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May 7, 2015     Cheney Free Press
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May 7, 2015
 

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.d CHENEYFREEPRESS Thursday, May 7:, 2015 BY AL STOVER Staff Reporter Starting next school year, Medical Lake School District teachers will have some extra time to prepare for their workweek. At its April 28 meeting, the Medical Lake school board approved an agreement to provide release time for staff for professional development days for the 2015-16 academic year. Superintendent Tim Ames said the proposal for release time came from staff feedback through surveys and meetings. "We clearly heard the message, 'the resource you can give us is more time,'" Ames said. Under the agreement, all schools would start an hour later on Friday mornings. Staff will arrive 30 minutes early and work together in their pro- fessionallearning communities for 90 minutes. Ames said the district will create a communica- tion action plan to inform the community about the late start on Fridays. He added that the district will work with local daycares to provide children with a place to go if their parents have to leave for work before class starts. "We'll talk to the local recreation departments and libraries so that we have options for kids who can't go to daycare," Ames said. In other action items, the board approved the first and second readings of policy P4210, which regulates dangerous weapons on school cam- puses. Ames said the original dangerous firearms policy only listed firearms. Under the new policy, items such as sling shots, sand clubs, metal knuckles, daggers, dirks, spring blade knives, nunchaku sticks, throwing stars, air guns, stun guns, and devices intended to injure a person by an electric shock are also considered dangerous weapons. The policy allows the district to suspend or expel a student for up toone year if they act with malice, as defined under Revised Code of Wash- ington 9A.04.110, and display a firearm on school premises,.school-provided transportation, areas or facilities while they are being used exclusively for school activities. However, the superintendent can modify the one-year expulsion on a case-by- case basis. The board approved second readings of policies regarding graduation requirements and suicide prevention. They also approved a resolution to Northeast Washington Educational Service District 101 to provide and administer the educational program for the Martin Hall juvenile detention facilitv. Kim Headrick, director of teaching and learn- ing, gave a report on the Consolidated Programs Review by the Washington State Office of Super- intendent of Public Instruction. Headrick said MLSD was fully compliant in several programs, though OSPI did find some areas where the dis- trict needed some technical assistance, as well as policies that need to be updated. "We'll discuss how we will correct these items and I will submit an action plan to OSPI by June 5," Headrick said. "It's a total of nine items that we have to work on. They were complimentary on a lot of things." During his Superintendent's Report, Ames announced that the district would be receiving a school resource officer to serve at Hallett Elemen- tary, the middle school and high school. Staff is currently working on the details of the officer's contract. In other business: The board approved a resolution proclaim- ing May 4-8 as "Teacher Appreciation Week." Medical Lake High School received its sixth achievement award for "Extended Graduation Rates" from NEWESD 101 and its first award for "Overall Excellence." Hallett Elementary received its second for "High Progress" award from NEWESD 101. AI Stover can be reached at al@cheneyfreepress. com. School board adopts policies on government training, member insurance By JOHN McCALLUM Editor Language in policy No. 1440 on language revisions, directing the Public Records Act and public re- "Minutes" was amended to ensure district to maintain sufficient in- cords retention. The Cheney School Board moved quickly through a light agenda at its meeting last Wednesday, April 29. The board unanimously approved three items of old business, accept- ing adoption recommendations by staff of revisions to a pair of existing policies, and approving a new policy for "Open Government Trainings." any meeting where an audio or video recording is made, and the minutes of that meeting were transcribed verbatim, that the recording must be retained for one year. Previous language specified the recording "may" be "destroyed" after one year. Policy No. 1732, "Board Mem- ber Insurance," also underwent surance to protect board members from liability that may arise from actions on behalf of the district and within his/her authority as a board member. Finally, the board adopted policy No. 1805 "Open Government Training" as a result of new state re- quirements instructing school board members participate in training on the Open Public Meetings Act, the The board also established a work session on May 27 at 5 p.m. to hold interviews for the two student advisor positions, and changed the start time of its May 13 meeting to 7:30 p.m. to accommodate the annual "District Em- ployee Recognition Night," scheduled to take place at 5 p.m. John McCallum can be reached at jmac@cheneyfreepress.com. ML Middle School makes progress on 'Focus' project By AL STOVER Staff Reporter The Medical Lake Middle School continues to make progress on helping students with disabilities that are struggling with reading and math. Back in September, Medi- cal Lake Superintendent Tim Ames explained that the middle school was identified as a "Focus" school and that 20 students with disabilities did not meet expectations in reading and math in state assessment exams. In the last sixth months, middle school principal Sylvia _Campbell, staff and administration have been researching different ways and methods to help students who are struggling in the classroom. One of the big steps the middle school has taken is establishing a new after-school math and reading programs. Campbell said staff monitors students' progress every two weeks. Students are also moni- toring their own progress. Dr. Jeanine Butler from OSPI (Of- rice of Superintendent of Public Instruction) is also coaching staff. "Staff has gauged where those students are and honed in on where their skills are weak," Campbell said. "We've seen a big improve- ment with most of those kids." One area where Campbell has seen a shift has been in the reading scores. "The reading scores took off, there's been a lot of growth," Campbell said. "To see kids who knew a few v0- cabulary words to now seeing them read, and the smiles on, their faces, is worth it. That's what we, as teachers, are here for." As for math, the school re- cently implemented the ALEKS (Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces) math pro- gram, which supplements the Engage NY math curriculum the school district adopted at the beginning of the year. Through progress monitoring, staff has learned that students are having trouble grasping math fluency. Campbell said all of the school's math classes have a fluency component that students practice at the begin- ning of class. Kim Headrick, director of teaching and learning, said staff has done a "fantastic job" of looking at multiple aspects and analyzing their own prac- tices. "They've been working through the instructional framework to see what. Photo by AI Stover Wow Now Fund Run Hallett Elementary third graders were the first to begin the one-mile course for the school's May 1 "Wow Now Fund Run." All grade levels raised $11,632.34 for Halllet's Associated Student Body. works for students and what doesn't," Headrick said. "And it's not a top-down from administration. It's truly a partnership between staff and students." Campbell said the school will be in its Focus status for three years and that NWEA (Northwest Evaluation As- sociation) and Smarter Bal- ance testing, which is cur- rently happening, will be "a baseline" for the school to determine where the school is. The school is also preparing to roll out the PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) program to help the school climate. Campbell said staff will explore new methods and adjust practices to help students. "We'll continue to look at data, monitor progress and see where we're at," Campbell said. "Our staff has worked hard this year and our students have too. I'm optimistic of where we'll be." Al Stover can be reached at al@cheneRfreepress.com: Gifts Congratulations Medical Lake High School Senior, Lana Tsimashenka Academic Student of the Week Med,!ca[Lake Meetings are the 3rd Dollars for Thursday each month at 6:30 pm SCHOLARS" A City Hall Chambers www.medicallake.dollarsforscholars.org Email: medicallakedfs@yahoo.com Specialty Asphalt honors Cheney High School Senior, Elizabeth Fix Academic Student of the Week