Tonasket School District

Weekly Update ~ 11/26/2019

"Focused on Learning and Linking Learning to Life"

Be Positive, Be Grateful, Be Involved

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

“The Power of Thank You”, Jon Gorton:

In the spirit of Thanksgiving I’d like to share with you a few thoughts on the benefits and power of two simple words... THANK YOU.

They are two words that have the power to transform our health, happiness, athletic performance and success. Research shows that grateful people are happier and more likely to maintain good friendships. A state of gratitude, according to research by the Institute of HeartMath, also improves the heart's rhythmic functioning, which helps us to reduce stress, think more clearly under pressure and heal physically. It's actually physiologically impossible to be stressed and thankful at the same time. When you are grateful you flood your body and brain with emotions and endorphins that uplift and energize you rather than the stress hormones that drain you.

Gratitude is like muscle. The more we do with it the stronger it gets. In this spirit, here are 4 ways to practice Thanksgiving every day of the year.

1. Take a Daily Thank You Walk - I wrote about this in The Energy Bus and The Positive Dog. Take a simple 10-minute walk each day and say out loud what you are thankful for. This will set you up for a positive day.

2. Meal Time Thank You's - On Thanksgiving, or just at dinner with your friends and family, go around the table and have each person, including the kids at the little table, say what they are thankful for.

3. Gratitude Visit - Martin Seligman, Ph.D., the father of positive psychology, suggests that we write a letter expressing our gratitude to someone. Then we visit this person and read them the letter. His research shows that people who do this are measurably happier and less depressed a month later.

4. Say Thank You at Work – When Doug Conant was the CEO of Campbell Soup he wrote approximately 30,000 thank you notes to his employees and energized the company in the process. Energize and engage your co-workers and team by letting them know you are grateful for them and their work. Organizations spend billions of dollars collectively on recognition programs but the best and cheapest recognition program of all consists of a sincere THANK YOU. And of course, don’t forget to say thank you to your clients and customers too.


Capital Project Update

There will be a delay in completing the HS safety and security entrance due to the company we are using for the control access doors being booked until spring break. Some of the work, such as installing the window will be completed, but the HS project won’t be completed until at least spring break. We are reviewing architect proposals for the CTE shop and will make a selection next week. The board will then review the selection and approve a contract.

Powerful Teaching and Learning

  • Last week HS students got to go to the Omak Cinema to watch the movie Harriet, a biopic of the life of Harriet Tubman. It was a great way for students to gain insight into a tumultuous time in our nation's history.

  • Jill Wehmeyer, our school nurse, just completed hearing screens for 283 kids.

  • Several school board members and our two new members attended the WSSDA (school board association) annual conference in Bellevue last Thursday - Sunday. It was a great conference with high quality general session speakers and high interest break-out sessions.


I met and had lunch with the last student group for the fall. We had a great conversation with six middle school students and I asked them the same two questions I’ve asked the other groups: “What is going well?” and “What would you like to see changed?” They continue the theme that I have heard from most groups that the relationship with staff is one of the most important aspects of their school day.

District Culture and Climate

  • The work on a Climate and Culture survey is nearing completion. The student and staff surveys are currently being given. The family survey was made available during the week of parent-teacher conferences and the administration team will start looking at the results next week.

  • The high school compiled their Thanks & Giving Boxes this morning and they had enough food donated for 20 boxes! Information from Trisha Roach:
    Tonasket High School participated in an all-school community service project this year. We were able to collect food items that created twenty Thanks & Giving boxes to make a full holiday meal (over 15 items in each box). Each box also contains a $20 gift certificate to purchase meat and perishable items, which was made possible through generous donations from our community.

    We realize not all families celebrate Thanksgiving, but we know that many families in our community could use a box of food to help during the holiday season, especially when students are out of school and cannot access our free breakfast and lunch meals. Food insecurity is REAL, and this is a small step to help.

  • Each of our schools is working on integrating Social Emotional Learning. Did you know that students who receive SEL education demonstrate:
    11% increase in academic achievement,
    9% increase in pro-social behavior,
    10% decrease in emotional distress,
    9% decrease in conduct problems
    (Durlak, Weissberg, Dymnicki, Taylor, & Schellinger, 2011)

Parent and Community Engagement

This month’s Migrant meeting was held last Wednesday. I was not able to attend, but reading Tyler’s report it was a great evening. This is what Tyler wrote:

It is always difficult to judge how many people will show up to an event like the one we had last night. We decided the topic that was brought to the table by Veronica Pardo, one of our PAC parents, was worthy of sharing with our entire district. We always tend to plan for maximum capacity and are hopeful that we'll fill the room. We weren't quite at capacity last night, but we were surely close. I loved looking out across the room at dinner time and seeing so many people talking and laughing. That's what building community looks like.

The kids got sent to their respective areas and the adults and teenagers were treated to a showing of the film, Screenagers. There were many interesting topics covered in the film and our hope is that parents and teens walked away with something new to think about or implement in their lives. Trisha, Kristi and Lilly offered their insights into the film and what their policies are at each building, as well as fielded questions and comments from the audience.

I am attaching the Technology Summary that Jordon created, (click here to view the summary) which was handed to parents last night as well as a link to some resources that are helpful when thinking about managing technology and screen time in our busy lives. Feel free to use and share them as you see fit.

Thank you to everyone that helped make this night happen. I know the kitchen helpers started cooking at 2:00 in the afternoon and we closed the back doors to the building at around 9:00 last night. Although it was a long day, it always feels satisfying when an event comes together so well like it did last night.

Creative and Innovative

  • The ES music program was chosen to receive a grant for $3,000 from the Woods Family Music & Arts Fund Grant through the Community Foundation of North Central Washington (CFNCW). Orff instruments will be purchased using the grant funding. We will be looking forward to the spring ES music concert where students will perform on the new Orff instruments for staff, parents, and community members.

    Did you know because of past levy failures and budget cuts the district could not support an elementary music program for over ten years? Before the program was cut, the only instruments were student-purchased recorders. There were no other instruments because of space issues; the teacher didn't even have a music room, but used a cart and went from classroom to classroom. The elementary music program was brought back in the 2014-15 school year. The music program has since purchased, under the expertise of music teacher Gail Morris, other music instruments such as ukeles, guitars, drums, boomwhackers, African instruments, bells, walk-on keyboards through other grant funding. We are very fortunate to have the music program back and to be able to add to the variety of musical instruments through generous grant funding, and to have an actual music room. Thank you Gail for pursuing these grants to grow our elementary music program!
  • As you know, the tech office has moved out into the HS/MS library space and have been helping to provide media support for those buildings. They’ve put a lot of planning and effort into making it a library/media center where students and teachers can benefit from the resources available there. I truly appreciate all the work they have put into this endeavor for our students and staff. I’ve included an update from Jordon:

    We’re excited to share an update on what we have been working on in the HSMS Library/Media center. We want this space to be a place that you can bring your class to implement project-based learning, research, hands-on learning and creative ways to demonstrate student learning. Below you’ll find areas that we are currently working on. We would love to get your ideas and feedback on how we can reimagine this space for you and your students.
    We have received permission to purchase a large order of books to refresh our circulation. We are refining the list of books that we will be ordering and we hope to have this list finalized in the next few weeks. We don’t have an expected date for when these books will arrive, but we are excited to bring in some fresh books.

    We are working with the district to plan the library budget for next year so we can continue to bring in new books. Please be thinking of books that you’d like to see us bring into the library. We will begin compiling our list for next year’s order this spring.

    Video Production Area
    We are adding a video production area to the Library where teachers/students can come to visit and create videos of their learning. We are reworking the area that overlooks the HS commons so that it will include a Green Screen and any of the video production equipment that is already available in the district. If you would like to help us create a space that would work for your classes, please get in touch and share your ideas.

    In the window area nearest the MS, we will be adding in a Makerspace. A Makerspace is a place for hands-on learning and building, typically with STEM. (click here for more information on what a Makerspace is) If you have thoughts on how your class could visit the Makerspace and use it for class projects, get in touch and share your ideas.

Art and amazing student work
Our goal for the library is to create a rotating art gallery of student work around the room. We currently have art on display from Tyler Sant and Nadine Olma. We just got several science posters from Ramsi Marchand-Bradley that we will be putting up as well. If you have any art, posters, poetry, etc. that you or the students would like to display, please bring it by.


Wenatchee Valley College received a grant to provide districts with a zoom cart for their running start students. This cart is now housed in the Library and can be used by the district as well.

Other ideas?

Do you have other ideas for the Library? If so, please stop by and chat anytime.

TEA and PSE Updates

I had the opportunity to meet the new PSE field representative last week, Karoline Martin. She is replacing Janell Silves who is retiring at the end of December. Janell has been representing the PSE chapter in Tonasket for a number of years, we wish her the best in her retirement. Although Janell did share that she is willing to assist Karoline on occasion if needed, so we may possibly see her in the future.


  • Last week you received a Safety Matters on Fire and Decorating Tips - Please remember to take the precautions mentioned concerning electrical cords, outlets and ladder safety. New step ladders have been placed throughout the district for you to use. Contact your building office or administration to find out where they are stored.

  • Board Policy Updates (link below):
    1. 2410 Procedure - High School Graduation Requirements

What Every Employee Needs to Know Reminders

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