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Enumclaw gets chance to tour Manhattan

District staff will visit top-rated New York school

By Brenda Sexton

The Courier-Herald

After waiting more than three years, it looks like representatives from the Enumclaw School District will get the opportunity to tour the Manhattan New School in May.

Assistant Superintendent Mike Nelson made the announcement at the Enumclaw School Board's Dec. 20 regular meeting. He said the Manhattan New School, in New York City, is one of the best in the country.

The Manhattan New School (MNS) was started by a group of teachers from the Teachers College Writing Project at Columbia University in the fall of 1991 under the leadership of Shelley Harwayne, former co-director of the Teachers College Writing Project. MNS began as an "option school," a school founded upon a unique idea, and has now become a fully recognized neighborhood public school.

According to its Web site, the 13-year-old Manhattan New School has been established as a national professional development site for best practices in literacy instruction. Many of the staff members have written professional texts known throughout the country. MNS has student teachers from Bank Street College of Education, Columbia University Teachers College, New York University and Fordham University.

Preparation for the visit begins with the staff in January. The visit is funded by the Gates Grant.

Nelson also updated the board on other upcoming professional development opportunities for staff, as well as summer learning activities for students.

In addition, he took a few minutes to outline recent "customer service" training the district's secretarial staff received from Enumclaw Starbuck's manager Kelly Stickney. During a recent inservice day, the secretarial staff met with Stickney to learn how to better meet and greet parents and visitors to the district schools.

In other business, the board:

€ accepted donations from: Boeing, for seven desktop and three laptop computers valued at $3,300 to Black Diamond Elementary; Bruce Sprague to the high school athletic department in the amount of $998 for pool rental fees; parents of EHS wrestlers in the amount of $5,000 to the high school athletic department for the wrestling program; and What Kids Can Do Inc. in the amount of $4,000 to Enumclaw Adventure School for a documentary video on the restructuring of EHS.

€ elected Andrew Willner as board president and Lorianne Taff as vice president. Superintendent Art Jarvis, on the district's behalf, thanked outgoing president Nancy Merrill for her year of service in the board's lead position. The board also renamed Dale Holland as its legislative representative.

€ met Enumclaw Police Chief Jim Zoll.

€ accepted federal grants totaling $856,373 for special education and preschool special education.

Along those same lines, the board took a stance by signing a statement supporting a group titled the School Districts' Alliance for Adequate Funding of Special Education.

In the resolution the board approved, it spells out how the state is obligated to fully fund the costs of special education services, but currently is not doing this. The burden is falling on school districts which, according to the resolution, statewide have spent at least $101 million in 2002-03 to cover the shortfall.

€ heard Enumclaw High School principal Terry Parker, vice principal Susan Schmidt and science teacher Skip Ashley talk about the school's professional development and science program.

€ changed the Public School Employee contract involving English as a Second Language paraeducators. They were upgraded from the general rate of pay to the higher rate designated for those who work with special education students and detention and solution room settings. Their hourly rate will range from $11.94 to $12.45. The agreement is retroactive to Sept. 1.

Brenda Sexton can be reached at bsexton@courierherald.com.

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