advanced Placement classes in high school.
" Math material called Envisions "is more closely associated with the common core standards in grades K through 6,GÇ¥ Stewart said.
" Financial and student software programs that will save money that can be spent on classroom needs.
" Rainier Parent Partnership, a home-link program housed at Eatonville Elementary School for grades K-6. The goal is relationships between the school and homeschool families.
Teacher training went on all summer, becoming more concentrated in the last two weeks of August. Eatonville is a pilot district for the new principal and teacher evaluation system. All of the principals have been trained for it, training of teachers is continuing and will be ongoing throughout the year. Training is also continuing for principals and teachers in an instructional framework adopted two years ago.
" The University of Washington is providing training for elementary school teachers in math content.
" "We are continuing to look at assessment data, and our elementary staff is working, for the third year, with a consultant to use data to impact instruction,GÇ¥ Stewart said.
" Training on the common core standards, new math, reading and Springboard programs, and new software.
New administrators
Garth Steedman has moved from principal at the high school to the district office to become the new business manager, replacing Cathy Bryant, who retired. Ashley Barker replaces Steedman as principal, moving up from vice principal. The new vice principal is Mike Clancy, formerly of the Auburn School District.
Middle school
The new grade realignment approved last year to start creating a middle school system is taking effect. Ninth-graders now are in the high schools. Seventh and eighth-graders comprise middle schools and will be joined by sixth-graders starting in the 2013-14 school year.
New or renovated schools/facilities
Clover Creek Elementary School (full replacement), Shining Mountain Elementary School (modernization), Graham-Kapowsin, Bethel and Spanaway Lake high schools (science additions), Pierce County Skills Center (new construction), Bethel Learning Center (new construction), transportation center/district kitchen (new construction starting in 2013)
New administrators
Pierce County Skills Center director Michelle Ledbetter, Graham-Kapowsin High School-áprincipal-áLynn Gill (principal the last two years at Frontier Junior High), Spanaway Lake High School principal Julie Baublits, Bethel Middle School-áprincipal Jeff Gutfeld, Frontier Middle School-áprincipal-áMark Barnes, Clover Creek Elementary School-áprincipal-áConstance Martinson, Graham Elementary School-áprincipal-áAmy Low, Rocky Ridge Elementary School-áprincipal-áMichelle Fox, Evergreen Elementary School principal Kim Hanson, Spanaway Elementary School principal Brad Graham, Thompson Elementary School principal Chad Honig, and district transportation assistant director-áKathy Hugh.
New programs
Orientations to support high school transitions; Pierce County Skills Center adding aerospace composites, building trades and after-school metal fabrication; teacher and principal evaluation project (TPEP) underway; Going Green (details to be announced); changes in district and school web and parent notifications.
$167.7 million in the general fund for district operations.
Estimated enrollment
Approximately 17,000 students who will be served by a combined 1,689 teachers and other staff members.


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