Superintendent's Update

November 2020

Great Happens Here in ESD!

Dear staff, parents and students,


I am so thankful for our ESD Team! We are fortunate to live in a community that supports our schools.

Topics addressed in this Sup Update include:

  • Staff Celebrations: National Board Re-Certification for Sam Nelson, School Leadership for Haley Naboychik
  • Kudos to Nutrition Services: # of meals
  • Equity in ESD: Moving Forward
  • Native American Heritage Month: MMS "Rock the Mocs", Honoring Native American Leaders with the Naming of ESD'S New School
  • Support for Students' Academic Success: Learning pods on Wednesdays
  • Update on Safety

We truly have an awesome team, and I look forward to what the future holds for ESD.

ESD Staff Celebrations


We would like to congratulate EHS Teacher Sam Nelson for achieving her re-certification for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Receiving this level of distinction is a result of her engaging in an extremely rigorous process, and we are grateful for Sam’s commitment to educational excellence. Currently, there are stipends given to teachers from Washington State for becoming Nationally Board Certified, and ESD honors teachers who earn this distinction by moving them to a Master’s Degree level on our pay scale. Please click on this link (www.nbpts.org) for more information about this amazing process.

We would also like to recognize EHS Student Activities Advisor Haley Naboychik for receiving a stellar evaluation from Eastern Washington University (EWU) for her first year as an EWU College in the High School adjunct professor. This role allows her to provide dual credit opportunities for our students by instructing on leadership . Haley’s EWU’s evaluator said that EHS was doing “way more” than any of the other schools or classes she has visited. An example of this process is Haley’s co-facilitation of the Student Senate. The Student Senate includes ESD’s Student Board Representatives Jaden Burroughs and Olivia Berthon-Koch. This student group has been working on how to put an effective student-cellphone-use protocol and process in place at the high school. More to come on this topic in future Superintendent Updates.

ESD Nutrition Services, Successfully Serving Our Community

Kudos to ESD's Nutritional Services! So far this year (since Sept 9) they have served 111,358 meals. During the same time frame last year, ESD served 92,501 meals. I had the privilege of serving alongside them on Veteran’s Day and experienced firsthand this team’s dedication to our families. For more information about meal services please visit their website at https://www.esd401.org/departments/food-services.

Equity in ESD, Moving Forward

Providing equitable services and achieving equitable results are priorities for ESD. For the last three years, we have worked together as a team to promote inclusive classrooms through actions like increasing student access to co-taught classrooms (where general education and special education teachers instruct together). We also ensured that every elementary school was able to hire a certified English Language Learner (ELL) endorsed teacher to teach English Language Development sessions with smaller groups of ELL students. Our ELL students are true assets to our district, and we are excited to see the progress that many of them have made in becoming bilingual. Please access this link to view (towards the beginning of this Board meeting) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7x5dKSSEt6g, Mt. Stuart principal Kathi Keefer sharing examples of their successes with ELL students.


Another important approach to promoting equitable outcomes for students is to give students multiple ways of demonstrating their learning. The first grade team at Lincoln Elementary School has been encouraging students to explore topics and develop projects related to what is most interesting to their students. Please take time to watch this delightful video of first grader Kara Foss https://youtu.be/0KJTyUe04XY , who is passionate about changing her world.


Additionally, we know that there are systemic barriers that exist for our students in ESD. We recently joined a state-wide equity cohort in partnership with Hanover Research Center and Washington Association of School Administrators. This partnership will provide opportunities for us to learn from our colleagues across the state, as well as, from professionals who have expertise in helping ESD to identify our next steps. These next steps will include gathering data from all of our stakeholders to identify strengths and systemic barriers that we may have related to equity. Currently, we are planning to send this survey to staff, secondary students, and parents sometime in early January. Additionally, the ESD Board of Education is in the process of developing an ESD Equity Policy. We will continue to update you concerning these efforts.

November: Native American Heritage Month

We are so fortunate to have a rich history regarding the contributions of our Native Americans in Kittitas County. ESD will be potentially choosing a Native American name for our new school. The three names that our volunteer District Naming Committee landed on were: Chief Owhi, Ida Nason Aronica or Chelohan. Please access our Board YouTube site to hear the official recommendations from the members of our District Naming Committee at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhNRKEZSFaw. Their presentation is at the beginning of this meeting.

Additionally, Morgan Middle School sponsored the "Rock Your Mocs" event to support the celebration of Native American Heritage Month. https://rockyourmocs.org/

Student Academic Supports on Wednesdays

Now that we have been successfully implementing the A/B Hybrid Model for all grade levels since October 19th, we are moving forward with providing time on Wednesdays for students who have been identified by teachers and administrators as needing extra academic support. Morgan Middle School had about 40 students attend their Wednesday session last week and about 100 students attended Ellensburg High School's Wednesday session. Elementary schools are establishing these supports, as well. We know that for many students, accessing in-person instruction at school is essential in helping them to embrace their learning and feel connected to their peers and teachers. We applaud the efforts of our building level administrators and staff in promoting these opportunities for our students.

Top ESD Priority: Safety for Staff and Students

It truly takes all of us working together, interdependently, to achieve successful outcomes for our students. Partnering closely with the Kittitas County Public Health Department has been essential in supporting our decision to open our schools and keep them open for as long as possible, with the implementation of the Hybrid A/B Model. As I stated in this letter to parents,(https://www.esd401.org/uploaded/District/Superintendent/communication_letters/10.16_Gov_Response.pdf ), due to our students' and staff's strict adherence to safety protocols like masking, hand washing and social distancing; we have not had any secondary transmission of COVID-19 within our schools. An outline of our safety protocols and processes can be found at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tMSHhrm70P9LOuvvyMhv-X67YaiQ9w0C/view. We appreciate the community's help in following these same protocols as they go about their daily lives, so that together we can help mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 virus.

Together We Accomplish More

This upcoming holiday season feels very different. I think it is true that the experience of grief outlined in this article (https://elemental.medium.com/your-surge-capacity-is-depleted-it-s-why-you-feel-awful-de285d542f4c) could be ever present as we lock arms and move forward through this difficult time. I am thankful for my amazing colleagues here in ESD and am humbled by the privilege of being on the ESD team. Together we have accomplished much for our students. I look to the future with hope, knowing that we will continue to be intentional about connecting with students and supporting their success.


Sincerely,

Jinger Haberer, ESD Superintendent