WSD board hears phone, security, learning reports


October 27, 2022

The Wahkiakum School District Board of Directors met Oct. 18 to talk about the phone system, a security update, testing and interventions after the last two years of the pandemic, safety trainings, and the lawsuit.

Superintendent Brent Freeman reported that switching the school phone system provider to Wahkiakum West has ended previous continual problems and poor service.

“Ken Johnson has been wonderful to work with, the price point couldn’t have been better for the district. There is not a single downside,” Freeman said.

“We have put in years worth of trouble tickets to [the previous provider],” Freeman said later. “The local guy that’s out here is good. He’s responsive and he talks to us, but as a company and a corporation, they were extremely non-responsive. Over the last month and a half, I’m starting to get these notifications once or twice a week, ‘We’ve detected a problem. If you have a problem, please give us a call.’ We’re pretty much past that. It’s funny after these years of no contact.”

The new phones have been given temporary extension numbers, but when security updates are made at the district in the coming weeks, numbers will be permanently assigned.

Freeman hopes to have a new security system installed by Christmas. He said he met with the team who will do the update, and they are waiting for the rest of the hardware to arrive before they begin.

Freeman said they were already planning for a second phase for the security system, anticipating additional funding for more cameras, a “more robust ADA piece,” more lighting, and vape sensors.

Principals Stephanie Leitz and Nikki Reese talked about testing and interventions at the high school and the grade school and middle schools respectively, as they try to deal with the repercussions of the pandemic.

Leitz reminded the board that while educators at the elementary school provide interventions and prepare students to be successful in high school, that educators at the high school are trying to keep students on track to graduate on time.

“I think they are coming from the elementary and middle school reading well and they are just able to continue with Kayli Hurley, Audrey Petterson, and Don Cox to just improve those skills,” Leitz said. "Math is definitely where we are working, figuring out where our holes are. Students have had a wide array of math experiences due to covid and just figuring out those gaps is a big goal for us. Science is the same.”

“In general data is very interesting,” Leitz added. “It’s definitely a piece of the puzzle, but not the whole piece. We really look at each individual student. What do they need to be successful and how are we going to support them? And we really base that on their grades.”

Reese echoed Leitz’s words about the focus on individual students and their needs instead of test data.

"We’ve got our feet back on the ground. Intervention looks like it did in the fall of 2019 at the elementary,” Reese said. "This was really the year that we decided, looking at our data, our middle school students needed a much more intentional intervention time. I will say at the secondary, it’s really a struggle to find that time because their core classes are so critical, and at the end of the day, you only have so much time with the students, and everyone is protective of the time that they have with their kids for their content.”

So they’re using Warrior Success Time, which is less than 30 minutes, four days a week for intervention, with seven teachers stepping in to teach specific English language Arts and math skills to the students who need them.

“I feel like we are so much more intentional than we have ever been with these middle school students,” Reese said. “Hopefully we will see that growth and see them experiencing more success over time. The pandemic definitely slowed our momentum down, but we are really excited to see what can happen as we get everybody up and running.”

Freeman talked about getting training to use Narcan after an incident at the school.

“I look at it as a safety thing,” he said. “The tipping point for me was an incident we had about a month ago with a student who had a very severe reaction. We had to call an ambulance onto the campus and they ended up administering Narcan on the way to the hospital. Had that not been as fast of a response, I would like to not be as helpless in that situation going forward.”

“Essentially what it does is it goes in and opens up the air passages to allow breathing to take place,” Freeman said.

There was talk about implementing a policy before receiving training, but Freeman would prefer not to lose any more time, and receive training before following up with a policy.

Add another incident with a small fire, and Freeman wants training for all staff on Narcan, fire extinguishers, and AEDs (automated external defibrillators).

In other business:

--The board talked about the lawsuit and prepared talking points for a coming conference before closing the meeting for an executive session to discuss negotiations.

--The board adopted a resolution requesting a waiver to continue having the minimum 180-day school year for the next four academic years.

--Directors adopted a resolution to transfer $207,735 from the Debt Service Fund to the General Fund to help pay for security upgrades.

--After the last census, a minor revision was suggested for director district boundaries. The board was amenable and approved forward motion.

--The board accepted Jasen Hurley’s resignation as bus driver and approved Marc Niemeyer’s appointment to middle school assistant girl’s basketball coach, Sheryl Murphy and Lee Tischer as bus drivers, Garrett Radcliffe as an Academic Support Para Educator, and Ross Lofstrom as head wrestling coach.


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