Superintendent's Update

December 2019

Note From the Superintendent

Dear ESD parents, guardians and staff,


During a recent presentation to the Leadership Kittitas County Cohort, we had an opportunity to highlight our development of the ESD Board Ends, STEM pathway and focus on freshmen success. This cohort spent the entire day visiting schools in Kittitas County, and one class member shared during the debrief, “Today has given me great hope for the future.” In a world that is ever changing, I am confident that our youth that graduate from ESD will make a positive impact in our global community. Hope is evident in the daily commitment of our staff to affirm the value of each child and to promote their academic success.

Celebrations

An example of this educator commitment is the accomplishment of becoming a National Board Certified Teacher. Recently, Christine Collignon-Ray, first grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary School, and Joan Smith, special education teacher at Morgan Middle School, earned this prestigious certification. Judi Nicolai, Spanish teacher at EHS, also recently recertified. Please join me in congratulating these teachers for successfully completing this rigorous process. In addition to the expertise and deep level of reflection that teachers who earn National Board Certification develop and experience, ESD National Board Certified Teachers are also automatically placed on the Master’s Degree Column on the ESD Salary Schedule (assuming that they are not already at this level or beyond). Additionally, they currently receive an additional $5,000 dollars a year from the state for the life of their certificate. Please contact Jennifer Kuntz, Director of Teaching and Learning, if you are a teacher who is interested in earning National Board Certification.

Other ESD celebrations include the successful submission of the S275 Report to the State. This report involves multiple hours of reviewing staffing needs and placements and using this information to complete several pages of reports. Accuracy with this report is critical because the state uses this report to help determine the amount of funding that we will receive for ESD staff for the 2020-2021 School Year. A shout out to our amazing Human Resources staff for successfully completing this important task.
Kudos to our ESD Finance Department for their work on the F196 End of Year Report. Extensive time is spent each year reviewing district expenses and revenues to produce this End of Year Report. We encourage you to browse through this report. The beginning and ending charts give you a great overview of where we started and ended up for the 2018-2019 School Year.

ESD Bond Project Update

We have updated information about our Bond Projects. For the most current information please visit our newly designed website.

Safety

With the onset of Winter and the potential for poor weather, it is important to know how we will communicate with our students' families, staff and the community regarding delays and closures of school. Be sure to familiarize yourself with our Communication Plan.

ESD Board Ends/ Outcomes for Students

During the 2019-2020 school year, we will be focusing on empowering every student to achieve our district-wide outcomes which are also called our Board Ends. We call these outcomes the Board Ends because our Board of Education will be supporting these outcomes with both policies and allocation of resources.

The below diagrams are intended to provide clarity about our work together as a district. The first multi-colored triangle represents the Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) framework that every school is implementing. This framework shows that students can receive different levels of academic and social emotional support while they are at school. The green level at the base of the triangle represents the types of supports that all students receive within their general classroom. The yellow level represents support that is more frequent and specific to the needs of groups of students. Students who receive this level of support often meet in a small group, like a reading or math group, that is designed to work on specific skills. This could also include a social-emotional support group, like a group designed to help students who are experiencing significant grief or anxiety. The red level of the triangle represents students who may need to receive frequent one-on-one support from staff members throughout the week or throughout the day. Typically, the number of students who need this type of support is small compared to the number of students in the yellow or green levels. Students may move in and out of different levels of support depending on their needs.

The second blue triangle below represents an overview of how our Board Ends promote the whole child approach that happens throughout the different tiers of support that students receive. The strategies and actions we take as a staff to meet the Board Ends and desired outcomes that we have for students, demonstrate this whole child approach. Having strong academic and future ready skills (BOE END #1) is the foundational base to supporting the whole child. Equipping students to apply their knowledge and explore their interests through experiential learning and career exploration in an ever changing world (BOE END #2), is an important side of the triangle that is linked to promoting quality instruction. Developing connections (BOE END #3) is especially important to ensuring that students develop exceptional social/emotional skills. The strategies and actions that will be necessary to have students reach these three Board Ends, reinforce and interact with each other and create a strong cycle of support for all students. This blue triangle gives you a 3,000 foot view of our priorities as a district in ESD.

Board End #1: Solid Academic and Future Ready Skills

Teachers and administrators from each of our schools have recently completed our district-wide “Data Dives”. The student subgroup data that administrators and teachers looked closely at during this process were our English as a Second Language Learners(ELLs). It is a gift to have students who are proficient in two languages. As we develop and refine our skills in supporting our ELL students, all students will benefit. Many schools have also decided to focus on increasing the number of opportunities that students have to collaborate, practice engaging dialogue and use academic language. For many students, especially for ELLs, it is necessary for them to talk about their ideas before they write about them. Verbally explaining their thinking and problem solving strategies are also necessary actions for all students to take to excel in their mathematical skills.

Board End #2: Successful Citizens in an Ever-Changing World

Thank you to all of the staff who participated in the Hour of Code. The Hour of Code was a success this year ! Schools across the district participated in this December event ranging from a "Pizza and Coding" event held at Ellensburg High School, to students coding at Morgan Middle School during advisory periods. Additionally, Valley View, Lincoln, and Mt. Stuart teachers brought the Hour of Code activities into their classrooms. A survey will soon be sent to educators who participated in the Hour of Code, asking for their feedback. For those educators wanting to receive additional resources, a free book titled No Fear Coding: Computational Thinking Across K-5 Curriculum will be sent to their school to help provide ideas and opportunities to integrate Computer Science into their existing curriculum.


Also, Tiffany Price, computer science teacher at EHS, and Joell Boast, STEM teacher at MMS, were both recently featured in an article that describes the importance of having students learn to code.

Board End #3: Strong Connections with: Peers, Staff, School and local Community

Kudos to the staff at Ellensburg High School who recently collaborated together to ensure that 100 percent of their freshmen participated in and led conferences with their parents and administrators. Starting in early October, EHS staff worked together during freshmen advisory periods to empower freshmen to lead conferences with their parents or an administrator. During these conferences, freshmen were able to demonstrate their accomplishments and acknowledge their challenges. It was also an important time for students and parents to understand how to support teachers’ efforts and students’ learning at home. These connections are critical to the success of all students.

Tis the season of hope and gratitude. I challenge myself and all of us to make this quote a reality.


I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season!



Sincerely,


Jinger Haberer, Superintendent