Wahkiakum school board hears school year reports


The Wahkiakum School District Board of Directors met Tuesday to listen to reports from principals on how the district uses data to better serve their students, make an adjustment to the superintendent’s contract, and prepare for a special two day school board workshop in July.

Wahkiakum High School Principal Stephanie Leitz provided an overview of how they are using data at the high school, explaining first that staff had different goals for the underclassmen and upperclassmen.

The district wants students to graduate with a post secondary plan that would ensure they are a contributing member of society, Leitz said.

“For each student that looks different,” she added.

It starts in eighth grade, when students begin looking at career interest surveys. From there, they learn about different jobs, working on a plan that incorporates personal learning styles, hobbies, and interests. Educators help them consider whether their plan should include technical school, community college, an internship or apprenticeship, or a four year university.

Educators’ focus for the 11th and 12th graders include whether they have that plan built, if they are on their way to completing the 24 credits they need to graduate, and if they have shown proficiency through assessment.

“This year 100 percent were able to meet requirements, as far as the testing pathway showing proficiency in English and math,” Leitz said.

The goals for ninth and 10th graders are much the same, she added, but there is still time to look at their skills, and take note of their deficits to provide intervention.

Leitz also took a moment to praise Paul Ireland, who is in charge of IT, and Paul Lawrence, who is the head of maintenance, for being instrumental in a successful outdoor graduation, including broadcasting the event online.

K-8 Principal Nikki Reese said she thought the district had a lot to be proud of for bringing kids back into the school for an entire academic year.

“Thanks to the school board for supporting us, taking that risk, and getting out ahead of a lot of other districts, and doing what we thought was best for kids,” she said.

She went over math and reading data for kindergarten through eighth grade for the past year.

“This is really important data for us as staff,” Reese said, “reports we look at break down by individual students, but by four math domains, and specific skills we need to work on with our students.”

“The thing we know about intervention at the younger grade levels, that is where we can make the biggest impact, because the learning gap is the smallest to close,” she added. “The older they get, the more they struggle, the bigger that gap gets.”

The board approved a tentative agenda for the special meeting, where they will discuss the budget, curriculum, board goals and more.

Directors approved an adjustment to Superintendent Brent Freeman’s contract, described as a perpetual three year roll over contract, which will automatically renew every year unless notice is provided in writing by either party, two years in advance. The superintendent’s annual salary is $122,400.

Eric Hansen’s resignation as head football coach at Wahkiakum High School was accepted, as was Patti LaBerge’s resignation as the assistant volleyball coach for the middle school.

Freeman expressed gratitude to the entire staff, parents, and community for the past year.

“There wasn’t a single person in this district that was caught off guard and didn’t respond in a way that put kids first,” he said. “With all the flexibility and the kind of mindset that we had here, to look at what we had to do and come up with creative ways around it was impressive and I want to share my thanks with you and the public.”


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