Board hears first-hand account of Choice successes

It’s the independent and thought-provoking curriculum that draws students like Alison Scholtz and Luke Jackson to the Choice Program.

The two Choice students presented their take on the parent-partnership school to the White River School Board at its June 10 meeting.

“It’s not homeschool. It’s not regular school. It’s something inbetween,” said Scholtz, a sophomore. She said she enjoys attending classes two days a week and working independently at home. The schedule allows her the flexibility to pursue volunteer work and her passion, dance.

Schultz moved from Puyallup, where she was not happy in a conventional middle school, to Orting specifically to attend the Choice program.

Approximately 120 students between the grades of four and 12 from the Enumclaw, White River, Sumner and Orting school districts participate in the Choice Program. Choice falls under the Collins Alternative Programs cooperative.

“Learning is not so much a chore,” Jackson said, explaining the Choice Program. “Learning is something we look foward to. The program pulls so much out of students.

“It caters to everyone and everyone’s needs,” he said.

Choice graduation took place in early June. Brian Jones, Samantha Syth, Jacob Warrender, Nathan Bundy, Megan Morris, Zach Sharp, Jesse Griffen, Ethan Short, John Southworth, Lizzie Hatch, Elizabeth Schmidt and Daniel Geske were awarded diplomas.

In a presentation later in the evening, Collins Alternative Programs Principal Mark Westerfield noted 128 students participated in the Choice Program this year. Another 147 students were enrolled at Collins High. Online learning brought 54 students to the program, while Collins Extension Program and Collins Junior High had 34 and 32 participants, respectively.

Collins programs are gearing up for big changes in the fall, including a move to consolidate the programs on the former White River Middle School campus.

In other business, the board:

• announced the last day of school is today, Wednesday.

• set Monday for its next special meeting and July 23 for its next regular meeting. Both begin at 6 p.m. in the board conference room. The board also changed its Aug. 19 meeting to Aug. 13.

• after much discussion and a number of votes, gave Jostens the middle and high school yearbook contract.

District business manager Mona Moan presented the board with a recommendation to accept Jostens yearbook bid, as recommended by staff. After discussion, the board voted against accepting both bids as proposed. Board member John McArtor questioned the approval of the highest of the four bids and suggested tabling the decision until more information could be gathered. Moan explained the the selection was done using a scoring system, the cost being only one factor of the process and the accompanying management plan being a significant determining factor. She added the recommended company provides more training and technical support in the production of the yearbook, as well as support in fundraising.

The board then opted to split the bids, first approving the middle school bid and then the high school bid, although McArtor voted against approval of Jostens as the high school yearbook vendor.

• approved out-of-state travel for staff attending a required Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) training. Greg Borgerding, Sheryl Lathrop, Joe Sprouse, Cody Mothershead, Anna McAllister, Jill Sulkosky, Jason Wenham, Sue Shoe, Jennifer Smith, Janene Frafjord and Otto Reudiger, will attend the June workshop in Dallas. The board also approved out-of-state travel for Chris Gibson to take the White River High girls basketball team to a San Diego tournament.

• approved salary schedules for unrepresented certificated and classified employees.

• received information about leasing space at Wickersham School of Discovery to a daycare group from Bonney Lake.

• accepted bids for Dairy Fresh Farms for food service dairy products.

• hired Pat McDonald as a long-term substitute and Vic Robbins as community activities assistant.

• was updated on the high school’s culminating project. Changes to the project will begin by making it a true culminating project with work beginning in a student’s freshman year and continuing through to graduation. The proposal also calls for more staff involvement and a stronger online presence.

Highlights include the elimination of the job shadow requirement, but continuation of the 11th-grade research paper and community service. There will be a change so project presentations will be conducted during school hours, and a shift to focus and engage Running Start students as well as give all students more support and training.

To comment on this story, view it online at Reach Brenda Sexton at or 360-802-8206.

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