Superintendent's Update

November 2021

Great Happens Here in ESD

It seems hard to believe that we are already at the end of November, but the leaves are off the trees, the mornings are frosty, and the days are getting shorter. Another gentle reminder to watch out for students in these darkening afternoons.

November is a month of celebration and gratitude. On Nov. 11 each year we demonstrate our respect to the men and women who have proudly served in our Armed Forces. I had the pleasure of stopping by the Ellensburg High School Veterans Day luncheon to say hello to some of our local heroes who served in both Korea and Vietnam. We owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude to those who served.


Inclement Weather/Snow Days

Attendance Zones Committee

Board Seeks Pro/Con Levy Committee members


National Native American Month

Student Athletes

Music, Theatre Return to Ellensburg

Snow Days: What to Expect

As we move into the wintery weather months, one of the most common questions that I receive is, “How do you determine the use of a “snow day”?

First, we continually monitor the weather when snow is predicted or falling. If road conditions are questionable, ESD Transportation Director Cindy Ramsey and her team drive begin driving local routes at 4 a.m. to determine traction level and the potential for improvement or worsening of road conditions. Monitoring of the real-time and forecasted weather continues throughout the morning.

A two-hour delay is the default request to buy time to further determine if weather/road conditions will improve in time for safe transportation of our students. During a delay, Cindy's team will go back out and drive the roads again to determine the conditions of the roads. If road conditions improve, students are transported at the two-hour delay time. If road conditions worsen or are deemed unsafe for bus transportation, then school is canceled.

Information about a delay or school closure is sent via Blackboard to all parents/guardians and posted on our ESD Facebook and website. Each year, we build in one “snow day” within the school calendar. If there is more than one time this year that we need to close schools due to poor road conditions, the school year will be extended. Ensuring that students make it safely to school is our top priority.

Attendance Zones Committee

We had our first Attendance Zones Committee meeting on November 4. A representative for Education Logistics reviewed the drafted boundaries that were shared with parents and staff in the June 10, 2021 Superintendent's Update and the types of data that they considered when drafting these boundaries. Committee members did a great job of asking probing questions. As a follow up to this meeting, we have partnered with another company BERK to gather demographic information that exists within each drafted boundary. Notes from the November 4 meeting and the drafted boundaries can be found here

A huge thank you to the parent volunteers, administrators and ESD Board members who agreed to participate in these important meetings.

Board Seeks Members for Levy Pro/Con Statement Committees

At the Board Meeting on October 6, the ESD Board of Directors approved resolutions to put a Replacement Educational Programs and Operations (EPO) Levy and Replacement Capital Levy for Instructional Technology Improvements on the February 8, 2022 ballot for our voters. These levies are not new taxes, but a replacement of the levies expiring December 2022. The proposed replacement levies provide local funding for needs like staffing and technology not covered by state and federal funding. Levies support all Ellensburg students.

State law requires the school board to formally appoint pro/con committee members.

Ellensburg School District is in the process of collecting the names of Ellensburg School District residents who would be interested in serving on a pro committee and a con committee regarding these ballot measures. You can sign up for those committees here. Members of these committees will be designated at the Board meeting on Wednesday December 1, 2021.

Celebrating National Native American Month: New Elementary School Honors Kittitas Band Tribal Elder Aronica

November is National Native American Month, and Ellensburg School District is delighted to celebrate with the recent opening of our newest school Ida Nason Aronica Elementary, named after the influential Kittitas Band tribal elder and the great granddaughter of Chief Owhi. Staff and students from Lincoln Elementary School are housed in this building for this year, and Ida Nason Aronica will be its own entity starting the 2022-2023 school year.

ESD made Washington state history with the decision to name the school after Aronica, who helped shape the history of the Kittitas Valley in the 19th century. In 1986 she appeared in the PBS documentary “Everything Change, Everything Change: Recollections of Ida Nason, an American Indian Elder."

In the documentary, Aronica speaks of gathering cedar roots to make baskets, one of which is on display at the new school. A community member recently donated one of Ida’s handmade baskets to the District. It will be part of a permanent display at the school, along with other information about the Native Americans of this valley.

Ida Nason Aronica’s spirit of education lives on in her granddaughter, Sia Aronica, who is a teacher at Morgan Middle School. Please join us in celebrating the rich history of the first inhabitants of the Kittitas Valley, and all Native Americans.

Student Athletes: Back in the Game

As we return to more normal activities this year, it has been an exciting fall for our student athletes and their coaches! Celebrations include:

  • EHS Football returned to the gridiron and wrapped up their season with a 29-9 victory over Grandview.

  • Congratulations to Coach Jeff Hashimoto who was selected as the CWAC Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year, and Jim Engeland who was selected as the CWAC Girls Soccer Coach of the Year.

  • Ellensburg High School Cross Country Girls team placed 5th at the State Championship in Pasco, and Kate Laurent placed 4th individually.

  • EHS Girls Soccer also advanced to the state finals as an 11 seed, where they faced off with West Valley (Spokane). Although the girls were eliminated, they put up a great fight, losing by one point (3-2) after a double overtime and penalty kicks.

  • EHS Swim team also had a great year with many students qualifying for State. The 400 Freestyle Relay team finished 11th, the 200 Medley Relay finished 14th, and the team finished 23rd overall.

  • Our EHS Girls Volleyball team played in the State Championship on Nov. 19, at the Sundome in Yakima.

For more information on EHS athletics, including scores, schedules, and rosters, visit

Congratulations to all our Fall athletes and coaches.

Music and Theatre Return to Ellensburg

Sporting events are not the only signal that we are finally returning to some kind of normal. After a long year without live music concerts and theatre in our community, it was our own students who ushered the arts back into Ellensburg.

  • EHS Choir was back at Morgan Performing Arts Center (MPAC) on Oct. 18 with the Fall Choral Concert. Under the direction of Gay Ott, the In Vox, Bella Voice and Chamber Choirs offered a delightful mix of music ranging from quick-paced modern pieces to familiar standards.

  • The EHS Band has been everywhere this fall! Before school even began, the band was marching in the annual Rodeo Parade. They have also been a welcome presence at every EHS home football game, and most recently they were the only band to march in the Ellensburg Veterans Day Parade. Under the direction of Warren Murray, the band returned to MPAC on Oct. 21 for a concert featuring the Jazz Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and Wind Ensemble.

  • The combined EHS and Morgan Orchestras kicked off their musical season with a concert on Nov. 16, under the direction of Kara Hunnicutt. There are 136 students enrolled in orchestra in grades 2-12. "I am so proud of how this program has grown since I moved here from Wenatchee to start it in 2007," says Hunnicutt. "It is rare to have an orchestra program in a public school district. In central Washington, only Yakima, Wenatchee, Sunnyside, Ellensburg and the Tri-Cities have orchestra programs."

  • Director Jim Denison did a great job working with the cast of the fall play Clue, resulting in acting that was superb. In case you missed the announcement, our theatre students will be back in the winter with the musical, "Legally Blond."

It is such a joy to again have these opportunities to engage in live entertainment and to see our students share their talents and shine.

Thankful For Our Community And ESD Team

A joyful heart has a continual feast. I am thankful for our ESD team and for the privilege of living in a community that supports their schools and works together to help all students thrive.

With Warm Regards,

Jinger Haberer, ESD Superintendent