May 19, 2017
Congratulations to Jacob Jaimeson who was selected as the Aberdeen Rotary Student of the Month for May. Jacob is the final student of the month recognized by the Aberdeen Rotary Club. Each student selected as an opportunity to be awarded a scholarship by the club at the annual awards ceremony at Aberdeen High School on June 7, 2017 beginning at 6:00 p.m.
The district discipline committee is working on developing a comprehensive plan for the 2017-18 school year that will provide consistency among all schools. This includes the use of PBIS, similar language and expectations among buildings, and regular building and district review of policies and practices. Thank you to all committee members for your ongoing work.
As you know, this is the filing week for all open elected positions in the county. We have several staff members who are active on other boards or commissions throughout the county. Thank you to everyone who is serving in another civic role.
Senior boards at Aberdeen High School are taking place on Thursday and Friday this week. It is a great time for the seniors to share their experiences at AHS as well as their goals for the future. I was able to sit in on the boards Thursday morning and found it extremely enjoyable to hear from our seniors as they prepare for the next stage in their life.
Congratulations to the young ladies on our girl’s golf team, who are the District Champions. Best wishes to those going on to the state tournament. We also have several track athletes who will be participating in the District Championships at Columbia River High School in Vancouver, WA.
TCF Architects will also be present to share the final Study & Survey and explain some of the projects the district may want to consider as part of a bond in the future. The main focus of a bond would be the construction of a new Stevens Elementary School.
Tuesday was Senior Signing Day at Aberdeen High School. Students who plan to attend technical schools, 2 or 4 year colleges, enter the military or other educational training were all recognized at an assembly in Sam Benn Gym. This was a great opportunity for seniors to share what their plans are after high school and sign the commitment certificate indicating their goal. Below are just a few of the pictures of the event that will become an annual tradition at the high school.
Our annual district recognition of retiree’s will take place on Tuesday, June 6, 2017, in the Aberdeen High School Commons. This is a great tradition in our district where the administrators share a few words about each retiree in their building or department. It begins at 4:00 p.m. and concludes just before the board meeting at 5:00 p.m.
Graduation cermonies are just around the corner. If you would like to attend, they are as follows. June 8, Harbor High Graduation in the Harbor High Gym beginning at 6:00 p.m. and Aberdeen High School Graduation at Stewart Field on Friday, June 9 beginning at 6:00 p.m.
Have a great weeknd and enjoy the predicted great weather that is heading our way for the next few days.
Thanks again, Tom
May 12, 2017
The annual school district exit conference was held on Monday, May 8, to review the financial and program audit of the Aberdeen School District. It was great to have a clean audit with no findings or management letters. This is always a great way to end the audit cycle and the school year. The team from the Office of the State Auditor also had very positive comments about our district team and the support they provided to their onsite staff. We are now in the process of planning to next year’s audit since they always audit one year in arears. The annual financial and program audit was very successful and highlighted many of our strengths as a district. We have strong leadership in our district that helps keep programs on track and updated with the latest state and federal requirements. Thank you to all the staff who were involved in preparing materials for this years audit.
The Miller Junior High School track team hosted a meet against Tumwater on Thursday afternoon. The event had over 150 student athletes participating during a cloudy, partly sunny and sometimes rainy day. Many of the events were close contests with runner stretching for the finish line.
National Senior Signing Day will be held at Aberdeen High School on Tuesday, May 16, in the Commons during the advisory period (approximately 10:00 a.m.). This is the first event of this type we have had in our district and hopefully will continue in the future. Here is a link to the flyer that is posted on the district website calendar.
Our boys’ soccer team is playing extremely well and heading into the state playoffs Tuesday evening at Stewart Field. Aberdeen played a tough District 4 Championship game against Columbia River at the Kiggins Bowl in Vancouver last night, losing 0-1. They have an opportunity to go deep into the state playoffs with a win on Tuesday evening. Go Bobcats! Here is a link to the WIAA bracket.
This week was Teacher Appreciation Week with Tuesday being Teacher Appreciation Day. It is always nice to recognize our teaching staff and I shared the Governor’s resolution that was read at the May 2 board meeting with all certificated teachers. Many of the building principals also recognized their teachers on Tuesday.
The Stevens Honor Choir, under the direction of Mr. Erik Peterson, sang a number of songs for the Aberdeen Rotary Club at their noon meeting on Wednesday. Songs included a number of very recognizable tunes, including songs from Abba and the Beach Boys! Great job.
We are working on many of our iGrant state and federal End of Year (EOY) reports. Most are due by the end of July with some extending into the next school year. Two reports that have earlier deadlines include the Rural and Low Income EOY report and the Indistar district report. Both are due May 30.
Just a quick reminder that our school board meeting changed from Tuesday, May 16, to Tuesday, May 23. TCF Architecture will be here to meet with the Stevens community planning committee in the morning and then with the board at 5:00 p.m. It will be good to have a work plan in place with a tentative timeline prior to the change in superintendents beginning on July 1.
Thanks again for working together for the benefit of all our students. Have a wonderful weekend and check you child's school calendar on the website for upcoming activities and events. Remember, next week is filing week for the November election.
May 5, 2017
This week we followed up from discussion at the May 2, 2017 board meeting with Alan Gozart of Harbor Architects to get the bid notices finalized for the roofing work at Stewart Field. Notices will be sent out for publication on Monday, May 8. We are also setting up a district webpage that will provide ongoing updates for the public on the process at Stewart Field with both a narrative and pictures showing progress over the summer.
Administrators at Aberdeen High School held an 8th grade student/parent information night on Monday, May 1, 2017 in the AHS Commons. This was a great opportunity for students to tour the school and for parents to learn more about the programs available for their student throughout the four years of high school. The overview and program changes from a semester to a trimester schedule was also shared with those in attendance.
Company 10, the company with the overall high score from the Aberdeen Rotary Business Week, attended the Aberdeen Rotary meeting on Wednesday to share their experiences with members. It was a very informative presentation with explanations of the program from the district Career and Technical Education (CTE) Director, Lynn Green, along with an overview by several of Company 10 students.
During the Thursday evening CTE Advisory Dinner that was catered by the Culinary program students, advisory members were given tours of the many programs offered at AHS in both the regional Skills Center and CTE programs. I would like to take classes in our automotive program in order to work on the 2016 Corvette that was a donation to the program from General Motors in recognition of Jonathan Ball's second year as the SkillsUSA National Champion in Automotive Service Technology.
Over 45 school teams in grades 5-8 competed in the regional Math Olympiad held at Aberdeen High School on Saturday, April 29. Thank you to all the staff who volunteered to put on an outstanding event for these students.
The Aberdeen FFA is continuing the Plant Sale today and tomorrow at the greenhouse located on H Street, just west of the high school. Hours on Friday are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
In terms of enrollment, we have been much more stable this year with the trend holding steady over the final few months of the school year. This is a benefit to our overall budget that is based on the district-wide Annual Average Full Time Equivalent (AAFTE) student count.
State Smarter-Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing is taking place between now and the first of June in all our schools. The SBAC is given to all students in grades 3-8 and grades 10 and 11. Makeups for students who missed the assessment or who need to take a section over are also given in the spring. The District MAP, Measures of Academic Progress, assessment takes place after the SBAC this spring as well. This assessment provides a historical perspective of student academic growth over time and is helpful for setting goals with students each fall.
TCF Architects will be attending the May 23, board meeting to share the final Study and Survey data report. This report is required by OSPI prior to any building improvements or construction where we would be asking for state matching funds. Matching funds are not a true indication of how much state funding we would receive since it is based on a fairly complicated state formula. I have asked our regional OSPI representative, Scott Black, to attend one of the board meetings in June to explain the process and share with the school board how state construction dollars are allocated. TCF will also review the initial design concepts for a new Stevens Elementary School with the school board.
Have a great weekend as we enter into some warmer weather next week. Hopefully the high school athletes will be able to make up some of the contests that were cancelled due to our very rainy spring.
April 28, 2017
This week at our ESD 113 superintendent’s meeting, we had an overview of the state budget proposals along with some expectations of the changes that may take place in federal funding for Title II, Part A (professional development) and Title IV, Part B (21st Century after school program). Those two programs are initially slated to be eliminated by 2020 in the current budget proposal. For our district, that would mean a loss of approximately $160,000 in Title II funds and $510,000 in 21st Century funds. As we all know, many changes take place during the House and Senate negotiations on the budget. We willl need to wait and see what ends up in the final document - both at the state and federal level.
The All City Concert last evening was very well attended by parents and friends of the 5th and 6th grade students in band and orchestra. It was great to see so many students involved in the band and orchestra programs at the elementary level. In speaking with both Wendy Koski and Karen Meikle, they stated that student numbers have increased steadily over the past 2-3 years. By my estimate, there were well over 150 students involved in the program and many of the students I spoke with are planning to participate in junior high band or orchestra. Thank you to both Wendy and Karen for all their preparation of the students and Erik Peterson and Troy George for assisting with the setup and takedown for the concert.
Alan Gozart from Harbor Architects will be attending the school board meeting on Tuesday to share information on the plans to go out to bid on the roof, lighting and support building at Stewart Field. This will be a good overview of the project and allow us to determine the next steps once bids are received. We would like to have as much work as possible completed by fall.
The architects from TCF will be presenting the final Study and Survey at the May 16 school board meeting. They are also planning to share the plans for a new elementary to replace Stevens Elementary. Moving forward with this project may occur in stages as prices become available and the state “matching funds” are clearly identified. While we have a good start on the initial planning for the project, it will require continued review, revision and discussion moving forward.
Aaron Roiko, our AHS athletic director, is continuing to look at scheduling make up games in baseball and fastpitch. Many of the games that were rained out will need to be made up in a double-header formation. Hopefully the weather will improve over the next few weeks to allow all the make-up games to be completed.
Thanks again and have a fabulous weekend.
April 21, 2017
With only two more days before the end of the Legislative regular session, Governor Inslee will announce a special session soon. We are working on developing a budget with our current data. This will at least give us an estimate for school board review and then modify once the final compromise budget is adopted.
Business Week at AHS wraps up today with Stockholder Presentations in the morning and the Trade Show in the afternoon. This is a fabulous program that involves every junior at the high school. I was a judge this morning and was very impressed with the three companies I sat in on as I listened to their presentations. The company that worked in the district office during week was outstanding and a pleasure to host in the ad building.
Several student groups are headed to Seattle today for WE DAY. It should be a fantastic experience with several speakers addressing the students in attendance. WE DAY Seattle includes students from all over the northwest. Here is a link to some of the speakers and activities that students will see during the event. (https://www.we.org/stories/sneak-peek-of-speakers-and-performers-at-we-day-seattle-2017/). Students from Robert Gray Elementary School presented their project on saving water bottles by replacing plastic with metal bottles at the school board meeting on Tuesday. Several of these students were attending the WE DAY event today.
Best wishes to the high school Mathletes who are headed to the State High School Math Competition at Central Washington University on Saturday. They are leaving today and will be staying in Ellensburg overnight with the competition lasting all day on Saturday.
The Regional Math Olympiad for students in grades 5-8 will be held at Aberdeen High School on Saturday, April 29. It is a very popular event with over 50 teams scheduled for this year. If you would like to volunteer this year, please contact Judy Holliday at email@example.com.
Last evening was the sixth grade open house and orientation at Miller Junior High. It was hosted by the AVID students and teachers along with the principal, Lisa Griebel. Thank you to all involved.
We have received information from WSSDA regarding the upcoming filing for board elections and they are asking Districts to post on their websites and/or have printed copies available for distribution. We are planning to upload the flyer on our District homepage early next week.
We need the sun to stick around for a few weeks to give our spring athletes a little break from the rain. While golf, soccer and track hold events in the rain, it is much harder for fastpitch, baseball and tennis to play in a downpour! Last Saturday we had nice weather for the Grays Harbor Track Meet held at the Miller track.
Have a great weekend. Hopefully it will be a pleasant day to work outside on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, 2017. A web search of Earth Day provides a great number of websites, here is one I found that is informative and provides a little history of Earth Day. (https://www.epa.gov/earthday)
Have a great weekend and enjoy this sun!
April 14, 2017
This week is the first week back after Spring Break. It was a good opportunity for all students and staff to rest, relax and rejuvenate prior to the last two months of the school year. We have a number of activities that are occurring over the next few weeks that will keep our students and staff busy.
Next week is the Aberdeen High School/Aberdeen Rotary Business Week. This is a great program for all our juniors and involves a number of high school staff and community members in mentor roles for our students. We also have over 40 community members involved as judges on Friday for both the company presentations and the culminating Trade Show in the AHS Aux Gym. It is a wonderful program to support as a company advisor or judge.
Several music festivals are coming up the end of April. The Middle School Choral Large Group and Middle School Band Large Group festivals are next week. The State Solo/Ensemble Contest is scheduled for the weekend of April 29. The elementary All City Concert (all 5-6 grade band and orchestra students) is scheduled for Wednesday, April 26 in Sam Benn Gym. It is always a well-attended event.
The Grays Harbor County (Aberdeen, Elma, Hoquiam, Montesano, North Beach, Ocosta) high school track meet will be held this year at the newly updated track (Completed October of 2014) located on the Miller Junior High campus. This event will include 11 schools from the county and hopefully be held under clear, blue, sunny skies! The track meet starts at 11:00 a.m. and refreshments will be sold throughout the day.
Our district budgeting process is on hold until the Legislature finalizes the budget for the next biennium. We are moving forward with planning based on current projected expenses, but forecasting revenues is a challenge given the proposals from the Governor, House and Senate. Here is a link to the budget preparation page on the OSPI website. This is something we review for new information on a weekly basis. One of the newer documents is the “Multi-year budget comparison tool.” There are several other useful documents on this site that may be of interest to you. (http://k12.wa.us/SAFS/17budprp.asp)
It has been very helpful to have staff notify the HR department early that they plan to retire or move on to other positions. This has allowed the district to hire for many of the open positions as early as possible. The teacher and substitute shortage is something that is a national concern. OSPI has put up a page on their website highlighting the teacher and substitute shortages in our state. I have also included a link to a recent article on how the teacher shortage in Colorado has reached a "crisis" point in their state, especially in rural areas. Very interesting read. (http://www.k12.wa.us/LegisGov/TeacherShortage.aspx) (http://www.denverpost.com/2017/04/13/colorado-teacher-shortage-crisis/)
The AHS American Sign Language Class along with students from Hoquiam presented "ASL Night" in the Auditorium on Wednesday evening. This event was presented to the school board, along with an open invitation for everyone to attend, at the last meeting on March 21. Congratulations to all participants along with the special guests.
The Grays Harbor College, Bachelor of Applied Science in Teacher Education program is well underway with planning for a fall 2017 start. If you know anyone interested in becoming a teacher, here is the link to the college's program - https://www.ghc.edu/content/bachelor-applied-science-teacher-education.
Elyssa Louderback and I have been in contact with Alan Gozart of Harbor Architects over the past few weeks for updates on the Stewart Field Stadium roofing project. This project includes replacing the roof over the main section of the bleachers along with updating and replacing the lighs on the west side of the stadium and plans for an updated restroom/concession/storage facility located on the north side of the tunnel from the Stewart building.
Additional portable classrooms for AJ West and Stevens should be here sometime in May. The company, Modern Building Designs, come for a walk-through on Wednesday, March 29. Michael Pauley is coordinating with the City on the required permits for each site.
Finally, I am coordinating with TCF Architects to meet with the school board in May to share the final Study and Survey data along with additional plans for Stevens Elementary and the other potential projects throughout the district in the coming years.
Have a great weekend and enjoy the forecast sunshine!
Thank you, Tom
March 31, 2017
Alan Gozart from Harbor Architects is following up on revised estimates for the Stewart Field Roof Project along with a revised timeline. Mr. Gozart will provide an update for the school board on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. It will be good to have the bid documents go out soon after the board meeting and see what interest we have based on the overall scope of the project.
We had a number of students submit art work in the Capital Region Educational Service District (CRESD) 113, 44th Annual High School Art Show. Wednesday evening was a special awards ceremony recognizing regional winners in a number of different categories. Katurah Martin was selected as one of the regional winners for her photograph titled "A Sip of Grays Harbor." Below are some of the samples from Cameron Cook, Jake Metke, and a collage from students at Harbor High School. Congratulations to all the participants.
This last week before spring break, all schools have been involved in student conferences. We try to stagger the evening conferences in order to provide interpreter services for families whose parents do not speak English. In addition to our district staff, we also look for bilingual community members who can be hired during this time for assistance with interpreting needs. Our goal is to have 100% participation in our students conferences.
We are following the Legislative budgeting process fairly closely as it is the foundation for our district budget development. It may take a while to agree on a compromise budget since the Governor’s, Senate and House budgets all begin from very different starting points on teacher’s base salaries.
We are continuing to review the bids for our district wide-area-network services. This is something that the district uses to connect all our facilities in order to provide access to the Internet and also link our new phone system that operates internally over our district network.
Have a restful and relaxing Spring Break with family and friends.
March 24, 2017
Dr. Henderson had a very productive week while in the district this past week. She was able to meet with all administrators, toured more of the district, had an interview on KXRO and spent time looking for a home. Dr. Henderson also met with staff at Grays Harbor College, including GHC President Jim Minkler, as she is very interested in teaching in the new education program at the college.
Congratulations to our Homeless Liason, Jamie Garcia, for receiving the Spirit of Leadership Award from our Educational Service District (ESD 113) for her work and dedication to serving the homeless youth and families in our schools and our community. Her work is supported by the federal McKinney-Vento Education of Homeless Children and Youth Assistance Act. For more information and to reach Ms. Garcia, please check out this link to our district webpage - http://www.asd5.org/Page/7864.
(Congratulations Jamie Garcia, our district Homeless Liason)
Alan Gozart is finishing up his estimate on a smaller roof for the Stewart Field home bleachers and will have that ready for a school board review at the work study Friday afternoon in the district office.
Next week is spring conference week in the district and our schools will be on an early release schedule throughout the week.
The letter for the one-day waiver at Central Park was sent to OPSI for review.
Our request for the full-day conference waiver at Miller JH and Aberdeen HS will be sent in with all the supporting documentation on Monday to the State Board of Education. The application will be reviewed at the SBE board meeting on May 10, 2017, at Walla Walla Community College in Walla Walla, WA.
The updated TWIO summarizes the Senate budget that was released this week. It will be good to compare this budget to the House budget that is scheduled to be released next week. Once both are reviewed by OSPI staff, all three budgets will be posted on the OSPI website in a table for comparison. It will be interesting to see what the compromise budget will look like and when that may be released. It all depends on how different the House and Senate budgets are and what areas will be open for negotiation.
Have a great weekend. It should be a fun weekend if you are a college basketball fan!
March 17, 2017
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
The broken water main at Central Park was repaired by late Wednesday afternoon. We provided bottled water for staff and students on Thursday and again on Friday morning as a precautionary measure. Our district testing showed the water was clean and potable, but we are waiting for official testing from the Department of Health before we open up the regular drinking fountains.
Our district will again be hosting the STAMP Language Assessment for students in grades 8-12 who are proficient in a second language next Tuesday at Miller, AHS and HHS. This mainly involves students who speak fluent Spanish. However, we have had a number of other languages assessed in the past including Chinese, Japanese, Samoan and this year, Portuguese. This is a great way for students to pick up additional credits and also meet the language requirements for college entrance.
We have had several music concerts over the past few weeks that highlight the muscial talent we have in our district. From the elementary school choral groups to the high school performers in band, orchestra and choir, these concerts are always a joy to attend. Thank you to all our music instructors for preparing the students as perform for family members, friends and community patrons.
I had my final meeting for the year with the Grays Harbor College Bachelor of Science in Teaching advisory board on Thursday. The classes are set and they hired a new dean for the program who is a local graduate, Erin Dilly-Linton. There are a few more details that will need to be worked out over the summer, but everything is on track for a great beginning. This program begins fall quarter of 2017 and is a two-year program. For more information on this tremendous opportunity for our community, check out the GHC website at https://www.ghc.edu/content/bachelor-applied-science-teacher-education.
Dr. Alicia Henderson will be in town on March 20 – 23. Her schedule is filling up with meetings she would like to have with building principals, leadership groups, technology staff and more. Her plan is to attend the ESD 113 regional superintendents meeting in Tumwater on Wednesday and make it back to Aberdeen to attend the Rotary lunch at noon. Dr. Henderson is taking time during her spring break to visit the community and visit with various members of the district. She is planning to attend the school board meeting on Tuesday, March 21, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. For a short bio on Dr. Henderson, please click here.
I am working on the required waiver from the 180-day requirement for all-day conferences at Miller and the high school. I spoke with the State Board of Education and they provided input on the application and process needed for approval. The full day conferences for Miller JH and Aberdeen HS next year are Wednesday and Thursday, October 18 & 19, 2017, and Monday and Tuesday, January 29 & 30, 2018.
Spring conferences are coming up the week after next for all grades K-12. We then move right into Spring Break and it will be the middle of April before we know it! Have a great weekend.
March 3, 2017
The annual language assessment (STAMP) is scheduled to be given this month on Tuesday, March 21, to students who are fluent in a second language. This provides a tremendous opportunity for students to receive credit for competency in a language other than English. Over the past five years, we have had more than 100 students receive high school credit for demonstrating proficiency in a second language and one student who was recognized at graduation with the Washington State Seal of Biliteracy.
Dictionaries from the Aberdeen Rotary Club were handed out to all 4th grade students in our district, St. Mary's and Cosmopolis over the past few weeks. It is always enjoyable to see how excited students are to receive these dictionaries as their own.
Yesterday, Aberdeen High School went into a modified lockdown as the Aberdeen Police Department pursued a suspect in the neighborhood. The high school was notified by our SRO who suggested the modified procedure. In a modified lockdown, students are not allowed to leave the building and students who come to the building are only allowed to enter after being cleared by an administrator or office staff member. The modified lockdown lasted less than 20 minutes.
On Friday, Elyssa Louderback, Michael Pauley, Aaron Roiko and I met with Alan Gozart from Harbor Architects to review the overall plans for Stewart Field. This included a preliminary plan for a storage/concession/restroom building to replace the current north bleacher (junior high) section. Mr. Gozart is planning to attend the March 21 board meeting to provide an update for the school board.
The Aberdeen High School construction program is preparing a "tiny house" for the CTE Homeless Shelter Project Showcase event that will be held on the Capitol Grounds Monday, March 27, 2017. The class needed to prepare a home for $2,500 or less and transport it to the venue on Sunday, March 26. We are still looking for a flatbed trailer or truck that will be able to drive the tiny home (without the roof) to Olympia for reassembly on Monday. For more information, check out the following website - http://www.wtb.wa.gov/CTEHomelessHouseProject.asp.
We continue to follow the legislative process as we work on our district 2017-18 K-12 financial and program planning. The further into the spring negotiations take, the more challenging it will be to put together a total budget package for school board approval. Information from the Washington School Directors Association (WSSDA) and the Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) are two websites I review weekly to read what is occurring during the legislative session.
Our orchestra students are traveling to Canada this weekend as part of their annual tour to enhance their learning. They left this morning and will be back next Tuesday evening.
The Aberdeen School Board of Directors has selected four superintendent candidates to bring to the district next Thursday and Friday for interviews. Two candidates will be in the district all day for sessions with staff, students, parents and community members. Check the district webpage for updates and schedules.
Have a great weekend as we get back to a more typical rainy spring.