ILWACO - It was the changing of the guard at Monday night's meeting of the Ocean Beach School District Board of Directors, as they said good-bye to one member and hello to another.
The meeting was the last for Jim Sayce, who moves from his representative area on the north end of the Peninsula into Long Beach, which already has its own school board representative. (See related story below.)
Chairman Ed Guelfi called it a "sad time, but an exciting time," as he presented Sayce with a plaque from the board in appreciation of his four years of service at the end of the meeting. Sayce hugged Kim Patten and shook the hands of everyone else in thanks, then packed up his name placard and took a seat in the audience as Marilyn Sheldon, who was elected to fill his seat in the last election, came forward.
Sheldon, along with Guelfi and Patten, who were re-elected for their seats, raised their right hands and took the oath as a school board director, each promising to dotheir job to "the best of my ability."
"The heat's on now," said Patten jokingly.
Background checksMoving on to regular business, during his time to give reports to the board, Superintendent Tom Lockyer presented his proposal for a new application for anyone who volunteers at any of the local schools.
Saying, "I just don't think you can be too safe," Lockyer presented an application, which the board voted into effect, which will be mandatory for anyone who wants to volunteer within the district. The application features personal information and includes a background check through the Washington State Patrol.
Lockyer also said that from this point on, all teachers who want or need some volunteer help have to come request that through the district office as a way for him "to know who are the volunteers in the buildings and what the needs are at the schools."
Previously, these applications and background checks were not used when someone wanted to volunteer. However, all the board members seemed resigned to the idea, saying this requirement is "very normal."
Patten suggested they go a step further and try to come up with a system for the district to evaluate volunteers, including parents.
"Just because you're a parent doesn't necessarily mean you work well with kids," said Guelfi.
The process will work on a year-by-year basis, starting immediately. Those who are already volunteers this year don't have to fill out the application, but everyone else who comes forward to volunteer this year will be required. Everyone will have to re-apply each school year.
Lockyer also reported on the time frame for the make-up day the district is required to have in light of the one missed during the viral meningitis outbreak in September. He said that right now they are looking at a day after school is scheduled to end this year, either the following Saturday or Monday.
Intervention programIlwaco High School Principal Lisa Nelson gave a report on the use of a drug and alcohol intervention program at the school.
Last year, the students in the junior/senior high school took what's called a Healthy Youth Survey that asks questions of the students regarding their perception of drug and alcohol use. Their answers showed a low perception of harm from use and a high number of users.
These poor results qualified the school for federal funding funneled through the ESD 112. These funds have allowed IHS to hire-on a full-time drug and alcohol counselor, who works mostly in intervention programs for students who get caught either possessing or using at school. Those students are given the choice of either a 90-day suspension or enrollment in the program.
"For us its a win-win," said Nelson, "because we force them to get help [and they are still in school]."
Nelson said she was unsure as to how many students the program served last year - it started in the second half of last school year - but guessed around 15. Nelson said she would like to see it turn more into an awareness program for all students.
"Everyone, whether they're convicted [of a substance offense at school] or not, has friends or family struggling with that problem," she said. "All students need the services, not just the ones that get nailed."
The school has used other similar programs in the past, this being the first that brings with it a full-time counselor. At one point, the program worked well enough that the school lost funding. Now the situation was worsened enough to again qualify.
Patten questioned Nelson on the success of the program, saying, "how do we know this is working for us?"
"I'm not saying that they don't go and make a mistake," said Nelson of the students, but said that in her tenure as principal there have only been three students who have repeated as offenders after going through an intervention program.
"Our goal is 100 percent, but if we save one kid we've succeeded."
Nelson suggested the board look into the sustainability of keeping this kind of program even after the funding expires in two years, which the board agreed to do.
Facilities updateAs one of his final acts as a board member, Sayce gave a report from the facilities committee, featuring several items of future consideration including:
The Ilwaco Sports Boosters trailer and looking into a better place for it;
The computers in the business room at IHS are overheating due to lack of cooling. Sayce said they would need to look into an air conditioning system for the room, which could run in the neighborhood of $10,000;
Tlohon-nipts Alternative High School is looking to expand their space in the building they are in, looking to knock down a wall;
The lights at the IHS stadium will be adjusted to shine more on the field rather than the track sometime this summer.
Lockyer said that the facilities use policy will be looked at in the near future regarding the cost of clean-up by groups that use school facilities. He also reported a deadline of Dec. 1 for surplus items that will be opened up to bid on Jan. 1.
Directors conferenceThe members of the board all took turns telling about what they learned at the Washington State School Directors conference they attended in Sea-Tac two weeks ago.
Guelfi said he attended a session with a professor who said to all the school board members, "you're not qualified, but that's the beauty of it," he said. "It's good to go and learn about what you do wrong."
Both Lockyer and Sayce recalled the emphasis put on reading, math and the No Child Left Behind Act.
One of the last items on the agenda Monday was to reshuffle the duties of the board members and the committees they serve on. Guelfi was voted to be kept on as chairman, while Cheri Jones was voted to take Sayce's seat as vice-chair. Kristi Unruh was voted to take over the WIAA representative role from Guelfi and Patten was voted to take over as the legislative representative.
It was decided that the chair and vice-chair should be the representatives on the budget committee. It didn't take long for Sheldon to get her feet wet on the board as she and Unruh were selected to serve on the personnel committee. Guelfi and Patten will make up the facilities committee, while Jones and Sheldon will serve on the community relations committee. Unruh and Patten will make up the programs committee.
Guelfi gave a charge to the board members to assess the current committees to see if they are viable. Most months a majority of the committees fail to meet.
On the consent agenda, the board approved the retirements of Kate Bannister, speech/language pathologist and Gwen van Son, Ocean Beach School instructor. The board approved the extra-curricular list for this school year. The general fund accounts payable for November was approved at $162,816, the ASB fund at $13,586, the capital projects fund at $96,095 and the November payroll at $623,970.