School board okays food class change
The Wahkiakum School District Board of Directors made quick work of the agenda at their August meeting on Tuesday.
School Board Director Tina Schubert was not present, and Michelle Budd had to step out for a football meeting next door.
With board members Tim Hanigan and Shawn Merz on hand and Sue O’Connor on the phone, the school board approved several items, beginning with an increase in the adult school lunch price from $3.50 to $4.
A class on wildlife and a class on forestry will be combined this year to make room in the vocational education department for a cooking class.
“One of the things we’ve been looking at with our schedule at the high school is what kind of classes can we offer that will motivate and intrigue students?” Principal Stephanie Leitz said. “In the student surveys that we’ve done, anything with food comes up over and over again.”
The board approved a textbook for the new curriculum, and Maintenance Supervisor Mike Wright has been busy remodeling the kitchen in Kyle Hurley’s classroom. The class will incorporate food science and the students will learn about nutritional needs and healthy food choices. Students will use the new school garden.
“The shop teacher seemed really excited about this class,” Merz said.
Substitute teacher’s pay was increased from $110 per day to $120, in hopes of recruiting and keeping substitute teachers. Contracts were approved for two new teachers, Shelley St. Onge and Nancy Nelson.
“We are really, really pleased with the individuals that we have been able to get to agree to come here,” Superintendent Bob Garrett said. “Both of them are highly experienced teachers. Shelley St. Onge recently taught at Battle Ground, but before that she taught for several years out of Kelso. Nancy Nelson is an early retired science teacher out of Utah. We’re really excited about both of them.”
Five teachers traveled to San Diego this summer to attend training for a program called AVID, or Advancement via Individual Determination.
“AVID’s mission is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society, which is the same thing we are trying to do here,” Leitz said. “We thought it was a good match. We’re trying to teach kids to advocate for themselves and be individually determined to do well. It’s a great tool for reform and change within a school.”
After holding a closed executive session, the board approved the hiring of Wright as the new maintenance supervisor. He will start at $16.89 an hour with an increase after two years.
The next school board meeting is scheduled for September 23 at 5:30 p.m.