School Board Puts New Education Policy on Books; Tells Administration What Freshman Campus Info it Needs

New Education Policy Adopted

Thursday night the Snoqualmie Valley School Board voted 4-1 to adopt district education policy 2423, which now requires SVSD administration to implement curriculum pathways for 6th through 12th grade in math, science, social studies, English, and world languages that allows students access to the courses necessary for competitive application to post-high school education options, including top four-year universities  Those pathways will be widely communicated to staff, parents, and students.

Board President Dan Popp spoke positively when he praised how the focus of the policy’s revised draft was on student pursuit of post-secondary education.  He remarked that through the policy “we [SVSD] encourage them [students] to participate in post-secondary education, in whatever format that is.”

The only no vote Thursday night was from  board member Marci Busby, who stated she had many concerns and questions and didn’t like that there was a rushed process in creating the policy.  She also expressed displeasure that the process did not include administration, students and teachers weigh-in.  At one point she said, “I think it is wrong.”  Other board members reassured her that weigh-in and participation will come as the administration decides how to implement the policy.

Superintendent Joel Aune also said he had concerns about the policy, but promised his administration would adopt it and “make it work.”  He then added that in the future “we all use caution when pointing out fault, deficiencies or short-comings.”  He warned that in trying to identify areas of district improvement (if we are not careful) we set ourselves up for “criticism and ugly commentary.”

Mr. Aune noted he had received emails since the policy was first announced that insinuated SVSD was a “sub-standard” school district when that simply wasn’t true.  He said he prefers to focus on the positive at the same time as needed improvements.

In the end, the policy was passed and will be implemented by the SVSD administration.  These pathways are not requirements for all students.  They are additions to the existing curriculum at the middle and high school level.

Freshman Campus Work Session

Up next for the school board is a freshman campus work session, including the curriculum, logistics and costs associated with the campus scheduled to open next fall.  That work session starts at 5PM, prior to the next regular school board meeting on October 18th in the District Office.

Board members asked 9th grade campus principal, Vernie Newell, to provide them with information on logistics, costs and coursework for the new campus before, instead of during, the work session. Scott Hodgins said the issues bothering him the most about  the 9th grade campus were logistics and costs so it was important for him to see that information.  Dan Popp said he wanted as many details as possible about the curriculum.

District staff and administration have been working on plans for the new 9th grade campus, including curriculum possibilities.  A focus group meeting was held September 20th, where it was announced the district is planning to replace the 9th grade PE requirement with a new 9th grade “STEM package” requirement.  This requirement would be in addition to three core class requirements in math, language arts and integrated science 1.

Additionally, Freshman would be offered two elective courses like social studies, world language, art, music, PE/”Fit for Life,” cooking, ceramics and others.  Principal Belcher stated during the meeting that those elective offerings would be student “demand driven”  –  or the more requested electives would make up the final list of elective offerings.

The board expects a lot of public interest in the freshman campus work session.  The district is now publicly discussing its freshman campus plan since the board voted to proceed with the Snoqualmie Middle School annexation last March.  Therefore, the board and administration are prepared to devote two hours to the topic before starting their regular meeting that evening.

 

Comments

  1. I’ll back Marci. This was rash. We can beat teachers and students with whips, sticks and stones, but that won’t make kids any more motivated; it will cause rebellion. Add enough heat and there will be a revolution. Why, oh why, can’t our school board and administration figure out what the problem is (hint: start with the parents and the culture in their homes) and fix that instead of blaming and shaming, wanting more schools, more this, more that. Let’s start with the administration instead of the facilities and teachers. Transparency is a good practice. Where is the 25% of my property tax, set aside for education, being spent? For instance, how did we come up with the money to build the new middle school by Trucktown, when the populace voted NO on the referendum and thus taxes were not raised to pay for it? Is there really an Aune slush fund to the tune of $80k/yr, set aside for when he leaves his position – retirement or otherwise? There are lots of questions to be answered before any so-called remedial action can be taken. In the meantime, let’s neutralize this culture of scape-goating with one called ‘unconditional positive regard’. It’s the antithesis of American society, so it takes awhile to get the hang of it, but we can at least try. Let’s try with our kids – maybe that will solve the problem?

  2. Doug Henderson says

    How can the school board possibly fix the “culture of parents in the homes?” Your post makes no sense. It’s a good example of why we can’t pass any bonds around here. Your adversarial stance and determination to vote no on any and all solutions do not help our kids one bit.

  3. Cindy McVay says

    I appreciate what our district superintendent said about criticism but I think we’ve come a long, long way from the angry commentary that erupted a few short years ago before Twin Falls Middle School published their math paths and before we decided to change Snoqualmie Middle School into a 9th grade campus. We’ve come a long way in a very short time! Perfect timing for finalizing the math curriculum to be offered at our new 9th grade campus. Onward and upward SVSD! Change does not happen without conflict and conflict doesn’t necessarily mean criticism.

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