Aberdeen School District

Our Children, Our Schools, Our Future

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  • Weekly Update 3-24-17

    Posted by Tom Opstad at 3/24/2017

    Weekly Update
    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!

    Thank you,


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  • Weekly Update 3-17-17

    Posted by Tom Opstad at 3/17/2017

    Weekly Update
    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.

    AHS Symphonic 2017

    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.

    Sincerely, Tom

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  • Weekly Update 3-3-17

    Posted by Tom Opstad at 3/3/2017

    Weekly Update
    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.

    Sincerely, Tom

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  • Weekly Update 2-14-17

    Posted by Tom Opstad at 2/24/2017

    Weekly Update
    February 24, 2017

    A break in the main sewer line from the south end of the high school, which was discovered last Thursday evening, was repaired by the time students returned to school on Wednesday morning.  The concrete work on the ramp was finished on Thursday and dried just in time before the rain Friday morning.  There is some flexibility built into the current line that will hopefully help prevent another break.

    Our professional development days on Friday and Tuesday covered a number of topics that teachers can use in their classrooms immediately.  Much of the training on Tuesday was with staff from the Staff Development for Educators (SDE) Summer Conference we hold each August.  The program for this coming August is in development and we plan to open registration later this spring.  This year’s SDE Summer Conference will be held at Aberdeen High School on Thursday and Friday, August 17 and 18.

    Congratulations to Trace Christiansen on being recognized as the Aberdeen Rotary Student of the Month for February.  This is a great program that recognizes students for their community involvement, academic work and overall citizenship.  There are eight students from Aberdeen High School who are recognized throughout the year with one selected for an Aberdeen Rotary Scholarship at the end of the scchool year.  Congratulations Trace.

    The annual People's Choice Awards were held on Wednesday evening in the auditorium at Aberdeen High School.  This is a great event that recognizes students for a variety of achievements including grades, attitude, attendance, perservenance, leadership, citizenship and more.  Students are nominated by a high school faculty member who present the award to the student.  This is a tremendous opportunity to recognize many of the outstanding students we have in our district.  Thank you to the faculty and Mr. John Kranich who is the Renaissance advisor for AHS.  It was truly a fun evening!
    (People's Choice Awards MC's for the evening)


    The district calendars for both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years are posted on the district website.  We plan to finalize the student conference dates and times over the next few weeks.  Next year, we are planning on two full days of conferences at the secondary level that are non-student days.  The elementary conference schedule will be the same as it has been with the early release days during conference week.  

    All the follow-up data and reports from our district Consolidated Program Review (CPR) have been completed and sent to OSPI for review.  This involved a number of program areas along with basic Civil Rights updates to policies and wording on our website.

    The auditors are finishing up their work in the district and should be ready to schedule an exit conference for the school board and district program staff in the near future.  Since this is a shorter audit, the exit conference may take place around mid-March.  All previous district audits can be found on the Washington State Auditors website at https://www.sao.wa.gov/state/Pages/SWSA.aspx.

    The superintendent search process is continuing with a board meeting next Tuesday evening in the district office in the boardroom.  Board members will go into executive session to review the superintendent candidates completed applications as they determine who to invite as finalists to the district for comprehensive interviews. 

    Congratulations to Miller Junior High for receiving recognition from Governor Inslee on signing up students for the College Bound Scholarship program.  The school also received the "Gold Star Award" (shown below) highlighting their success as "one of the top-performing districts in the state."  Congratulations to the counselors, administrators and staff at Miller JH for helping eligible students sign up for this outstanding program.

    Have a great weekend.  Hopefully, from a superintendent's view point, we have no snow on Sunday evening!

    Thanks again,


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  • Weekly Update 2-17-17

    Posted by Tom Opstad at 2/17/2017

    Weekly Update
    February 17, 2017

    Our AHS girls wrestling team will be recognized on Saturday morning for being Academic State Champions.  The team had the highest GPA of all other 2A girls wrestling teams in the state.  This is a great honor and I think the first team in Aberdeen’s history to earn this honor.

    Our high school boys swim team, boys and girls wrestling teams all left yesterday afternoon for the state contests in their respective sports.  It is fun to see so many students make it through the district and regional competition in order to earn a spot at the state meet.  To follow the tournament results online, check out the WIAA website at http://www.wiaa.com/.  

    Best wishes to all our athletes over the next few days. 


    Today and next Tuesday are district professional development days for certificated staff .  The professional development days provide a great opportunity for a lot of work staff need to do in their field.  Having time to reflect with your colleagues and share what works in classrooms is a great way to learn from each other.  I suggested to our Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Governor that we look at extending the time teachers work by providing more professional development days as part of the salary increase that is being discussed in the Legislature.

    We applied for a district-wide Para-educator training grant through OSPI on Thursday.  This grant is designed to assist with training for Right Response, specific program training, ESD classes and Para-educator classes at Grays Harbor College.  It is a $20,000 maximum grant and we should know if we receive any or all of the funds by the end of February or first part of March.

    This past Sunday at the 2017 WSSDA-WASA-WASBO Legislative Conference we received a handout outlining the three proposed budgets – Governor, House and Senate.  It is part of the Aberdeen School Board meeting packet for Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at 5:00 p.m, and provides a good overview of the various ideas put forth to meet the requirements of the McCleary lawsuit filed 10 years ago.  This is something that we track very closely in the district office since a compromise budget needs to be passed before any salary allocations can be prepared for budget purposes.  Hopefully, the Legislature can come to an agreement sooner rather than later in order to allow districts to move forward with the budgeting process.

    Aberdeen HS spring sports begin practice on Monday, February 27, 2017.  For more information on the spring sports and requirements to participating in athletics at AHS, please check out the following link, http://www.asd5.org/domain/60.

    Have a great President’s Day Weekend and enjoy the warmer, sunny weather (At least on Friday afternoon!).

    Thank you,


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  • Weekly Update 2-10-17

    Posted by Tom Opstad at 2/10/2017

    Weekly Update
    February 10, 2017

    Staff from the Washington State Auditor’s Office started work in the district on Thursday.  They are typically in the district for three weeks as they review the financials and other requirements during this time period.  It is nice we have a little extra office space for their team that provides a quiet location with internet and phone access.

    The Aberdeen High School Girls Bowling team presented a signed bowling pin thanking the school board for supporting their inaugural season.

    Our schools are helping students focus on a number of different career opportunities after high school and many place banners for tech schools, colleges, military service and more thoughout the hallways and in front of classrooms.  Below are just a few I noticed when visiting schools this week.  

    We are continuing to follow many of the bills working their way through the Legislature.  It is also interesting to see what is occurring at the national level with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) since the new administration has taken office.  I think there will be some major changes in the act that will impact K-12 schools in the 2017-18 school year.  There is one bill that was introduced this week that would eliminate the Department of Education.  That would create some changes.

    Aberdeen High School was busy last weekend with the Skills USA Olympic Region Leadership Conference and the 5/6 grade elementary girls basketball tournament in Sam Benn Gym.  

    (Skills USA Quiz Bowl teams compete in the AHS Community Room)

    (Elementary girls teams getting tips during halftime in Sam Benn Gym)

    Tomorrow, Aberdeen High School will be hosting the Girls Regional Wrestling Tournament in Sam Benn Gym.  Stop by and support our team as many girls are wreslting to earn a spot in the state tournament.  The new Bobcat Mascot was on hand during Tuesday night's boys basketball game.  It will be a familiar presence at a number of future events.

    I will be assisting the interview team at Grays Harbor College next Wednesday as they interview for a new dean for the Bachelor of Applied Science in Teacher Education (BAS-TE) program.  This will be a tremendous opportunity to help promote and support people in our community who are interested in becoming teachers.  It will be similar to the WSU 2+2 program that was very active about ten years ago.  Several of our current teachers went through that program and would be great mentors for the new teachers coming into the profession.

    The Thursday article in the Aberdeen Daily World covered the discussion on the district projects very well.  It is nice to start early with the discussion and allows time for the new superintendent to build momentum with the new college president, Jim Minkler, and the new YMCA Director, Franzine Potts.  Work over the summer and into the fall with TCF Architecture, community members and staff will begin to formalize the plans and costs associated with the various projects.

    Several elementary school concerts are taking place over the next few weeks.  Last evening, Stevens Elementary School students in grades 1, 2 and 3 performed to a packed house in the AHS Auditorium.

    Have a great weekend and enjoy the warmer weather (and rain).

    Thanks again,


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  • Weekly Update 2-3-17

    Posted by Tom Opstad at 2/3/2017

    Weekly Update

    February 3, 2017


    We are getting busy in the district office planning for the 2017-18 staffing, preparing for the upcoming summer programs and following the legislative agenda to see what impacts that will have on school district budgets over the next two years. 


    It is the time of year when summer employment opportunities are becoming available for students.  Below is a link from the Washington State Department of Ecology for Ecology Youth Corps (EYC) workers in the Grays Harbor area.  The minimum wage for these summer jobs is $11 per hour.  The jobs are available for 14-17 year old students and the window to apply for the summer EYC jobs is between February 1 and April 3, 2017.  Students can check with their school counselor to get more information, however the Department of Ecology encourages and prefers students to apply on-line.



    The planning for a new Stevens Elementary will be the major focus for the day when TCF is here on Tuesday.  The will be meeting with representatives from the district, the YMCA, Grays Harbor College and the City of Aberdeen during the day to get additional input on a joint recreational facility.  This, along with work at AJ West, Miller JH, Robert Gray and Aberdeen High School will all be part of the long-range plan being put together for your review.


    We are looking at some space challenges over the next few years at the elementary level with larger primary classes.  This will be a discussion to have over the next few months and years as we plan the bond for the replacement of Steven's Elementary along with some other district-wide improvements.


    Our second semester is off to a good start with a number of new enrollments in all schools.  We have a history of graduating students at Harbor High after the first semester, but also pick up a number of students who will be able to finish their graduation requirements in order graduate this June. 


    The Aberdeen School District Career and Technical Education (CTE) General Advisory Committee met at Miller Junior High School this week and had a tour of the Miller Robotics and STEM programs. 



    It is exciting to be moving forward with the Grays Harbor College Bachelor of Applied Science in Teacher Education program.  Over the next few weeks we will be interviewing for an associate dean for the program.  That person will then work on hiring additional staff to fill out the program needs.  This is a great opportunity for our region that will help with the teacher shortage as more teachers consider retirement.


    Thanks again and have a great weekend.





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  • Weekly Update 1-27-17

    Posted by Tom Opstad at 1/27/2017

    Weekly Update

    January 27, 2017


    Student activities continue along with classroom instruction as Aberdeen High School, Harbor High School and Miller Junior High School finish the first semester of the 2016-17 school year today.  The new semester starts on Monday, January 30, 2017.  This weekend there are numerous events taking place including several sporting events and the Bobcat Music Booster's Annual Auction on Saturday evening in the AHS Commons beginning at 6:00 p.m. (See the poster below)


    On Tuesday, we received official notification that Robert Gray Elementary School is exiting their Focus status effective with the 2017-18 school year.  The exit criteria is based on the average of a school’s performance over a three year period, beginning with the 2013-14 school year and ending with the 2015-16 school year’s results.  Great job to all the staff and students at Robert Gray!


    Tuesday I attended the Greater Grays Harbor, Inc. luncheon at the Grays Harbor County Club to listen to the mayors in Grays Harbor.  It was very informative and interesting to hear what each city’s focus is for the upcoming year.  The general theme was to improve infrastructure and to work on enhancing the growth of local businesses. 


    We are continuing to develop the 2017-18 budget.  Our certificated staffing projection for next year is nearing completion.  I will be spending the month of February working on the classified staff budget.  My goal is to have the majority of the budget finished and ready for review by the board and the new superintendent in July.


    At our regional superintendents’ meeting on Wednesday, we heard a review of the legislative progress to date.  There are many links to the legislative process that are available to community members who have an interest in the process.  I have included a link to both WASA and WSSDA legislative updates for to keep abreast of the latest news from each of these organizations.  There is also a link to the legislative page for updates on what is being heard in various committees in, "Whats happening on the floor."


    WSSDA - wssda.org/Legislative/LegislativeUpdates.aspx (click on the latest 2017 Session Updates)

    WASA - http://wasa-oly.org/ (click on Government Relations, This Week in Olympia)

    What's happening on the floor - http://leg.wa.gov/


    Thanks again and have a great weekend.


    Sincerely, Tom

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  • Weekly Update 1-20-17

    Posted by Tom Opstad at 1/20/2017

    Weekly Update

    January 20, 2017


    Next week is the end of the first semester!  It is amazing how fast the year is moving along as we now are entering the last five months of the 2016-17 school year. 


    Harbor High School graduation last evening was outstanding.  Some of the students who graduated at the semester had to overcome many obstacles in order to reach this milestone in their life.  I find it refreshing that we have options for students who need something a little different than the traditional high school setting in order to achieve their goal of a high school diploma.  Congratulation to all.


    Over the break and the past few weeks, we have installed the security door locks with the remote camera access at Miller and Harbor High/Hopkins.  This completes all of our buildings.  Staff now lock the doors once students arrive in the morning and access is granted only after video confirmation by someone in the main office.  It seems to work fairly well and even though there may be increased wait times, I have had positive comments on taking these security measures.


    Building principals and secretaries had training this week on the new Blackboard call out system.  This web-based program is set up to send voice, text and email alerts to parents, students, and staff.   Messages can also be sent to the Blackboard App for Aberdeen.  The app is available in the Apple and Google Play stores.  Search under “Aberdeen School District No. 5” in order find the app.  You should also see the district logo which confirms you have the correct Aberdeen School District.


    Our girls bowling team hosted their last home meet of the year yesterday in Aberdeen.  It was very well attended by several high school staff members, friends and parents of our bowlers.  It was also a great way to end the year with a convincing win over Capital from the Olympia S.D.  Several members of the team would like to attend the next school board meeting to share a little about their experiences this year. 


    Elyssa Louderback and I are finalizing the enrollment numbers that will be entered into the budgeting software from OSPI.  This will be available once the Senate and House budgets are released and OSPI has time to update the program with any adjustments on salaries, benefits, staffing ratios and more.  It typically takes 2-3 weeks for OSPI to make these changes.  In the meantime, we are able to put together the expenditure side of the budget.  This is something that we work on as a district knowing what our expenditures are to date, along with what we projected as expenditures for this school year. 


    I have set up the meeting with representatives from Grays Harbor College, the YMCA, the City of Aberdeen and our district to discuss the building concepts of a joint gymnasium/recreational center with the architects from TCF Architecture.  TCF will also be sharing the results of the District Study and Survey with the school board on Tuesday, February 7 in the regular meeting beginning at 5:00 p.m. in the Community Room at Aberdeen High School.


    It is always great to have student art work up in the district office.  Thank you to the students at Robert Gray Elementary for sharing some of their art over the holiday break and into January.


    Have a great weekend and thanks again for your ongoing support of our schools and programs.


    Sincerely, Tom

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  • Weekly Update 1-13-17

    Posted by Tom Opstad at 1/13/2017

    Weekly Update

    January 13, 2017


    The January Aberdeen Rotary Student of the Month was Jake Metke.  Jake is the fourth student of the month honored by Rotary for their service to the community, excellent academics and involvement in extracurriculuar activities.  Congratulations to Jake and all the students who have been or will be selected as the student of the month by Rotary.


    Elyssa Louderback and I were able to meet with Alan Gozart this week to review the plans for Stewart Field.  Mr. Gozart will be at the next board meeting on Tuesday, January 17, to share a breakdown of costs and share his thoughts on the best approach to replace the roof, add lighting and provide storage and restroom facilities at Stewart Field.


    I often visit our schools during the week and enjoy talking with students, teachers, principals and other staff who work daily to provide a great learning environment for everyone.  This week, a teacher and student brightened my visit just by the shoes they were wearing.  It is always wonderful to leave a school with a smile on my face after seeing what such a simple piece of attire can contribute to brightening someones' day! 


    Our district Consolidated Program Review (CPR) took place on Wednesday.  We had eight staff from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) who met with district staff and visited several schools and programs throughout the day.  We had a number of accolades and a few areas that need to be addressed to be in compliance.  Thank you to all that were instrumental in collecting the data from all the programs and uploading documents to the CPR website.  Overall, it was a good review and helpful in making sure we remain in compliance with federal programs and guidelines.


    TCF Architecture is putting the final touches on the Study and Survey.  The architects are planning to be in the district on Tuesday, February 7, to update the board and provide an overview of the work they are doing for a new Stevens Elementary School.  The team from TCF plan to meet with the staff at Stevens to get input on the educational program needs and spaces needed in a new school.  They will also meet with representatives from the YMCA, Grays Harbor College and the City of Aberdeen to review the Grays Harbor College site for a combined school gymnasium-college recreational center complex.  This has tremendous potential to be a great project for the community as part of the process of building a new elementary school.


    All elementary schools are focusing on AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) instructional practices and will be adopting a college in each classroom.   Stevens Elementary has been in the practice of adopting a college in their classroom for several years.  In 2015, my daughter and her boyfriend from Edinburgh, Scotland were guest speakers in Mrs. Collins classroom and shared their experiences at college and what it allowed them to do in their lives.   It is exciting to see what various teachers have acquired from their "adopted" school to help decorate, both inside and outside, their classroom.  Below is just one example of what I found when I visited classrooms on Thursday.  I know of at least one teacher in the district who may have contributed to this elementary display - or definitely approved of their choice!


    Thanks again and have a great weekend. 


    Sincerely, Tom

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