February 28, 2019: Kentwood High School

  • About the Event

    The following questions were recorded by Karen and Ross at the February 28, 2019, Community Conversation with the School Board held at Kentwood High School. Four people attended this event. 

    The Board worked with Team KSD for answers and made them available on March 15, 2019. 

    Questions

    1. Early release Wednesdays at high school are a waste of time. All teachers do is show movies. It’s theft of instructional time. Have students been surveyed about how they feel about Wednesday time usage? (We explained that they are still above what the state requires and that for elementary schools, we were below the instructional time of surrounding districts until we made the change to early release weekly when the time was added to the other days.)

    KSD did not survey students about early release on Wednesday. The average instructional time for all students increased with early release. The early release schedule was bargained with the Kent Teachers Association as part of a mandatory subject of bargaining, working hours.

    2. What is KSD doing about addressing the 24-credit requirement? Are we going to a block schedule? There should be a task force working on it right now.

    (Updated from January 24, 2019 Kentridge Community Conversation with board meeting date of presentation.) 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 presentation will be presented on March 13 with an update on the cross-community planning to prepare for Core 24. View all Board agendas and meeting notes on BoardDocs.

    3. Why did we give the teachers so much money when we can’t afford it?

    KSD fully considered and referenced the four-year budget projection, required by law, in our bargaining with the teachers’ association. KSD recognizes that to maintain salary commitments, in the coming years we will have to carefully consider all costs to sustainably support the salaries we bargained with our labor partners.

    4. Why do we insist on students taking pre-calculus? Why not business math or financial literacy instead?

    Students are required to have three math credits for graduation. The state assessments require that students demonstrate skills taught in Algebra 1, Geometry and Algebra 3. Pre -Calculus is not a required math course.

    5. Why have we purchased Peachjar? It’s expensive and “no one uses it. We should have analyzed it first. My school doesn’t use it.

    Every KSD School Community as received as few as 7 flyers via Peachjar and as many as 33. Some are internal from district programs and the school, some are from non-profit organizations. Since launching as of March 8, 2019 162 Peachjar flyers have been sent to our KSD families, the equivalent of 1,445,561 sheets of printed paper or 156 trees, not to mention the increased awareness of KSD students, staff and families about resources and opportunities in our KSD community.

    Additional Peachjar benefits include:

    • 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.

    6. Why are our students denied use of the Skill Center?

    If this question is in reference to the Puget Sound Skill Center (PSSC), we do not have a formal partnership. Kent School District currently offers many of the same programs as they do at PSSC. The exceptions include the Aeronautical Science (offered at the Museum of Flight and students have to self-transport), Dental Assisting, Fire & Emergency Services, and Translation & Interpretation. Our Career and Technical Education Director is in discussion with PSSC Dean to identify opportunities for a partnership that best serves the students in KSD.

    7. Why is the kindergarten enrollment age cut off at August 31? Other districts have later cut-off dates. Why can’t a four-year-old with a November birthday be even tested to see if s/he is ready? Why isn’t there an appeals process?

    State WAC 392-335-010 designates the cutoff date as August 31. Renton, Auburn, Tahoma, Federal Way, Highline and Sumner districts (our most directly connected) all use the August 31st date as well. KSD has established policies and procedures to guide our work and per WAC 392-335-025 we have adopted regulations in Board Policy 3110 for special exemptions for early entry kindergarten students whose birthday falls between September 1 and October 31 and who appear to be sufficiently advanced to succeed in the educational program. The appeals process applies to students who meet the age requirement and takes the early entry assessment.

    8. If a four-year-old goes to a private kindergarten, does s/he still have to be six by Aug. 31 to enter first grade?

    A child who has reached his/her sixth birthday on or before August 31 will be admitted to the first grade. A child who has reached his/her fifth birthday on or before August 31 will be admitted to kindergarten.

    Early entry into first grade will be allowed for students who have attended an accredited kindergarten program out of Washington State where the age qualifications differ from Washington State, or the student has successfully completed a community kindergarten program which meets Washington State requirements for instructional areas, 900 hours of instruction, employee certification, and has a birthday falling between September 1 and September 30. If necessary, the student may be placed in a temporary classroom assignment for the purposes of evaluation prior to making a final determination of the student’s appropriate placement. Such determination will be made no later than the 30th calendar day following the student’s first day of attendance.

    The building principal in the service area where the student resides will be responsible for making the determination of a student's eligibility to attend first grade as an early entry student (KSD Board Policy 3110).

    9. How do we get rid of the week-long vacation in February? Parents don’t want it.

    The school calendar is a mandatory subject of bargaining in the state of Washington. In bargaining, KSD always provides an option with no mid-winter break and one with a mid-winter break; KEA can also propose other options. The final two options that are determined by bargaining are voted upon by the memberships of all associations.

    10. Why are teachers teaching to the Smarter Balanced Assessment? They take valuable instruction time to teach to the test right before it.

    The Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts represent the next generation of K–12 standards designed to prepare all students for success in college, career, and life by the time they graduate from high school.

    These expectations for reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language guide classroom instruction progressing from Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12. Designing instruction and assessments aligned to Common Core Standards is an ongoing focus for our teachers and administrators.   

    Detailed information by grade level about resources and assessments is available on our website.

    11. Are we going to surplus anything from old Covington Elementary?

    We are relocating all usable items from Old Covington School to other schools in the district. Remaining equipment and non-usable items will be surpluses per KSD Policy 6881 and Procedure 6881P.

    12. What are the plans for the new baseball field at Kent-Meridian? How are girls going to be given equitable treatment in a field? Can we get an update on the KM baseball field---where we stand financially?

    In 2018, the Board approved a $2,000,000 change to the 2016 Bond contingency to convert Kent-Meridian High School’s baseball field to synthetic (vs. natural) as a prototype for future bond projects. This was chosen as KM is centrally located with pre-existing lighting, which would give KSD a playable field during inclement weather that would normally postpone field play. In addition, KSD upgraded the underground layment for the girls’ softball field in preparation for future upgrades. We are looking at improvements to both softball and baseball fields in the future, and plan to ask the KSD Board for approval to support the next Bond Issue for all remaining High School fields (boys and girls) converting to synthetic turf.

    13. Why don’t we have a dance floor for girls?

    The gyms, cafeterias, and stages are available for use and some high schools have purchased spring floors used for gymnastics.

    14. Do we have guest teacher trainings that emergency guest teachers may attend? What incentives do we have for guest teachers (e.g. working past 20 days, bonus structure at the end of the year)? Check with surrounding districts.

    KSD has provided training opportunities for all guest teachers every summer for the last few years; this in accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement with KEA. In addition, all guest teachers have full access to teacher trainings offered by the professional development office. We are interested in providing enhanced training opportunities throughout the year specifically for our guest teachers.

    Incentives provided to guest teachers per CBA:

    • Long term guest teachers of 20 days or more are paid in accordance with the Employees’ Salary Schedule for each day worked in the position as opposed to the guest teacher rate of $154/day.
    • Retired certificated teachers who worked for KSD at time of retirement are paid an additional $10/day
    • A $200 bonus is paid for each time a guest teacher completes a 20 work day segment gained in at least half-day increments—the cumulative amount is paid to guest teachers in July

    15. Guest teachers need more training. Is there training in de-escalation?

    All training opportunities are open to guest teachers as optional training opportunities.

    16. Are requests for emergency guest teachers on the website?

    Yes, KSD continuously hires guest teachers.

    17. How does an emergency guest teacher become an emergency certificated teacher assigned to a classroom?

    Eligibility to become a conditionally certificated teacher assigned to a classroom is based upon district need and standard hiring practices. Candidates who are chosen to be a conditionally certified teacher must work with HR to initiate this process and enroll in a state approved certificate program.

    18. How can the guest teacher pool be better compensated?

    Guest teacher compensation and benefits are bargained with KEA as a mandatory subject of bargaining. All compensation and incentives may also be found in Section 6.3 of the KEA Collective Bargaining Agreement

    Comments

    • The board shouldn’t have approved the $6000 Kent Schools Foundation grant. It’s not enough to create meaningful makerspaces in the six middle schools.
    • The 10% raise shouldn’t go across the board. The younger teachers should get a bigger percentage.

February 28, 2019: Kentwood High School

  • About the Event

    No questions were recorded by Maya at the February 28, 2019, Community Conversation with the School Board held at Kentwood High School. One person attended this event and had a discussion with President Vengadasalam about iGrad.

March 2, 2019: Kentwood High School

  • About the Event

    The following questions were recorded by Debbie and Denise at the March 2, 2019, Community Conversation with the School Board held at Kentwood High School. Two people attended this event. 

    The Board worked with Team KSD for answers and made them available on March 15, 2019. 

    Questions

    1. The Springbrook Facebook page has some very inappropriate posts on it. Does the district provide any guidance to schools about posts?

    Yes, unfortunately, some people have chosen to use social media to leave rude, sometimes vulgar, profane comments and reviews on the Springbrook Facebook page.

    The Communications and Public Affairs team has been working seven days a week to monitor the Springbrook Facebook page. The Communications team took over the management of the page from the school staff in mid-January. Comments can be hidden or removed that violate our official KSD Policy, this is true of any district approved page. However, if someone leaves a review, KSD can hide it and report it to Facebook and request it be removed, but we cannot remove it ourselves – even if it has profanity or vulgar language. Please keep in mind that if a comment or review is hidden by any page, anyone who is friends with the poster of that comment or review can still see what was posted.

    Any posts, regardless of how they come across – messages, comments, or reviews, that are a threat to staff or students on any of our official district page are reported to our Safety Services Supervisor, who then reports it to law enforcement as necessary.

    We do recognize this is a difficult time. We always encourage our staff to use all social media in a respectful and civil manner. We monitor and control what we can, we report what we cannot control, and we are being very mindful of how this experience will inform future decisions about practices and procedures for our school and district social media moving forward.

    2. Is the district going to take into consideration the information collected from the KEA for stay interviews?

    (Shared at January 24, 2019, Kentridge Community Conversation) 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.

    3. Can we put on the website a complete breakdown of how the McCleary money given to our district was used? There is a lot of talk about it all going to teachers.

    The McCleary dollars went into the general fund. General fund monies are not tracked in the same way as special purpose fund dollars are. Use of the McCleary dollars was discussed in board meetings before and including the adoption f the 2018-19 Budget Adoption on the August 22, 2018, Board presentation.

Last Modified on March 15, 2019