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Summary of the School Board meeting on May 21, 2019.

Aberdeen School District No. 5

Summary of School Board of Directors Meeting

May 21, 2019


President Sandra Bielski convened the regular meeting of the Aberdeen School District Board of Directors at 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, 2019, in the Community Room at Aberdeen High School. Directors present were Jennifer Durney and Bill Dyer, along with Superintendent Alicia Henderson, student representative Katie Lewis and 38 patrons and staff. The meeting began with the Flag salute.

Minutes, Trips & Gifts

The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which included:

  • The minutes of the regular meeting on May 7, 2019;
  • April payroll vouchers totaling $3,502,376.15;
  • General Fund vouchers totaling $1,027,566.30; ASB Fund vouchers totaling $34,848.82, and a Capital Projects Fund voucher in the amount of $392,727.88;
  • A request from GearUp at Miller Junior High School to send six students to Gonzaga for a leadership camp and five students to Western Washington University for a college knowledge camp in June, and
  • A gift to the District from The Vaughan Co. in the amount of $1,000 to help FBLA students defray the cost of attending the national leadership conference and competition in San Antonio, Texas.

Comments from the Board

Seniors Boards: Director Jennifer Durney discussed her experience serving as a judge for Senior Boards at Aberdeen High School and how impressed she was with the students’ presentations. Director Bill Dyer agreed, adding that serving on a Senior Board panel reminds him of the diverse opportunities students have in Aberdeen – music, athletics, drama, art, FFA, FBLA, SkillsUSA, medical careers, automotive, construction, etc.

Victoria Trip: Director Bill Dyer discussed the AHS Marching Band’s trip to Victoria, B.C. He said once again the students performed extremely well and served as excellent ambassadors for Aberdeen.

Grays Harbor Symphony: Director Dyer invited everyone to the Grays Harbor Symphony’s concert on Sunday, June 2, when the AHS orchestra students will perform with the symphony.

Audit: President Sandra Bielski said she appreciated sitting in on the entrance and exit conferences with state auditors. She said it’s always nice to hear the auditors speak about the professionalism and cooperation of District staff. She added that the auditors praised Doris Daly from the Business Office in their report for the tremendous support she provided during the process.

Student Representative Report

Katie Lewis reported it’s been busy at Aberdeen High School with events such as the Silver and Gold Banquet, planning for the 8th Grade Visit, the CNA pinning ceremony, the AHS Marching Band’s trip to Canada, senior signing day, and spring testing. She also reported that the high school is creating a Hope Squad, which is a nationwide suicide prevention and depression support group where students are trained to recognize warning signs in depressed or suicidal peers, and bring their concern to an adult. Miss Lewis said students at AHS are being interviewed for the new group, which will be activated in the fall. 

Comments from the Audience

Behavioral Health Resources: Angela Crowley, director of Grays Harbor Outpatient Services for BHR, told the School Board that it has been a pleasure to work with the Aberdeen School District staff in partnership to streamline and improve access to mental health therapy for qualified students. A key component has been to provide the option of scheduling an appointment at school or the BHR offices, she said. Having therapists come to the schools for appointments removes the barrier of transportation and work conflicts for parents.

Reductions at Harbor High School:

Katie Hirschfeld, a teacher at Harbor High School, read a letter to the School Board asking for reconsideration of the budget reductions at her school.

Keelee Frost, also a teacher at Harbor High School, read a letter signed by the staff, urging that full staffing be restored.

Gayle Anderson, office coordinator at Harbor High School, submitted a letter urging restoration of an office position.

Superintendent Alicia Henderson thanked both teachers for their comments and letters. She added that because the school serves more than just Aberdeen students, the goal going forward will be to encourage out-of-the-box thinking and explore partnerships.

ESD 113

Harry Carthum of Aberdeen, a member of the board of trustees at the Capital Region ESD 113, and Dana Anderson, superintendent of ESD 113, presented information about the services and programs offered at the ESD.

Superintendent’s Report

  • 2018-2019 Focus Areas: Superintendent Henderson reported significant progress is being made in each of the focus areas and she will present a review in June with directions for 2019-2020.
  • State Audit: Superintendent Henderson reported that auditors have completed their audit of the 2017-2018 school year. She said there are no findings regarding financial accounting, but that several procedural findings related to federal grants have been corrected.
  • 2019-2020 Budget Preparations: Superintendent Henderson presented preliminary financial information related to the 2019-2020 budget that was also shared with the Budget Advisory Committee. She reported deep concern about the potential cost of the new state benefit system for employees, which is significantly underfunded by the state.
  • Student Representative: Superintendent Henderson thanked Natalie Hurd and Katie Lewis for their outstanding representation and noted it’s time to begin the process of selecting next year’s representatives. Director Jennifer Durney agreed to be on the interview committee.

Teaching and Learning Report

Teaching and Learning Director Traci Sandstrom presented the department’s May report.

  • Post-Secondary Success: Director Sandstrom shared a tracking system that Ashley Kohlmeier uses at Aberdeen High School in her AVID elective class. Every student has applied for scholarships with $1.5 million in awards so far.
  • Science: Director Sandstrom discussed the work of the science adoption team in selecting a new curriculum for grades 6-12 and the work taking place with 5th Grade teachers and Pacific Educational Institute.
  • PBIS: Director Sandstrom discussed Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports, which includes the work taking place in the District for MTSS (multi-tiered systems and supports) and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) implementation
  • Technology: Director Sandstrom discussed the standardization of staff devices that could result in significant savings and said the laptops being turned in by the senior class will be redistributed to freshmen in the fall to maintain a 1:1 environment in high school. In addition, the district is exploring how to offer low-cost computer insurance.
  • Miscellaneous: Director Sandstrom discussed the Hope Squad being formed at Aberdeen High School; announced that Grays Harbor College and the Aberdeen, Hoquiam and Montesano school districts are teaming up to offer a two-day summer conference for educators, and noted that the Legislature has funded up to 14 hours of professional development for para-educators that the district will implement in 2019-2020.

New Science Curriculum

Teaching and Learning Director Traci Sandstrom and science teachers Ken Erickson, Lori Snyder and Chelsea Allee presented the science curriculum for Grades 6-12 that is being recommended for adoption. A 10-member committee began meeting last fall and reviewed materials from three publishers, eventually selecting the Inspire curriculum from McGraw-Hill. In addition to aligning to state standards, the materials and content meet the challenges and needs of students at all ability levels, the committee reported, while also providing the materials and supports teachers need for usability and differentiation. The selection committee also included teachers David Bruncke, Christopher Howell, Eric Williamson, Katina Gamleah, Sally Holt and Gayla Stewart.

The materials are available for review by contacting the Teaching and Learning Department. Board action is scheduled to take place at the June 4 meeting.

New Books for Classrooms

The Instructional Materials Committee is recommending adoption of the following:

  • Environment: The Science Behind the Stories by Withgott & Laposata and published by Pearson for use in science classes at Aberdeen High School.
  • School-Connect by K. Beland, J. Douglass and R. Matheny and published by School-Connect for use in the Special Education PASS Program at Aberdeen High School.
  • Human Journey: Modern World published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston for use in social studies classes at Aberdeen High School.
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and published by Norton for use in English classes at Aberdeen High School.
  • Character Strong by J. Norlin, L. Norlin and H. Kraft and published by Character Strong for the social-emotional learning portion of advisory at Aberdeen High School.
  • Inspire Science by various authors and published by McGraw-Hill for use in science classes at Aberdeen High School and Miller Junior High School.
  • Habits of a Successful Middle School Musician by Scott Rush and published by GIA Publications for use in music/ band classes at Miller Junior High School.

These materials are available for review by contacting the Teaching and Learning Department and will come back to the Board for action on June 4.

Fiscal Status Report

Elyssa Louderback, executive director of business and operations, presented the Fiscal Status Report for April. Of the $49.25 million budgeted for expenditures, $32.84 million has been spent to date, which is 66.68 percent of the budget with 66.67 percent of the fiscal year elapsed.

Miller Site Preparation

Director Louderback reported that Rognlin’s Inc. has begun the site work at Miller Junior High School for the new modular classroom building.

Miller ASB Cards

Athletic Director Aaron Roiko reported that the cost of ASB cards at Miller Junior High School will increase from $25 to $30.


First Aid/CPR Contract

The Board approved renewal of the contract with Denny Bickar to provide First Aid and CPR instruction for staff in the District.


Cosmetology Contract

The Board approved an extension of the 2018-2019 contract with Grays Harbor Beauty College to August 31, 2019. CTE Director Lynn Green reported that the Beauty College will be closing and this is the final contract with the current owner. She is hopeful that a buyer will be found or that another provider will come to the area.


Contract for Occupational Therapist

The Board approved a contract with Pioneer Healthcare Services to place Rachel Bromberg in the District as an occupational therapist.


Contract for Speech Language Pathologist

The Board approved a contract with Advanced Medical Personnel to place Amy Besecker in the District as a speech language pathologist.


BHR Referral Process

Director Traci Sandstrom presented a report outlining the referral process for students who may need mental health therapy. She discussed the work taking place to streamline access to Behavioral Health Resources. Because transportation and parent work schedules can be barriers to students receiving services, she reported that BHR now provides the option of having therapists come to the school.


Surplus Property

The Board declared as surplus a cash register, several dozen tables and 200 chairs.


Personnel Report

The Board approved personnel matters.


The Board approved the 2019-2020 Classified Staffing List.


The Board approved the 2019-2022 Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Public School Employees (PSE) union.


Next Meeting

The next meeting of the School Board is set for 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 4, in the Commons at Aberdeen High School.