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Cheney Free Press
Cheney , Washington
December 17, 2015     Cheney Free Press
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December 17, 2015

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School district learns " ' community s thoughts, concerns By AL STOVER Staff Reporter When the Cheney School District received the results of the third phase of the Thoughtexchange process - Discover -- it learned the com- munity had many concerns, but also many appreciations. Superintendent Dr. Deb Clemens said the district contracted with Thoughtexchange to create a "weath- er report" to help staff understand the thoughts and concerns of staff, par- ents and community members have for not only Cheney School District, but also individual buildings. The first step of the Thought- exchange conversation for Cheney. - Share -began in September. The district invited the community, all parents, staff and key communicators to share their concerns and apprecia- tions about the district and individual buildings, as well as submit key ideas. Schroeder' By AL STOVER Staff Reporter While most students at Windsor Elementary School were settling in their class- room, Judy Schroeder's sec- ond-grade class took a one- day vacation to Mexico, Dec. 14. Well, Schroeder's stu- dents were still at Wind- sor Elementary but their teacher's classroom was transformed into a tiny Mexican village where they learned different aspects of the country's culture. Schroeder explained the Mexican vacation was tied into stttdents learning about Mexico in the world lan- guages curriculum, as well as spending the class dollars they earned from their jobs in class. "Students apply for jobs three times a year and earn a paycheck every week," In the second step - Star -commu- nity members reviewed ideas people contributed and assigned stars to the ones they felt were most important. Cheney had 43,686 stars assigned to various topics. Thoughtexchange creL ated a website where the community can see the results. The Though- texchange pro- cess had 879 participants who community was "Overcrowding and enrollment," which had 2,420 stars assigned from 337 participants and 56 comments, many of which expressed their concern about the growing number of students in each of the buildings. "Facilities to accom- modate growth" (1,601 stars assigned from 292 par- "The feedback is valu- ticipants and 36 comments) able to each school and the shared 1,555 thoughts. Sixty- seven percent of participants (586) were par- ents/guardians. Eighteen percent of participants (159) were staff members, 12 percent (109) were a combination of parents and staff and 2 percent (19) were community members. The Thoughtexchange conver- sation was broken down into con- cerns, appreciations and additional thoughts. The largest concern from the second-grade principals. It affirms the work they are doing and it also gives them something to think about." Cheney School Superintendent Dr. Deb Clemens concern. Photo by AI Stover A group of students from Mrs. Schroeder's class perform a song using the macaras. class. "They also get paid for completing assignments and homework. They use Schroeder said, referring to part of their paycheck to the economic portion of her buy supplies and pay rent to Mr. (Vince) Songaylo, the principal, for workspace. At the end of each month, stu- was the sec- ond-largest concern among the communi- ty. Similar to overcrowding, particpants cited the high school's spac- ing issue as a "Overcrowding and facilities is something we've been meaning to ad- dress," Clemens said. "With full-time kindergarten and other programs, we've been bursting at the seams, particularly at the elementary and high school levels." "Testing versus learning," with participants concerned that students are being taught to take tests and meet state Common Core standards, "Staffing considerations" and "Stu- dent behavior and discipline" and "Funding Resources" were other major concerns from participants. "Many of the concerns have af- firmed what we are currently work- ing on and how we could better communicate our efforts to the com- munity," Clemens said. "Quality of teachers and staff", which had 4,161 stars from 425 par- ticipants and 115 comments, was the highest-ranked appreciation. Many community members praised the district's staff and faculty for their commitment to students. "Communication" (1,226 stars See Thoughtexchange page 8 Mexican-themed vacation Students have used some of that money to save for vaca- tions, like this one." During their time in "the village" they spent part of class engaged in various activities, including mak- ing paper marigolds and poinsettias - a plant spe- cies of the diverse spurge family indigenous to Mexico and Central America -- as well as fingernail painting, decorating and playing with maracas. Schroeder said students used some of their money to pay for some of the activities. She noted that this type of learning allows students to en- gage in "real life experience" "It's more fun when it's tied into something that's real life," Schroeder said. "I enjoy teaching this way." During the vacation, stu- dents listened to Songay- lo read them Pam Munoz dents receive a bank state- Ryan's "Mice and Beans" ment and have to justify it. and performed the "Jarabe EWU and Columbia Basin College partner for credit transfer program transfer to EWU are bet- ter positioned to graduate on time. This agreement leverages the high quality experience received at CBC and maximizes insb'tutional resources for student suc- cess at EWU.!' EWU and CBC believe a well-coordinated trans- fer process improves stu- dent transfer success. And streamlining the transfer process, while minimiz- ing the loss of credits and duplication of course- work, will only benefit students transferring from resources to provide coor- dinated bachelor's degree offerings to students who are enrolled in transfer- able degree programs at the community college. This transfer agreement is for students who want to transfer to EWU to com- plete the baccalaureate degree. "This exciting partner- ship provides course align- ment between the associ- ate degree at CIKZ and the four-year degree at EWU," EWU President Mary Cul- linan said in the release. "If the plans of study are followed, students who See Transfer page 9 FROM STAFF AND NEWS REPORTS PASCO --Eastern Washington University and Columbia Basin Col- lege (CBC) announced in a news release that they have signed an innova- tive agreement designed to provide CBC students with a clear transfer path- way to attend EWU and earn a four-year degree. The program, Desti- nation Eastern, enables students to begin a bach- elor program upon initiat- ing their post-secondary education at CBC. The two colleges will combine Tapatio," also known as "The Mexican Hat Dance.' Students also ate a Mexi can-style lunch with torti llas, chips, beans and rice donated by E1 Rodeo Arturo's Mexican Restau rant. To arrive at the village Schroeder used the librarl as a mock airport. Schroeder said she': thankful for E1 Rodeo'anc Arturo's donating the food She also noted that Chene] Federal Credit Union do nates checkbooks for stu dents to use. "I couldn't have dora this by myself," Schroede: said. ,I'm thankful for local businesses for thei: support and the parents wh( helped today." Schroeder said she ha.. two more vacations lined ut in the school year, one bein[ in the Arctic and another ii Hawaii. Al Stover can be reached a Contributed photo by Craig Johnson All that jazz The Medical Lake high school (pictured here) and middle school jazz bands performed a special concert at Lakeland Village, Dec. 11. Medical Lake Kiwanis ' Academic Student of the Week Sophomore, Sam White Medical Lake Kiwanis Meets the 2nd and 4th Wednesday at Noon at the Pizza Factory. The Board meets the 1st Wednesday of the Month at noon. Con gratu latt ans [ our Co,wenien[ Z'ocufioW Spokane Cheney 509-46,5-1749 509-559-5038 Airway Heights Fairways Plaza 509-244-9968 509-413=2140 Austin Vaughn 5th Grade Academic Student of the Week