District Update 9.18.17 

Greetings neighbors,

We’ve begun the 2017-18 school year and we find it filled with the promise of new possibilities and programs to make it the best year we’ve ever had. We ended our last year on a sad note with the passing of our beloved Board Chair Carl Jonsson. Please see my update regarding our school board in this section as well.

We started our back to school activities with what has become an annual tradition, a three day Summer Institute for our teachers. This year we spent one day as a whole district team learning about how adverse childhood experiences can inhibit students’ ability to learn. The other two days were spent with each faculty working in their respective buildings. These days are vital for us to be able to continue to implement changes to our curriculum and our instruction as we live out the Learn part of our mission.

On the topic of curriculum, a team of K-12 teachers and administrators worked most of last year identifying and selecting a new math curriculum to better teach students Washington State Standards, which are based on the Common Core. Our Elementary chose iReady and Ready Math, which we believe will give all students the best opportunity to be at standard according to their grade level, while also affording students above or below standard an opportunity to catch up or continue to grow. The Elementary staff spent part of their Summer Institute time being trained in how to use this new curriculum.

Our next noteworthy event was new, but one which we hope to make a tradition. In partnership and coordination with Summit Pacific Medical Center and other local community partners, we sponsored the Eagle Community Back to School Fair. More than 400 students and their families were afforded the opportunities to get immunizations, given backpacks, notebooks and pencils, sign up with BHR or other appropriate community services and also have some great fun. There were bouncy houses, dunk tanks, snow cones, hot dogs, watermelon and chips. The weather was perfect and as usual the Elma Community stepped up to make all this happen at no cost to the students or their families. Thank you to all of our businesses, adult and students volunteers who made this day a great success. Special thanks to our Family and Community Engagement Coordinator, who pulled it all together.

August 30th, marked the first day of school and there were smiles from students and staff as I visited each of our schools. What a great feeling there is to the start of a new year. Our first enrollment numbers came in this week and our enrollment increased about 40 students compared with June of last year and about 70 students over what we had projected.

Here are our new staff. We worked very hard over the summer to recruit the best teammates we could find to be a part of our great community.  If you encounter these educators, please extend them the warmest Elma welcome.

Todd Bridge joins us as our new Athletic Director. Todd is the son of Steve Bridge who served as the Athletic Director here for many years until his retirement in 2012.Todd has spent the last 12 years working at North Beach HS in the roles of Athletic Director, Assistant Principal, Dean of Students and Social Studies teacher. Todd is excited to be back in Elma where he worked for one year at the start of his educational career. Todd and his wife Christina have four children, the two youngest are in the 9th and 11th grade at Elma High School.

New employee Todd Bridge

Mary Roberts: Career Connected Coordinator: Mary comes to us from the North Thurston School District. She is a master teacher who was looking for a new challenge and we are very fortunate that our new program attracted her interest. In this position, Mary will be placing high school students in job shadows, paid internships and conducting other employment and pre-employment related activities for those students. She will work out of the library, which will function as our new Career Center.

New employee Mary Roberts

Another program we started last year, this time at the Elementary is our Positive Behavior Intervention System.  We hired Kyle Dunn to fill this position this year. He is currently working towards a degree in elementary and special education and he looks like a great fit to continue this wonderful new program.

New employee Kyle Dunn

Kaci Horton joins the MS team as our new Health room assistant. Kaci has worked in the health care field previously and has been a valued member of our community for many years.

New employee Kacie Horton

Also joining our MS team is Katie Macy, who will be serving as a CTE/STEM teacher. We’re excited for Katie to bring her training and background to provide new opportunities to our middle school students.

New employee Katie Macy

Becky Sackrider was hired this past spring to serve as our elementary secretary. Becky will serve in the position Beckie Brown has been in for many, many years. Although we will miss Beckie’s smiling face, we want to welcome our new Becky and hope you will, too.

New employee Becky Sackrider

Our new middle school counselor is Jule Stout. Jule has extensive experience as a middle school counselor. Jule is excited to join our team at Elma Middle School and we’re excited to have her there. She and her husband make their home in McCleary.

New employee Jule Stout

Josh Coic has joined the district as a pre-school para-professional. Josh is looking forward to working with students and has had several students in our district.

New employee Josh Coic

We’d like to welcome Maria Cruz, who has joined us as a pre-school para-professional. Maria has a wide range of professional experience and we are happy she will be with our pre-school team.

New employee Maria Cruz

Cris Cisneros will be joining our the Elma HS team as a special education teacher. Cris comes to us having taught recently in the Hoquiam School District. Cris will be teaching English and Language Arts classes.

New employee Cris Cisneros

Colleen Means will be serving as our new Speech Language Pathologist this year. She is happy to be joining us and has experience in the field.

New employee Colleen Means

Andel Hoke joins the Elementary as a 5th grade teacher. She has taught for more than 20 years in the Hoquiam School District. Welcome, Andel!

New employee Andel Hoke

Cheyenne Roberts also joins the Elementary staff as a 4
th grade teacher. Cheyenne student taught at Elma Elementary last year, then served as our initial Positive Behavior Intervention Specialist. She has students in our district as well.

New employee Cheyanne Roberts

Liz Tarman will also be a new elementary teacher here this year. She completed her student teaching in the Tacoma School District last year and is very much looking forward to beginning her career in Elma.

New employee Liz Tarman

Finally, James Vogler will be serving as a math teacher at both Elma Middle and High School. Most recently, Mr. Vogler was a math teacher at North Beach School District.

New employee James Vogler

I’d like to extend an enthusiastic welcome to all our new staff and look forward to all they will be able to bring to our students with their extensive skills, caring attitudes and ability to help students engage with their learning.

Our administrative team worked most of last year to figure out ways to extend learning opportunities for students who fall below grade level in reading or math at the elementary/middle school, or who need to have a place to work on homework or make up credits at the middle school/high school. I’m happy to announce we have been able to create just such an opportunity at all our schools. Beginning October 9, we will offer an after school program to all students in grades 1-12. This program will also offer transportation home for most students (those in the farthest outlying areas or out-of-district students will not be able to be transported home). Our program will serve 120 elementary students, 48 middle school students and at least 24 high school students. This program has been created with the support of the Grays Harbor Community Foundation and the YMCA of Grays Harbor. We are so excited to be able to extend the learning time for some of our students who need it the most by up to two hours a day, four days a week. More details will be forthcoming.


Posted by kacuff On 19 September, 2017 at 3:01 PM  

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