ILWACO - Superintendent Tom Lockyer on Monday presented his plans for the district in the coming year, a plan with some bold moves and big changes.
Lockyer started off a big night at the January meeting of the Ocean Beach School District Board of Directors by doing something that he feels is a key element to a successful district - giving recognition.
"We think it's important that we start at the top," said Lockyer as he handed out certificates of appreciation to the five board members. "We truly have good things going on, and it starts with the board."
He went on to say that they will be recognizing those within the district for longevity and other things worth note.
Lockyer then moved on to the biggest news of the evening by unveiling his list goals which he hopes to have accomplished, or at least have in the process, by January of next year.
"We have to find ways of making our kids successful and helping them to become successful," said Lockyer.
He said that perception is important - how the students and the district perceive themselves.
"Until kids can feel success and be successful, that climate is not going to change," said Lockyer.
He said that he hoped to use these goals to change that climate within the district.
The first goal deals with creating a focused budget and curricula that addresses reading, literacy, writing and math skills using the School Improvement Process.
This would include establishing a birth to age three reading and math program, establish a full-day kindergarten program, fund reading and math coaches in all the school buildings, making sure that every student by grade five is reading at grade level and instituting a summer school program for students not reaching expectations. They will be funding these projects with existing moneys from the general fund, Title I, Title II and I-728.
"The reason we are looking at those funding sources is because those are known funding sources," said Lockyer. "Grants we can't rely on specifically because they come and go.
"We're making a pretty bold step here that kids and parents will need to understand, as well as our staff. we owe it to our students to be able to be literate and have math capabilities that are age [and grade] appropriate at certain critical junctures," he said.
The second goal is to create a district-wide profile that shows the socio-economic and other demographic data of students. This profile will detail groups by special education, Title I, gender, ethnicity and WASL/ITBS scoring among others.
"That data is critical to grants that we will write in the future," said Lockyer.
With the third goal, Lockyer plans that all schools within the district will be utilizing the School Improvement Process model to effect change, reach and exceed standards and create sustainability of programs.
The fourth goal is to review, reinforce and re-align special program functions within the district.
"All of our special programs should have to fall under the strategic plan and the school improvement effort and not be 'random acts of education,' that don't have a focus," said Lockyer. "I think we need to go through a process that ensures that."
Lockyer went on to say he believes they will improve student performance because they will hold the students and the teachers accountable, as well as the district and the board. He hopes that it will also create sustainability in a time when budgets are stretched.
"It's going to take a major effort on our part, as a board and as a school administration, and as a staff to bring all of this stuff back into focus. But with those school improvement processes in place, we have a tool to do that with."
Lockyer's final goal is that by June of this year to review and reconfigure the administrative team within the district.
"We have concerns, in terms of the quantity of administrators. But we also have concerns in terms of meeting the budget," said Lockyer.
They will address their goals in regards to administrative reconfiguration based on what are the related needs to the buildings, to the students and the new grade configuration, to the district direction and focus, to the staffing patterns and budget authority.
"If attrition occurs, we should look at reconfiguring the remaining staff to meet our needs," said Lockyer. "If attrition is not realized, we should look at staffing reduction based on performance."
He finished by reminding the board that it will take a lot of planning from here on out to realize these goals, but he was assured by the board that they were behind him 100 percent.
The after-school program, Peninsula Learns, got some good news as well, as their staff of seven were re-hired, including site coordinator Jenny Schmidt. Peninsula Learns also received $500 in donations from Betty Beamer ($200), and Ann Childers ($300).
In response to questions regarding Peninsula Learns funding, Lockyer said that if other grant sources do not surface by May - when their current resources run out - the district will look at ways to continue to support the educational component of the program.
"Our hope is that as we go through our processes we are able to identify sources ... programs that we can sustain because of our known funding and that if cities and counties want to take a look at these kinds of programs, hopefully they will step forward in recreational components and we'll work hard to maintain the educational pieces," said Lockyer.
Ilwaco Junior/Senior High School Principal Lisa Nelson gave an update on how the waiver days, taken by teachers at the junior/senior high school three days before the start of the school year, and the positive affects they have had.
"To have everybody there, the whole staff, in a collaborative process, I thought was really important," said Nelson.
Several key decisions were made that Nelson feels got them off to one of the best starts that they've ever had. Some of these new ideas used by the school included the implementation of seating charts, entry tasks and having every staff member greet students at the door every morning.
"I think that really set an important tone for this whole school year," said Nelson.
They also spent a day working on curriculum mapping, a plan set to keep every class on the path of WASL test prep. She also said it was good to get the staff ready in advance of the first few days. She suggested that the other schools in the district apply for the waiver days as well. Board chairman Ed Guelfi assured Nelson that when it is time to apply again in two years, the board would approve them.
Nelson also reported on a new program that will be added to the freshman Physical Education period called Project S.U.C.C.E.S.S. It is a pilot program dealing with drug and alcohol prevention and intervention. It is funded through a grant that pays for materials and a full-time drug and alcohol councilor. They qualified by having a high at-risk population and drug and alcohol indicators on surveys. They have started the process already and it will go into effect at the start of the new semester.
"We feel it's essential to add a wellness component," said Nelson.
It will be a "pull-out program" where students will meet with the councilor in groups of eight to 10 at a time during the P.E. period. It will also deal with other issues facing the teen students, including peer-pressure and depression. It is a parental consent program.
Board Vice-chairman Jim Sayce reported on the issues addressed at the facilities committee meeting. He told the board that the Hilltop ventilation project was 90 percent completed and it has gone very well. He mentioned that the play equipment at Ocean Park Elementary does not come up to code and they will be removing it in the near future. New play equipment will be acquired and installed and the old will be scrapped.
Sayce also made a motion to begin the development process and seeking bids for three jobs, including repair to the maintenance building roof, repair to the stadium roof at the high school and the installation of a security system at the high school.
"The stadium, actually, was on last year's project list and never got done," said Sayce.
He said the projected cost for the security system is somewhere in the range of $30,000.
"If the average break-in costs us between $2,000 and $4,000," said Sayce, "then our investment in any security system is a break-even proposition."
Business Manager Cindy Decker reported enrollment is up by 10 students right now, which is a good sign.
"We're consistently not going down, we're consistently holding our own, which is really good," said Sayce.
In the budget, Decker reported that the district is still waiting to hear from the federal government as to their funds given to special education. The board authorized the general fund for January at $173,760.98 and the ASB fund at $17,593.35.
The board also approved a donation of $2,000 from Kenneth and Dorothy Penttila to Tlohon-nipts Alternative High School.
An update to the district's technology plan was also approved by the board, in which they will work with a one-year pan this year and then move to a three-year plan as of January 2004 in order to continue receiving federal funds for technology.