Good evening students, staff, families and community,
Mid-Winter Break is here. I hope you enjoy this four day break with your families.
Based on what we have seen so far from this legislative session, school districts across the state will be facing a period of financial uncertainty and many are already announcing significant budget cuts for next school year. Unfortunately we are not an exception. We are in the process of evaluating all of our programs and supports and brainstorming for creative solutions as we prepare the 2023-2024 budget.
We continue to advocate with our legislative representatives, telling our local story in support of meeting the local needs. It’s also important to us that you have an understanding of why we are in this position. One example of this is that our district has been negatively impacted by the McLeary Decision made by the Supreme Court of Washington. This decision has reduced our levy collection capacity by over 30%.
If you would like to contact your state legislators regarding funding for education, their contact information is below.
Senator Sharon Shewmake (D)
Representative Alicia Rule (D)
Representative Joe Timmons (D)
Additionally, while we are incredibly grateful for the federal government’s support during the pandemic, and the financial support they provided with ESSR funding, we also have to remember that funding was designated for an emergency. We were able to use this one-time money to provide additional staff and support for our students during that crisis.
TOPICS FOR CONVERSATION
We have been looking at creative ways to mitigate the way the coming budget reductions will impact staff and families. One thing we learned from the adjusted schedule during the pandemic was the value of the consistent dedicated time for teachers to collaborate. This afforded staff the opportunity to review student performance, develop targeted plans to assist students, and learn from each other. While this was previously achieved through the use of the two-hour late start schedule,we have received feedback that our two hour late starts aren’t working well for staff or for families. However, that collaboration time is still critical to support and increase student achievement.
We are currently considering the option of a one hour late start every week, on the same weekday, for the coming school year. This would allow teachers this critical opportunity to collaborate, address concerns and seek help from their colleagues on a more consistent basis. While we understand any schedule change will create challenges, we’re hopeful the consistency of this schedule would ultimately be helpful for the majority of our families. We have discussed this option with teachers and with the advisory committee, and we expect to send a survey to parents next week, but we wanted to begin with an explanation of the “why”. While we wait for that feedback, we will be continuing discussions with stakeholders throughout the district.
We are also in the very beginning stages of discussing the prospect of a balanced calendar. What is a balanced calendar?
Spreads 180 school days over 12 months instead of 9
Includes several small breaks throughout the year instead of long summer break
Helps combat the “learning slide” that happens over a long summer break
Shorter breaks can also include “intersessions” where students receive instructional support to catch up on content
Intersessions vs. Summer School show results of improved student achievement
More frequent small breaks support staff and student mental wellness
As I mentioned, the idea of a balanced calendar is very new. It would take at least another year to gather input and determine feasibility. It’s something I wanted you to start thinking about though, because we may be looking to staff and families for more direct feedback on this in the future.
My next Supper with the Superintendent will be on Wednesday, March 8th at 6 P.M. We’ll have the location determined soon and an announcement of that location in my next Friday message. I hope you can join me, and I look forward to hearing your feedback on these and other topics.
Friday, February 17th - No School, Mid Winter Break
Monday, February 20th - No School, President’s Day
Monday, February 27th - Regularly Scheduled Late Start
Wednesday, March 8th - Supper with the Superintendent
We have Borderites competing this weekend in choir, basketball and wrestling and we wish them all the best. It’s a great night to be a Borderite, and as always, a great night to be your superintendent.
Dr. Christopher Granger
Each Student. Each Day.