GOOD NEWS ITEM: Jefferson Elementary students lead, organize, and run an annual food drive in partnership with Generation Alive. Students raise money to buy ingredients to make bags of cheesy rice and vegetable soup. Every class participates in bagging the soup ingredients, weighing and sealing the bags, and packaging them in boxes for distribution. This year, students raised $3,728 that bought 14,913 meals.
STUDENT ADVISOR REPORT: Lewis and Clark student advisor Katie Kenlein talked about the partnership with Second Harvest as the community service component of the Rubber Chicken rivalry basketball game. She also noted Reproduce 81 club started by LC senior Josh Hechtman that has recovered 12,000 pounds of food in the past year and a half.
CONSENT AGENDA: Unanimously approved.
HONORING BOARD MEMBERS: Two members of the community thanked the three outgoing board members and welcomed the incoming board members. Outgoing board members Brian Newberry, Deana Brower, and Sue Chapin expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to serve on the board and acknowledged the contributions of the staff, teachers, and students to Spokane Public Schools. They also welcomed and thanked the incoming board members for stepping forward to serve.
CERTIFICATE OF ELECTION: Incoming board members Nikki Lockwood, Jenny Slagle, and Kevin Morrison were sworn in and seated. Directors Jerrall Haynes and Mike Wiser were elected board president and vice president, respectively.
ELEMENTARY UPDATE: Adam Swinyard, associate superintendent for teaching and learning, and Heather Bybee, curriculum director, discussed improvements to elementary schools. Highlights include enhanced fall conferences to focus on parent-teacher relationships and communication about student experience; a shift to semester-based grading to be consistent with other levels; technology integration as a tool to connect students outside the classroom and for virtual sharing of information; convening a work group to study the specialist model focused on consistent outcomes when the elementary school day is restored; making curriculum enhancements to be more culturally responsive; and moving recess before lunch at 80 percent of schools.
WHOLE CHILD FOCUS: Swinyard and Jodi Harmon, student services director, shared an overview of the SPS whole child approach to student learning. The approach includes an MTSS focus based on the Urban Collaborative recommendation. The work has shifted to fidelity screening to ensure sound implementation and practice. Students need a wholistic experience built around the child and supporting individual basic needs, social emotional, and academic growth.
INTERIM FINANCIAL REPORT: Cindy Coleman, business services director, provided a snapshot of the district finances two months into the year. Enrollment is trending close to previous year and a little under budget, which impacts funding. Revenue is slightly below projections due to timing associated with beginning of the year. It is expected to catch back up as the year continues.
WORKFORCE DIVERSITY REPORT: Ramon Alvarez, human resource director, provided an update on the district’s workforce diversity recruiting and hiring efforts. Hiring has slowed across all districts due to recent budget pressures and resulting staff reductions. SPS has followed that trend. District diversity hiring strategies include targeted recruitment at third-party sponsored events, which has shown some success on the classified side. The new applicant system has been well-received and less cumbersome for the user. The district has experienced a significant increase in candidates identified as Hispanic in 2019, but a significant decrease in candidates identifying as multi-racial. Diversity remains relatively stagnant for certificated positions.
BOARD REPORTS: Director Haynes participated in the architectural design firms for Joe Albi Stadium. Directors Kevin Morrison, Nikki Lockwood, and Jenny Slagle attended new school board training.
SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT: Shelley Redinger was asked to be on state MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement) board, which promotes diversity recruitment in those fields.