Greetings to all!
As we begin the new school year I thought it would be helpful to let you know about some new things happening in the school district.
Chimacum has two board seats up for election. I commend these citizens for volunteering to serve on the school board for four year terms. The election is November 7. If you have not registered to vote you can do so by calling the Jefferson County elections office at (360) 385-9117. You can register by mail, in person, or online. See www.sos.wa.gov for more information.
I am pleased to announce several new leaders to the district this year. Brian MacKenzie has been promoted from Chimacum High School Assistant Principal to Principal; Mark Gudger will take Brian’s former position in a newly created Dean of Students position. Jason Lynch from the Port Townsend School District will take over from Mark Barga who retired as Principal of Chimacum Elementary School. Holly Patton has agreed to serve as the Director of Special Services, a role that is shared with the Quilcene School District. David Carthum (CMS) and Kalie Enlow (CCP) will both be in their second year. Please also note that long time teacher and coach Tony Haddenham will serve as the District Athletic Director.
The district will focus on three goals this year. First, we will focus on student attendance more closely. Chimacum students over the last several years have been absent more frequently than other students in the state. There are many reasons for this, but in a lot of cases there is no excuse; students need to be in class to learn. Board Policy 3122 defines excused and unexcused absences. We need all parents and community members to instill the value of being present to succeed. Please help us make punctual attendance a big community value.
The next goal is to improve the learning climate for all students, so they feel safe, cared for, and focused on their studies. Students who disrupt the learning of others will be treated with respect, and will receive the discipline they need to keep them back on track. This year a new In School Suspension (ISS) Coordinator position has been developed to help middle school and high school students refocus. We will also follow up with behavior support for all learners at Chimacum Creek Primary, to provide the staff, students, and families the best possible learning environment.
It is clear by now that Chimacum students are not performing on state-wide assessments as well as they should be. There are many reasons for this: Not learning the standards, outdated curriculum, lack of motivation to succeed on tests, or missing the test altogether. We can and we must do better. New investments in elementary math bring new materials using a program called Bridges to Mathematics. Renewal of science kits and new middle school science curriculum is another. This year we plan to adopt new high school science materials. I am also excited that our teachers and students are beginning to see the value in seeing how students perform using Measures of Academic Progress (www.nwea.org). This is the second year of implementation, so that each of our students can see how well they are progressing in reading and math. Much staff training will take place this year, and I look forward to meeting with our elementary teachers to see how each of our young readers is progressing.
A final note: Would you like to become involved in Chimacum Schools? Let me provide a list of ways you can lend a hand over the next year:
- Volunteer: After a simple background check you can come in to the schools and help out in many ways. Let us know if you are interested.PH: 302-5890.
- Provide financial support: At nearly every school board meeting we accept gifts, large and small – for different programs. Consider this type of support if you are able.
- Reading buddies: Our primary school has a growing list of adults who help our little ones with reading. I do it and its life changing.
- Superintendent Advisory Committee: We meet quarterly during the school day so that citizens can give me feedback on issues that are of interest as well as their concerns. It is an informal meeting. Please join us. PH: 302-5890.
- Join our thought exchange conversation.
These are just a few of the ways you can help your local schools. Please don’t hesitate to call me if I can be of assistance. I can be reached at (360) 302-5896.