The Wahkiakum County Eagle

Local News

School board settles snow make up days

Published on Tue, Dec 24, 2013 by Diana Zimmerman

Read More News

    Shawn Merz and Michelle Budd were sworn in at last Thursday’s meeting of the Board of Directors for the Wahkiakum School District. This is Budd’s second term.  


    The board was reorganized for the new year. Tina Schubert will continue her duties as Chair, Merz will step in as Vice Chair and Tim Hanigan volunteered to become their Legislative Representative.


    The school board took a moment to recognize bus driver Nancy McCoy for her service after receiving her resignation. McCoy drove for the school district for more than 30 years.

    The recent cold snap and missed days were the catalyst for some of the discussion that Superintendent Bob Garrett brought before the board.


    Garrett had polled the staff about how they would prefer to make up the three days lost to the cold and snow.


    “Overwhelmingly,” Garrett said, “85 percent of those that responded wanted us to make the days up in March over midwinter break and on a little used inservice day, March 21. I would recommend that we go with the majority consensus of the staff.”


    The board agreed and the three days will be made up on March 6, 7 and 21.


    One staff member had suggested making up missed days on Saturday.  


    “It is not against the law to go to school on Saturdays,” Garrett said. “It was just an idea and nobody expressed an opinion because nobody knew about it. Food for thought.”


    The last option Garrett suggested was in regard to late starts and half days.


    “The latest we have ever started is two hours. We could have a three hour late start if the weather were to break and have the kids attend into the afternoon.”


    On one of the days that school had been canceled, teams still traveled to their scheduled events. Garrett asked the board how they would like to proceed in the future.


    “Will you find out what other schools do?” asked Budd.


    Garrett will look into it.


    A girls soccer program remains an agenda item. Superintendent Garrett shared that some coaches were concerned about declining enrollment and thus cautious about adding another program. The discussion about the soccer program will continue.  


    Stolen keys and the subsequent expense of replacing keys and locks at the high school led Garrett to ask the board if there should be a policy regarding lost or stolen keys.  


    “Should we have a policy that speaks to the consequence of losing your keys?” Garrett asked. “Whether you lose them or they are stolen? If there isn’t any kind of consequence is there any incentive to keep track of your keys?”


    The board did not have an answer at that time.


    Principal Stephanie Leitz reported the high school news. Juniors and seniors, along with their parents, have been learning the ins and outs of college applications and financial aid at special events at the school.


    One student, Natalia Barton, and the Pep Club have been busy decorating the halls for the holiday season, and students competed in a locker decorating contest.


    Leitz shared that the Knowledge Bowl team had placed first in a recent competition against much bigger schools.


    Leitz had the opportunity to attend a Harassment and Bullying Compliance seminar to ascertain whether the school’s policies were in order and that she and her staff were doing all they could to make students feel safe and comfortable.


    She also went to Willapa Valley along with teacher Kate Hanigan to attend a Gear Up Common Core Training presented by  the University of Washington. Hanigan was there to present some examples of her work.


    Leitz also reported that 50 percent of parents turned out for their first ever parent-teacher conferences.


    Elementary and Middle School Principal Theresa Libby reported that mid term grades were out.


    The junior high girls’ basketball and wrestling seasons have ended. Thirteen boys have signed up for basketball, and staff are considering whether to allow sixth graders to join in.


    “I think our teacher collaboration time continues to go really well,” Libby said. “If anything, teachers want more time together. They are working on interventions with struggling students. It’s pretty amazing; it’s like a buzzing high when you go in to watch the teachers with the para-educators and all the work they are doing to help student succeed.”  


    Garrett reported that enrollment had gone down by three students in the last month and that the budget was on track.


    The board will meet on January 23 at 5:30 p.m., and directors have agreed to change their February meeting to February 24 at 5:30 p.m..