The major goal, Davis explained, is to increase math literacy, so when they graduate from WHS, they can think mathematically and scientifically. They will understand the deeper meaning.
“What we want to do is change the mathematics graduation requirement, but still provide a safety net for struggling students,” he said.
He told the board their goal is to provide an intermediate step for students so they don’t get overwhelmed by the next math course, i.e. a class between Algebra I and II, Algebra 1.5.
“We want to encourage critical math literacy skills and college preparedness through promoting Algebra based science classes,” Davis said. “Math literacy should be just as important as reading or writing.”
While he did express concern that they may be taking too big of a step, math teacher John Hannah said they would be doing what is best for the individual and the school. “This is a great plan for what we want to do,” Hannah said.
Counselor Nancy Renner told the board she tells students they should be taking math and science every year of high school to be competitive for college and for life. She said she encourages kids “not to take the easy road. It doesn’t make sense,” she said.
Superintendent Bob Garrett agreed with Davis regarding the importance of high expectations in math; however, he expressed concern over what other programs may be affected with the new demands placed on students should the school decide to up the requirement to four years as opposed to two.
In other business, the board accepted the resignation of Girls Basketball Coach David Hendrickson.
Erin Turner, WHS sophomore and Horizons member presented the board with the group’s idea for a possible community center for Wahkiakum County. She told the board they are looking at different areas for the possible center including, the old fire hall, a second floor on the museum, or they may choose to find their own property.
Turner said that they would like to see an area for community members of all ages to enjoy. She said the program is in need of sponsors while applying for grants which will be sought in September. “It’s a community project and we want to inform significant groups in Wahkiakum County about what is going on,” Turner said.
Wahkiakum County Sheriff Dan Bardsley discussed the position of the School Resource Officer (SRO) and possible cuts to this position. He said last year the program came close to being cut but the sheriff’s office found cuts in other areas to save the position.
Now, he said, he is back to finding a way to save to position once again. He said he is proposing to the school board that the school district share in the SRO expense. Bardsley said he wanted to present the board with the information early enough so when they do their budgets they have all they need for consideration.
“The school year is only nine months; that’s 75 percent of the year; half of the 75 percent is what I’m asking to share," he said. "The rest of it I pick up, the county picks up, and hopefully that is enough to continue the program.”
Garrett told the board he received a phone call from the parents of eighth grade student Mikayla Bell. Garrett said Bell is a member of a swimming club in Longview and they asked if they would consider a cooperative swimming program with Mark Morris High School so she can continue the sport as a high school student.
Garrett said the law allows a program for small schools that don’t have certain programs to cooperate with schools that do. She would practice with MMHS, but would compete as a WHS student.
While MMHS agreed to Bell swimming and practicing they expressed concern that an over abundance of students wanting to participate and said they couldn’t handle it. Garrett said the Bells have agreed to pay any fees accompanied with the co-op. The board approved of Bell swimming at MMHS.
Davis said the second “Gear Up” field trip was a lot of fun. He said the kids went on a walking guided tour of the University of Washington, and the Boeing plant. The highlight of the trip, Davis said, was the play at the Intiman Theater, “The Diary of Anne Frank.”
“Our senior portfolios presentations, I must say, went way beyond my expectations!” Davis said. He added that he received emails saying people really enjoyed the presentations. He said the general consensus from students that it was a positive experience.
Julius A. Wendt Elementary/John C. Thomas Middle School Principal Theresa Libby said spring field trips are coming up. The third graders will be going to Lelooska on May 6, and the fourth graders will visit Fort Clatsop June 3. Eighth graders will be attending Cispus May 4-5. The fifth graders will attend Cispus May 28-30.