School board studies assessments, policies


February 24, 2022

At their meeting Tuesday, the Wahkiakum School District Board of Directors got a lesson in assessment and intervention, adopted a new system for addressing school policies, and approved the purchase of some items that will keep students connected.

Principals Stephanie Leitz and Nikki Reese presented math and reading assessment results for students, talked about the tools they use to read those assessments, and talked about the interventions that educators are using to help students stay on track.

Reese said the data showed growth and shrinking in each grade in K-8.

“What I think about our kids have been through in the last two years, the fact that we can even say we’re growing is a positive, because the reality as we talk about intervention, it’s not just academics,” Reese said. “Some days we have to get through a whole lot of other yuck before we can even approach the academics of our students. That’s for a variety of reasons. Some of them have nothing to do with covid-19. Some of it is exacerbated by covid-19. Intervention covers a plethora of different strategies, whether it is academic or social/emotional.”

While Reese addressed assessment and intervention from a macro view, Janine Davidson, who works with para-educators, talked about what it looked like one student at a time.

Leitz said it looked very different at the high school, where their goal was a 100 percent graduation rate, and talked about preparing students for life after school and how to keep them on track during their four years at WHS with tutoring, mentorship, open library hours, Mule Success periods, and more.

Director Bobbie Stefan, who is a member of the policy committee along with Director Paula Culbertson, shared the new way school policies would be addressed.

Policies will be uploaded to the school website for public review, a few at a time. The policy committee will accept public comment in written form on the policies up for review and after two weeks, the committee will meet to consider the comments and possibly revise the policies.

At the following board meeting, there will be a reading of the policies, and community members who had filed written comments can comment on the policies as they are presented. There will be a vote by the board. At the next board meeting, the board will go over the policies for what they hope will be a final time.

The board approved the new system and the first policies up for review should be posted on the school district website.

“It’s ambitious and there may be some policies that are more problematic, they are going to have to be postponed,” Stefan said. “There may be some policies we can’t do. It may be funding, personnel, we don’t have the staff. We’ll just go through them.

“This allows for public comment. We’ve never really had that public comment piece,” Superintendent Brent Freeman said.

Freeman said that the district had received emergency connectivity funding provided by the federal government and would be using $80,000 to purchase Chrome Books, $7,000 for laptops, $23,000 for bus hotspots and $13,000 for student hotspots.

The bus hotspots will be permanently mounted and will help students stay connected even when they are on long road trips, sometimes in the middle of nowhere.

The board approved up to $130,000 from school funds for the purchase, which will be reimbursed by the grant.

Directors approved the hiring of Karrin Stephens as a second kindergarten teacher, and okayed several spring coaching positions including Jeff Rooklidge as assistant high school baseball coach, Andrew Weiler as head golf coach, Stephanie Johnson as assistant middle school track coach, and Cindy Fudge and Tiffany Niemeyer to split assistant high school softball coaching duties.


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