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Enrollment down, but still ahead


December 5, 2019

POMEROY-Superintendent Rachel Gwinn reported that the current enrollment is 301 students, at the recent board meeting on November 25. The budget planned for a student enrollment of 290.

The school board members have been assisting Gwinn in updating school board policies to meet current required laws for the state of Washington. The question of the one-year term for board chairperson. Bart Gingerich has been serving as chairman beyond the one-year term due to the fact that other members of the board were all new appointees, and had little experience in leading the meetings. The board decided to return to the former practice of choosing a new chairperson each year.

The Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) requires each school district to develop and implement a five-year Career and Technical Education (CTE) Action Plan. The plan must then be presented to and approved by a CTE Advisory Committee. The Pomeroy School District has received approval by the advisory committee for their five-year plan, which was also approved by the school board.

The school board was also presented with letters requesting retirement from Sanford Bates, high school Biology and Spanish teacher, as well as from Sandra Bates, elementary first grade teacher. Sanford Bates has worked for the Pomeroy School District for 35 years, and stated that he has had “nothing but fond memories” of his time at the high school. Sandra Bates, spending seven years teaching preschool, and subsequently 25 years with Pomeroy first graders, stated that she glad to be a part of a “quality school staff.” Both requested retirements to begin at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, which was approved. Gwinn stated “Our students and staff have been very lucky to have been blessed with such great educators,” and that “these will be tough shoes to fill!”

Amy Miller, High School Principal, reported that the new arena-style of parent/teacher conferences went very well and that she had received many great comments from both parents and teachers. Miller commented that attendance by parents was better with the new format, with 54 families attending in 2019, compared to 22 in 2018, and 13 families with students having failing grades attended in 2019, compared to seven in 2018. Miller added that the timing of the conferences, which were the same week as Homecoming and Halloween, did complicate the scheduling of events, and that it would not happen that way again in the future.

Gwinn stated that the elementary had a tough time the past few weeks because of the death of a fifth-grade student who was born with challenging health issues. The student had not been a student in Pomeroy for very long, and the family has since moved out of the area.

There are planned changes in the elementary school Holiday Program, in an effort to resolve seating and visibility issues during performances. The program will be held in the high school cafetorium December 11 in two sets: 6 p.m. K-Second grade performance followed by a fifteen-minute intermission and the second Third-Sixth grade performance at 7 p.m. This new schedule allows parents and families of the younger students to leave during the intermission, availing seating for parents and families of the older children. Gwinn is hopeful that this plan will make smoother transitions of groups of students.

Gwinn reported that the school district’s new website will launch December 4, 2019, due to Greg Sharp, the school district’s new technology expert efforts. Gary Houser, Shepherd Foundation Trustee, has requested that the sign presently posted on Hwy. 12 at the east end of Pomeroy, which highlights accomplishments by high school students, be moved to high school campus so that it is more easily visible to visitors. The Shepherd Foundation donated the sign, and will pay for the relocation.

The upkeep of the new track at the football stadium has presented some challenges from walking across the rubberized track with football cleats. During football practice and games, players have been required to remove their cleats, or change into other shoes, before walking across the track. They have laid mats across the track for players to walk across, but the placement of the mats has been a challenge. The mats will now be placed at each end of the field. Additional requirements will help cut down on the grass and mud being left behind by players. The goal is to help maintain the facility while helping out the maintenance staff.

Gwinn addressed the Community Sexual Assault Program (CSAP) program, “Making Healthy Choices,” taught in the seventh grade. The class is part of the Health standards established by the State of Washington, taught one day per week, for seven weeks during the Physical Education class, and does include topics such as gender identity.

Parents concerned about the curriculum may request a review by school administration, and any decisions may be appealed to the school board. Parents also have the right to “opt out” their child from the class.


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