NASELLE — The Board of Directors of the Naselle-Grays River Valley School District heard a positive report from new Naselle Youth Camp School (NYCS) Principal Gary Flood during their monthly meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 20.
Flood, who was an administrator in Ocean Beach School District in the 1990s, briefed the board on accomplishments at NYCS. He reported that 15 students earned their GEDs and seven earned diplomas during the previous year. Considering the short time many of the students are at the school — transferring out when court-ordered sentences are complete — that is a noteworthy accomplishment. Thus far this year, three students have earned their GEDs and one has received a diploma.
Flood was complimentary of the school’s teaching staff and noted, while their goal is to see their students earn GEDs and/or diplomas, an even greater goal is to help their students begin lives of integrity.
Superintendent Lisa Nelson reported the general fund had a balance of $916,114 as of the end of August. K-12 enrollment is currently 320, NYCS is 81 and the Columbia Virtual Academy (CVA) is now serving 35 FTEs. (An FTE is a full-time equivalent; for example, two students attending half time equal one FTE.) That represents an increase in K-12 enrollment of 16 FTEs over the end of last school year.
Nelson noted that work on the new western entrance to the school grounds from State Route 4 should begin within the next month. Work on the construction of the new covered play area is projected to begin sometime in November. Nelson stated the project is, at this point, expected to be within the $750,000 budget approved by the board.
Nelson reported the district’s transportation program received a 100 percent efficiency rating from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Largely due to reducing the numbers of school bus routes from six to four, ridership per bus has increased from slightly over 22 students in 2011-12 to slightly over 34 students in 2014-15. During that same period, transportation costs were reduced from just under $2,400 to just over $1,200 per student per year. That resulted in an annual reduction in 2014-15 of over $151,800 from the previous year’s transportation costs.
Nelson presented a scatter chart on student achievement that she received from the Washington Association of School Administrators showing student achievement relative to socioeconomic status. While most school districts in the state were in the middle of the achievement scale, NGRVS was near the top when compared with districts with similar socioeconomics.
Nelson also reported the district had been honored by the WellSpring Community Network for providing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) training to its staff. This training helps teachers work with students who have faced adverse experiences as a child.
On personnel matters, the board approved the hiring of George Garcia, bus driver; Lamar Wirkkala and Regan Wirkkala, grounds keepers; Nicole Burkhalter, middle school volleyball coach; and Kirsten Scrabeck, C-squad volleyball coach. The board also approved a one-year leave of absence for Karl Smith, middle school football coach; and the hiring of Ryley Queener as a one-year replacement middle school football coach.
As new business, the board approved the 2016-17 Title I plan, agreed to accept fuel bids received from Ferrell Gas and Wilcox and Flegel, approved overnight travel for Fall school sports and activities, and approved a list of surplus sale items for 2016.
The next monthly meeting of the board is scheduled for Oct. 18. The meeting will start in the Middle School Commons at 6:30 p.m.
Correspondent Nick Nikkila is a member of the Naselle-Grays River Valley School Board.