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By Katie Teachout
The Journal 

Washtucna school year ends June 4

 

Last updated 5/28/2020 at 1:27pm



WASHTUCNA — Despite the coronavirus quarantine, the 2019-20 school year will end on time June 4.

During a May 18 School Board special meeting, directors agreed to close June 4 as originally planned, after approving the continuous learning plan and an emergency resolution.

In a discussion on the continuous learning plan, Superintendent Vance Wing pointed out teachers were prepared ahead of time for a possible closure, with a week’s worth of lessons planned.

“Teachers sent their plans home with their students that week,” Wing said, referring to the March 16 shutdown ordered by Gov. Jay Inslee. “So, we have been in a format of engaged learning, going over things they had been taught under the admonition of OSPI (Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction) before they suggested going beyond just the enrichment activities for kids, and get on with new learning.”

Wing said from April 14 to the present, the School District has been in continuous learning mode, with graded materials going home via bus drivers.

“Teachers and bus drivers have been doing a fantastic job up to this point,” Wing said. “I am proud of them. It’s not an easy job to teach or learn via the internet. I think we’ve done very well hitting all the points on the continuous learning plan the state set out for us.”

Wing pointed out parents “aren’t the teachers, but the ones expected to get the kids in front of the computer screen.”

“The state talks about engaging families, which we do. Some are easier to engage than others, which is nothing new,” Wing said.

“Parent Zoom meetings are going very well. It’s an opportunity for parents to engage teachers and administrators and let them know what they need.”

Special Education Director Pam Kraft reported the district was “doing the best with what we have.”

“Most of the kids are receiving the one-on-one they need at home,” Kraft said. “We’re doing our best to try to accommodate.”

On grading, Wing said students would be assigned A through D letter grades. An incomplete would be assigned in place of an F, in accordance with state guidelines.

“I have very few students who fall into that category,” high school teacher Staci Gloyn said. “The kids who were doing well before the shutdown are still doing fine, and the kids who struggled before the shutdown are still struggling.

“Some kids who were doing B work before, are now doing A work.”

The board also reviewed options for emergency waivers, including waivers for hours and days missed.

“In my perspective, we didn’t miss any days from March 17 moving forward,” Wing said. “But I don’t think we have met even close to the number of hours.”

Business Manager Katie Lasen reported a rough estimate from the beginning of the school year through March 16.

We were about 250 hours short of total expected hours of instruction, she said.

“How do you address those hours, when the state has asked us to provide hours incrementally for the different grade levels. For example, 45 minutes a day of instruction for kindergartners,” Wing said.

“My suggestion is to adopt the resolutions that we do not waive days, but we would waive hours.”

The state requires 180 days of instruction per year.

“Vance warned us school was going to shut down,” Gloyn said. “I didn’t believe him, but he was right. We were prepared. I can prove that we have been working continuously.”

With the emergency waiver approved, the board then had to adjust the calendar back to ending on June 4. The board had approved the school year going to June 19, as suggested by the state, at their March 26 meeting.

Wing said classified staff might have more of a challenge proving their 180 days; but were providing four meals on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout spring break.

“So, they have been continuously creating and delivering meals,” Wing said.

The next regular board meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, May 26.

 

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