EARLY BOARD REPORT: Ferris High School student Dylan Pearson, student advisor, spoke about the robust and rare music opportunities throughout the district, including the delegation selected to compete at the All-Northwest music competition. Mr. Pearson also discussed his experience with the lockdown last month at Ferris. He also talked about participating in the task force that is studying district safety and security practices.
GOOD NEWS ITEM: Two years ago, Sacajawea Middle School teacher Kim Taylor created an advanced 8th grade engineering class where every student project centers around community service. Four students presented a class project that is developing a “glove” to improve the ability of the Spokane Police Department robot to grasp, hold and examine items. Students have examined the robot, developed concepts, and are testing a preliminary design for functionality and durability.
HEARING OF DELEGATES: Several delegates spoke about principal leadership, development, and communication; IEP usage; campus resource officers; district hiring practices; restorative practices; arming resource officers; racial bias; and the Ferris incident.
CONSENT AGENDA: Unanimously approved.
CAPITAL PROJECTS PLANNING: Dr. Mark Anderson, associate superintendent, and Rick Romero, who works on special projects for the City of Spokane, reviewed the SPS and city partnership projects that use idol city land for greater citizen benefit. The next step is discussion of joint use and programmatic arrangements on land transfers and leases between the partners. That process is being governed by a partnership structure that includes a policy committee and executive team and will also address protocols for communication and resolving partnership challenges and problems. City Councilmembers Breean Beggs and Mike Fagan and School Board Members Deana Brower and Mike Wiser represent the partners on the policy committee. The School board unanimously approved the Partnership Umbrella Agreement to continue the joint use and programmatic work between the organizations. The City Council took the same action on Monday night.
SECONDARY TEACHING UPDATE: Building high-performance schools includes focuses on the learning environment, academic behaviors, academic press, and promoting a culture of success. The 6th-to-8th grade math curriculum adoption last year has led to staff participation in as many as 72 hours each of professional development. The curriculum has received positive feedback from students and parents, especially the tips for parents to assist with student homework. Scope and sequence for piloting new middle school computer science curriculum and pilot social emotional learning curriculum is also underway. Other highlights include: Pre-AP pilots at all five comprehensive high schools are going well; discussions with local tribes could bring the true stories of local tribes to our classrooms; a mentoring program is being developed to work specifically with students of color; addressing chronic absenteeism to improve student achievement is considering early warning systems, use of data, and a “nudge” reminder system to keep students in school; organizing a distinguished scholars event; updating and expanding the course catalogue; moving to a one-to-one student-to-laptop classroom environment; strengthening the partnership with Spokane Public Library to host a book share among pilot schools at all levels; identifying and growing opportunities to elevate student voice; working to offer completion of all skill center courses at NEWTech; more than 6,000 students have completed their career interest inventory; launching SPS mobile app this summer as a hub of information and interactivity via mobile phone; evaluating middle and high school student option programs; and working with community partners to provide multi-generational support that make schools a neighborhood hub for family connectivity to community services.
BOARD REPORTS: Director Brian Newberry reported on legislative trip to Olympia to discuss important district priorities, including school funding and numerous classroom visits and teacher celebrations.
BOARD REQUESTS: Director Mike Wiser requested a report on district hiring practices and background checks.
SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT: Dr. Shelley Redinger discussed the middle school design process and reminded the board that she is attending a conference next week, including an informational meeting about PeachJar, a software provider that assists with distribution of information. Dr. Redinger will also speak on five panels.