Weekly Update from the Superintendent - April 20, 2018

tchurchill Fri, 04/20/2018 - 6:42am
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April 20, 2018

This weekly update includes information from the District Office and department staff regarding District operations and reminders.  It does not include updates or activities from each school site.

Office of the Superintendent:

Mike Mattos – The District is bringing back Mike Mattos, from Solution Tree on May 8-9 to work with building administrators and teacher leader representatives.  They will create the structures/templates for the work of our Professional Learning Community teams on the late start Fridays next year.  Please talk with your building Principal or teacher leader representative about this work.  As a reminder, a PLC will discuss these four essential questions:

  • What do we want each student to learn?                                     (Standards)
  • How will we know when each student has learned it?                 (Assessments)
  • How will we respond when they don’t learn it?                           (Interventions)
  • How will we respond if the already know it?                               (Extensions)


Homeless Students – According to OSPI, about one out of every 25, K-12 students in Washington – nearly one in every classroom – will experience homelessness, living in hotels or in cars, or with friends, sometime during the school year.  In 2016-17, nearly 41,000 students were identified as homeless in Washington with 27 of that number being in Meridian School District.  The data for this year has not been released yet.

Sheree Johnston is Meridian’s Family Resource Coordinator.  She provides support for homeless students and families in need in Meridian.  Please take a moment to thank Sheree for her work, learn more about the needs of our homeless students and ask her how you can help.  Sheree can be reached at sjohnsto@meridian.wednet.edu or at extension 2486.

School Board:

Next Regular Board Meeting - The next regular School Board meeting is at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, April 25, 2018. Board meetings are held in the Professional Development/Board Room at MHS.  All staff members are invited and welcome to attend School Board meetings.   Meeting agendas and minutes can be accessed via a link from the District web site or at http://www.boarddocs.com/wa/msdwa/Board.nsf/Public

Human Resources: (Kurt Harvill, Director of Personnel, Grants and Risk Management)

PSE Professional Development Grant -Professional Development grants as per Section 15.8 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between Public School Employees of Washington and Meridian School District are now open.  According to the CBA, “the District will provide a training fund in the amount of three thousand dollars ($3000) yearly.  Interested employees must submit a letter of application that has been approved by the employee's supervisor and the PSE Chapter President.   Final approval will be granted by the Superintendent or his/her designee”.  Please submit the letter of application to the District Office on or before Friday, May 4, 2018.  The screening committee will meet the following week to review applications and distribute the funds.   

Paraeducator.com - The District has a subscription to Paraeducator.com which is available to all District staff. The site includes information on strategies for success, mentoring and up-to-date paraeducator requirements. There are links to articles and resources that all District employees can utilize in their daily work with students.

If you have any questions about the website, or about creating a Username and Password, please contact Julie Dodd at jdodd@meridian.wednet.edu or at extension 2152.

Teaching and Learning: (Patti Fouts, Director of Teaching and Learning)

English Learners - The following article, Activating Prior Knowledge With English Language Learners, shares strategies to help English learners better access content.  Though focused on English learners, the strategies support all learners.  

Technology: (Joe O’Brien, Technology Supervisor)

Smarter Balanced Assessments - Next Thursday, April 26th, is the beginning of Spring Assessments.  We start with the Smarter Balanced Math Assessment at the High School and end with Smarter Balanced ELA Assessment at the Middle School on May 31st.  With the exception of two days in May, the Technology Team will be supporting student assessments every day for at least one of our schools.   Providing a successful assessment environment is a major commitment for the Technology Team during spring, especially as the Smarter Balanced Assessment is not only a graduation requirement, but aggregate scores are directly reported under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

New Data & Assessment Specialist - I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome our new Data & Assessment Specialist, Cyndi Tennyson, who will be joining the Technology Team on Monday, April 23rd.  She is replacing Tiffany Field. Cyndi will be supporting standardized student assessments and programs like SBA, STAR and MAP.  She also will be supporting Homeroom and working with school and District teams to review student data.

Special Services: (Dr. Carolyn Jenkins, Director of Special Services)

New Family Resource Coordinator for 2018-19 - We are pleased to announce that starting in August, Molly McKay, currently a Family Resource Coordinator with the Mt. Baker school district, will be joining the Meridian School District as Family Resource Coordinator. 

Sheree Johnston, Meridian School District's Family Resource Coordinator, will retire this June after serving Meridian student and family needs for the past 12 years. So much of Sheree’s work happens behind the scenes, during and after school hours, with respectful care for the needs of each individual she works with. Sheree has coordinated with public agencies and private corporations to ensure our students received the services necessary for their success in school. This has included facilitating student's access to Operation School Bell for school clothes, transporting students and their families to school meetings and medical appointments, scheduling the Dental Van for student dental needs, coordinating services for our homeless families, acting as the district's Foster Care Liaison, participating on Student Support teams, and so many more caring options that enhance the lives of our students. 

We appreciate the work Sheree has provided our Meridian families and wish her the very best as she and her husband look forward to new adventures together. 

My Favorite FLOTUS Quote of the Week:  “Some people give time, some money, some their skills and connections, some literally give their life’s blood.  But everyone has something to give.”  (Barbara Bush)