School Board approves Larry Wilson Memorial
February 6, 2020
POMEROY-The high school 2019-2020 FFA officers, Tyson Kimble, Nayely Larios, Alyssa Wolf, Maddy Dixon, Teagan Steele, and Westelle Scoggin, accompanied by FFA Advisor, Kyle Kimble, addressed the school board at the regular monthly meeting Monday, January 27, to request a memorial in honor of Larry Wilson, former Pomeroy High School Ag Teacher and FFA Advisor.
The memorial would name the Ag building at the high school the "Larry Wilson Agricultural Building." If approved, they plan to announce the naming of the building at his memorial on Saturday, February 1, 2020, as a surprise to his family. The request was subsequently approved by the board at the same meeting. A placard, paid for by the FFA Alumni Association, will also be placed outside the building. It will include a description of Larry Wilson's dedicated service to the school and FFA association.
The school board also discussed Policy 3211 regarding "Gender-Inclusive Schools." The policy is being required by Washington State legislation and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). It states, in part, that "The board believes in fostering an educational environment that is safe and free of discrimination for all students, regardless of gender expression, gender identity, or sex. To that end, the board recognizes the importance of an inclusive approach toward transgender and gender-expansive students with regard to key terms, communication and the use of names and pronouns, student records, confidential health and education information, communication, restroom and locker room use and accessibility, sports and physical education, dress codes, and other school activities, in order to provide these students with an equal opportunity for learning and achievement." In addition, the policy is accompanied by a very specific procedure guidelines document that describes how each case of "change in gender expression or identity" should be handled, "including any accommodations that the student is requesting or that the district will provide according to Policy 3211...and under state and federal law."
A copy of Policy 3211 and the Procedure document may be obtained from the Superintendent's office of the Pomeroy School District, and information will be posted on the school district website. The school board did approve the adoption of the policy, with one member opposing.
Amy Smith submitted her resignation as High School Volleyball Coach, effective immediately. The resignation was accepted by the school board. Smith has offered to help with any summer camps or activities until a new coach can be hired.
Superintendent Rachel Gwinn reported that enrollment for January, 2020, has increased to 301 from 299 in December, 2019. Two new students were enrolled at the Junior/Senior High School in January. She has also heard from another school that possibly one more student may be enrolled soon. There will be 21 seniors graduating this year, and 22 students are expected to enroll in kindergarten next fall.
Kelly McKeirnan, Business Manager, reported that the school district is in need of a new computer server. After investigation, he learned that a new server would be much more expensive than he had realized. Arrangements have been made to "phase in" a new server over the next three years, which will allow the district to spread out the expense.
Gwinn gave the elementary school Principal's and Superintendent's reports, stating that the elementary teachers continue to focus on the new math and problem-solving curriculum, from which they are seeing good results. Professional development continues to look at the "whole child" and being more "trauma-informed" as a staff. Sara Meyers is helping to cover the expense of sending some teachers to a conference in June to learn more about this new approach with students. As a district, the staff continues to work towards their goal of "self-care." Gwinn added that she is considering doing a book study with the staff to help with reaching that goal. February 14, 2020, will be an all-day staff development day, with some of the time devoted to suicide prevention. Gwinn stated that they have posted signs with inspirational words in each of the restroom stalls at the elementary school, as positive motivators for students. The "Pennies for Patients" drive has begun at both schools, which will be donated to the Leukemia foundation. The new alert system used for weather-related issues has been functioning well.
High School Principal, Amy Miller, did not attend the meeting, and no report from the high school was submitted. Tyson Kimble gave the ASB report for the high school, stating that Winterfest will take place the week of February 3–8, which will include dress-up days, games, and a casual dance on Saturday, February 8.
The next meeting of the Pomeroy School District Board will be held February 24, 2020, at 6 p.m. in the Shepherd Room of the Elementary School.