The Ritzville Adams County Journal - Eastern Adams County's Only Independent Voice Since 1887

By Brandon Cline
Managing Editor 

LRMS students issued laptops for school use


The Lind and Ritzville School Boards met for their monthly meeting on March 25, where they received updates from a variety of different voices at the schools.

Lind Elementary and Lind-Ritzville Middle School principal Cindy Deska recognized Tina Shields as this month’s Above & Beyond recipient. Shields was recognized for the positive attitude that she brings to school every day and for taking on extra responsibilities whenever she is asked. For example, Deska said, Shields was recently asked to assist with a student new to the school who needed additional support, and jumped in right away to use her talents to help this student.

“She does a lot of jobs that she’s ‘volun-told’ to do, but she always has a great attitude and a caring spirit,” Deska said. Shields was also hired as the head cook at LRMS earlier in the meeting.

The school boards also recognized bus driver Traci Willis, whose resignation was accepted earlier in the meeting. The boards held a five-minute break and presented a wrapped gift to Willis, thanking her for her many years of service.

Lynn Sackmann, Lind-Ritzville’s Transportation Manager, provided the boards with an update on the district’s fleet of buses. Sackmann thanked the boards for their approval of the purchasing of two new buses for the 2019-20 school year.

Sackmann noted that of the 10 buses that are being used to transport students to and from school and for extracurricular activities such as sporting events, only one of those buses has less than 100,000 miles on it. Five of the 10 buses have over 150,000 miles on them and two of the buses have over 200,000 miles on them. Sackmann said that the buses will need to be replaced. In other transportation news, the board approved the decision to surplus a 2000 Blue Bird 78-passenger bus.

Lind-Ritzville High School principal Kevin Terris invited band instructor Jennifer York to the meeting to detail the latest happenings from the various bands in the school district. The high school band recently competed in a large-group band contest in Washtucna, where the band performed two pieces in front of three judges. After the performance, the judges hosted a clinic with the high school band where the students and York were able to receive valuable feedback and constructive criticism.

Ritzville Grade School principal Tom Arlt shared that Kindergarten Roundup will take place on May 2 and 3. Arlt said that the school is expecting next year’s kindergarten class to be in the low 30s, which Arlt noted would be a large group compared to recent class sizes. RGS will also be hosting its second “Muffins with Moms” event on May 30, which Arlt said is good for getting moms inside the school.

Deska told the school boards that middle school students who have turned in permission slips have been issued a one-to-one Chromebook. One-to-one computing allows students to use an electronic device—a Chromebook, in the middle school’s case—so they can access the Internet and digital course materials such as textbooks, slideshows and videos.

Chromebooks are small, lightweight laptops that are very portable. Their battery life is expected to be able to last a school-day, the devices have a quick start-up and are overall seen as being a cost-effective computing choice for schools.

Both school boards approved the decision to let LRMS students participate in dual spring sports. The boards did not yet know how many students would end up participating in two sports during the same season.

Superintendent Don Vanderholm reported to the school boards that he had the waiver made available by Washington state during the state of emergency from Feb. 8 through Feb. 15 filled out and ready to submit, pending the boards’ approval. In all, the district cancelled six school days, had seven delays and two early releases. Three of those snow days, which occurred during the state of emergency in February, are eligible to be waived.

Vanderholm said that in order to determine whether the district meets the mandatory average of 1,027 instruction hours in a school year, the district has to take the average of the three schools’ schedules. The district had about 1,068 instruction hours scheduled during the year, and were down to about 1,036 hours after removing the hours lost to cancellations, delays and early releases, and adding three half-days to the schedule for March 27, 28 and 29.

Assuming that the waiver is accepted by the State, the last day of school is currently scheduled for June 6.


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