Questions & Answers

  • These questions were submitted via Let's Talk, our online tool for sharing questions, comments, suggestions, concerns or compliments.

Athletics/GSL

Q: I was told there is a site to file for a free or discounted GSL but I cannot seem to find it. I have registered my son, for basketball but did not see a site to apply for assistance.

A: You can get that form in the business office at LC. The form will allow the school to verify that you qualify for free & reduded-price lunch status, and then you will be able to get the GSL card for $15. Just FYI, this is available only to the parents of the student -- not other relatives.

Calendar/School Schedule/Summer

Q: What are the dates of summer school 2022. We have a grandson who likely will be using the service to make up credits, and want to make summer plans?

A: While planning is still underway, we anticipate summer school will begin the week of June 20.

Clubs & Activities

Q: Hello. I was wondering how a student might be able to start a club of their own. None of the clubs listed peak my interest, and I would very much like to participate in a group setting type thing, such as a club. Is this a possibility? Thank you for your time, please get back to me as soon as possible.

A: It absolutely is a possibility. Please connect with your principal, Mrs. Leyde: traceyl@spokaneschools.org or 509-354-5440 and she will be able to help you with next steps. Good luck!

Course Offerings/Curriculum

Q: Has the district ever considered statistics a required course in high school? Is it available as an elective? Would it be possible to add this course if it isn't already available?

A: Our math curriculum in grades 6-8 is designed to help students develop a foundational fluency for geometry, algebra, and statistics. We offer Statistics as a high school elective math credit following completion of Algebra 2. Students can also take Advanced Placement Statistics, which is equivalent to a one-semester, introductory, non-calculus-based college course. Please visit our High School Course Catalog if you would like more information about SPS course offerings. If you have more questions about our Curriculum, please call 509.354.5900.


Q: Does School District 81 broadcast CNN to kids in elementary, middle or high school.

A: Our teachers may use a range of media examples to discuss current events. One supplemental curriculum material that has been approved by Council of Curriculum Advisory is CNN 10, an on-demand digital news program that grade 6-12 social studies teachers may use as a supplemental resource to enhance their instruction. It is one of many district approved age-appropriate media sources that provide multiple viewpoints on current issues. According to the CNN 10 website, the site is designed to “present current events and issues in the real world to students in grades 6-12."

You can learn more about SPS course offerings at spokaneschools.org/curriculum.


Q: Does School District 81 teach any forms of critical race theory.

A: SPS does not teach Critical Race Theory (CRT), and it is not part of any adopted district curriculum. CRT is a 40-year-old academic concept centered on race as a social construct that is usually used in college-level education curriculum.

We always ask any SPS students or families who feel that something is being taught outside of the approved curriculum to first bring the issue to their teacher, counselor, or building leadership. If their concerns are not addressed at the school level, they should be brought to the attention of the district office for resolution. Contact information can be found at spokaneschools.org/directory.


Q: I just have a questions regarding what programs are offered through elementary schools in the district for students who are excelling in the classroom and getting bored with the curriculum. Is there a program to help them keep engaged, a more challenging program? What are the steps to look into gifted and talented? Thank you

A: Some of the options depend on the grade level of your student. I would recommend you reach out to Dr. Debra DeWitt, one of our coordinators in Teaching and Learning who specializes in highly capable curriculum, assessment, and resources and would have the best information for you.  


Q: Who do I contact for running start? i would like to do it next year and I’m not sure who to talk to.

A: Your high school counselor should be able to point you in the right direction. In general there are Running Start Information Nights toward the end of January and early February to get information from SCC/SFCC/EWU and then your high school counselor will help you with the process.

If you let me know your name and high school I can also connect you with your Running Start counselor (some schools have one vs. other schools spread it across the whole counseling team).


Q: Hi I was wondering if I am able to register and take the High School Health class online and gain credit for it before semester 2 starts this year.

A: The best person to be able to answer your question is your HS counselor.  I would encourage you to reach out to them for specifics on courses and credits.


Q: How do you find out more information about getting into the welding program. My son is a 10th grader in CVSD and is interested in this program for next year.

A: Welding is one of the programs offered by NEWTECH Skill Center. You can find out more on their webiste here. You can also reach out to their staff, or talk with your son's school counselor if you have additional questions.

COVID/Masks/Vaccinations

Q: Since Contact Tracing is ending, does that mean that students and teachers are no longer required to be 3 feet apart? This has not been mentioned, and I'm wondering how I need to setup classroom activities after this week.

A: 3-feet distancing is no longer required. Please refer to our Health & Safety Protocols for more guidelines. Thanks!


Q: We are removing masks AND stopping all tracking? So how are we supposed to know if these unmasked students are causing exposures in classrooms? This is not how we keep our students and staff, especially our vulnerable groups, safe. The pandemic isn't over just because we look away.

A: Our online dashboard will continue to be updated with cases and quarantines with information gathered from the Student COVID-19 Reporting Form. Our contact tracers are also using the online reporting form to reach out to teachers and principals via email to let teachers know they’ve had a positive in their classroom. If you have more questions, you can reach out to our Health Services Coordinator Meredith Clarke 509-354-7883 or meredithc@spokaneschools.org. She will have more information about the updated health and safety protocols.


Q: I have heard rumors that students will be required to be vaccinated by next school year. Is this true?

A: There is no COVID-19 vaccine requirement for K-12 students at this time. You can find the 2022-23 school and child care immunization charts at doh.wa.gov/scci. The Washington State Board of Health determines immunization requirements for schools, and we will alert families if changes occur.


Q: I just wanted to submit my feedback that the emails you send every single time there's a confirmed case in my kid's school are really annoying. That case means nothing to me if it doesn't involve my student, and I know if it does, then I will be contacted by Contact Tracers. For some of our very large schools, there's a really good chance that my student would be nowhere near whoever had the positive case, and I imagine these emails are going out nearly every day. It's turning into spam.
Personally, I just created a filter to send "Confirmed COVID-19 case" to the trash. I hope contact tracers don't try to email me with that subject, because I won't see it.

I'm tech savvy, but I wonder how many other parents are getting tired of deleting those, or stressing out over every single case because they're worried it could affect them.
If someone wants to know about every case, can they check the dashboard or subscribe to some sort of notification list?

Anyhow, that's my feedback.

A: We have gone both ways on this process and have gone this route to be as informative as possible. I'll pass along your feedback to district leadership. 


Q: Where can I get a document that shows how the Covid relief funds have been spent on the children’s educational pursuits?

A: Here is the budget presentation from the August 25th School Board meeting. I think you are looking for page 10 of 22 on the presentation (ESSER Funds).

If you wanted more information it might be best to go through a public records request here.

Dress Codes/Costumes

Q: Are kids allowed to wear Halloween Costumes this year?

A: It depends on your school. If you contact our school's main office they should be able to let you know. 

Enrollment

Q: I am looking for historical enrollment data for the Disctrict, going back as far as posiible. How can I locate or be provided with that data? All I am finding is the state-wide enrollment data. Thank you.

A: You can check the WA State Report Card here and type in "Spokane School District." You'll be able to find enrollment data back to 2015-16.


Q: What are the numbers of student enrollment for the last three years total and broken down by elementary, middle school and high school? What was your projection for this year and what was the actual count as of October 1st?

A: I believe all of the data you are looking for is on the OSPI Report Card website for our school district. 

Meals & Food in School

Q: Kids are being handed candy everyday at school for good behavior. This makes no sense and should be left up to parents. Also schools should be prioritizing children’s health. This derails the fight against obesity and teaching healthy habits.

A: You are absolutely right. In fact, School Board policy & procedure 6700 outline the guidelines regarding healthy classroom snacks. If you could please write back and let us know which school you have had this experience with, we can follow up with them.

Registration

Q: I realize I am quite early, but I want to ensure I do not miss registration for Hutton next year. By chance do you know the date/month that registration occures for kindergarten? If so is there a link you can provide for future reference?

A: Kindergarten registration starts March 1. You can find registration information here.

Student Surveys

Q: I understand there will be a survey given to SPS students regarding a variety of social and emotional issues including questions about sexual activity, racial issues and other politically charged topics.

  1. Will a letter be sent home notifying parents and offering them the ability to opt their children out as is done in other school districts? If not, who do I contact about opting out my junior high children?
  2. What company created the survey and does District 81 pay for it? If so, how much?

    Thank you for your time.

A: To clarify, we do not ask questions to students about their sexual activity. Our district procedure related to this is here.

There is a WA State Survey called the Healthy Youth Survey given every two years to students that have optional questions asking about sexual activity. We do not ask those questions. 

Panorama is our chosen vendor for social and emotional surveys and the cost is available by submitting a public records request here.

You can let your school know directly that you would like to opt your children out of the surveys. 


Q: It just came to my attention that SPS has been using Panorama to survey and data mine our children three times a year.

A: I have connected with Panorama about your concern and they have this FAQ page for your reference.

Technology

Q: I have an incoming Freshman in the fall who will be at LC. Will she be checked out a computer to bring home daily as is the practice currently at Sac? Thanks for your help!

A: Yes, we plan to check out computers to students next year as well. Thanks for asking!


Q: Hello, I'm wondering why DuckDuckGo, the search engine, is blocked on school laptops and desktops. I value my privacy, so I'd rather not use Google or Bing, and DuckDuckGo is my go to. It seems weird how a search engine, which only acts as an anonymous middle man between Google & Bing, is blocked.

A: Technology Services responded: "As a school district we are required to limit student website access. Tools such as DuckDuckGo prevent the district from meeting this requirement."


Q: Am I required to bring my laptop every single day?

A: That depends on whether or not your teacher or teachers want you to do anything for their class on your laptop. It is probably best to bring it every day just in case you need it, but I would defer to your teacher or teachers.

Transcripts

Q: I a former ferris student and i was wondering how i ger a copy of my transcripts for a plumbers union?

A: You can request a transcript here. Thank you for reaching out and let us know if you have any further questions.

Transportation

Q: my daughter takes the bus every day to and from school. when will the schedule go back to normal?

A: Durham (our school bus transportation service provider) is continuing to train more bus drivers to restore routes back to normal. They are hoping to have service back to normal as soon as they get their new drivers trained.