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Collins task force ready to announce changes

The Collins Alternative Programs task force is almost ready to make its recommendations for changes in the school that is offered as a cooperative by the White River, Enumclaw, Orting and Sumner districts.

The announcement came at the White River School Board’s Feb. 11 meeting. Final recommendations are expected to be drafted at the group’s meeting today, Wednesday, and will be presented to the White River School Board at its special meeting Feb. 25. The task force, which has been meeting for several months, is being facilitated by a representative from the Puget Sound Educational Service District.

According to White River School District Superintendent Tom Lockyer, Collins is likely to move from a referral program to a choice program where students would be able to move back and forth between the school’s offerings and those of their high schools.

There is also expected to be a recommitment from all the school districts to share in and participate actively in the Collins program.

In other business, the board:

• set its next special meeting for Feb. 25 and its next regular meeting for March 11. Both begin at 6 p.m. in the district board conference room.

• heard from White River High School Associated Student Body President Brandon Skyles, who reported that the leadership team participated in the Jostens leadership conference and placed fourth out of 35 schools in the spirit competition. He also said the school will host its tolo dance Feb. 28 and the jazz band is headed to Idaho to perform. He also recently met with state Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn as part of a youth advisory council.

• watched a presentation by the WRHS FFA agricultural issues team. The presentation was a warm-up for its future appearances before the local United States Department of Agriculture and Farm Bureau. The students, who finished second in state competition last year, presented a non-biased look at the use of biosolids.

• watched a slideshow presentation from Mountain Meadow Principal Wayne Watanabe, teacher Tracy Nelson and Penny Keating about the school’s teamwork and collaboration efforts.

• heard from district parent Kim Demarest, who expressed her concern that combining Wickersham and Wilkeson elementary schools will have serious economic fallout for the district. She said the district stands to lose more money as parents transfer their students to outside districts. She also was concerned the move will create negative feelings in the district which will hurt future ballot issues.

• approved overnight travel for teacher Joel Black and Choice students for a Washington State history field trip in May.

• approved out-of-state travel for WRHS vice principal Adam Uhler to attend an Effective School Conference in Arizona in late February and Principal Mike Hagadone, teacher Tim Fleming and district professional development leader John Hellwich to present at the National Staff Development Council Summer Conference in Boston in July. Hellwich and a portion of Fleming’s fees are paid for by the Center for the Strengthening of the Teaching Profession with additional costs covered by professional development fund.

• approved a resolution acknowledging Classified Employees Week from March 9-13.

• approved an administrative internship for White River Middle School teacher Megan Gallwas.

• accepted retirement from WRHS teacher Gail Hargraves.

• accepted the resignation of Glacier Middle School teacher Stephanie Freedman.

• hired Robin Lynn Howard as a long-term substitute at WRHS; bus driver Carrie Britton-Johnson, Amanda Land as a long-term substitute at Foothills Elementary School and Darcy Saylor as a long-term Mountain Meadow substitute teacher.

Reach Brenda Sexton at bsexton@courierhearld.com or 360-802-8206.

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