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

By Brandon Cline
Managing Editor 

School boards adopt new policies, new course offerings coming


The Lind and Ritzville school boards met for their monthly meeting on May 28, as the boards adopted three new policies, approved several significant personnel changes, and district principals highlighted new course offerings for the 2019-2020 school year.

Policy 3143

The first policy passed by the boards pertains to how the district will deal with juvenile offenders who are enrolled as students in the district.

The school will be notified by a court if an enrolled student has been convicted, adjudicated or entered into a diversion agreement for any of the following offenses: violent offense, sex offense, firearms offense, inhaling toxic fumes, drug offense, liquor offense, assault, kidnapping, harassment, stalking or arson.

It is the principal’s responsibility to inform the student’s teacher(s) and other personnel that the principal believes should be aware of the information. The policy states that the information “may not be further disseminated.”

A student who has committed one of those offenses against a teacher will not be assigned to that teacher’s classroom throughout the student’s time at that school, or any school to which the teacher has been assigned. The same also applies in the case where another student was the victim in the offense. Convicted sex offenders are forbidden from attending a school that is also being attended by their adjudicated victims or a victim’s sibling.

The state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) will also be required to notify the boards in writing at least thirty days before a juvenile who has been convicted of a violent offense, sex offense or stalking is “discharged, paroled, given authorized leave or otherwise released to reside” in the school district.

Policy 3144

The second policy adopted by the boards details the responsibilities that must be carried out by the district’s principals once they have been advised by law enforcement officials that a student registered as a sex or kidnapping offender will be enrolling or is attending a school within the district.

There are three levels of sex offenders in Washington state:

-Level I: the offender’s risk assessments indicate a low risk of reoffense within the community at large.

-Level II: the offender’s risk assessments indicate a moderate risk of reoffense within the community at large.

-Level III: the offender’s risk assessments indicate a high risk of reoffense within the community at large.

When a student is required to register as a sex offender at a Level II or III risk, the principal must provide the information received to every teacher of that student, as well as any personnel that the principal believes should be aware of the student’s record.

In the case of a student at a Level I risk, the principal must provide the information “to personnel who, in judgment of the principal, for security purposes, should be aware of the student’s record,” according to the policy. The policy also states that students who are required to register as a kidnapping offender should be treated on a case-by-case basis, as they are not subject to leveling.

Policy 3240

The third policy passed by the boards at the meeting relates to student conduct, and is fairly brief.

The policy lays out four expectations that they expect students to adhere to:

-Conform to reasonable standards of acceptable behavior.

-Respect the rights, person and property of others.

-Preserve the degree of order necessary for a positive climate for learning.

-Submit to the authority of staff and respond accordingly.

The superintendent is tasked with developing written rules of conduct, which will carry out the intent of the board. These rules, according to the policy, “are applicable during the school day as well as during any school activity conducted on or off campus.” Special rules will also be applicable while students are riding a school bus.

Personnel changes

There were several notable resignations approved by the Lind and Ritzville boards spread across the three schools at the beginning of the meeting. Most noteworthy was the resignation of Ritzville Grade School principal Tom Arlt. Arlt was a Ritzville alumni and returned to take the RGS principal job beginning in the 2015-16 school year.

Arlt’s position was filled quickly, however. Lind Elementary and Lind-Ritzville Middle School principal Cindy Deska resigned from her position and hired as the RGS principal for the 2019-20 school year. Prior to being hired as the Lind principal in August of 2015, Deska taught middle school in Texas.

The maneuvering leaves the Lind Elementary and Lind-Ritzville Middle School principal position vacant, though perhaps not for long. After hosting a pair of community forums and a special board meeting last week, the boards and superintendent Don Vanderholm were in agreement to offer the position to one of the candidates, Darrell Lembcke from the Warden School District.

Lembcke has most recently been a middle school science teacher at Warden, and has also previously taught in the Quincy School District. He received his bachelor’s degree in education from Eastern Washington University in 2006, and also received his principal’s certificate from there as well. Vanderholm said at the special board meeting on May 31 that the supervisor of the principal’s program at EWU told him that she would rate Lembcke “in the top five percent all-time of everybody she has worked with.”

There will be more information on the hiring in future issues, once it has been finalized.

Other notable resignations include LRHS English teacher Aaron Bush, LRS tennis head coach Lorrie Swanger, LRS volleyball assistant coach Janet Bennett and LRS softball assistant coach Troy Ryan.

New course offerings

During the monthly reports from the district’s principals, both LRHS principal Kevin Terris and Deska shared information on new elective classes that will be offered in the schools for the 2019-20 school year.

At LRHS, Terris announced that the school is bringing back two Advanced Placement classes for next school year. Those classes are AP Literature & Composition, and AP Calculus. College credits will also be offered at the high school for weight training and United States history, and Terris noted that several teachers were also waiting to hear back from EWU for approval to offer college classes.

An early childhood development class will be offered by Donna Koch next year, which will allow students to earn a certificate to step right into becoming a paraprofessional or working in a daycare.

Andy Williams will also be bringing back ag mechanics as one of the classes he teaches. A robotics component will also be introduced in that class.

Colton Hodgson will be offering a section on environmental science, which is a blend of chemistry, biology, geology and mathematics in a science environment. The course will explore how humans interact in our environment and some current environmental problems.

At LRMS, Deska shared that the school will now be offering a drama elective class during seventh period.

Other news

The boards also approved the updated athletic combine agreement between Lind-Ritzville, Sprague/Lamont, Kahlotus and Washtucna. The changes to the agreement were largely insignificant.

Both the Lind and Ritzville boards also agreed to contribute $250 each to the FBLA’s Spencer Gering, Ellie Gering and advisor Thomas Pulliam to help them attend the FBLA National Leadership Conference in San Antonio, Texas later this summer. Spencer qualified for the national conference by finishing third in the state in Accounting II, and Ellie qualified in Agribusiness.

Vanderholm also gave the boards a brief update on progress of the construction of the Lind-Ritzville High School building. The building remains on track to be ready for the beginning of the 2019-20 school year.


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