ASD Staff Insider

Important info for ASD staff - 5/20/22

Welcome to our bi-monthly staff newsletter!

Remember to check out a preview of the Education Insider - our newsletter for families!

You'll find a link to the Community Bulletin Board below.

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  • May 23, 5:30 p.m. - AHS Principal Candidate Forum
  • May 27: K-12 Half Day
  • May 27, 12:15-12:45 - All Staff (Optional Meeting) - Budget Updates - via zoom
  • May 30: Memorial Day/ No School
  • May 31, 5:30 p.m. - AMS Principal Candidate Forum

  • An updated school calendar is on our website. May 31, which was reserved for a snow day, will now be a regular school day.

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Notes from Justin


Beginning in February, I invited staff at each school to share feedback with me via a listening tour. The goal was to listen, learn from you, and use your input to create systemic change. I am grateful many of you chose to schedule a time to share your thoughts with me. Thank you!

During each interview, I tried my best to follow the same process. As each of you shared your thoughts, I took notes and may have asked clarifying questions.

Over the past several weeks, I sorted the notes by topic - coding language into themes and turning those themes into claims. Below are the claims I made based on our conversations.

Adaptive Support, Customer Service, and Decision-Making:

  • Staff morale is low, and staff feel stressed and anxious - COVID has had a negative impact on staff personal and professional lives. Yet there is hope for the future.

  • Staff want district office support - they want improved customer service such as phone calls and emails returned.

  • Staff want to be engaged in decision-making processes at all levels of the organization.

  • Staff want clarity and transparency regarding budgeting processes.

Teaching and Learning:

  • Staff want professional learning and onboarding/mentoring that is robust, coherent, and organized across the system. Staff also want professional learning to be engaging, ongoing, and relevant.

  • Staff want a district-wide focus on the Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) and inclusionary practices (such as UDL).

  • Staff want curricular materials but need a transparent adoption process. They want it to be fully funded and job-embedded with ongoing training and support.

  • Staff want focused and coherent PLCs across the system (using a framework like DuFour). Staff want PLCs to be building-based and applicable to everyday teaching and learning experiences.

  • Staff want consistent routines and clear behavior expectations across all schools. Staff want a proactive, coherent, and system-wide approach to respond to student behavior.

  • Staff want students to have more access to mental health support.

Inclusionary Services:

  • Staff want a vision for inclusionary practices - serving students who receive special education and English language services. Staff want students receiving services to have the support they need (in the classroom and out of the classroom).

  • Staff want to address the high level of turnover in special education and English language services.

  • Staff want materials and tools for serving students who receive special education and English language services.

  • Staff want support with understanding legal compliance, specifically documentation for special education services and 504 plans.

  • Staff want clear expectations and support for the district's various programs and resources, PreK-21.

  • Staff want effective and trusting relationships between students' families receiving special education services and school staff.


There is also feedback that I separated from the themes. At times, I was able to address a concern a person shared; I made sure to address the situation immediately. Other times, ideas were shared about a specific topic that was not widely shared across all schools. If you do not see your thoughts represented in the claims, I will address them with those most impacted.

Next Steps:

Please recognize that most of the claims will take time to address as we move forward. We will need to create the conditions necessary to sustain progress over time, such as reprioritizing budgets, time, roles, and responsibilities.

  • Finance Update: Decreasing enrollment, which results in decreasing revenue, will continue to be a barrier to promptly addressing your concerns. We have 200 fewer students enrolled since 2019, and for the past decade, we have experienced an average of a one percent decline in enrollment each year.

  • Loss of Relief Grants: The federal government provided emergency relief for two years, and Washington State provided enrollment stabilization. These funding sources are one-time funds and will be fully expended. We will exhaust these funds and use a percentage of our fund balance reserves to maintain our current service model during the 2022-2023 school year. We will need to reprioritize our funding model to best support our goals and action plans for the following year.

  • Future Support Staffing: In past years, we offered professional learning opportunities, curriculum implementation support, one-on-one coaching, and program development via a coaching model (Teachers on Special Assignment). Those positions were reduced before I arrived as superintendent. As a result, it has been a challenge to provide the support needed to implement the newly adopted curriculum and to onboard and train newly hired staff. Mitigating the impact of COVID also played a significant role in curriculum implementation. We need to revisit our model, making sure we, as district office, create the conditions necessary for staff to be successful.

  • Curriculum Adoptions and Technology Integration: We need to make tough decisions in the future. We cannot adopt curricula and implement technology resources if we do not have the staffing to offer coaching support, the budget to purchase all the necessary materials and equipment, and the opportunity for job-embedded professional development. We also need to follow consistent procedures for curriculum adoptions - ensuring full transparency throughout the process.

  • Budget Clarity: We recently hired Mike Sullivan as the Executive Director of Finance and Operations. He and I are working together to define budget codes, create processes for allocating funds, designing budgets, and establishing accountability for monitoring revenues and expenditures. As we build these processes, we will continue to train and support staff in learning these new routines to enhance transparency across schools, departments, and the community.

  • Budget Advisory: Using Mike Sullivan's expertise and leadership, we are cleaning up data systems in our budget and align processes that best support long-term strategic planning. Beginning next year, Mike and I will lead a budget advisory committee to identify ways to continue to reduce expenses and maintain a commitment to delivering high-quality instruction to students. We will make difficult decisions, but we will find ways to be creative and focused on our Strategic Plan with staff and community input.

  • Strategic Planning: We will fully adopt our revised Strategic Plan for the 2022 to 2027 school years. The content in this new plan has not changed much from the previous plan - the work staff and community put into the expiring plan will carry over to the next five years. However, we have spent significant time realigning the action plans with clear and measurable goals. We have also designed processes for ongoing progress monitoring - backward designing so that the established goals and the expected actions are coherent and are doable per budget and time constraints. We will publish the enhanced plan by August of this year.

  • Incremental Change: Change across systems is hard, and it takes time - especially when each person is working hard navigating the day-to-day realities of the essential work of serving students. I look forward to working with all of you as we navigate these issues over the next several years. Together, as a team, we will continue building relationships and trust to effectively adjust systems, policies, procedures, and the budget while focusing on supporting district-wide teaching and learning.

If you have any questions about the feedback you provided, please give me a call or stop by my office. And, as always, my door is open for additional feedback any time!

Together we will make a difference.



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Director of Teaching and Learning Hiring Process

We wanted to update everyone on the process to hire our next Director of Teaching and Learning.

We have completed the screening of applicants for the Director of Teaching and Learning and interviews will take place on Tuesday, May 24.

The interview committee will consist of Cabinet Team members, a Building Administrator, and certificated and classified staff.

The process will include an interview and a PLC workgroup demonstration. The new Director's first day will be July 1, 2022.

Policy Updates

The following policies were reviewed by the school board at their May 19 meeting. They will now move onto the June board meeting for final adoption.

If you have any questions about these policies, please contact Torhil Ramsay in the Superintendent's Office - (360) 503-1211 or

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Elementary ELA Input

The Teaching and Learning Department is seeking feedback and input on Literacy materials and instruction to help inform future planning for professional development and support. Angie is visiting each elementary school and meeting with staff who wish to talk. Elementary ELA teachers are also invited to fill out this form to provide thoughts and ideas. You are also welcome to reach out to Angie via email or phone as well. She plans to share out general insights, information, and trends before the end of the school year. Thank you to those who have already provided feedback!

Elementary Scheduling Committee

An optional follow-up meeting for the committee will be held on Monday, May 23, at 8:30 am. Based on committee priorities, we will share leadership decisions and updates to the schedule. An email will be sent to all elementary staff communicating this information. In coordination with the committee priorities, Angie is working with a subgroup to identify the Allocation of Dedicated Time each day to content and curriculum, including PE.

In relation to the 100 minutes of PE:

  • An additional 50 minutes a week of PE will be delivered in the classroom. Teachers will determine how to apply the minutes (10 minutes each day, 50 minutes one day a week, two 25-minute sessions a week, etc.). PE teachers will create a menu of options that classroom teachers can use or determine their activities. As in past years, teachers will provide their schedules to the school administration to communicate how they are scheduling their academics, PE, and other required activities based on the Allocation of Dedicated Time created by the workgroup with Angie.

Questions reach out to Becky Clifford

Summer Impact - Save the Date

Date: Tuesday, July 5, 2022 through Friday, July 29, 2022 (Monday through Friday)

Times: 8:30AM-11:30AM

Location: Mount Erie Elementary

Who: Students entering K through 5th grade who meet the eligibility requirements

School teams will make recommendations and families will be invited in early May 2022. In the next newsletter, families who are interested but haven’t been invited will have an opportunity to communicate interest and be on a waitlist.

Becky Clifford will be working with the MTSS teachers in collaboration with the principal and classroom teachers to recommend students for Summer Impact.

If you have questions call 360-503-1212

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All Staff Budget Update

We are in the process of developing the budget for next year, and have some important updates to share with staff. We will hold an optional all staff meeting via zoom next Friday, May 27 at 12:15 to provide more information, and answer your questions. The meeting will be recorded if you can't attend.
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We are still actively recruiting new substitutes for a variety of positions. Please apply online at For questions, please reach out to Shelby Vander Kooy in Human Resources -

Interested in volunteering, please connect with Laura Dennis in Human Resources at

And, as a reminder for current staff, please feel free to continue to use our ASD intranet site for current forms, procedures, and general information. It can be found by visiting:

Connie Sheridan-Director of Human Resources -

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