Greetings to our school community:
As the 2014-15 school year moves along, I want to update our community on several school activities taking place. Your continual support of our staff and students makes San Juan Island a unique place to work and learn.
Release of state test scores If you review the state education website at www.k12.wa.us and click on the State Report Card tab you can get all the test scores in the state. For the 2013-14 school year students in the San Juan Island School District outperformed their grade level peers in nearly all subjects and nearly all grades.
At the same time our schools, like the vast majority of schools and districts in our state, did not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in all categories of students as defined by the No Child Left Behind Act. Clearly more work needs to be done at the federal and state levels to create a reasonable student assessment system. The last administration of the test determined 100% of our schools met AYP; this year in many categories we did not. Again, more work needs to be done to develop a balanced and stable assessment system.
The fight for public school funding continues. A Supreme Court Order 84362-7 outlined on September 11, 2014, found the legislature in contempt for failing to address the financial formula necessary to meet paramount duty of educating all students. This case has gone on for years. The legislature has been given until the end of the 2015 session to come up with a funding plan or face sanctions.
What this means for our district is better compensation for all educators, good class size, support for education reform, and a financial formula that not only sustains the initiatives we have in place, but also new funding to better prepare students for the 21st Century. Funding for our STEM initiative is just one example. There are many more. A District budget committee will convene this fall, to address the district's short and long term financials. The District will not run a school levy this year.
The district STEM initiative continues. The building renovation is starting to take shape. You may have been more interested in the Blair Street project, but out by the tennis courts good things are happening. Behind the scenes work is taking place to improve energy efficiency, bring in more light, and create modern work spaces for students. New technology is being designed to support new classes for second semester. In the next six weeks you should see a much improved look, and a more efficient building.
In addition to the STEM renovation, other capital projects continue. The most significant to report are improvements to the heating system at the high school and improvements to Turnbull Gym. The Turnbull Gym preliminary design will begin this winter as the STEM project phases out.
The district will continue meeting with health officials to make further preparations for the flu and other viral outbreaks. More work is being done to implement the district's immunization policy.
The teacher and principal evaluation system continues in the second full year of implementation. By this time next fall, all teachers will transition to the new evaluation system. The system changes can be seen at http://tpep-wa.org.
The new system identifies eight criteria for evaluation, along with four tiers of teacher performance. The principal evaluation is much the same, with both performance criteria and tiers. I applaud so many of our staff for stepping up to the challenge of the new evaluation system.
Please note as well that District has chosen the 5 Dimensions of Teaching as the adopted instructional framework. The website is www.k-12leadership.org. Please take a look at the work taking place locally and across the nation.
Two important reminders: If you know of a student who needs help, please use our safe and anonymous safe schools avenues as seen on the district's website www.sjisd.wednet.edu, or contact any staff member. We have trained staff who can help in a variety of ways.
And don't forget the San Juan Public Schools Foundation annual Phone A Thon October 7th and 8th.
Please don't hesitate to contact me on these or any other school items.