January 24, 2019: Kent-Meridian High School

  • About the Event

    The following questions were recorded by Karen and Ross at the January 24, 2019, Community Conversation with the School Board held at Kent-Meridian High School. Eight people attended this event. 

    The Board worked with Team KSD for answers and made them available on February 11, 2019. 

    Question 1: Recruiting Trips

    How much has been spent on recruiting trips in the last five years? How many teachers were hired from these trips? How many of them remain in the district? (Man who asked this was frustrated because he asked Melissa Laramie this “75 days ago” and has never received a reply.)

    Until last year (2017-2018), all recruitment for in and out of state efforts was paid out of basic education dollars. The budget for recruitment has fluctuated between $30,000 to $65,000. Beginning in 2017-2018, recruitment was budgeted to be paid out of Title II, a federal fund that allows for recruitment for teachers. KSD budgeted $30K in Title II last year for recruitment but ceased recruitment when it announced a Reduction in Force. In 2018-2019, all recruitment efforts will be paid out of Title II, $30K—this will cover recruitment in and out of state for hard to fill positions.

    This information about dollars spent was posted on our website in December, was transferred to our new website, remains accessible to the public, and was sent to the individual who posed the question and the board via email by Melissa Laramie more than once since December. Melissa and other members of Executive Cabinet have also continued to offer to meet in person or on the phone with this individual, so that we can provide further clarity on the information shared in response to this and other questions he posed at our November Community Conversations.

    Question 2: Website Change

    Who did the redesign? Internal or external? Did IT work with the designers? Why was there no communication to staff and parents that the website was being revamped? (Comments: 1) There was no involvement of staff or parents in the redesign. 2) It’s difficult to locate the person when one is looking for departments one wants to contact.) Where are the general categories/departments to search? Why were building web managers locked out of their schools’ websites? Did we have novice and average users test the site before it went live? Data? (Ross and Karen told them we had to revamp to meet ADA specifications.)

    The website redesign was completed by the district website administrator, with support from the Communications and Public Affairs team. The template was chosen by a committee of internal and external stakeholders, including KSD parents and staff, from choices available from our current content management system provider, Blackboard.

    The web administrator met with each school Principal prior to the migration to discuss the process and content migration. Information about the new website was shared through staff meetings and via email and news article, including a New in the Blue Article that went to 36,378 students, staff and community members on December 14, 2018.

    To find information about departments, please follow the path Meet Team KSD > Communities & Teams > Meet Team KSD.

    Negotiations between Kent School District and the Kent Education Association (KEA) regarding the webmaster position are ongoing. Once we know the outcome of the negotiations, we can determine a plan and timeline for identifying new webmasters (if necessary) and providing the important platform, ADA, and communication training required to get schools back on the website. Until then all changes are being made by the district web administrator.

    The new design of the website, including navigation, was based on the data of page views and pages accessed from previous years. We use web analytics to regularly inform our decisions. “Novice” or “average” users were not used for testing the new site before going live.

    Question 3: Audits

    How long will it take for RFP to go out? How long will it take for bids to come in? Does the board choose the company? Will they have access to anything that exists?

    The RFP is ready for board approval, once received it will be posted. District-wide snow closures have impacted the timeline, the deadline on the RFP was originally February 28, that may need to be adjusted. The scope of work in the RFP and the selection process for the organization who will do the work is approved by the Kent School Board. 

    Question 4: Covington Elementary School

    Parking is not sufficient. Why didn’t we plan for more parking when we know that Panther Lake has parking issues?

    The response is being collected and will be posted soon.

    Question 5: Home School Access

    Why are some children being denied access to their home schools? Why are some siblings allowed at home schools while other siblings are turned away?

    If a class is going over the cap we have to create a new classroom. In some of our schools, there’s no room for new classrooms. Per board policy 3130 “attendance area” when fall enrollments in an attendance area substantially exceed building and/or instructional capacity, students may be required to attend a school in another attendance area. Those same students are expected to return to the school in their geographic attendance area the following year unless they follow the district transfer process outlined in policy and procedure 3131/3131P.

    Question 6: Plans of Support for Teachers

    We have 80 teachers on plans of support. Our surrounding districts have only tiny percentages of that. Why? Our staff of color are disproportionate in plans of improvement. Why? (Intimated that we are trying to reduce staff this way.)

    KSD has approximately 1,768 certificated teachers, 1,324 are classroom teachers who are evaluated on the Teacher and Principal Evaluation Plan (TPEP). Eighty (80) teachers on a plan of support is .06% of the classroom teaching workforce. As a classroom teacher is observed by their administrator throughout the school year, the classroom teacher is deemed as trending distinguished, proficient, basic, or unsatisfactory. KSD is one of the few districts that bargained with the KEA to offer plans of support for all provisional teachers who are trending basic or unsatisfactory—provisional teachers are in their first three years of teaching. Many districts choose to non-renew provisional teachers who are trending basic or unsatisfactory without providing a plan of support to beginning teachers as Washington State law allows districts to do so. This bargained agreement increases the number of plans of support and is an outlier in comparison with other districts. In addition, any continuing teacher who is trending basic or unsatisfactory is placed on a plan of support. Because KSD has a growth mindset for not just students but also for teachers, KSD views the plan of support as a targeted intervention that invests in our teachers. As a result, the majority of teachers on plans of support improve and move to become teachers that are rated as proficient. Regarding the number of teachers of color on plans of support, KSD will review the data and determine if disproportionally exists. If so, the district will develop a plan to address.

    Question 7: Special Education 

    At Neely-O’Brien, there is a SpEd teacher for grades 5-6, but none for K-4. Why not? (Comment: At Lake Youngs, there are not enough para’s to accompany students to specialists, so the IE kids are missing their specialist times.) SpEd teachers have had to fight for overload pay; have been told they have the IEP stipend instead. Why? At Springbrook, it feels like the principal has been “thrown under the bus.” (Ross and Karen stated that she hasn’t been thrown under the bus and that there is an investigation in progress from an outside investigator.)

    There are currently two special education teachers (for IP) assigned to Neely O’Brien. Overload pay and stipend is a part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Kent Education Association.

    Question 8: Testing

    Does the iReady test correlate to SBA? Data?

    We do believe that formative assessment benefits students. When used appropriately, formative assessment provides a benchmark, and intervention checkpoints for educators while students are on the path to summative (end of the year) testing. Purchased and implemented in 2014-15, iReady, is a strong statistical predictor of a student’s likelihood to pass the SBA. Used to as a measure of incremental progress, iReady allows school staff to monitor who students are progressing toward the standard.

    Sawyer Woods uses fall iReady results to determine the specific intervention groups where students are placed and then uses the winter and spring iReady results to update those groups to monitor support. Sawyer Woods is one of the highest performing schools in KSD and outperforms the state of SBA by more than 25%age points. Additionally, iReady is used as a state-identified pre-post performance measure for LAP (Learning Assistance Program) funding and allows to make regional and national comparisons about student performance and growth.

    Question 9: Twitter Accounts

    Dr. Watts has two accounts, one KSD and one private. Why does he have pictures of students on his personal account and is able to block individuals from that account? Don’t we have a policy about posting student photos on Twitter?

    Superintendent Dr. Calvin Watts has one Twitter account. This account is backed up by the school district archiving platform. When visiting classrooms, like any adult, Dr. Watts checks for media releases or takes photos with no faces. At public events where students perform, such as concerts, plays or sporting events, teachers and coaches work with families to secure signed releases for participating students. If a child has been photographed and a parent has not consented to the KSD media release and the photo is on any KSD platform, the parent or guardian should call the Communications and Public Affairs office to have the photo removed and needs to update their media opt-out information with their child’s principal at their school. 

    Dr. Watts account on twitter is an individual account, he is the only one posting to it. Dr. Watts is also not an elected government official. Individuals on Twitter are not the government. When it comes to individual accounts blocking on social media platforms is the equivalent of setting a boundary in person. And just like in real life, boundaries do not have to be reasonable or agreed upon by all parties but are defined by each individual user. 

    Question 10: Communication

    Why do formats keep changing? Peachjar, for example. It seems like “smoke and mirrors.”

    Peachjar was an enhancement communication opportunity for our entire community, it did not change or eliminate the ability of schools to spend money printing newsletters if they choose to, or to send attachments via email through Skyward.

    Peachjar does, however, offer multiple benefits such as:

    • The opportunity to share information that is ADA compliant and can be read by members of the community using screen readers.
    • User analytics.
    • Peachjar allows community-based organizations the opportunity to share learning opportunities and events with families in a way the previous formats did not allow.
    • Peachjar provides transparency because unlike email and Skyward this format allows all students, staff, and families to see any flyer sent through Peachjar online even if you or your child does not attend that particular school.

    Question 11: Community Conversation Meeting Times

    Why are the community conversations set up on the same night? What if people want to go to all of them?

    The time and dates of the Board Community Conversations were dependent upon board member availability. Locations were determined by the availability of rooms in our schools and the limitation of one free room per month for use from King County Library (KCLS). We appreciate very much the usage of KCLS to offer our community members a non-school based location as an option.

    Comments

    1. Reduction of staff: Positions were cut in administration and then people were hired into administration. Building staffs were reduced (interventionists, behavior specialists) where support is needed.
    2. Curriculum for early years: State requirements are too academic for young learners.
    3. Building access for our CC meeting: KM was locked and people were waiting outside the door. The custodian who let us in had no knowledge of the meeting. He had to take us to the library and unlock it for us. No signage.
    4. Future meetings for school board and community: Set up a school board meeting table/room at high school conferences.
    5. District work: People are working in silos so they don’t know what is going on within the district.
    6. Aggressive student behavior reports: KEA has 80 documented reports of staff being hurt by students. Principals are afraid to report them to the district for fear that their schools will be “targeted.”
    7. Lake Youngs office staff: When Cathy Lendowski left for central administration, she took the head secretary with her. That position has not been filled. There is a big void at LY. Office staffs are being asked to do more than ever with our challenges and are stressed. They need more support.
    8. Communication between KEA and administration: Between mid-level administration, it is good. With upper level, not so much.
    9. General feeling: Low morale in schools and the community; no changes are happening to lift it.

January 24, 2019: Kentridge High School

  • About the Event

    The following questions were recorded by Debbie and Maya at the January 24, 2019, Community Conversation with the School Board held at Kentridge High School. Eleven people attended this event. 

    The Board worked with Team KSD for answers and made them available on February 11, 2019. 

    Question 1

    What are the obstacles that are preventing us from having more arts in our schools? Arts have been shown to reduce anxiety and behavior in students?

    From a staffing perspective, principals provide classes, including classes in the arts, based on the student registration process and the staffing allocations available. As more students indicate interest through the course registration process, principals prioritize these classes based on student request and need.

    Question 2

    SEAC (Special Education Advisory Committee) co-chairs would like to know how they can better partner with the district to get information out to the families in our district? With all the changes in special education, the chairs of this community lead committee are struggling to get information out as well as to know who to point guardians to.

    SEAC leadership has met with and will continue to meet with the IE administrative team to review opportunities for improved communications. If additional meetings are required, the co-chairs can coordinate additional meetings with the Inclusive Education contact.

    Question 3

    What budget should schools use to print fliers about SEAC?

    We do not have a budget for SEAC printing and materials.

    Question 4

    Can we get our contractors from the SPED agencies to learn more about SEAC?

    We encourage all of our staff to explore opportunities to further engage and participate in committees.

    Question 5

    Seems like things are missing from the new website, is there a way to get a list of things that were removed and why? Also, the website does not display well on a mobile device.

    There are several reasons why some content might not be on the new website including:

    • Our website is now external focus only and internal information can be accessed through StaffLink or other forms of communication.
    • To make the website more user-friendly, consistent, and easier to navigate.
    • Our website design was driven by website analytics including visits and frequency of updates, research of other school district sites, industry best practices, and community input.
    • Our website continues to evolve and content will be added as needed.

    We do not have a comprehensive list of the thousands of pages that were removed from the previous websites, but much of the content that was on the websites was standardized and updated for formatting, accuracy, and accessibility on the new site. Schools and Communities are working with the Communications team to add content from their old website as necessary.

    The website is responsive in design and intended to be used on mobile devices.

    Question 6

    Violence in the classroom is not being reported due to fear of retaliation from the district. What is district doing to correct this? 

    Two years ago, KSD and KEA bargained the assault response protocol that mandates administrators connect with district staff and the KEA whenever there is an incident of a student using force in the classroom. Both the district and the KEA have been monitoring these incidents.

    Question 7

    What is the district doing support our special ed students? From a teacher perspective, it feels like the district is good on collecting data but not helping.

    As a data-driven and data-informed educational system, data collection is an important component to ensure systems of support allow for clarity in processes and procedures. If additional support is needed for students, this should be addressed with the IEP team. If any support or guidance is needed for the IEP team, please reach out to Inclusive Education at (253) 373-7610.

    Question 8

    Why does the Kent School district have 80 teachers that are rated basic? This is higher than any surrounding districts plus 38% of those rated basic are teachers of color.

    KSD has approximately 1,768 certificated teachers, 1,324 are classroom teachers who are evaluated on the Teacher and Principal Evaluation Plan (TPEP). 80 teachers on a plan of support is .06% of the classroom teaching workforce. As a classroom teacher is observed by their administrators throughout the school year, the classroom teacher is deemed as trending distinguished, proficient, basic, or unsatisfactory. KSD is one of the few districts that bargained with the KEA to offer plans of support for all provisional teachers who are trending basic or unsatisfactory—provisional teachers are in their first three years of teaching. Many districts choose to non-renew provisional teachers who are trending basic or unsatisfactory without providing a plan of support to beginning teachers as Washington State law allows districts to do so. In addition, any continuing teacher who is trending basic or unsatisfactory is placed on a plan of support. Because KSD has a growth mindset for not just students but also for teachers, KSD views the plan of support as targeted intervention that invests in our teachers. As a result, the majority of teachers on plans of support improve and move to become teachers that are rated as proficient. Regarding the number of teachers of color on plans of support, KSD will review the data and determine if disproportionality exists. The District and KEA have identified this as a potential issue and the District will work with KEA to develop a plan.

    Question 9

    Why does the compensation for teachers that are doing IEPs for our emergency cert teachers not the same for every school?

    Compensation is a labor-management issue, HR will work with KEA to address any compensation issues.

    Question 10

    Is the district going to replace Mary Newell? This position is needed.

    HR is working with Student and Family Support Services to address this position vacancy. In addition, the district has been working with KEA to address.

    Question 11

    Why does the district not want the information that the KEA collected for Stay Conversations? 

    KSD is open to any information from KEA whether it is from the Stay Interviews or from any other meeting they have with members. At this point, KSD has not received the results from KEA.

    Question 12

    Why do we test kindergarten students on iReady? It is not appropriate.

    The purpose of iReady (formative assessment) is to understand how students are progressing on grade level standards. iReady is designed to assess students at age-appropriate levels. The results identify where a student is doing well and where they need additional support. Since there is no Smarter Balance Assessment (summative assessment) until third grade it is important to monitor progress so students who need help can receive it prior to that point. Reading on grade level by third grade is a metric that is used nationally to estimate prison populations. This metric was so important that community stakeholders identified it as a 2018-19 Strategic Priority Initiative. The earlier gaps can be identified, the sooner support can be provided, the better students will do.

    Question 13

    How much do we spend on iReady? Why did we not purchase the modules that would allow teachers to give the ability to see where students need help? 

    KSD spends $9.60 per student grades K-8, plus tax for iReady. The iReady assessment covers formative assessment and instructional support in reading and math. This year’s contract also included up to 6 hours of professional development for each school.

    Question 14

    Could early release be on Friday instead of Wednesday?

    Early Release, to include the specific day and working conditions, is one of the three mandatory subjects of bargaining. During the bargaining with KEA, both parties agreed to Wednesday instead of Friday. One of the reasons Wednesday was preferable for our District is the already increased absenteeism of students and staff on Fridays.

    Question 15

    What is the Plan for Core 24? When is it going to be implemented?

    To graduate from a Kent School District (KSD) high school, students must earn their credits, meet standard on assessments and complete their High School and Beyond Plan. For the classes of 2019 and 2020, KSD applied for and was granted a waiver to the 24-credit graduation requirement mandated by Washington State. As a result, students in the classes of 2019 and 2020 will only need 23 credits to graduate. The waiver provides our high schools time to prepare for the 24-credit graduation requirement beginning with the class of 2021. A board work session will be presented soon with an update on the cross-community planning and work that has been going on to prepare for Core 24. Date to be announced, View all Board Agendas and Meeting Notes on BoardDocs at https://www.boarddocs.com/wa/ksdwa/Board.nsf/Public.

    Question 16

    Why has the secretary at Lake Youngs not been replaced? 

    The position has been posted and interviews have been held; as soon as a viable candidate is selected by the principal, the position will be filled.

    Question 17

    What testing is actually required by the state? What does Kent do above the requirements?

    The state requires that every student be assessed at least once in kindergarten (WAKIDS), 3rd – 8th grades ELA and math (SBA), and once in high school for ELA, math, and science (SBA). Washington state testing information for all students is available on the OSPI website. The district requires formative assessments at three points throughout the year so that schools have consistent checkpoints of student progress. This is very important because we have students that are mobile within Kent School District. Assessments like i-Ready provide equal comparisons of progress toward grade-level standards that are shared as students move through the district. Kent School District Assessment information is available online

    Comments

    1. The District does not follow through on things. (SEAC) – For example no communication about who was hired in inclusive ed.
    2. Training for the new website not being provided for school webmasters until February.
    3. If things are still being added to the new website, just put a note that says work in progress.
    4. Concern for the students that are doing the violence in classrooms. Is there a better placement for those students?  Including in gen ed classrooms not always best.
    5. Parents do not understand their rights and what they need to do.
    6. KEA is offering education law courses and can post the notices to the public.
    7. IEPs are not being followed.
    8. The District only collects data but does not do anything about our violent students.
    9. “tremendous pushback from district due to cost” when it comes to IEPs and helping students
    10. KEA has a chart of all violent acts against staff. 80 documented instances in one school since October. These are not being reported to district due to principals and teachers feeling like they will get in trouble for reporting.
    11. Tim at district office thanked KEA for providing charts – “all we have are piles of paper” 
    12. Emergency cert teachers are adding burden to all regular teachers
    13. Agency Spec Ed staff are ready to quit due to workload 
    14. The District is out of compliance regarding nurses and health techs in schools. Nurses are planning to leave if there is not a lead.
    15. Bree in HR told KEA that they do not want KEA stay conversation data because it has been manipulated. HR yelled at Christie.
    16. i-grad – “District finance people have not been honest in presenting” information. Principal is great. She will leave. We are hurting kids. District should be ashamed.
    17. ASE students all bused to CH. Not enough staff to handle. Services should be based on the needs of the students. We need more PARAS.
    18. District keeps cutting support for students. District already talking about fewer teachers for next year but no cuts at the district level.
    19. District pushes back on schools who say students need support saying no money.
    20. Are principals being judged on the number of referrals?
    21. The District is telling principals to ask parents to not speak to the Board.
    22. A great idea would be to have teachers work at the district office. R. Parsley was mentioned as an example - that she is passionate in staying in the classroom but is also good to have at the central office)

January 26, 2019: Kent Library

  • About the Event

    The following questions were recorded by Denise and Maya at the January 26, 2019, Community Conversation with the School Board held at the Kent Library. Seven people attended this event. 

    The Board worked with Team KSD for answers and made them available on February 11, 2019. 

    Question 1: Union Membership Concerns

    Were teachers notified how our union contracts are negotiated? Why is negotiation done behind closed doors? Communities don’t understand the bargaining process. Why not discuss what happens during the entire process? Who is responsible for telling teachers they don’t have to be part of the union (Janus vs AFSCME)?

    KSD and KEA begin bargaining collective bargaining agreements (CBA) in the spring, with the intent to conclude the bargaining before the current CBA expires, usually August 31 of the current year. Before the bargain, each party selects a bargaining team and each party communicates about the process and outcomes with their supervisors (district/board) or their members (KEA). Negotiations are conducted in such a way as to allow the bargaining to occur at the table with represented members for each party. Sharing details about the bargain before it is concluded can distract and interfere with the process of coming to a mutually agreeable outcome.

    It is not the district’s responsibility to communicate the most recent supreme court decision about union participation.

    Question 2

    Why do we not consider merit pay? What method do we have to reward ‘good’ teachers? How does a new teacher get ahead if only seniority is considered?

    Wages, to include how teachers are rewarded monetarily, is a mandatory subject of bargaining—the three mandatory subjects of bargaining according to Washington State law are wages, hours, and working conditions. The only venue for discussing this subject regarding KSD teachers is at the bargaining table with KEA.

    Question 3

    Why do teachers only have 7.5 hour days and not 8 hours?

    The number of hours in a teacher day is a mandatory subject of bargaining—the three mandatory subjects of bargaining according to Washington State law are wages, hours, and working conditions. The only venue for discussing this subject regarding KSD teachers is at the bargaining table with KEA.

    Question 4

    With 180 days of 6-hour education, kids are not getting enough education in six hours. This time includes lunch and recess. Why are we doing this when other countries have more instructional time? Early release is taking time away from learning.

    The early release schedule adoption actually increased the amount of instructional time average in the district. Instructional time for elementary students increased with the early release the most by almost two hours a week.

    Question 5: Broad Academy (this was a lengthy discussion)

    What is our impression of Broad? What is the benefit?

    Throughout the Broad Academy (TBA) Fellowship program, Fellows receive high-quality professional development and leadership coaching which serves to address student needs, support and inspire leaders within their respective systems to improve outcomes for students. The Broad Academy Fellowship enables fellows like Dr. Watts to better understand themselves as leaders, to strengthen their abilities to lead, and to cultivate high-performing organizations that drive performance through equity and excellence, by positively impacting the lives of students, staff, families and communities. As a member of the 2018-2019 TBA cohort, Dr. Watts will attend five in-person, week-long sessions that explore organizational advancement and system-level improvement opportunities; he also completes monthly readings, composes reflections, analyses and leadership application projects between sessions. This rigorous content also provides fellows the opportunity to apply lessons to their own organizational contexts. TBA expectations for improving outcomes for each and every student are aligned with Kent School District’s vision, mission and core values. Those expectations include: delivering high-quality learning opportunities; attracting, developing, and retaining exceptional talent; committing to a culture of inclusivity, continuous growth and results; executing strong operations to support schools and staff, and empowering and engaging your community.

    Board members did share in person their personal impressions of The Broad Academy.

    Question 6

    Superintendent and “Broad people” showed up at Ridgewood without announcing it to the Ridgewood community. Why was this not announced first?

    As an employee of KSD Dr. Watts is not required to announce his visits to any schools, however, the observance of the KSD instructional framework in action at Ridgewood on that day, with visitors, was planned and Principal Green was prepared.

    Question 7

    Jim McIntire (sp?) came to Ridgewood and when asked if he was from Broad, Jim lied and said no. After research, it was clear that Jim has a long Broad history. Why did Jim lie to me and why was he at Ridgewood?

    Jim McIntyre is the Director of Center for Educational Leadership at the University of Tennessee. Mr. McIntyre was here in January observing Dr. Watts as his coach and accompanied Dr. Watts to all his regularly scheduled meetings, school visits, and appointments on that day including the board meetings.

    Question 8

    How are schools getting ‘transformed’?

    All organizations are improved (ie. transformed) when positive culture and climate is continuously developed (i.e. empathy, equity, excellence, community), when the core business of the organization remains the focal point (i.e. teaching and learning with an emphasis on learning), when desired behaviors of students and adults are elevated based upon high standards and expectations (i.e. critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity), and when results are continuously improved and sustained.

    Question 9

    Can Dr. Watts make it clear to all of us what he has learned and what has made a significant difference in our schools by his attendance at TBA? That is, what is the value from Broad and how does it affect our shared values? Can he draw any correlation to his learnings and our outcomes? Please bullet this info in board newsletter and website.

    This same request was made by Director Hardy at the January 23, 2019 board meeting and Dr. Watts will present at a board work session or meeting soon, the date is to be scheduled.

    Question 10

    Can Dr. Watts explain all of his PD efforts (other than Broad) and place it on the website?

    As an educator and life-long learner, my personalized professional development plan does not consist simply of a list of workshops and seminars that I have attended. Like the learning happening in the classroom my own professional learning is ongoing and daily.

    President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, on December 10, 2015 which established a new definition of professional learning. This new definition supports sustained, intensive, collaborative, job-embedded, data-driven, and classroom-focused activities.

    For me personally this can look like collaboration with peers at the Puget Sound ESD Regional Superintendent meeting, facilitating and participating in KSD Leadership with school building and central office leaders, book studies, webinars, classroom walks, twitter chats, podcasts, seminars, and more.

    Our core business in KSD is teaching and learning, with an emphasis on learning. As superintendent and a member of Team KSD, my personal, professional and organizational growth occur simultaneously every day in our district because our staff and administration focus on learning.

    Question 11

    Describe a school that is successful using Broad as a resource. Do we know any superintendent who is a Broad fellow and is successful? Show us independent data on what is working.

    KSD staff and board members do not have and do not track this information for The Broad Academy or any external organization. Information about The Broad Academy is available on their website.

    Question 12: Big History

    Why was there not a work session as was promised to the board?

    There are a limited number of work sessions available after the Big History grant was approved by the Board on November 8, 2017. Big History was removed from the schedule as the district was forced to spend more time discussing the financial operations of the district with the Board during work sessions.

    Question 13

    Why were parents not informed that it was a pilot program?

    Though parents could have been informed about the pilot program, there are no policy or procedural requirements to inform parents of pilot or supplemental components of the district’s adopted curriculum.

    Question 14

    Why were people who disagreed with Big History ‘booted out’ of the committee?

    Big History is a volunteer pilot program. For that reason, no one was required to participate and those uninterested in participation were excluded from participation.

    Question 15

    How does one find out about the new instructional framework? Horizon has not heard about PDSA. Ms. D. West has not been accessible by email.

    The Plan – Do – Study – Act instructional framework is being introduced in phases to schools in the district. The first phase included a few elementary schools in the district. The next phase will include an introduction to all principals (this month) and the opportunity for schools to participate in the next phase. Any questions or inquiries regarding this framework can be directed to DeNelle West at DeNelle.West@kent.k12.wa.us. If you have been unsuccessful in connecting via email, please feel free to call (253) 373-7242.

    Question 16

    SEAC meetings are not known to others. Can we put it in Peachjar?

    Peachjar can be used by all KSD schools, non-profit groups and PTSAs. As a community group SEAC does not meet this specific requirement of board policy, however, there is an opportunity for this information to be shared using Peachjar through the Inclusive Education department or through school newsletters. Please call Communications and Public Affairs for more information or to discuss, (253) 373-7524.

    Question 17

    Not everyone has been trained in Peachjar. Will there be help?

    At this time only Communication and Public Affairs staff is uploading flyers to Peachjar. If this changes there will be conversations with labor partners first and then training will be offered. Information on who can send information through Peachjar and how is available to anyone on our website.

    Question 18

    Staff at Horizon are not using Peachjar but just Skyward. Why do we need Peachjar if Skyward is available? [Maya explained the need for CBOs to access the information as well.]

    Peachjar was an enhancement communication opportunity for our entire community, it did not change or eliminate the ability of schools to spend money printing newsletters if they choose to, or to send attachments via email through Skyward.

    Peachjar does, however, offer multiple benefits such as:

    • The opportunity to share information that is ADA compliant and can be read by members of the community using screen readers.
    • User analytics.
    • Peachjar allows Community Based Organizations the opportunity to share learning opportunities and events with families in a way the previous formats did not allow
    • Peachjar provides transparency because unlike email and Skyward this format allows all students, staff and families to see any flyer sent through Peachjar online even if you or your child does not attend that particular school.

    Question 19

    How can we find out if our bright kids are not succeeding, and if so, why? How do we connect with someone who knows what interventions need to take place? Website information does not help kids lead to success as resources are not detailed on the website. Would like to see for example how to access counselors, get help for ADHD, etc.

    Resources for HiCap are available on our website.For any support our resources an individual student needs, the first conversation for support and information is your child’s classroom teacher, then your school counselor and/or school principal. Contact information is available on all school websites on Our school > Meet Our Team.

    Question 20

    Do we have a replacement for Mary Newell? Randy Heath is not a solution. Mary was a nurse and many depended on her expertise. This is an urgent matter.

    Human Resources is working with Student and Family Support Services to address this position vacancy. In addition, the district has been working with KEA to address.

    Question 21

    Why do we need 1:1 devices in elementary schools? How much time are elementary kids on their devices? Explain WAKids and the reasons for these devices.

    Providing a device for every student has been a commitment of Kent school District since 2007-2008.

    During each of these presentations to the Board, the purpose of 1:1 has been to encourage and expanding learning anywhere options for students. The purpose and commitment to 1:1 has not changed since the original 2006-07 plan. By a narrow margin, the taxpayers confirmed the commitment by reauthorizing the tech levy.

    One to one devices are not a necessity, technology in the form of 1:1 devices for students, enhances the instruction provided by teachers and are a supplement and can be a cost-saving tool when implemented appropriately. Additionally, the devices are used for state assessments and formative assessments.

    WAKIDS is a state required developmental portfolio assessment for kindergartners. Teachers complete a performance rubric for each kindergartner. Students do not engage with technology for this assessment. WAKIDS has nothing to do with Kent’s commitment to 1:1 devices.

    Question 22

    Need to understand state mandates vs district mandates. iReady for example – is it required at the kindergarten level? What does WAKids and SBA require for testing?

    The state requires that every student be assessed at least once in kindergarten (WAKIDS), 3rd – 8th grades ELA and math (SBA), and once in high school for ELA, math, and science (SBA). Washington state testing information for all students is available on the OSPI website. The district requires formative assessments at three points throughout the year so that schools have consistent checkpoints of student progress. This is very important because we have students that are mobile within Kent School District. Assessments like iReady provide equal comparisons of progress toward grade-level standards that are shared as students move through the district. Kent School District Assessment information is available on our website.

    Question 23

    Where can we find a current list of staff? [Maya mentioned org chart on website]

    The Kent School District Administration Center Staff Directory is available through Meet Team KSD > Staff Directory or by using the "Directory" icon on the right side of the homepage and the bottom of every webpage. 

    School staff directories are available on each school website through Our School > Meet Our Team or by using the "Directory" icon on the right side of the homepage and the bottom of every webpage. 

    Comments

    1. Broad “agenda” is being followed by KSD – alluding to the dismantling of traditional public schools.
    2. [Re TBA] Community has a right to know what is going on and parents have the right to know when guests are in the building.
    3. There is lack of teacher training on curriculum. No support for teachers/staff.
    4. We need to do a better job of sharing academic successes
    5. A parent and employee shared that she has seen other superintendents come and go, and that she is happy with the current administration.
    6. Moriah dismissed a Board question during the stay interview presentation. [Not clear on what it was; need to look at video]. Glad that there is a panel (other than just HR) looking at stay and exit interview information.
    7. A stay interview panel member ‘pushed back’ on the assertion that HR refused to accept KEA’s survey results. She said to take that with a grain of salt and that KEA did not follow through on their commitments.
    8. Everyone is watching what is going to happen with principal at iGrad.
    9. The use of the term “layoff task force” by KEA was discussed. Both Denise and Maya mentioned we were not aware of such a task force but that the contract has signaled a possibility of layoffs.
    10. One parent repeated her question on what was pulled from our website. Maya explained that there are hundreds of pages, and to be specific on what she wanted to see that is missing. She says she wanted an acknowledgment of the email, and will get us specifics.
Last Modified on March 20, 2019