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ELLENSBURG SCHOOL DISTRICT 401 Position 4 - At Large

4-year termNo Salary, some districts offer small per diem for evening meetings. School Board Members or “directors” – are the elected governing body of the school district, serving four-year terms. The school board’s governance responsibilities fall in four major areas: Vision – focuses the work on student achievement through a comprehensive strategic planning process; Structure – provides prudent financial planning and oversight; diligent and innovative policymaking; Accountability – sets specific goals and a process for evaluation, reporting and recommendations for improvements; and Advocacy – champions public education in the local community and before state and federal policy makers. The School Board sets the general policies of the district, which are implemented by the hired professional district Superintendent and certificated teaching staff and personnel. One of the critical duties is the adoption of the district's budget and proposal of any school levies to be placed on the ballot to the people. The commission sets policies and approves all spending via the budget. The council also sets salaries for district employees.
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    Richard B. Bily (NP) retired

  • Tosha Woods (NP)

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Biographical Information

Of three major issues facing your district, which one is the most urgent?

What is your position on Charter Schools as a part of your public school system?

What is your position on testing of your students?

What is your opinion on "start times" for elementary and secondary school?

How can the on-time graduation rate be improved?

How should bullying be addressed?

What would be your plan to see that your school district students earn their civics credit required by the new state law?

What is your opinion of student suspension for classroom disruption?

Phone 2536773955
Email coyotesmile9@gmail.com
Town where you live Ellensburg
Experience (300 characters max) My educational experiences range from pre-K to adjunct faculty at the university level. I have a BA and two master degrees one in education and one in administration. I have served as president of a governing board for 7 years and I am presently serving on CWDR service board in Ellensburg.
The most urgent issue that the Ellensburg School District faces is the overcrowding of our schools. These conditions create stress on teachers, support staff, building principals as well as uncertain and chaotic learning environments for students. Through OSPI reports I found academic downward trends in reading, math and science. These trends in performance seem to correlate with the overcrowding conditions and suggest that overcrowding has been a negative impact on academic performances. The school board with its appointed committee are moving forward on a more permanent solution to alleviate the overcrowding. In the mean time, the school district will be forced to continue its course of student displacement, thereby putting students at academic risk. I would support a plan that can address these academic concerns during the transition time, ways to expedite the process for building a new school, as well as initiating a plan to educate the community about the level of urgency.
The dilemma in front of us will be, to either create new (Charter) schools or work towards improving the public schools so that can they become the best possible learning environment for all students. At this time I support an effort to improving public schools because this will reach many more students at a faster pace. Charter schools aren't magical, just designed well for student success, therefore it must be possible for all schools to make these same positive changes. We should be looking at how to improve our public schools using the same success formulas. The opportunity to do so is now on the horizon since more educational funds will be coming to public schools over the next several years. I know this is possible, because I was once part of a school that went from a failing school to an award winning school. This was the results of positive educational practices, dedicated teachers, trained support personnel and strong building leadership..all traits present in Ellensburg SD.
Student testing will not be going away any time soon. My opinion is that testing should be looked as a valuable educational tool. If we didn't test how would we know if we are making progress on our school goals and student achievement. I have been involved in student testing for many years and have come to a basic understanding. Two types of testing should occur, one that gives the teacher information to guide instruction and the other that gives a overall indication of the academic health of the school system. However, testing must be efficient and effective and not over done. Its design should be for the betterment of student performance not punitive in nature. I think more work needs to be done in order to make testing beneficial, efficient and effective.
Start times of schools should be left up to the schools with community input to arrive at what is best for student school hours.
On-time graduation rate must be improved. I see the graduation rate as another indicator to the academic health of a school system. The graduation rate success starts in Kindergarten goes all the way through high school. Once schools begin to make the necessary improvements, recognize student’s critical needs early on, and provide early and steady intervention, graduation rates will go up. Also recently, House Bill 2224 will be providing students with more pathways to graduation, this should help improve the rates as well.
Bullying has long lasting harmful affect on children. The most effective way to address bullying in schools is through education and monitoring these behaviors. I have seen many effective anti-bullying education curriculum used in schools by counselors and teachers. It will take a unified and trained school community to rid schools of bullying. I also recognize the need to protect victims of bullying and provide support. There also must be immediate disciplinary measures and strong consequences put in place to further hinder bullying in schools.
The lack of civic understanding by high school students is disturbing and I agree with making this a credit for students. The present curriculum load in high schools will make it difficult to introduce this into the curriculum. I would like to hear from high school principals and curriculum specialist on this before I would be comfortable in suggesting any plan of action. I would like to also explore the possibility of basic preparatory parts of civics introduced in middle school.
Student suspension should be the last resort to correcting a classroom disruption. Through my own experiences I know that training for classroom teachers in the areas of classroom management and de-escalation is essential in curving out of control behaviors therefore limiting suspensions. The use of behavior intervention plans for classroom support, by counselors, behavior specialist, and administrators has been very successful in changing disruptive behavior. Students need to be put in charge of and responsible for their own behavior, suspension does not always create that for students. On the other hand I realize that administrators need suspension as tool to help correct a dangerous situation or toxic environment, however I believe intervention must also be part of the action.
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