Superintendent's Update

February 2021

Great Happens Here in ESD

Dear staff, parents and students,


We are off to a great start to second semester! We have recently received requests from parents to open ESD schools every day, five days a week. At this time, ESD is not able to implement this option because we are still required by the state to ensure six foot distancing when students are seated in the classroom. After taking measurements in classrooms, most classrooms can only accommodate about 14 to 17 students with this six foot requirement.

Changing back to a five day a week model this year would also pose challenges to implementing the master schedules at schools and having the ability to serve our students whose parents chose to place their children in the virtual model.


The proposed plan at this point in time for the 2021-2022 school year is to have all students back in-person five days a week. In consultation with Kittitas County Public Health (KCPH), however, Kittitas County would need to have an approximate 70% herd immunity in order for KCPH to support full opening of our schools for all students five days a week. Herd immunity for our county would be in place if the number of people ( not including children at this point) in our county who contracted COVID-19 plus the number of people who received the COVID-19 vaccine was equal to 70% of our population. With herd immunity being in place, it may also compel the Washington Department of Health to relax the six foot rule. The presence of variants of the COVID-19 virus may also reinforce the need for herd immunity. Therefore, opening our schools for in-person five day a week instruction for the 2021-2022 school year will require community collaboration and promotion of COVID-19 vaccinations for Kittitas County residents.


Topics in this Superintendent's Update include:

Celebrations:

  • Successful Global Citizens: Seal of Biliteracy; EHS Computer Science Accomplishments; MMS Future City Accomplishment
  • Bond Project Update and Potential Plans for Next Year
  • ESD's Equity Survey Results' link

We are proud of the efforts that our ESD team has put forth in engaging in continuous improvement as a learning community to put our best foot forward in serving the whole child.

ESD Board End #2: Successful Global Citizens in an Ever Changing World: Promoting Bi-Literacy

ESD has put classes and supports in place, like offering Spanish for Spanish speakers at the secondary level, to encourage all students to become bilingual. Becoming bi-literate is a huge strength for students upon graduation, and one way students can demonstrate their biliteracy is by taking the state STAMP assessment. The STAMP (Standards-Based Measurement of Proficiency) is an assessment that gives students the opportunity to earn high school language credit through demonstrating their proficiency in Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking in a language other than English. This means that students can earn competency credits without having to take the class. ESD began offering the STAMP assessment to 8th through 12th grade students in ESD in the 2016-2017 school year and will offer the STAMP to current students for the 2020-2021 year.


In the three years ESD has been able to offer the STAMP, we have been able to test 288 students, awarded 343.50 high school credits, and have had 85 students score high enough on the STAMP to qualify for the Seal of Biliteracy. ESD has offered the STAMP in four languages so far which include Spanish, French, German, and Japanese. ESD is proud of our biliterate students, and we know that biliteracy is a skill that will give our students a competitive edge in future job markets and the ability to be active citizens in our global community.


The STAMP also allows students the opportunity to earn the Seal of Biliteracy, a certificate that can be used as a credential for academic and employment purposes. The Seal of Biliteracy recognizes students who have proven they are proficient in the English language and a second language. Ellensburg High School celebrates these students and this accomplishment during the Senior Assembly, where they are individually presented with their certificate and a cord for graduation. The Seal of Biliteracy is also noted on their high school transcript.

Successful Global Citizens: Computer Science/STEM Accomplishments


Congratulations to the following 19 Ellensburg High School students who earned their Microsoft Technology Associate Certificate (MTA) in Python in Mrs. Price's AP Computer Science Principles class. Python is one of the leading programming languages and is used in a variety of applications. The MTA is recognized in industry, and leads to future jobs such as software engineers, data scientists, data analysts, web developers, and research analysts. Some of the students listed below started their journey with learning Python when they were at Morgan Middle School while in Joell Boast's STEM related classes.

Earning an MTA in Python is never easy, even under the best of circumstances, and for these students to have earned their certificate this year is especially inspiring!

Johan Callender-Bohman

Sydney Skistad

Trevor Wolfenbarger

Avlynn Wade

Krista Nolan

Tessa Ward

Elin Callender-Bohman

Sam Lombardi

Daniel Yangas

Allison Gillespie

Matthew West

James Nale

Shalease Leonard

Kevin Winkelman

Tristan Wragge

Bailey Touchatt

Steven Lauderdale

Jesse Ray

Gabriel Parker

Other notable celebrations include the Morgan Middle School Video Team that took fourth in the Future City Competition. Congratulations to Chase Wassell, Miles O'Connor and Henry Samples for their innovative approach to creating the city Lunaris in their video presentation as part of the Future City Competition. For more information see the Daily Record Article . (picture in this section taken from this article).

Bond Project Update and Potential Plans for Next Year

We are very excited about the amazing progress being made on the new Mt. Stuart Elementary and Ida Nason Aronica Elementary schools. Designs are also being put in place to begin work on the Lincoln Elementary remodel starting this summer. The plan moving forward currently is:


  • Portables at Lincoln Elementary will be moved to a new location (TBD) in the middle of June. Construction work will begin on the Lincoln grounds.
  • New Mt. Stuart will open officially at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. Mt. Stuart staff and students will conduct school in the new building.
  • Lincoln staff and students will start school for the 2021-2022 school year at the Lincoln Elementary school building. The exception is that Lincoln kindergarten classes will be housed at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year within the portables that are located at Mt. Stuart.
  • Ida Nason Aronica Elementary building will open sometime in late October or early November. Lincoln Elementary students and staff will move into this new building when it opens.
  • Construction and remodeling work will occur at the Lincoln Elementary School site throughout the 2021-2022 school year. The remodeled Lincoln Elementary School will be open for the Lincoln staff and students to move back into it starting the 2022-2023 school year.
  • At the start of the 2022-2023 school year, all four elementary schools will be in operation, and Ida Nason Aronica will officially become its own unique school.

I understand that seeing this timeline may create many questions and potential challenges in the minds of staff and parents. There are many details and moving parts that we are actively working on to promote smooth transitions for staff, students and parents. We appreciate your patience and will keep you updated monthly as we move forward. Sometime in April we will host a "Question and Answer" virtual session for all interested stakeholders. We also look forward to hosting future site visits as construction continues and greatly appreciate the support of our community in passing these bond projects. For more information about our bond projects please visit our website.


A special thank you to our ESD Stakeholder Design Teams, OAC Services (Construction Management), GARCO Construction, Integrus Architecture, Brian Aiken ( Executive Director of Finance) and Angie Garrett-Gordon ( Fiscal Assistant) for their leadership in creating beautiful brick and mortar buildings that our students and staff will enjoy for multiple years to come.

Equity Survey: Next steps

Thank you to all of the amazing staff, students and parents who responded to the ESD Equity Survey that was shared with our stakeholders in January. We had over 900 people respond to this survey and are exited to share the survey results with you. Please click here, if you would like to explore this survey. Hanover Research (creator and sponsor of this survey) has give our ESD community until March 1, 2021 to explore our survey results using this public facing link. We will host a public virtual session to discuss these results in March, after this public access to the survey closes. Our District Equity Cohort led our first Growing in Cultural Competence session with teachers and administrators across our district on February 4th. We are using the resources from Gary Howard's "We Can't Lead Where We Won't Go" and Glen Singleton's "Courageous Conversations About Race". I am excited about this work and am thankful to learn alongside our committed ESD educators as we move together along the continuum of cultural competence.

Black History Month

I appreciate the importance of recognizing the contribution of our African American community in the history of our nation through the celebration of Black History Month. ESD is going deep with our understanding of equity and identifying how we can intentionally promote the multiple ways that people from diverse backgrounds have significantly helped to shape our nation and the world community. Poet Amanda Gorman's recitation of "The Hill We Climb" at the Presidential Inauguration was inspirational in urging us to continue the journey towards promoting civil discourse and embracing our differences.


In some ways, we are at the beginning of this journey in ESD and ask all of our stakeholders to partner with us as we seek to intentionally use a strength-based lens to seek and develop authentic relationships across differences. The equity survey that we asked staff, students and parents to fill out is just the beginning of looking at our district to identify systemic barriers that need to be removed in order for all students to thrive. As always, I am thankful to be in Ellensburg, a community that supports their schools and partners with them to provide a quality education for every student.


Sincerely,


Jinger Haberer, Superintendent of ESD