School Board Meeting Highlights
School Board Meeting Highlights
Posted on 03/20/2019

Highlights of the PSD School Board meeting: March 18, 2019

At their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, March 18, the Board of Directors were entertained by a special performance of the Carson Uke Club. Led by Carson’s general music teacher, Stephanie Magnusson, student musicians played prior to the meeting held in the Glacier View Junior High Commons. Later, during District Highlights, the group was formally introduced and performed This Land Is Your Land.

Next, Woodland Elementary Principal Heather McMullen presented directors with the Washington State Counselor of the Year Award winner, Nita Hill. “With 20 years of experience, Hill demonstrates professionalism, enthusiasm and innovation,” said McMullen. “Her scope of influence goes beyond Woodland. She works to support school counselors in the district as the elementary counseling coordinator, supports state wide as advocacy chair for the Washington School Counselors Association (WSCA), and as the primary school counseling trainer in the state.” Hill’s name will move forward and she will be considered for the national award.

Director of Instructional Leadership for Athletics, Health & Fitness Jim Meyerhoff then provided directors with a summary of the Winter 2018 Sports Season.

Meyerhoff honored Washington State Coaches of the Year:

  • Dani Andrews, Puyallup HS Girls Wrestling
  • David Johnston, Rogers HS Boys Wrestling

Individual Student-Athletes (state champs):

  • Salyna Shotwell (10), RHS Wrestling State Champion
  • Rylye Anderson (9), PHS Gymnastics Champion

WIAA Winter Academic State Champions:

  • Puyallup HS Girls Basketball
  • Rogers HS Boys Basketball
  • Puyallup HS Band

Finally, Chief Communications and Arts Officer Brian Fox read a proclamation for which directors could consider taking action. The proclamation can be found on the PSD website. It declares the week of April 15-19, 2019 as Public School Volunteer Week and was unanimously agreed upon by all board members. A gallery of photos of District Highlights can be found below.

Board Policy Updates – Directors were presented with the first reading of school board policies which have been revised due to legislative changes, suggestions by the Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA), or to implement district efficiencies and effective use of available resources.

Assistant Superintendent Casey Cox provided directors with a review of the changes being recommended.

 • Policy 4310 - District Relationships with Law Enforcement and other Government Agencies

In addition, although Regulations do not require board approval, the following were presented for discussion:

 • Regulation 3226R - Interviews and Questioning of Students on School Premises

 • Regulation 6114R - Gifts. 

Directors will consider approval of these changes at the next regularly scheduled school board meeting on April 22, 2019.

Report – Instructional Leadership: Director of Instructional Leadership Maija Thiel presented directors with a request for approval consideration of the purchase of a Mobile Innovation Lab.

The Career and Technical Education Department has examined potential Mobile Innovation Lab options for rotating school visits district-wide to engage students and the community in real world career connections to core academics that would launch in the 2020-2021 school year. 

Rather than building lab spaces in each school, this mobile STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) would provide a cost-effective way to inspire students to pursue ongoing education related to post-secondary careers in high-demand fields.

Director Thiel emphasized the funding for this project comes from the state and can only be used to support the Career and Technical Education Department.

The Mobile Innovation Lab purchase is presented for first reading and consideration which will involve:

  • Department collaboration for support
  • Career-related technology that is relevant and updatable
  • Replication of working school, medical, and industry models
  • 12-month timeline for build, delivery, and curriculum development

To see the slides used in this report visit the PSD website.

Report – Instructional Leadership: Directors were presented with an informational update related to elementary literacy. Directors of Instructional Leadership Dana Harris and Tracy Pitzer demonstrated the linkages among several projects including:

  • Literacy Essential Standards Identified
  • Report Card alignment to Essential Standards
  • Gradebook format and alignment to Essential Standards
  • Gradebook scoring which helps determine information for report card

Collaborative work done recently includes on-going professional development for teachers, digital accessibility tools, assessment mapping, and systemic writing instruction. Pitzer emphasized the need for improved instruction in writing, particularly in opinion and argumentative writing as well as editing skills.

To demonstrate the efforts towards improvement, Shaw Road Elementary First Grade Teacher Melissa Ryan shared updated information to the board regarding the work of the elementary literacy staff to improve student progress towards meeting the district’s benchmark goals.

Presenters made connections between the Essential Standards and the Elementary Report Card, as well as the development and implementation of Systemic Elementary Writing Instruction.

To see the slides used in this presentation visit the PSD website.

Public Comment – Several people addressed the board during the public comment portion of the agenda. The board welcomes the public to its regular meetings. If you wish to address the school Board, please fill out a blue comment card upon arrival and give it to the board president or any administrator. Your name will be called by the board president. Public comments are limited to three minutes each. See the Puyallup School Board brochure for guidelines.

Action – Instructional and Organizational Alignment – At the school board meeting held on March 4 Chief Academic Officer Christine Moloney provided directors with an overview of the timeline to determine the 2019-20 bell schedules for Emerald Ridge High and Glacier View Junior High. With consideration of what best addresses student instructional needs while also taking into consideration financial obligations and equity concerns raised by staff, Moloney presented possible actions to be taken.

Moloney shared the results of the Thoughtexchange in which parents, students and staff shared their opinions of the block schedule currently in place at the two schools. Schedule options and rationale was provided to the board for their consideration, input, and direction.

Staff members at Glacier View Junior High and Emerald Ridge High School were asked to submit additional comments regarding proposed bell schedules. Based on the report and continuing feedback the Board of Directors was asked to consider a six-period day schedule with embedded time intervention blocks of instruction and learning.

This action will address student learning needs as well as equity concerns raised by staff. The building principals at ERHS and GV will work with their leadership teams to embed time for learning intervention into the six-period day schedule while maintaining an equitable schedule with other secondary schools in the district.

To see the slides used in this action item visit the PSD website.

Board Member Comments – In an effort to encourage continued dialogue, and to clarify and correct some misunderstandings, directors responded to several comments made publicly by students, staff, parents, and community members. Board comments included:

“I think all of us can attest to the fact that there were amazing teachers in our lives who helped shape and mold who we are today. Teachers are at the heart of our district. That’s why when we went into negotiations with the teachers last fall, we wanted to offer a sustainable contract that would keep all our amazing teachers and programs in our district. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get that done. Mrs. McNamara’s job is to get as much money for our teachers as possible – and she’s good at it. Unfortunately there‘s only a certain amount in the budget . . . When those negotiations happened - for every percentage increase we offered our teaching staff - they knew full well that there would be a reduction in staff. A reduction in staff meant larger class sizes. They bargained away that. If you have further questions, I would point you towards Mrs. McNamara and PEA. They can probably help answer your questions. We did all we could to keep the staff that we have now,” said Director Dane Looker.

“I really do appreciate the students and teachers coming tonight,” said Director Maddie Names. “I’m glad that you were advocating for yourselves and what you believe in your heart is really important and needs to be told . . . In this particular moment we see and feel that our district is faced with hardship, this includes our staffing and we recognize that this greatly affects every facet of our community . . . We can’t plan based on hope, we must plan based on what is real and in front of us at the moment . . . We are waiting on enrollment funding and legislative decisions and they certainly create anxiety and frustration, and I can tell you that we share that as well. So where do we go from here? We continue to work with our legislators, we ask hard questions, push back on opinions and seek answers independently in order to ensure that every child in this district receives a more than basic education with optimal staffing, manageable class sizes, enriched programs and exceptional learning in a district that has the ability to continue to thrive.”

“I’ve gotten several emails from students over the weekend,” said Director Kathy Yang. “There is so much misinformation out there . . . This is basic math. We have money coming in and we have money going out. Everything is driven by that. So, we are taking conservative projections at this time . . . This year, several school districts around us over projected by hundreds of students. They hired teachers for students they were expecting to come – in the hundreds. You still have to pay the teachers even though you don’t need them. Not only are you paying the teachers, you’re not getting the per pupil funding from the state which means money is not coming in but money is still going out – so that creates a huge budget deficit . . . We are trying to make the best decisions for you students. We don’t want to cut programs, we do not want to increase class sizes but we have to deal with the reality of our financial situation. We are going to be very, very careful with how we determine where the cuts are going to come . . . I know right now it seems like it’s all teachers, but we’re going to look across the board in this entire district. Everything is on the table . . . Employee salaries and benefits costs make up 81 to 84 percent of our budget. If cuts need to happen, it’s going to happen with personnel . . . We want to keep the cuts as far away from the classroom as possible, but if we are making significant cuts, it is going to affect our teaching staff. I’m hoping . . . with teachers retiring, we won’t need to make involuntary cuts.  We have several teachers on one-year contracts. Some students were advocating for certain teachers . . . We don’t get to pick – that’s all under the collective bargaining agreement - that’s beyond our control. Keep asking questions. A lot of you who wrote to me are from the AP Capstone program. Those teachers are doing an incredible job of teaching you to be critical thinkers. Think about your sources of information and then weigh it before jumping to conclusions based on assumptions that are not true or misinformed. I encourage you to keep thinking – to keep asking. I don’t want to panic at this time – let’s work together – there’s a lot of challenging work to be done. Our community needs to come together and let’s make the best decisions possible for our kids.”

Human Resources Report – The Human Resources report approved by the school board can be found on the HR webpage.

Upcoming meetings – The next meeting of the Puyallup School District Board of Directors will be at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 22, 2019, at Glacier View Junior High, 12807 – 184th Street E, Puyallup, WA 98374.