Tonasket School District

Weekly Update ~ 12/20/2019

"Focused on Learning and Linking Learning to Life"

Be Positive, Be Grateful, Be Involved

Have a wonderful Christmas and New Years break. I hope it is a time of celebration, relaxation and rejuvenation filled with time spent with family and friends!


Capital Project Update

  • Mike Larson is working with staff to finalize the design for our safety and security upgrades at our main entrances. We are planning on putting out our bid requests for the three buildings in late January or early February.

  • The School Board approved Architects West for design services for the CTE shop building. We had our first meeting with them on Tuesday to develop a contract and define building specifications.

District Culture and Climate

  • The work on the Climate and Culture surveys are finishing up this week. I will be able to report the findings in January.

  • There were countless acts of positivity throughout our district this week that were truly inspiring and makes me grateful to be a part of such a wonderful organization. From the giving tree in Mrs. Olma’s class and the food boxes from the middle school to give to families in need over the break to elementary and high schoolers making and hand-delivering Christmas cards with messages of hope and kindness, (and too many other acts to mention) the Christmas spirit is alive and well at Tonasket Schools!

Parent and Community Engagement

  • The Wednesday Migrant Meeting was a huge success. Tyler Graves wrote:
    This may have been one of our most meaningful meetings for parents and families. The atmosphere was set by the STEM challenge from Laura and Amanda, which had to do with careers that involve STEM - and there are lots of them! Trisha then gave a very informative and eye opening presentation on the Washington State Driver's license laws, along with an overview of the graduation requirements for Tonasket High School. We then heard from Alfredo Ortiz, a THS grad, about Wenatchee Valley College and the CAMP program there. Edgar Arellano and Kristi O'Neal gave an overview of apprenticeships and technical college options for after graduation. Suzette and Alex then informed parents about the GEAR UP and Upward Bound opportunities that our school has to offer, along with some excellent advice and insight into preparing for life after high school.

    The highlight of the evening was the student panel comprised of four recent THS graduates who have gone on to college. Brianna Gutierrez, Rene Ramirez, Michael Gonzolez and Natalie Gomez spoke with such honesty and charisma that it left the adults in the room proud, inspired and engaged. We had planned for the students to speak with parents for 10-15 minutes, but parents kept asking really good questions and the students, our students, kept speaking so wonderfully that it took a lot of effort to redirect parents to go to have dinner. They ended up speaking for around 30 minutes and they could have gone on for another 30. But that is what these meetings are all about; providing families with quality information and empowering our migrant students to do great things. My only wish was that we would have recorded the session to play for anyone who wasn't able to be present. It was that powerful. One of our guest presenters was actually brought to tears during the student panel session.

    Speaking of love and passion, Jim Huckaby and the admin team put together an amazing dinner for everyone in attendance. Turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes and a chocolate cake to die for, for dessert. It took three evenings of preparation and came out absolutely incredible. Thank you to the administration team, Jim Huckaby and everyone else in the kitchen that pulled off the meal of the year.

    Thank you to everyone involved in making this yet another wonderful event for the migrant and bilingual families of our district.

Creative and Innovative

  • Staff have been meeting to determine how to best implement Breakfast After the Bell in the elementary school. We continue to gather information and share ideas. We’ll be meeting with the ES leadership team after the new year to continue the discussions. We are required to offer Breakfast After the Bell in all schools starting in August of 2020 based on our free and reduced lunch percentage.

  • The district received $15,000 through an OSPI High Demand Career and Technical Education Programs grant to initiate a new Veterinary Assistant program in the HS. The intended outcome of this program is for students who successfully complete the program, to be prepared to test as an approved Veterinary Assistant to receive certification and to have the greater portion of the education needed to become a Veterinary Technician. The Vet Assistant program will be instructed by one or both of our licensed veterinarians on our staff and will be offered next school year.

TEA and PSE Updates

At our last PSE meeting we were introduced to our new regional representative, Karoline Martin. She is replacing Janell Silves who is retiring.

Staff Updates

At the November 26 board meeting, the following personal items were approved:

  • Tyler Sant – JV Boys Soccer Coach
  • Tyler Graves – MS Football Coach

  • Gabriela Garcia – ES Paraeducator
  • Azucena Depaz – ES Campus Support
  • Brenden Bermea – HS Boys C-Squad Basketball Coach


    1. The district received notification this week that we’ve been awarded an OSPI Healthy Kids, Healthy Schools grant for $99,000 to replace the playground equipment in the K-1 playground. We are very excited for this grant award. The existing equipment is the original and is over 24 years old. It’s showing extensive signs of wear and tear. With the grant funding, we’ll replace this with a new and larger and ADA accessible playground. The pea gravel will be replaced with interlocking tiles making a nice play surface. The new playground equipment will be installed this summer. I’ve included a couple of diagrams of what the playground will look like.
    • Our Outreach program held a career day featuring many local representatives from Lee Frank Merchantile, Beanaddiction, Okanogan County Sherrif’s Office, The Co-op, our Transportation Department, and Beyer’s Market.

    • Omak’s Mirage Theater is having free Holiday Family Movie Matinees over the break. The days and times have been posted on our district Facebook page.

    What Every Employee Needs to Know Reminders

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