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Principal's Message

Brian MacKenzie

What’s New at Chimacum High School

As assistant principal last year, I learned a lot about our students, staff, and community. I formed the conviction that our school is ready to grow from good to great, but I did not have to look far for guidance on goal-setting for my first year as CHS principal.

My bosses—the school board and the superintendent—evidently share my belief that Chimacum kids deserve a world-class education. Last spring, the CSD board of directors set several rigorous goals to spur our district’s climb to excellence in 2017-18.

With your help, CHS will rise to the challenge.

Improve student attendance

Knowing that consistent attendance is the key to academic success, the board expects CHS student attendance to surpass the state average. You can help by ensuring students get to school every day on time, without fail. When a student misses school due to illness or emergency, please communicate promptly with the school office to excuse the absence. Finally, please make every effort to schedule medical appointments after hours and vacations on non-school days.

CHS has hired a Dean of Students, Mark Gudger, to support students and parents in reducing tardies and unexcused/excessive absences. We have also set up a Community Truancy Board to prevent and reduce referrals to the Jefferson County truancy court. In addition, we will provide in-school suspension (ISS) as an alternative to suspending kids out of school for disciplinary offenses. Liz Gilbert, our new ISS coordinator, will provide academic and behavioral services in the ISS room.

Increase student achievement

The board expects student scores on state tests “to exceed the state average at all grades and in all subjects.” To reinforce the efforts of our fine returning faculty, we have hired a new Language Arts teacher, Greg Reed, to focus on freshman English. After a year with the Pi program, Courtney Prather returns to CHS to teach Biology and AP Environmental Science, and to provide extra help in math.

Because our graduation rate generally exceeds the state average, the board has challenged CHS to increase the district’s 5-year graduation rate to 92%. To motivate kids to stay in school, CHS maintains strong elective offerings. Lacey Carnahan is our new wood shop teacher. Tina Grewell—formerly the music teacher at Chimacum Creek Primary School—now directs the high school choir.

To help students focus in class and stay on track to graduate, we are tightening the CHS policy on the use of smartphones (and other personal technology) in class. Students may use these devices on campus before school, during lunch, and after school, but during class time, personal technology needs to be turned off and put away. If you need to contact your child during instructional time, please call the school office at 302-5900.

Maximize participation in sports & activities

Students active in school sports and clubs tend to have better attendance, grades, and graduation rates, so the board has challenged CHS to get at least 75% of our students involved in at least one co-curricular activity this year. To this end, we are asking our new athletic director, Tony Haddenham, to take Cowboy sports to the next level, and—in his role as ASB advisor—to help improve other clubs and activities, too.

To facilitate maximum participation in all co-curricular programs, we have extended our athletic no-cut policy across all school activities. New fall head coaches include Mike Fleck (soccer), Dardo Olivera (volleyball), and Jessica Wesley (cheer). Gene Arnovitz returns in tennis, joined by Dave DiPrete as co-head coach. Mike Dowling and Mr. Haddenham have strengthened the football staff with the addition of Chris Storm and volunteer assistants Darrin Dotson and Trevor Huntingford.

All of us at CHS are profoundly grateful for the opportunity to educate the children of this community. I hope to see you at Cowboy Day, and throughout the school year, as we work together—educators, students, and parents—to create the world-class learning experiences Chimacum kids deserve.

Brian MacKenzie Principal 
Chimacum High School


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