Helping you stay informed about our district.
Aberdeen School District No. 5 -- May 7, 2020
Cap & Gown Day at AHS
Jostens was at Aberdeen High School for a special drive-up distribution of caps and gowns on Tuesday this week. Students who ordered a cap and gown for the June 12 ceremony, but who weren't able to attend this week's distribution, email Principal Sherri Northington at email@example.com for information.
Graduation for Aberdeen High School and Harbor High School will take place at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 12. Currently, the plan is to conduct a live stream parade of graduates via car through the town while speeches are aired via live stream and on local radio stations. Students will be presented with their diploma in front of Aberdeen High School. The parade route will be published in advance of the event so families and community members can celebrate our graduates along the route while maintaining social distancing. It will be historic.
Senior Boards are still required for graduation. Presentations will take place the week of June 1-5. Students should be communicating with their advisors on this important requirement.
Awards and Recognitions
There are a number of traditional celebrations and banquets that take place in the spring to celebrate academic and athletic accomplishments. We are working to ensure these ceremonies are also part of the playbook leading up to graduation. Stay tuned.
Information is being shared with students via their district email account on a regular basis. A letter for parents will go out shortly once some of the details are more firmly in place.
Will School Reopen in the Fall?
Our distance learning model continues to evolve. We are using our time this spring to build capacity for distance learning. I am hopeful we can have more engagement at the schools, but we must prepare for the likelihood that it will not be safe to return to the traditional model this fall. You can expect the Aberdeen School District to have a quality online presence, and this includes a robust curriculum with effective and consistent student engagement.
By fall, we will have one platform for distance learning, which should be good news to parents with more than one student in school, or more than one teacher. The platform we have selected is called Canvas. It is being introduced this spring so that all of our teachers can use it consistently in the fall.
Parents will be offered opportunity to learn about this, as well.
Budget Reduction Highlights
The School Board approved a reduced education plan at its meeting on Tuesday. This has not been an easy journey. We absorbed deep cuts for this year. The reductions for next year impact more than 50 members of our staff.
We are in uncharted territory. None of us in our lifetimes has experienced a pandemic. But using the best information available, we are developing a budget for 2020-2021 that positions us for three scenarios: Distance Learning, a hybrid of Distance Learning that allows for modified return to school buildings, and a return to the traditional model. It is not likely that we will return to “normal” in the fall. Therefore, we are budgeting for a distance learning model that can become a hybrid return to school.
Aberdeen will still be maintaining a breadth of programs that exceeds any other district in the region, and our high school will still be highly desired with a skills center and our performing arts. We have the richest curriculum in the region and that will continue to be the case. Please bear with me while I take us through a journey of how we got to today.
Before the pandemic, the district had identified the need to reduce expenditures by $2 million due to declining enrollment and funding inequities under the state’s prototypical funding model that impact property-poor districts like Aberdeen the hardest. One large source of state funding for us is LEA (levy assistance for property poor districts), which is not constitutionally protected. We need to be prepared to withstand cuts when the Legislature convenes.
In April, the district revised its budget projections and identified the need to reduce expenditures by at least $6.3 million due to the predicted long-term impact of COVID-19 on enrollment and all funding streams. The district will have more information about state funding in June, but by law, contracts must be offered to teachers by May 15. To date, the district has identified reductions totaling $4.2 million and this week began offering contracts based on confirmed revenue.
In the coming weeks, we still need to identify additional reductions of more than $2 million. This will impact our classified staff the hardest.
School funding is directly tied to enrollment.
The district budgeted for a steady enrollment of 3,290 this year, but in March, the average FTE (full-time equivalent) enrollment was 50 under budget. With no evidence the students would be returning, the district began budgeting for reduced enrollment next year. After the school closure due to the pandemic, a concerted effort was made to contact all families. An even steeper decline in enrollment is projected. The district is currently budgeting for 3,000 students in the fall.
It would be irresponsible to budget for students the district has lost contact with this spring unless the state is willing to use a ‘hold harmless’ number and allow the district to carry forward this year’s enrollment. Please encourage any families you know to make sure they are in contact with the district.
This is the second year Aberdeen School District has prepared for a “reduced education program” and a reduction in staff.
Similar to last year, the first reduction was made by informing provisional staff they were being released. A provisional teacher is either a teacher in their first three years of teaching, or an experienced teacher who is in their first year of teaching in the Aberdeen School District. The district has 41 provisional teachers who are being released at the end of this school year, resulting in a budget reduction of $3.2 million.
Last year, our district absorbed significant reductions but we were able to keep programs. Unfortunately, we’re not able to find the $6.3 million for next year without impacting programs.
We have amazing teachers. This is a time for us to be innovative and provide the best education possible while remaining committed to continuous improvement. We are trimming due to the current necessity but we will continue to educate our students at a high level. I envision our staff growing and coming together in new ways.
The reduced education program for 2020-2021 is built upon the prototypical funding model for basic education. What the state defines as basic education is the only funding that is constitutionally protected. After releasing provisional staff, the remaining permanent staff will fill the vacancies according to their endorsements. This has resulted in new assignments for 19 staff members who have the appropriate endorsement for positions available in the reduced program.
At its meeting on Tuesday, the Aberdeen School Board adopted the Certificated Staffing and Administrative Staffing lists for 2020-2021. It includes a further reduction of 5.2 FTE in teaching staff. There were four teachers who did not have a credential that fit any of the available openings and four teachers who have been offered reduced contracts. Building administration is reduced 2.7 FTE. These combined reductions total $1 million, bringing the total to $4.2 million.
Our state is entering an unprecedented period of budget uncertainty and our district needs to do everything it can to build capacity for what is likely to be state cuts. The only thing the state is constitutionally required to do is fund basic education, which includes the prototypical model, plus special education, bilingual students, Highly Capable and the Learning Assistance Program (LAP).
Impact of Reductions
The district is staffing on the prototypical model with very few exceptions: K-8 counselors, special education, English language learners, and music. It will be a high priority to identify funding to bring back a counselor at the high school.
Last year, the elementary schools were aligned closely to the prototypical model. This year, the reductions will be most noticeable at the secondary level. For example, Harbor High School will become a “school within a school.” The four remaining teachers at Harbor High will also teach classes at Aberdeen High School. The Harbor High principal will also serve as Athletic Director.
In programs, the reductions will be noticeable in the career and technical program, elementary music and the orchestra. Not renewing provisional contracts impacted the following programs: culinary arts at the high school and the orchestra program. The departure of the medical careers instructor for a position at the college impacts that program as the position is currently unfilled.
State funding no longer covers the cost of teacher salaries. The gap is $18,576 per teacher. Every teacher will now be partially funded by a combination of state, federal and local levy dollars.
Yes, it will be lean, but there is no doubt in my mind that Aberdeen will continue to be at the forefront and be an educational leader in the region.
Your feedback and input is very important. Please share your thoughts with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aberdeen School District Board of Directors
Summary of the May 5 School Board meeting
President Sandra Bielski convened the regular meeting of the Aberdeen School District Board of Directors at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, 2020, via webinar following guidance for conducting remote meetings in compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act. Directors present were Bill Dyer, Jennifer Durney, Jessica Jurasin and Suzy Ritter, along with Superintendent Alicia Henderson and 54 patrons and staff watching remotely.
The meeting began with the Flag salute.
Minutes, Bills, Trips & Gifts
The Board approved the Consent Agenda, which included:
- The minutes from the regular meeting on April 21, 2020.
Comments from Board members
- Director Jessica Jurasin said she wanted to thank teachers for their efforts to continue education in a non-traditional way, thank the superintendent for managing a complicated transition to a distance learning environment, and parents and students for staying involved with their schools while the pieces are put into place. She also expressed that she is grateful the FFA is able to continue with the annual plant sale and that she remains hopeful that positive, creative delivery models are the result of the statewide school closure. Her comments were echoed by the other directors.
- President Bielski share the sad news that Lamont Shillinger, a retired teacher at Aberdeen High School, passed away. She also thanked staff and principals for the innovative ways they are connecting and engaging with students online, and thanked Superintendent Henderson for the increased efforts to keep students, parents and community informed during the closure.
- Director Bill Dyer offered a shout-out to seniors who are finding ways to meet the challenge and complete their work in order to graduate.
Comments from the Audience
An opportunity was provided to the public to submit comment via email prior to the meeting. There was no public comment.
- Teacher Appreciation Week: Superintendent Henderson commented that Teacher Appreciation Week has seldom been more meaningful and that thanks to the partnerships and working relationships among certificated staff, Aberdeen is at the forefront in developing a professional, innovative distance learning model in response to the pandemic.
- School Recognition Week: Superintendent Henderson noted that it was School Recognition Week in the State of Washington and that both A.J. West and McDermoth elementary schools have been recognized for “closing gaps” in student achievement.
- COVID-19 Response: Superintendent Henderson provided an update on the distance learning and food service programs in response to the COVID-19 crisis and informed the Board that the district will be closing the child care offering at the Rotary Log Pavilion as no local first responders requested the service. She also noted that the district is fine-tuning its distance learning program and has identified Zoom as the preferred option for classroom instruction and Canvas as the platform for distance learning next year. In addition, she commended Aberdeen High School staff for pivoting in response to new state guidance on grading for credit this spring.
- Budget Update: Superintendent Henderson provided the Board shared information regarding the reduced educational program for 2020-2021. She said there is no new information that changes the budget assumptions for next year other than districts are advised the impacts will be felt for years. She also noted that the reduced education program shifts Harbor High School to a “school within a school” model because there are teachers who will be assigned to both schools.
- Graduation Update: Superintendent Henderson shared information on plans for the graduating Class of 2020. She noted that she and AHS Principal Sherri Northington participated in an online meeting with the senior parents and that additional meetings are planned to help keep parents informed.
Policy 2418 Waiver of High School Graduation Credit
The board adopted Policy 2418 to formally recognize the two-credit waiver of the new graduation requirements under House Bill 1599, which passed in 2019. The policy is required in support of that decision.
Resolution 2020-05 Emergency Waiver of Credit
A resolution formalizing the board’s decision of April 21 applying to the State Board of Education for an emergency waiver of credit-based graduation requirements due to the unique circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic. This resolution formalizes that decision. Board approval is recommended.
Resolution 2020-06 Continuous Learning Plan
The board adopted a resolution regarding the district’s implementation of the Continuous Learning Plan during the emergency closure of schools and requesting an emergency waiver of instructional hours.
The board authorized a $2,000 retirement incentive to employees who are eligible for retirement if the request is submitted by the deadlines as follows:
Certificated Incentive: An extension of the original incentive offered through Jan. 24 would now apply to any certificated instructional staff who provide notice before June 10 that they will be retiring prior to the 2020-2021 school year.
Classified Incentive: Offered to any classified employee eligible for retirement who submits notice prior to May 15 that they will be retiring by May 31. Board action is requested.
The board approved a request from the Technology Department to declare certain items surplus as they are no longer needed in the district due to age or condition.
The next meeting of the board is set for 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 19, 2020, to be conducted remotely with proper notice and access provided under the governor’s emergency provisions of the Open Public Meetings Act.
Following an executive session, the board adopted the Personnel Report.
Read the statement from the School Board regarding the factors that have contributed to the need for budget reductions.
Access the full report to the School Board and Budget Advisory Committee regarding the need for budget reductions in 2020-2021.
KINDERGARTEN & PRESCHOOL REGISTRATION
Early registration for Kindergarten and preschool continues. It is critical to the district's budget and planning process. If you have a student who will attend Aberdeen schools in the fall, please take a few moments to fill out the form. Official documents will be collected in August.
Visit the Hopkins Early Childhood Learning Center to access registration information for preschool. The district relies on grants for this program and needs solid information on how many students to expect.
The next edition of the ASD5 e-Newsletter will appear Thursday, May 14.
The district has posted additional information and resources regarding Food Service during the closure on the web site.
Can't make it to the lunch site? Find your student's grade level under the Learning Resources section of the ASD5 website where you can download learning materials and access online resources.
Visit the Coronavirus page on the ASD5 website for helpful links and updates from local officials regarding the outbreak of this new virus and how it's impacting the Harbor and our schools.
Staying in touch with Leadership
- Superintendent Alicia Henderson, email@example.com
- Business Office, Elyssa Louderback, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Human Resources, David Glasier, email@example.com
- Special Education, Rick Bates, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Career & Technical Education, Lynn Green, email@example.com
- Teaching, Learning & Technology, Traci Sandstrom, firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't forget to check the Instructional Resources page often for updates that may come about from OSPI, especially for high school students.
****************************The Aberdeen School District does not discriminate in any programs or activities on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following employees have been designated to handle questions and complaints of alleged discrimination: David Glasier, Title IX Coordinator and Civil rights Compliance Coordinator, 216 North G St., Aberdeen, WA 98520; (360) 538-2222; email@example.com; Dr. Richard Bates, Section 504/ADA Coordinator, 216 North G St., Aberdeen, WA 98520; (360) 538-2017; firstname.lastname@example.org.