KSD School Board Report by Tom Staly

Kennewick School Board Meeting December 15, 2010

All board members were present


  • Coaches and athletes from fall sports were recognized for excellent performance. See details below.
  • Board election. Dawn Adams re-elected as president, Heather Kintzley re-elected as vice-president and Wendy London elected as Legislative Representative. See details below.
  • Superintendent Dave Bond reported that state budget cuts will require cuts in district services and teachers salaries. See details below.
  • A board workshop, open to the public, will be held January 11, 2011 at 5 PM in the new administration building.
  • Board members Kathy White and Wendy London have applied for participation in Leadership WSSDA, a year-long commitment for training as leaders in public education governance sponsored by the Washington State School Directors’ Association. See details below.
  • Greg Fancher and Mary Shaw reported progress on the Teacher/Principal Evaluation Project as one of only 8 Washington school districts to receive a grant to pilot this new state requirement. See details below.
  • The district administration offices will be closed for Christmas vacation on December 23 and will reopen January 3, 2011 in the new KSD Administration Center at 1000 W. 4th Avenue.
  • Bond detailed definitions of dropout and graduation rates then applied that information to understanding impacts on KSD secondary schools. See details below.
  • Chuck Lybeck described progress on the K-5 Science adoption and the 6-12 Social Studies adoption. Adoption committees will report curriculum recommendations to the board in March or April.
  • The board unanimously approved the first and second readings of 13 policy revisions related to personnel and instruction.

Fall Sports

Kamiakin cross country coaches Matt Rexus and Shaun Suss were honored as Big 9 coaches of the year with their teams participating in state competition. In football, coach Scott Biglin was honored as Big 9 and District 5 coach of the year.
Kennewick High School swimming coach Eric Holmes and volleyball coach Scott Carswell presented their winning teams which went to state competitions.
Southridge swimming coach Ken Murray introduced students who competed in state contests. Dave Rockstrom, cross country coach described the season in which the team was league and district champions. Riley Dotson, soccer coach, characterized the team’s season.

School Board Election

The process revealed much about the function of this board. London nominated White for president and Fielding nominated Adams. Without discussion of the merits of each candidate a vote was taken. Even though White has attended WSSDA training with Bond and has committed this next year to Leadership WSSDA, there was no consideration of her candidacy.

For vice president, White nominated London and Fielding nominated Kintzley. Since Kintzley is the least senior member of the board, I would have expected some consideration for London. This did not happen.

London nominated herself for Legislative Representative and Kintzley nominated Fielding. It is known that Fielding has never attended a meeting during his tenure as Legislative Representative yet both Adams and Kintzley voted for him to continue in that position. London was elected because Fielding voted for her. Perhaps his conscience guided that choice.

I wonder what agenda drives this unprincipled decision making by these school board members? It seems maintaining control of the board at any cost supercedes the interests of our community or students.

 State Budget Cuts

KSD will lose $620,000. of state funds for K-3 beginning in January 2011. Teacher pay will be frozen for 2011-13 and class sizes will increase. Also lost is funding for teachers with National Board Certification in amounts from $5,000. to $10,000. a year. Federal funds of $208 million to education in Washington state will be kept by the state. Kennewick will cover some costs with its fund balance.

Program cuts include dropout prevention, highly capable students and Reading Corps. There will be a two year suspension of K-4 class size enhancements and all-day kindergarten is frozen at the current rate.

More information will be found at this link:

Leadership WSSDA

Board members White and London have become leaders developing leadership on the Kennewick School Board. WSSDA literature characterizes the program as challenging school directors to reach their full potential as leaders. Participants will strengthen their skills in boardmanship excellence, gaining public trust and credibility, legislative and community advocacy, ethical leadership, communication and presentation, closing the achievement gap, education policy, creativity and innovation and changing leadership.

The program includes 5 two-day sessions in January, April, August, September and November. KSD Citizens will report on each of those sessions. I commend White and London for their professionalism and diligence bringing improved leadership skills to the Kennewick School Board.

Teacher/Principal Evaluation Project

Spring 2010 the state legislature passed law #6696 mandating changes to teacher and principal evaluations in response to Race to The Top. Kennewick was awarded a grant to write and pilot the new evaluation systems. KSD, Kennewick Administrators Association (KAA) and Kennewick Education Association (KEA) are collaborating to develop an evaluation pertinent to the way Kennewick school district does business. The new evaluation models will function as tools to improve teaching and learning using a 4 tier rubric and multiple measures where applicable.

A steering committee, teacher committee and principal committee, each composed of administrators, teachers and principals are engaged in defining the rubrics and establishing new evaluative criteria.

The timeline schedules the rubrics, training model, pilot sites and contract language discussions to be completed by Spring 2011. Principal and teacher evaluations will be piloted during the 2011-12 school year with refinements and expansion in the 2012-13 school year.

State superintendent Randy Dorn will recommend one or more evaluation systems to the legislature for statewide adoption and implementation in 2013-14.

Dropout and Graduation Rates

The state formula for graduation rates is structured so that districts like Kennewick are punished with lower rates for having mobile student populations. Features of the formula are subject to manipulation by school districts using liberal interpretations of the variables. District records on individual students must be monitored and kept current for accuracy which becomes problematic for students transferring into the district or leaving the district. This record keeping, called coding, is a focus of district administrators.

Bond believes Kennewick High School has been mislabeled by the state as a consistently low performing school in the area of graduation rate as a consequence of coding errors. Principals of the three district high schools described remedies they have initiated in their buildings to improve coding procedures and graduation rates. Success Coordinators have been employed to identify and assist students at risk or needing motivation to be successful in school. Reducing the number of “F” grades through several interventions will help to keep students in school. Coding will be improved by data collectors being diligent in record keeping.

For more on this issue see the Tri-City Herald article by Jacques Von Lunen in Section B of the Thursday, December 16, 2010 paper.
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Note to Lynn Fielding:  You often lean back and motion with your hands in front of your face while speaking which reduces your voice to inaudible mumbling.  I recommend you lean forward so the microphone captures and delivers your comments to the audience.