Superintendent's Message

Message from the Superintendent -- June 17th, 2010

Good Morning Meridian,

As we send our students on the way on their last day of school for 2009-2010, and we say our goodbyes with deep appreciation to our staff members who are retiring, I would like to express my thanks to each of you for your work with our children. At graduation on Tuesday evening it was wonderful to see the fruits of your collective efforts in the outstanding group of seniors who leaving Meridian to make the world a better place! Thank You!

District Information

1) I am deeply aware that the ongoing challenges from the state make for uncertainty and that changes moving forward are challenging. Thank you all for your patience as the necessary adjustments and changes are put in place. There will still be work ongoing throughout the summer as we continue to evaluate all aspects of the educational and support programs and work through the finalization of the budget process in late July. As always, if there are questions, even during the summer, please feel free to ask directly. I hope that each of you has an enjoyable summer and that you have some time to enjoy your family, friends and pursuits that are fun and challenging.

2) As we begin 2010-2011 it is the plan for our entire district to be together, presently scheduled for Thursday September, 2, 2010. I will confirm when this date is finalized. It is always my wish to keep the majority of your time for work in school and preparing for the students. Please be aware that there are some mandatory training topics that we must cover at this meeting, and I anticipate the time for all employees to take a longer time in the fall. Thanks in advance for your understanding.

3) District infromation regarding the schedule prior to the beginning of the school year will be available via e-mail and on the district web-site no later than August 10, 2010, No paper copy will be sent. There were a large number of suggestions in the fall of 2009, that the paper copy of the letter was redundant and unnecessary. Please be advised that I will be sharing the most recent information that we have about all of the beginning of the year times (week of August 30-September 3) as soon as they are finalized. Please visit the district website regularly and please look at your district g-mail account for information. Thanks for your help in making this improvement work!

4) Health for Staff - Due to a recent Measles outbreak in BC and its migration over the border into our county, the Whatcom Health Department has notified all school districts within the county that students and staff members who can not show adequate proof of immunization against the measles would run the risk of being excluded from school/work if an outbreak should occur. Our nursing staff will be forwarding information about the immunization requirements to all staff via e-mail. Please take the time over the summer to make sure that your immunization status with regard to measles and other potential risks are in order.

5) With our most recent conversion to a new fiscal system, Meridian and many other school districts in our area are moving to a direct deposit method of payment for employees. The new system makes it very difficult and very slow to replace paper warrants and/or checks that may be lost or are for some reason incorrect. Direct Deposit is more secure and the district can better serve all employees through this method. The vast majority of our classified and certificated employees already use direct deposit. Please be advised that the district will be moving to direct deposit entirely in January of 2011. Tracy Newby will be sending out information for the small number of employees who do not currently have this service. If you need assistance or have questions, please come and see Tracy in the district office and she will be happy to assist you.

6) Over the summer the district will be activating the "Employee Access" portion of the Skyward system. This will allow employees to look directly at your current employment information (sick days, personal leave, financial details etc...) Lilly will be forwarding information via e-mail out to all employees in the district about this feature. I believe that this will help employees to better know their status in several areas that are sometimes a bit challenging to access currently. We will cover this topic in the fall with everyone. If you have questions please feel free to call.

7) Last evening our school board approved the "education specifications" for the new Meridian High School and will be working through the subsequent phases of the project throughout the summer and fall. There was a great deal of staff and community input that shaped the design for the new school. This is the process that we anticipate repeating for the upcoming IRPS project and subsequent projects in the district. Thank you to the staff for your excellent suggestions and thoughts about how the campus would fit the needs of our Meridian Community and and the students who will attend. The School Board has done an admirable job in working with our architect and construction management firm to move the process along in a very timely way. I am very excited for all staff and members of the community to begin to see the project come together during the next school year. We are making very positive progress in improving the learning and working environment for our students and staff!

8) The district will again be undertaking several projects over the summer to improve the working and learning environment in the schools. Please be aware that the maintenance and custodial crews will be hard at work moving through the schools over the summer. They do a great job for all of us. Please thank them when you have a chance for the extra effort they put forth in very warm weather to make sure that when September comes, we are in good order!

9) Joe has been good enough to send out information regarding the technology that remains in your classes over the summer and guidelines for use of technology that may be mobile over the summer. Please revisit the technology information prior to leaving for the summer. Thanks for making sure that the investment in technology is safe and protected.

10) Most importantly, we as a district took some very significant steps forward in improving the learning and performance of our students over the course of the past school year. Many of our teachers have taken on leadership roles in providing professional development and supporting one another. The result has been some very positive steps for our children Thanks to everyone for their work and focus. We will continue the work with our teacher leaders to align curricula and support one another on teaching practices. The leadership and willingness is much appreciated.

We are moving forward on many fronts in our district. This could not happen without everyone working together to support and teach our students. Your work is deeply appreciated and we are poised to continue building on the positive growth that has been accomplished in the recent past. Again, I hope you all enjoy your summer and remain safe. I look forward to seeing you very soon.

Tim

Timothy S. Yeomans, Ed.D.
Superintendent, Meridian School District