Superintendent's Update

April 2020

School Closures Updates

Dear Staff and Parents,

Thank you so much for your incredible partnership in developing and implementing distance learning for all students. We have been in a whirlwind of change, and I am so grateful for how we have rallied together to connect with students and promote continuous learning for all. We will successfully prevail during these uncertain times and seek to become an even stronger ESD team.

Technology Supports During School Closures

Our IT department, under the direction of Mike Welch, has successfully installed WiFi hot-spots at each of our schools. These hot-spots provide opportunities for our parents and students to drive to a school and receive free internet service while in their cars. These hot-spots also have an approximate 250-foot reach into the community surrounding each school. Parents may also access free internet service at many the community locations.

Another resource that was created by our IT department includes information about how individuals could sign up for discounted or free internet from various companies.

Additionally, parents and students now have a way to send in a help-desk ticket to the IT department if they are having problems with their ESD devices. A special thank you to the IT staff for providing this service.


We have many wonderful celebrations which include the following.

Nominations for the 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year

  • Cynthia Hilburn, Teacher at Mt. Stuart Elementary, has been nominated to represent ESD for the Washington State and Regional Teacher of the Year
  • Joan Smith, Morgan Middle School Teacher and Levi Teasley, Ellensburg High School Teacher, have also been nominated to represent ESD for the Regional Teacher of the Year.

Congratulations to these amazing teachers!

I have shared many other celebrations in my weekly updates to ESD staff, such as:

  • A huge thank you to Patty Kimmel and all of our special education team. Because of their successful efforts in contacting families of students with special needs, all schools will move forward this week with providing new content and evaluative feedback to students.
  • We would like to thank the awesome staff that worked with the Ellensburg School District Emergency Childcare for Healthcare/1st Responders, as we partnered with Mercer Creek Childcare. Your caring hearts and your commitment to our students did not go unnoticed.
  • Kudos to Diana Wilson and her exceptional work with translation for our Spanish speaking families. For example, at Lincoln she is an essential conduit to our most vulnerable English Language Learner families, as she walks them painstakingly through processes like how to get internet service and how to get into school emails and Google Classroom. She also maintains a timely and integral service of networking with all of our teachers. Her abilities and skills, coupled with her work ethic and kind spirit, have made her an invaluable asset for all of us.
  • As a result of the hard work and dedication of our food service, transportation and para-educator personnel, we have served over 5,500 meals to students since our school closures. Here is a video that displays their wonderful services.
  • ESD experienced great press coverage highlighting the caring actions and effective distance learning efforts of our teachers!

  • Kudos to Haley Naboychik (EHS Activities Director), EHS seniors, the EHS Senior Parent Group and the EHS administration for all of their tenacious efforts in developing wonderful plans for graduation. An overview of these plans were outlined in the recent article by the Daily Record. Final decisions about the details concerning times, dates and events for graduation are still being made. Again, another example of exemplary teamwork!

BOARD END #1: Strong Foundational Academic and Future Ready Skills for All Students

We had two students score in the top 2.5% on the PSAT/NMSQT test they took last fall. These two juniors are Elizabeth Shoda and Thomas Lonowski. They have been invited to participate in the College Board National Recognition Program. Way to go Bulldogs!

We are working together as a system to provide continuous learning for students. I encourage you to access our COVID-19 School Closure Information web-page on the Ellensburg School District website. Information about instructional schedules at different schools, support for online learning and additional supplemental resources can all be found on this web-page All students should be receiving weekly contacts with their teachers and be engaged in learning new material and exchanging student work with teachers. For students who do not yet have internet connections, we are providing paper packets for them. These packet deliveries and pick ups are happening during our meal distribution drop offs at various places in the community.

BOARD END #2: Preparing Students to be Global Citizens in an Ever Changing World: Excellence with Technology

We have all been propelled into the world of virtual communication and learning which are necessary skills for the future. We are in the process of establishing what we are calling our Core Four (See diagram). This week we will be surveying teachers to see what types of professional development they may need to empower them to effectively use these Core Four technological tools. We are considering adding a few more asynchronous tools to include alongside Loom. The creation and distribution of instructional videos is essential to distance learning because this practice allows students to learn at their own pace, which is an important equitable practice. These Core Four tools are foundational in providing effective distance learning.

Here is a fun video done by Mt. Stuart Staff regarding Zoom Etiquette for students.

BOARD END #3: Connections with EHS Students

ESD team members have been very innovative in the ways they have been using video to connect with students and their families. Below are just a few of the many examples that have been created by our schools. Valley View is in the process of updating their video and will be shared at a later date.

Mt. Stuart video

EHS video

MMS video

Lincoln video

Bond Project Update

So far, construction crews have been given the green light to move forward with the initial steps of our projects with the understanding that crews practice social distancing and their designated safety plan while they work. We are very excited about the building of our new schools for our elementary children. These facilities will be a huge asset to our community. Please visit our website to see updated pictures and more detailed information about these construction projects.


Thank you again for all of your hard work! We have been collaborating together to find systems, schedules and special learning opportunities that empower our students to be resilient and engage with their teachers despite these trying times. Ellensburg is a remarkable community. Together we are truly better and indeed, ESD STRONG!


Jinger Haberer, Superintendent of ESD