Welcome Back to School

2021-2022

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Miriam's Memo

Hiking Lessons for the Future


My most memorable hike so far happened back in the summer of 2018. That day started beautifully as my husband, David, and I hiked to Colchuck Lake. It was early, so we decided to extend our destination to Aasgard Pass, about 2,000 feet of ascent in three-quarters of a mile, even though it was not in our itinerary. The trail was very steep, replete with boulders and rocks, and distressingly endless. Rather than retracing our steps back and risking injury going back down the steep trail, we decided to keep going and do the rest of The Enchantments — about 20 miles of rugged, beautiful terrain. This sounded like a sensible plan, except we were completely unprepared for the hike — our car was at Stuart Lake trailhead with no transportation awaiting us at Snow Lake trailhead — no way of communicating with our son, a college freshman at the time, that we were deviating from our original plan. Still, we felt this was better than heading back down the steep grade.


Nightfall came with about 8 miles to go in the grueling hike. Worse, the last 5 miles, dubbed The Death March, entailed eternal switchbacks that toy with an exhausted hiker’s psyche. The wilderness at night was unforgivingly dark. I was terrified and bone-tired.


David and I safely reached the Snow Lake trailhead after 17 hours of hiking. I finally had a cell signal and immediately called our son. Zach was relieved but understandably unhappy we did not stick to the original plan. We couldn’t talk long — he had to call the State Patrol back to let them know there was no need to deploy search and rescue. This was a humbling lesson in hiking with life and leadership applications that I am reflecting on as I begin my tenure as superintendent after a radically trying and emotionally taxing year.


We are all allowed to learn. The hike was riddled with errors in judgment, but it reminded me that making mistakes is perfectly acceptable. We are all allowed to learn. With this in mind, I feel hopeful about the new school year even in the face of incertitude. No, we do not possess the blueprint for returning to school and recovering from the adverse impact of a far-reaching, unprecedented global crisis. However, with minds and hearts constantly open to learning — both from celebrations and missed opportunities — we can strategically prepare for a productive new school year and make tactical revisions as needed.


Trust in human generosity and compassion. David and I made it to the trailhead because of the kindness of hikers who shared their headlamp light with us, ensuring our safety the best they could. It reinforced my belief in life that if we open ourselves up to the world, people will compassionately rush to our aid. As we embark on a school year in the wake of a pandemic, I trust that we will lean on one another’s sense of compassion, support and affirmation to weather challenges that are sure to come our way. I’m learning that’s how we do life in Sedro-Woolley: We take care of one another.


Our students have the capacity for resilience, resourcefulness, and strength. Zach had the wherewithal to call the state patrol when he sensed something was amiss. His response reminded me of our young people’s resilience, resourcefulness and strength. The pandemic upended the way our students lived and learned last school year, but with continued support from our staff and community, our children will thrive moving forward. They are Cub strong!


I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve Sedro-Woolley as superintendent. I am optimistic the new school year will continue to bring our community together around a shared purpose — future learning and success of our beloved students!

COVID-19 Safety Measures

Students will return to the classroom for in-person instruction for the 2021-2022 school year. With Covid-19 numbers still fluctuating, the district will need to be nimble and flexible. All students who choose to learn in-person will return to our buildings with a mostly normal school day schedule. This scenario continues to require face coverings while indoors, enhanced personal hygiene and a degree of physical distancing among students to the extent possible.


Sedro-Woolley School District is reopening with the safety measures required by the Department of Health in the K-12 COVID-19 Requirements.


2021-2022 Frequently Asked Questions

Board Message

On behalf of the Sedro-Woolley School School Board of Directors, I’d like to extend the board’s gratitude to our community for the grace and patience shown during the 2020-2021 school year.


While COVID-19 made education more challenging, it did not define us. Our schools discovered new ways to connect with students and their families. They continued to grow and refine relationships among their school’s families and solidify our mission of preparing every student for future success.


I want to extend my thanks to our families who helped us with the huge undertaking of remote learning. It was hard work, but it made a tremendous difference for our community.


Looking toward the 2021-2022 school year, we will continue to build our home and school connections while also returning to a more normal- looking school routine. While we are still masking up and using physical distancing to the extent possible, we are returning to classrooms in person! This is amazing news and we appreciate the community's support.


Working together, we can take what we’ve learned in the past year and transform the opportunities afforded to our children so that they are ready for their future careers and life.

Education is an investment and together we can ensure that our graduates help our entire community have a brighter future.


Christina Jepperson,

President

(District 2)

cjepperson@swsd101.org

Sedro-Woolley Virtual Learning Academy

Families who found success in the district’s remote learning model will have a new option for the 2021-2022 school year as the district has partnered with an accredited K-12 virtual academy to provide quality learn-at-home options with teacher support. More than 300 K-12 online courses will be available at no cost to students who choose this option. Details are still being finalized, but families who would like more information should email sdahl@swsd101.org.

Calendar

September

Hispanic Heritage Month; Library Card Sign-up Month


6 - Labor Day (No School)


6 - National Read a Book Day


7 - First Day of School (Grades 1-12)


8 - All Schools - One hour late start for professional development


10 - First Day of School (Kindergarten)


11 - Patriot Day


13 - School Board Meeting 6 p.m.


14 - RISE Meeting, 3 p.m. SWHS library


14 - LY Parent Group Meeting, 6 p.m.


15 - All Schools - One hour late start for professional development


17–23 Constitution Week


20 - First Day of Good Beginnings Preschool


22 - All Schools - One hour late start for professional development


25 - Public Lands Day (celebrated annually on the 4th Saturday of September)


27 - School Board Meeting 6 p.m.


29 - All Schools - One hour late start for professional development

Sedro-Woolley School District Calendar 2021-2022

Download the school calendar in PDF format

Critical Race Theory is NOT being taught in SWSD

Critical Race Theory is not part of our state standards or local curriculum. The school board has repeatedly addressed and have reiterated it would not be adopted as part of the district's curriculum.


By way of clarification, equity requirements outlined in Senate Bill 5044 are distinct from Critical Race Theory, which is not part of the bill, nor is any specific curriculum. This legislation requires professional development for school district staff promoting inclusion and providing equitable educational opportunities for all students. There is no curriculum tied to the legislation, just training on how to build respect and belonging for all students.


Sedro-Woolley’s school board is representative of our local community’s beliefs and have been very transparent about this issue at their meetings. They have made it clear that they have no intention of quietly or publicly implementing political agendas via student curriculum.


The professional development, in Sedro-Woolley, will focus on how we can serve all children to promote future learning and success. The curriculum our children have learned in the past is the same curriculum that will be in place in the 2021-2022 school year and, most likely, many years to come.


The concept of educational equity is not new. All school districts seek educational equity in a variety of ways and have for decades.


Federal, state and local funding has long sought to level the playing field so all students have what they need to be successful. For example, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was passed in 1965 to provide federal support for low-income students.


The term “educational equity” is closely associated with the “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) legislation that was led by former President George W. Bush and signed into law in 2002. This watershed moment in U.S. education policy established clear requirements for school districts to not only disaggregate student achievement data by race, income and other student characteristics, but also to close achievements gaps where they exist. Many districts have revisited and renewed their local efforts to close these gaps as required by the 2015 passage of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which further advanced the intent of NCLB.


At a state level, student transportation funds provide the means for districts to bus students to eliminate transportation barriers for students and families. Locally, SWSD's EPO levy is used to fund programs that are important to our community that help our students thrive.


SWSD's equity efforts are centered around providing students extra or different supports so that they can find success every day in every classroom.

Crews install new boilers at SWHS

This summer has been busy for crews at the high school as new boilers were set in the new boiler room on the east end of the A building. These new boilers are much smaller than the old steam boilers (located in the gymnasium building across 3rd Street from the main building) and will only heat water instead of making steam, which is much safer and efficient.


Local voters passed the $15 million capital levy in February 2020. The money will fund building repairs, enhancement, and safety.


The levy also will pay for enhanced safety, security, ADA accessibility, and roofs (the high school's gymnasium roof and several smaller roofing projects have already been completed).

See the Project List & Photo Gallery.

Sex Education FAQs

We are hearing questions from families about what Senate Bill (SB) 5395 means for sex and health education in our schools. Here is a breakdown of what is and is not changing in our schools under the new law.


WHAT IS CHANGING?


  • Public schools must teach “affirmative consent” to older students. This new requirement is intended to help students recognize inappropriate behavior and their right to reject it. The law does not provide lesson plans or other details for this new requirement, meaning it will be up to individual school districts to determine how it is taught.


WHAT IS NOT CHANGING?


  • The district will still have local control and flexibility to determine what best meets the needs of students and families.
  • The district will still have the authority to choose its own curricula, materials, and speakers. While the state provides a list of comprehensive sexual health education curricula, the district is not required to adopt any of them.
  • Students will continue to be taught, beginning in middle school, that abstinence is the most effective method to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
  • The district will continue to have the authority to determine what information is age appropriate.
  • Parents will still have the right to review curricula and opt their children out of all or any portion. Districts will still be required to grant a parent request to excuse their child from a sex education curriculum.
  • Curricula must encourage healthy relationships based on mutual respect and free from violence, coercion, and intimidation.
  • The district will still use curricula aligned with past guidelines for sexual health information and disease prevention and the state’s health and physical education K–12 learning standards. Districts are obligated by law only to teach HIV prevention (beginning in grade 5), CPR, and the use of external defibrillators.
  • The district will still teach information that is medically and scientifically accurate, and inclusive for all students regardless of protected class status.
  • The district will continue to teach this information once between grades K–3, once between grades 4–5, twice between grades 6–8, and twice between grades 9–12.


In January of 2021, the district began the process of reviewing standards for K-12 Health and Physical Education, including sex education, for implementation in the 2022 – 2023 school year. This will include thorough opportunities for teachers and community members to participate in and give input into the curricula and the instructional materials being considered.

Coop Preschool open for enrollment

Samish Cooperative Preschool is open for enrollment now! The preschool offers a supportive, caring learning environment for children ages 3-5. The preschool is located at Samish Elementary School in Sedro-Woolley. Class is held from 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The preschool is affiliated with Skagit College and, as such, meet the high standards of a developmentally appropriate preschool. For more information, contact samishcooppreschool@gmail.com.

Summer School Trip to Library

Click the link below to view a fun trip highlighted by summer school journalism students.

The high school summer school program culminated in a field trip to Fragrance Lake!

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Annual Online Student Information Verification

The Annual Online Student Information Verification is now open. Parents should log into Family Access via Skyward to verify and complete their student(s) information. This information must be reviewed each year and updated for all students attending school within the district.

To begin, please change your view to an individual student, rather than "All Students". Once a student's page, press Step 1 on the right and make the appropriate selection.

Once complete, click "Submit" to complete the process and submit the information to your child's school.


Each year, school districts in Washington are required to report student data by ethnicity and race categories to the state's Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Ethnicity and race categories used in our district are the same as are used in all Washington school districts. They are set by the federal government, the Washington State Legislature, and OSPI. OSPI is required to report the total number of students in various categories in each school to the federal government, but it does not report individual student data. These reports help our district and the state keep track of changes in student enrollment and various outcomes (such as graduation rates) to ensure that all students receive the educational programs and services to which they are entitled.


Recently, the federal government and OSPI changed the reporting categories for student ethnic and race data. As a result of the new reporting categories, we need to ask you to identify your child as either Hispanic/Latino or not Hispanic/Latino and by one or more racial groups.

If your family is Asian, you will now be able to list your child as either Chinese, Japanese, or belonging to one or more of the other Asian groups. If your family is Native American, you will be able to list your child's tribal affiliation. If one parent identifies with one race and the other parent with another, you will be able to check both races for your child.

All public schools in Washington will need to start using these new categories. Please complete the online form no later than the first day of school.

Food service departments face supply chain shortfalls

Sedro-Woolley School District's Food Service Departments along with local school districts are facing supply chain challenges during the upcoming school year.


All districts on the west side of the state belong to a purchasing cooperative to allow schools to purchase unique foods used in the school lunch programs.


US Foods is the food distributor that provides school districts with the school specific foods Skagit County districts depend on.


“Our contacts at US Foods have indicated that many of the suppliers that they order these foods from have indicated that they are unable to fill these orders for them to redistribute to the schools,” said Mark Dalton, food service director at Burlington-Edison School District.


Items like chicken nuggets, hamburgers, burritos, as well as single serve peanut butter and jellies and syrups may not be available. Suppliers are also expecting a shortfall in #10 steel cans until the end of October.


“Many of these staples that we depend on in our school lunch programs are unavailable,” Dalton said. “The challenge is that we are finding out about these shortages in real time, without a lot of time to make changes.”


La Conner Food Services Director Kelly Kjarstad said the shortage isn’t limited to just the staples.


“It's pretty widespread through the food and supply chain,” Kjarstad said.


Another factor is that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the USDA, who oversees the school meal program, is providing free meals for all students in school.


“There is an expectation that this will also increase our daily meal participation for the coming year,” Dalton said.


Schools also are used to having a stable supply chain they can depend on, which allows them to publish menus for families at least a month in advance.


“With the new supply chain problems, I anticipate we will have to publish a tentative menu with a message to families that it may change depending on available supplies,” Dalton said. “We will need to actively update our weekly menu on our district's Food Service web page so parents can be notified of any changes.”


Families should check the Food Service page on their district's website to find changes to the menu.


“Sometimes, it's just a waiting game to see what actually arrives from the order before we know what will be served that day/week,” Kjarstad said.


Many school buildings have also turned off their water fountains during the pandemic to prevent the spread of germs. Bottled water has been provided to Sedro-Woolley students who didn’t bring reusable water bottles.


"One of our supply chain issues is procurement of bottled water,” said Allison Johnston, food services director for the Sedro-Woolley School District. “We’re asking families to pack a reusable water bottle for their students to bring to school each day.”


Johnson added that a la carte items, including individual milk cartons, will not be available for purchase in Sedro-Woolley until the district can assess the feasibility of offering that service.


La Conner is reaching out to a variety of food distributors to find provisions like milk, but Kjarstad said that doesn’t mean the supply chain will hold.


“We know the start of school this fall will have some food supply challenges, but there is the hope that the situation will settle out as we get deeper into the school year,” Dalton said. “Know that your school will always have a nutritious school lunch available for everyone who wants one.”


La Conner’s Kjarstad said the only thing that families can count on is that they can't depend on monthly menus being accurate and to remember that local districts are doing their best in a situation outside of local control.

SWSD receives grant

The Washington State Department of Commerce awarded a $300,000 grant to the Sedro-Woolley School District for energy efficiency projects.


The money will be used to improve overall performance of the high school HVAC system and replace lighting fixtures with LEDs.


The competitively scored grant process prioritized projects with the highest projected savings in both energy and operational costs, as well as matching funds provided by applicants.

CMS bond refinanced for huge savings

The Sedro-Woolley School Board voted in February to refinance the 2011 CMS Bond. The school district was able to secure a savings of $701,251 (through the life of the bond: Dec. 1, 2030) for local taxpayers.


This represents a 21.78% savings over the lifetime of the bond, far exceeding the school board’s savings target.


In the prior 12 months, the municipal bond market had experienced one of the most volatile periods in recent history, but as it stabilized, favorable market conditions contributed to exceptionally low interest rates.

New athletic director at SWHS

Kevin Owen has been named Athletic Director at Sedro-Woolley High School.


Kevin plans to promote character and competitiveness, while preparing students for college and the work force.


After growing up as a multi-activity student in Western Montana, Kevin earned two bachelor’s degrees as a student-athlete for the Tar Heels of the University of North Carolina, followed by a master’s degree from Grand Canyon University.


Kevin has taught for nine years in Arizona, Montana, and Washington at the middle and high school levels. He has coached multiple sports during his tenure as an educator. Kevin and his wife, Katie, have two daughters who enjoy the outdoors while visiting at least one new national park every year.


“We are thrilled to have Kevin Owen join our team,” Principal Kerri Carlton said. “His experience in coaching both boys’ and girls’ teams at varying age levels, as well as his teaching experience both at the middle and high school grade levels, is exactly what we were looking for.”

Rental assistance available through county

The Skagit County Rental Assistance Program provides financial assistance to income-eligible Skagit County renters, and their landlords, who may be struggling to afford rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To find out if you are eligible for assistance or to apply online, go to www.skagitcounty.net/renthelp.

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