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.