Weekly Update from the Superintendent - March 23, 2018

tchurchill Fri, 03/23/2018 - 8:37am
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March 23, 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:

Parent Conferencing and Smarter Balanced Assessments – Please take the opportunity at the upcoming parent conferences to talk with parents about the Smarter Balanced annual state assessments which are set to occur this spring.  Provide them with resources and assistance in understanding what is expected of their student on these assessments.  The Smarter Balanced Assessments website at http://www.smarterbalanced.org/ has numerous resources available which you can recommend to parents, including a link to practice tests.

2018-19 Assistant Principal for MHS – Please welcome Andy Donahue as the new Assistant Principal at Meridian High School beginning July 1st.  Andy is currently the Assistant Principal at LaVenture Middle School in Mount Vernon School District and has served in this capacity for five years.  He previously served as a math teacher in Bellingham, Tunisia and Singapore.

School Board:

Next Regular Board Meeting - The next regular School Board meeting is at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, March 28, 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)

Paraeducator Requirements - If you are interested in becoming a paraeducator, the District has updated resources to assist you in meeting the above requirements.   These resources include The Praxis Series ParaPro Assessment Study Guide.  The District currently has two copies available and we just ordered two more copies.  The District also purchased a subscription to paraeducator.com.   The resources are available for employees to check out at the District Office.  If you are interested, please contact Julie Dodd (jdodd@meridian.wednet.edu)

MEA Professional Development Grant - Collaboratively the MEA and the District, awarded the spring 2017-18 Professional Development funds to five (5) recipients totaling $5000 of this spring’s allotment of $5000.  Priority was given to National Boards, Masters programs, and Pro-Teach. The team then considered those who had not received a grant in the last year and how the professional development would support the staff member and the District.  Award letters will be delivered to the following.   



2017-18 Spring

WACA Conference




2017-18 Spring

Continuing Education Webinars




2017-18 Spring

Masters of Education in Instructional Design Fees




2017-18 Spring

NWESD VESI Coursework




2017-18 Spring

BTC Summer Educators Institute




2017-18 Spring

NWESD VESI Coursework




2017-18 Spring

Masters Coursework


The MEA Professional Development Grant has awarded a total of $18,000 this year.


Business Office: (Daniel Yorton, Director of Business Services)

2017/18 Purchase Orders – Reminder: The deadline to have 2017/18 purchase orders in for approval is May 15, 2018. All purchases made after May 15th will require special approval from the Finance Department.

Please note that this is the final due date for 2017/18 purchase orders.  Buildings and departments will likely have earlier deadlines for staff members to get their purchases turned into their building secretary.  For example, the Irene Reither Elementary School cut off for teachers and other staff to get their purchases in to the building secretary is April 15.  Please contact your building Principal (or department supervisor) for your exact purchasing cutoff date.

Maintenance: (Brian Stephan, Maintenance Supervisor)

Work Orders – The maintenance department utilizes a work order tracking system called School Dude. If you have a work order to submit, please notify your custodian or school secretary so that the work can be entered into and tracked in our work order system.

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

Seasonal Allergies and Student Performance - The pollen and allergy season is upon us and with it come challenges for our students and staff who are afflicted with seasonal allergies. While we delight in the longer hours of daylight and slowly warming temperatures, there is also concern for students who are dealing with untreated allergies or are not receiving proper medication. 

According to Russell Blaylock, MD, when a person's immune system perceives a substance in the environment (such as pollen) as an invader, it triggers a cascade of internal responses known to include seasonal allergy brain fog as well as more familiar symptoms. With some allergies, the microglia cells in the brain are activated, and “this interferes with higher brain function." This is important information for teachers to understand, as it may help with recognizing changes in a student's performance, either academically or behaviorally. If you note a change in a student's attentiveness, academic performance or behavior, please check in with the family to share your observations. Often students will either be placed on prescription medications, but the parents do not notify the school, or the student may be self-medicating with an OCT medication that isn't right for them. By contacting the family, we can share information that will help them give updated information to the student's medical team.

My Favorite FLOTUS Quote of the Week:  “What one has to do usually can be done.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)