Fife Public Schools

January 2020 eNewsletter

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A Message from Superintendent Alfano

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2020! We are excited to enter the second half of the 2019-2020 school year on January 27th. The second semester will bring spring sports, a little more daylight, and the annual state testing window for most of our students.

I think it’s important to articulate our philosophy of the annual state assessments in Fife. We have always - and will always - continue to place a level of importance on testing. However, that importance revolves around our students giving their best efforts for the duration of the assessment window and does not solely rest on the results achieved. Yes, test results are important, but they are also one data point that only captures a student's ability at that single point in time. That “snapshot” data point is only one piece of the puzzle when we look at student growth, and if we are not careful, that same data could be used improperly to assess our students as well as our schools.

We are fortunate in Fife that we value the whole child experience when it comes to our students. This notion of “whole child” is not just a catch-phrase in Fife. Assessing student growth should - and does - include more than just state assessment data. If the state assessment is a snapshot at a single point in time, assessing student growth in Fife is more like a film clip, consisting of many moving pictures woven together over a period of time. We believe this results in a far more complete illustration of a student’s learning from the beginning of the school year to the end. Indeed, that “film” would certainly include state assessment data, but it wouldn’t place more emphasis on that data than any other data points our teachers use throughout the school year.

With that being said, we want our students to put forth their best effort but not stress unnecessarily over these assessments. That goes for parents too! Not only am I the superintendent of Fife, I am also a father of two school age daughters who have been taking the state assessments every spring since 2005. I want them to give their best effort, work hard, and be persistent! However, the results are only one measure of their progress and don’t totally define who they are as students.

If you ever have a need to speak with me regarding testing or anything for that matter, please feel free to contact me! I hope you are looking forward to 2020 as much as I am. We have a lot to look forward to in Fife this year, and I am proud to be leading our organization!

Cheers to 2020!

Kevin Alfano, Superintendent

Construction Updates - Jeff Nelson, Assistant Superintendent of TLI

Here’s the latest news and updates about our various construction projects!

SLMS: Things are rolling right along at SLMS! Plumbing, electrical, and mechanical workers are working in the building, as the roof and siding are in process! A bit of work at the entry of the driveway at SLMS is also underway. Our contractor is trying to get as much "summer" work done ahead of time as possible. That includes the work on the driveway. Most of the concrete/floors have been poured now, including the commons. A considerable amount of framing is taking place inside the building as well.

Elementary School: We are in the process of gathering name suggestions for our new elementary school (see link below)! We appreciate the over 100 suggestions we have already! Most of our current work on the new elementary school is in the form of meetings at this point. Recently, we completed input/feedback meetings around the topics of: playfields, transportation, student support services, value engineering, food service, safety/security, infrastructure, technology, and initial staffing. We also interviewed for mechanical and electrical contractors. We hired Betschart Mechanical and Premier Power for this project. Welcome to the team! Our architect firm, Integrus, will be making a presentation to all three of our elementary schools in the next couple of weeks. We can’t wait!

FHS STEAM Center: Our STEAM Center work has concluded our schematic design documents, and we are now in the value engineering process! This means we have a very good idea what the STEAM center will look like. Now we will have a series of professionals from the trades look over the project and make suggestions to the district on ways to increase value, save money, and so on. We have found the value engineering process, with SLMS and the new elementary school, to be very beneficial. We will be sharing images as soon as the value engineering process has completed. We will next move into the design development phase. Here, we will study individual spaces in greater detail and meet with staff relevant to specific types of spaces within the building – once at the beginning of the project phase and again toward the end to ensure we accurately heard feedback from the previous meetings.

Infrastructure/Safety/Security (ISS):

The work replacing the exterior wall and insulation on Fife High School is complete around the gym. More work on other buildings will continue through the next month. During the next 2-4 weeks, three schools - Hedden, Discovery, and Columbia Junior High - will get added fencing around the perimeter. The fencing is designed to make the school more secure during the day and may change the traffic patterns at each building. Starting in April, these schools will also have construction projects to upgrade the front entrances. The improvements will create space and incorporate security features into the main lobby of each building. Both projects are part of the overall security plan to create a single entrance into the school and monitor access during the day. Bids for the entrance projects will go out in late January or early February.

For the latest news on all of our projects, please check out our construction website, via If you are on Twitter, you can also get information using #buildingfortomorrow.

Thank you!

Time Is Almost Up!

Do you have a suggestion for the name of the Fife School District's newest elementary school? If so, submit your idea by clicking HERE! The deadline for submissions is 3:00 pm on January 31!

World Language Competency Awarded to Multilingual Students

The Fife School District is excited to announce another successful year for our students in World Language Competency Testing! Students at Columbia Junior High and Fife High School who have language proficiency in a language other than English have the opportunity through the World Language Competency Testing program to demonstrate their language proficiency and potentially earn up to four high school graduation credits. These credits may be used to help satisfy a student's World Language or elective credit graduation requirements.

Students are tested in the areas of reading, writing, listening, and speaking proficiency. This year, students tested in the following languages: Spanish, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Russian, Ukrainian, and Punjabi. A special thank you goes out to the Columbia Junior High and Fife High School counselors for helping register students for this assessment and to Debbie Smith, Fife High School para-educator, for coordinating and proctoring the testing process.

Of the students registered for this year's assessment:

  • 15 students earned 4 credits
  • 6 students earned 3 credits
  • 1 student earned 1 credit

Seniors who have earned 4 credits will receive the Washington State Seal of Biliteracy and a special medallion (see photo above) to wear at graduation.

Information Regarding Discovery's Kindergarten Information Night & Kindergarten Registration

Do you live in the Fife School District and have a child who will be 5 years old by August 31, 2020? If so we encourage you to attend Discovery Primary's Kindergarten Registration Events.

KINDERGARTEN INFORMATION NIGHT - March 10 from 6:30 - 7:30 pm

Discovery's Kindergarten registration events are coming up! Please help us spread the word that our Information Night is planned for next year's incoming kindergarten students. At this meeting parents can expect the following:

  • Explanation of kindergarten program offered in 2020-2021
  • Question and answer sessions
  • Introduction to current kindergarten teachers
  • Meet your PTO ((Parent Teacher Organization) members
  • Pick up a registration packet

This evening is for adults only. Before school begins Discovery will host an orientation for students and their families.

KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION - March 17 from 6:30 - 7:30 pm

Students must be 5 years old by August 31, 2020 to be eligible for kindergarten. Please bring your completed registration packet you received the previous week at Kindergarten Information Night.

Items needed for registration AND to be brought with you:

· Copy of student’s birth certificate

· Complete immunization records

· Emergency names and contact numbers

· Proof of residency within the Fife school district (a copy of mortgage/lease agreement or utility bill showing the physical address will work.)

For more information please call (253) 517-1200.

Jenkins Retires as Director of Transportation after 32 Years of Service

Damian Jenkins (pictured in photo - on right), Director of Transportation for the Fife School District, retired from her position in December after serving in various capacities with the Transportation Department since 1988. Over the past three plus decades, Jenkins served as a bus driver, driver trainer, and assistant director before becoming Director of Transportation in 2008.

In reflecting upon her years of service to the Fife School District, Jenkins stated she will miss the students, staff, and parents and the relationships cultivated with them over the years. While the stress of scheduling routes and drivers could be daunting at times, striving to always take care of her staff, district students, and their families is what Damian did best. "I will miss my staff in Transportation - along with my right arm, Elaine Lee. They're second to none in my eyes, but I have left with everyone in very competent hands!"

Jenkins's replacement, Catharine Bowman (pictured in photo above - on left), comes to her new position with an extensive background in the transportation industry, having served as driver trainer and dispatcher with the University Place School District and safety manager/driver trainer and assistant director with Renton Transportation. Bowman is also a WA State Driver Trainer, member of the Driver Training Lesson Planning Committee for the State of Washington, and she completed the Central Washington University Transportation Pupil Management Training Program.

As a newcomer to the district, Bowman stated, "It's important to me to learn about this tight-knit community, the welcoming school staff, and incredible drivers, and our children we serve." As she continues to learn, grow, and bring new technologies to her position, Bowman states, "I am aware of the greatness that was sitting in this office prior to me. We joke about Damian's high heel shoes! Now, I may not always wear them, but I understand the awesome responsibility that came with them."

Best of luck to Damian Jenkins in her retirement and to Catharine Bowman, the new Director of Transportation for the Fife School District!

11th Annual Fife School District Science & Technology Showcase

It is almost time for the 11th Annual Fife School District Science & Technology Showcase! This annual event will be taking place on Thursday, February 6th from 6-8:00 pm at Columbia Junior High. Students, families, staff, and community members from across our district will gather at CJH to take part in a showcase of the great work being done in the areas of science and technology.

Much of the building will be dedicated to students taking part in a variety of different activities including displaying and presenting findings from science class projects, showcasing projects created in technology-based classes, and taking part in interactive demonstrations. For CJH families, it will also be a great chance to hear more about what's being done in the new STEAM Innovators class.

We hope you will consider attending what is sure to be an outstanding evening!

SAVE THE DATE! Hoopin' 4 Heroes to Benefit the Special Olympics of Washington

Another fantastic event the community is invited to attend - Hoopin' 4 Heroes, benefiting the Special Olympics of Washington - will take place on Wednesday, January 29 at the Fife High School gym beginning at 5:00 pm.

Come cheer on staff from some of our district schools as they play against some of our local emergency responders in a friendly game of basketball. Not only is this event for a great cause, it is also a wonderful evening the entire family can enjoy! Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students with an ASB card, and children 10 and under are admitted free of charge.

We hope you will consider joining us on the evening of January 29!

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