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

N/GRV schools receive vocational ed grant

 


On June 21, the Naselle/Grays River Valley School Board of Directors met with discussions ranging from the official agenda to issues and questions raised from the public. The first portion of the meeting followed the usual openings with one exception. Students from the robotics team were honored for their good work preparing for their trip to both Washington DC and the University of Maryland. Students spoke of the long days spent walking up to 10 miles to see as much as possible, especially in our nation’s capital. It was mentioned that part of the reality of their success was that they came from the smallest town represented at the competition. The students expressed gratitude for their volunteer instructor, Ron Wright, who approached the students in the fall of last year to discuss the possibility of establishing a robotics club. In its first year, the students were able to compete locally, then with those successes, they qualified for competing nationally. All present applauded and expressed appreciation for their success.

During the public comments period, several issues were brought to the board’s attention, including: quality of food provided for students, the board’s lack of response to questions asked at prior meetings, complaint regarding board’s lack of communication after a complaint was made about a member of the administration’s staff, and general concerns about how parents can become more active working with the board on non-business issues. Tyson Vogeler, board member, spoke in response to several of the issues and questions, explaining that there are procedures and laws that must be followed to keep the board in line with legal obligations. Both Vogeler, then Amy Chadwick, also a board member, spoke to suggest the board members consider individual time be given outside of the regular business meetings, to meet with parents and discuss their areas of concern that aren’t specific to the board’s meeting agendas. Both responded by offering to spend individual time with concerned parents to identify possible action that could be brought to the board at future meetings.

Regarding the issue of response from the board after a complaint was made against staff at prior meetings, board members reported that action was taken in an executive session immediately after a complaint was made. The board decided in that session that no action was required. Since there was no action to be reported, nothing was said from the board. As was explained, no action is still an action because the issue was discussed and it was decided no action with a vote was needed. Without any subsequent report given, some parents thought nothing had been done. Information was requested since no report was given. Some parents would appreciate more effort on the part of the board to provide responses from the board, even if the response is “no action taken” which could possibly be included in the minutes of the meeting so time is not needed at subsequent meetings.

New business required action from the board to approve or acknowledge changes in staffing, teacher resignations, salary increases, a contract with Pacific County for nursing services, approval of area endorsements, and a transition plan for Comprehensive School Counseling Program as required by SB 5030. All passed but no action was taken on the Comprehensive School Counseling Program. Instead a discussion was held to ascertain details of the program to be developed by Justin Laine and reported in time to meet the deadline for SB 5030.

In a non-agenda item, discussion of a parent and community survey included what questions might be asked and how they might be worded. Vogeler suggested hiring a survey company to not only develop the survey, but do the work of mailing it out and compiling the data. He reported that these companies are not very expensive and would do the work for us. From their report, decisions could be made for next steps in response to what comes from the survey.

No action was taken at the meeting. The issue of a possible survey was discussed in prior meetings with no action determined in them, but with Vogeler’s suggestion, perhaps it will be on an upcoming board agenda.

In the Superintendent’s report, Lisa Nelson reported the district received a clean audit for the past three years financial and accountability work. No financial issues or concerns were reported in that audit.

Nelson also reported that the district received notice of a grant that will be received totaling $4.25 million for renovating the shop and vocational training. It should be included next year in the legislative appropriations. The grant scored high in the list of approved grants. The board expressed appreciation for the work done by Nelson and other staff in this grant application.

From the public, Poul Toftemark expressed both interest and strong appreciation for the news of the grant. “We’ve talked about the need for more intentional vocational education for a long time. This is great news for our community.”

Nelson reported the current enrollment at the Naselle Youth Camp is 10. She also reminded those present that the July 19 board meeting will include a budget hearing at 5 p.m., prior to the regular board meeting at 6:30 p.m.

 

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