3/11/21 Snoqualmie Valley School Board meeting Highlights

[Guest post by Linda Grez]

Superintendent Manahan gave recognition to classified employees who perform so many jobs to operate the District and schools.

Public comments covered remote learning impacts, social distancing guidelines for Fall, parents’ need to work during the day and high school music fees.

The Consent Agenda was approved, which included an updated Enrollment report showing 6,566 students total, 479 fewer students than budgeted (which will have revenue impact) and proposed Mount Si High School Fees.  Fees have been decreasing, but the highest fees are still for Bands and Choirs – $75 per band/choir class, with the next highest fee being $20 for Environmental Horticulture.  Other class fees average $10 per semester.

Return to School Secondary School (Grades 6-12) Update:

There was a detailed review and discussion of Secondary school safety accommodations and scheduling logistics to achieve hybrid middle and high school classes with social distancing and max class sizes while not changing students’ current courses.  

6th and 9th-grade hybrid students return 3/22, 12th-grade returns on 3/25 and grades 10 & 11 return 3/29.  On an A (Monday & Thursday)/B (Tuesday and Friday) cohort schedule, each student will attend 2 days in-person and 2 days remote, with advisory, office hours and mostly asynchronous work on Wednesdays.  This will result in significantly less time (about 1/3 less) spent in Zoom settings.

It was noted that some parents believed they had chosen the hybrid option for their students but were told their students were scheduled for the remote path.  It was asked if their choices could have been inadvertently switched in the Skyward program.  The District staff said they could not accommodate any changes into the hybrid path due to the complexity of factors involved in adding more students into the live classrooms.

Parents are asked to go into Skyward Family Access and verify that the email contact information for parents/guardians is accurate.  Watch student videos to prepare for new routines and safety expectations (students only). Watch family information videos and attend virtual parent meetings for your school (MS-March 15, MSHS-March 16, TRS-March 18.  Ensure your students are masked up and prepared for social distancing.

Detailed information can be found at:  https://www.svsd410.org/site/default.aspx?PageType=3&DomainID=4&ModuleInstanceID=39&ViewID=6446EE88-D30C-497E-9316-3F8874B3E108&RenderLoc=0&FlexDataID=28236&PageID=1

Transportation routes are being planned for those who requested it. 

Athletics Update

High School athletics abbreviated Season 1 schedule is posted.  One of the many challenges is the venue capacity of 200 persons. For instance, football games often involve over a hundred athletes and coaching staff per team, leaving no room for observers or cheerleaders.  The first JV game of the season used limited players to allow football player parents to watch and cheerleaders to cheer, but this did not allow room for cheer parents.  However, today’s new State guidance increasing capacity at outdoor stadiums to 25% (or a possible 400-person limit) should help.  The admission priorities are Senior Athletes, other Athletes, Senior Parents and other parents.  The rationale is the small number of games available and the last chance for participation or parent viewing for their High School Career.

A collaboration of volunteers and staff took the opportunity to use the NFHS Livestream Network, MSHS Technology equipment and Wildcat Booster parents labor to set up a free Livestream viewing option for athletics.  This has the potential to expand into future broadcast and training opportunities for students.   Transportation to and from games is a huge challenge as well due to driver shortages. 

A World Language Competency Testing Update described new Competency-based language crediting opportunities as well as a Seal of Biliteracy. 

Superintendent search process update:  Applications have been accepted and reviewed in a closed School Board session on 3/18.  Finalists will be identified, and interviews have been scheduled for 3/23 and 3/25.  Selected individuals from staff and the community will observe the interviews, including 5 parents selected via a random lottery drawing, and feedback from them will be collected.  There will be final interviews in a closed Executive session Board meeting and then a public Town Hall with finalists on 3/29.  The Board will review feedback from the community Town Hall event, and a hiring decision will later be made at a public Board meeting.      

The Student Reps reported on athletics & activities continuing, with some teams such as Debate competing in and winning online events.  They also provided candid student feedback on remote learning & hybrid plans.

A modified Policy – 3510 – Associated Student Bodies – was adopted modifying text re optional extracurricular activities fees can be waived

The Board is still considering progressing back to live public meetings, but until logistics are worked out, they will stay Zoom-based. 

Additional educational developments occurred today not on the School Board agenda but worthy of note:

Today Gov. Inslee announced new school athletics outdoor and indoor viewing capacity rules coming – this likely changes our High school stadium viewing capacity from 200 to 400, allowing more people to watch games.  It also allows more specific contact sports like basketball, wrestling and cheerleading.

A new law allows Struggling Washington state high school seniors to help in fulfilling their graduation requirements, as Gov. Jay Inslee last week signed into law a measure to aid students whose education has been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.   The new law allows the State Board of Education to permit School Districts to allow individual students to waive credit or graduation pathway requirements if the pandemic disrupted their ability to complete them. Schools are still expected to help students meet normal requirements before falling back on the emergency waiver as a last resort.

Also of interest is a bill (2SSB 5265) passed by the Senate allowing School Districts to be part of a Pilot program allowing a ‘bridge year’ for seniors who could stay at their high school for an additional year to re-take classes and improve grades.   They could also enroll at the high school as Running Start or College in the High School programs.  This bill is in the House Education Committee and has not yet been voted on or passed.

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