Opinion

Arlington School District notes

School Board Sets Goals

The school board set annual goals in student achievement, discipline, multicultural respect, and facilities. The board also asked that we focus on measurable outcomes and bring regular updates on progress through the year. Board goals can be found on the district Web site at www.msvl.k12.wa.us.

District enrollment declined by 130 students this fall

We had anticipated the same enrollment this fall as what we had last fall. That meant another district budget reduction of $700,000 this fall. Since staffing is complete and schedules are set for the year, no staffing reductions are being made. We are reducing virtually all of the material and supply budgets district wide. Building budgets are being reduced by 8.4 percent. In addition, we are reducing the ending fund balance by $250,000 to avoid staff layoffs.

Service Center Closure

Please note the following schedule for the Service Center over winter break:

Dec. 22 and 23 – open

Dec. 24 to Jan. 1 – closed to give staff opportunity to take vacation.

Jan. 2 – open

School resumes Jan. 5.

Building Bridges is a grant designed to help us address high school “F” grades. Forty percent of ninth-graders receive at least one “F” grade meaning that they lose credits and are unlikely to graduate on time. Last year, 200 seniors failed to graduate due to lack of credits. Diedra McCollum and Jamie Sagerser, part of the Building Bridges grant, are helping schools identify students early and intervene. Marysville Mountain View has added a Senior Study Hall to help students pass the classes they sign up for.

Street Gang Forum. The city recently sponsored a community street gang forum in Marysville. The district spends about $40,000 per year painting out graffiti, replacing etched glass and repairing vandalism. In addition there has been a sharp increase in the number of students disciplined for drugs and alcohol. What can you do? If you notice students with gang signs on their notebooks or wearing the same color (usually red or blue) day after day, please let an administrator or the security officer know. In addition, please have students memorize the district tip line number ... 1-866-LIVE-TIP. The national gang presenter urged us not to call students “wannabe’s” because it encourages greater violence. What helps? The presenter says: success in school, a positive interest, a caring adult, spiritual connection.

40 Developmental Assets … is a positive approach to help kids connect in healthier ways. This national, research-based program says kids will have much greater success and be less likely to be involved in negative activities if they have more “assets” in their lives. Schools can provide 20 of the 40 assets … the home or the community can provide 20 … but students need closer to 30 assets to succeed. United Way is promoting 40 assets in our community and has given a grant to the Marysville Community Coalition. Greg Erickson, district athletic director, has presented to coaches, bus drivers, principals and countless school groups. The board has set a goal to broaden the use of the 40 assets in schools and in our community. The Forty Developmental Assets can be viewed on the district Web site at: www.msvl.k12.wa.us.

Safe and Civil Schools … is the positive discipline approach adopted by the district and being implemented as funding permits. All middle schools and about half of the other schools in the district use this approach which calls for teaching students positive behaviors … for group settings (hallways for example) … and in classrooms. Middle schools worked diligently this fall to teach expectations to students in each classroom and help them understand the school discipline rules. Robert Kalahan and Lee Bennett, middle school V-Ps recently presented the safe and civil concepts to the district bus drivers.

Thank you, Rotary. Each fall, the Marysville Noon Rotary goes over the top in support of schools. Each member works every weekend in October at the Pumpkin Patch to raise money for literacy. They then give each elementary school $1,000 and have also started giving each third grade student a colorful engaging dictionary. They also sponsor a November auction which raises over $100,000 for scholarships, community service projects and school grants. They recently awarded several grants of $2,500 each in response to teacher grant requests.

New Math Requirements. The State Board of Education recently passed new graduation requirements for the class of 2013 … this year’s eighth-graders. When today’s eighth-graders start school in the fall of 2009, they will be expected to take three “high school level” math classes and pass Algebra II and take math in their senior year. In other words virtually all students will need four years of math starting with next year’s freshman.

Walking Wednesdays

Get fit for the holidays. Come walk or run at Quil Ceda stadium on Wednesdays. Stadium lights will be on and others will be joining you. Entrance is through the south end of the stadium. The stadium will be open unless school is on vacation or there is a contest. The schedule is posted at the entrance to the stadium. Come be a part of our partnership … with the city and the YMCA … in building health communities. – Greg Erickson, Athletics Director

KLOZ 4 KIDZ

Marysville Free Methodist Church has opened a facility to provide school clothes to needy students in Marysville. The service is free and open to all children, pre-school through middle school, in the Marysville area. If you are aware of a need … or would like to donate clean, gently used clothing … contact Alyce Matson at 360-659-8521.

Improved Writing. Loretta Boerger, Pathway’s science teacher, reports that getting students to write well thought-out science journal entries was always a challenge … until she started to model in real time how she does an entry … trying an idea, testing an idea, revising an idea … actually thinking through writing in her early drafts. Now she is getting much improved writing from students.

Math Munchers’ Lunch. Tulalip is inviting parents to come visit the school during their lunch break to learn about math and literacy. Sarah Poyner and Renee Tedford engaged parents in activities they can use at home to grow mathematical learning. At the Literacy Lunch, Anthony Craig taught parents about read alouds and how to pick appropriate books.

Thank you to Marysville churches who helped us transform Asbery Field into a park-like setting. On Oct. 11, over 200 volunteers came out to help take down old fencing, bleachers and back stops, put in new plantings, put wood chips out on 500’ of walking paths and level the football and softball fields. This was a joint project with the city of Marysville and school district and the Marysville churches.

Tulalip Tribes Raising Hands. The Tulalip Tribes held their annual celebration of community the evening of Nov. 22 at the Tulalip Casino Orca Ballroom. In Tulalip Tribes tradition “raising hands” is a custom used to welcome and give thanks. Attendees enjoyed a delicious traditional salmon dinner, a welcome from tribal chairman Melvin Sheldon, and messages from Marie Zackuse, vice chair, Representative John McCoy, introduction of the tribal board of directors and a performance from the Tulalip singers. The purpose of the event was for the Tulalip Tribes to raise their hands to the community and show their appreciation. This year the Tulalip Tribes donated $2.7 million to more than 225 charitable organizations and together have worked to make the community stronger. From food banks to emergency services; health care to education and the environment. In the Marysville School District alone, the Tribes have provided much support in the way of funding educational programs such as the math work at Tulalip and Quil Ceda elementary schools, Youth Advocate program at the secondary schools, Jones Creek outdoor education project, classroom libraries and equipment, tutoring, administrative support at Heritage High School, and more totaling over ½ million dollars. Thank you to the Tulalip Tribes for their generous support of our school district and the community.

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