The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Driver education changing at WHS


March 28, 2019

The Wahkiakum School District Board of Directors met March 19 to discuss several items including a commercial kitchen, the traffic safety program, the IT infrastructure, their continued concerns about funding, and more.

Superintendent Brent Freeman gave a quick update on plans for the commercial kitchen/fish processing center, the fruit of a partnership of the school district, the local WSU Extension Office and Marine Resources Committee. He said that he and Carrie Backman of the extension office were working on a memorandum of understanding and hoped to have it ready for the directors at their next meeting in April.

Terry Bonny will no longer be training student drivers, Freeman said. Mary Moonen has to jump through a hoop or two, but will be taking over the traffic safety program.

“The program is really changing,” Freeman said. “We just had the Department of Licensing curriculum people come down and give us their new curriculum. It is the standard we have to teach to in Washington. It’s a good time for us as they are bringing in a new curriculum as we are bringing in a new teacher.”

He pointed out that fewer and fewer schools were opting to teach driver’s ed, and added that the program will probably be phased out eventually at public schools simply because of the expense.

“For us it’s not terrible because we already own the two cars. I think it’s important for kids to get good training. I think it’s a life skill like swimming,” Freeman said.

The board approved a conditional certificate for Moonen to teach the program, and if the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction gives the okay, Moonen may begin teaching traffic safety after spring break.

Paul Ireland, the technology director for the district, gave an overview on the Information Technology department.

He said they serve 550 clients and 1000 IP connected devices in the district.

“It’s easily the biggest technology footprint in county with quite a bit less IT manpower than your average enterprise or corporate environment would do it with,” Ireland said.

He talked about infrastructure, software, end user devices,

"All of it is four years or newer,” Ireland said. “I expect it to run eight to 10 years from now, minimum.”

Ireland has done a lot to protect it, even in a power outage, which was tested recently after a county wide power outage

He hopes eventually that the network will connect to places where students are learning in the field, up to 10 miles away from campus.

The infrastructure is in fantastic shape, he said. Software is extremely well licensed, including the adoption of Adobe, and soon Office 365.

He, teachers, and staff have been educating students about taking care of their Chromebooks and breakage has decreased, but Ireland feels there is still room for improvement.

Freeman gave an update on the skill center that is planned to be built in 2020 in the Castle Rock area and will serve students at 11 schools in southwest Washington, including Wahkiakum students. The programs will have a focus in three areas--diesel mechanics, construction management and health sciences.

“We had a mountain lion sighting today at the access road,” Freeman said in other news. “The sheriff knows; we called the schools and put everybody on high alert. I do want to take out all those bushes that are down along the highway and by the grade school.”

Cinnon Tarabochia tendered her resignation as secretary effective June 30.


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