2 Tulalip campus schools look to combine

MARYSVILLE – Principal Ray Houser talked about the desire to combine Mountain View and Arts and Tech high school on the Tulalip campus at the Marysville School Board work session Monday.

Houser said because of declining attendance some teachers already are working for both schools.

“We’re so small we had no choice but to share,” he said.

Currently, many students go to one of the two high schools to try to catch up on credits. But Houser said it is his desire to create an alternative school students would choose to attend.

“We could build a choice school and recruit kids,” Houser said.

School board member Chris Nation said the object of the schools was to keep them small so they could get more help. “Now we want a larger campus?” he asked.

Finance director Mike Sullivan jumped in, saying the schools are getting too small to be sustainable long-term.

One of the problems with enrollment was a new requirement that “we can’t take kids who don’t have a shot at making it” to graduation, technology director Scott Beebe added.

Before a final decision is make in July, Nation said he wants to see numbers on if the district would lose any money from any sources by making the change.

Even though local businesses are saying they are in need of more hands-on workers, the number of Curriculum Technology Education students in Marysville declined sharply this year.

Last year, 941 students took CTE classes. This year it dropped to 677, the lowest in four years.

CTE director Donetta Oremus said she thinks the drop is temporary.

Nation said the courses need to be relevant to what industry needs.

Oremus said she is working on new CTE courses that are in high demand. “How do we reach high school students?”

She talked about a teaching academy that would help students who want to become teachers to be certified as paraeducators once they graduate from high school so they can work to help get them through college.

She also talked about a new aerospace program that will be starting at Marysville-Pilchuck next year.

Oremus also talked about “the next big industry – drones,” adding NASA and the military both want employees for that growing field.

Finally, she mentioned a program using computers for artificial intelligence.

Oremus also updated the board on Naviance, the curriculum the district uses to get students to plan for their college or career.

She said students and teachers are both becoming more dedicated to the process.

The numbers show that as resumes created have gone from 318 to 1,251; college applications are up from 493 to 3,044; and goals created have increased from 666 to 11,663.

“The numbers reflect the time and effort put into it,” she said. “It took a while for the kids go get into. The teachers, too.”

Students and teachers are getting better coaching, so buy the time kids get into high school it’s “second nature,” Oremus said.

Completing Naviance is a high school graduation requirement, so if a student falls too far behind on assignments they are pinged on the computer. Parents are also getting more involved. Such as if a scholarship is available the notice goes both to the student and the parent.

Sullivan said enrollment is projected to be down again next year, this time 126 students. About 10,573 students are expected next fall, with the decline expected to continue to 9,892 by 2023. Local births are researched to help come up with those figures. Marysville and Totem middle school will see increases while Sunnyside and Marshall will be drops in attendance.

Nation asked why the district enrollment keeps declining when numbers are stable in kindergarten.

“We’re losing somewhere on the spectrum,” he said, adding the district loses $500,000 a year due to those drops. “It hurts me when we lost money.”

Sullivan pointed out that because of state funding changes, the district will get a $7 million windfall next year. But in years to follow the district will be short funds.

He advised to be careful with salary allocations.

“They’re not sustainable,” he said.

In other school news:

•With the recent levy passage, there was a short discussion about maintenance fixes. Nation talked about preservation and longevity of buildings. Sullivan said he wants, “The best thing for the buck. We won’t buy a Hyundai, but not a Lexus either.”

•Marshall Elementary School will have its trees in back cut down this summer because of safety issues. Fires and drug paraphernalia are often discovered there during community cleanups. •Katelynn Melohusky and Philip Howat, seniors at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, were awarded Student of the Month plaques from the local Kiwanis and Soroptimist clubs.

•Fifth-grader James Diaz and fourth-grader Willow Thompson, both of Grove Elementary, were named Indian Education Department and Tulalip Tribes Education Students of the Month.

•The Allen Creek Elementary PTSA donated $1,639 for an anti-bullying assembly and other needs.

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