When Enumclaw School District music teachers Cindy Killip and Jack Prindle retire in June they will leave behind a comprehensive elementary school music curriculum that creates uniformity across the district.
“What they are leaving behind is a gift,” said Byron Kibler Elementary School Principal Julene Miller, who asked the two to present their work to the Enumclaw School Board at its Feb. 6 workshop that took place at her school.
The work began in 2009 when the district’s elementary music teachers paired up with Miller as part of professional learning communities. Using time set aside by the district to work together to create a uniform elementary music curriculum across the district.
Music is part of the curriculum, Superintendent Mike Nelson explained to the board. He said Miller stepped up to lead what are known as singletons in the education world, in this case, teachers who have one specific subject.
Prindle said the curriculum provides a “logical pattern to what kids are learning through the years in the music program,” and each student at every elementary school is taught the same music knowledge so they enter middle school at the same level.
The curriculum covers an array of areas like evaluation, assessment, skills, cultural connections, and relationships with other school subjects, in addition to aligning with state standards.
Miller’s presentation also included a look at her staff’s efforts to create an inviting learning environment for students and work toward improving reading and math skills.
She said learning, collaboration and results are the pillars supporting all students achieving at grade level.
Kibler’s building theme this year is respect, kindness and compassion and goes hand-in-hand with the district’s Rachel’s Challenge effort. As part of the program, Kibler students receive Kibler Kindness bracelets.
Miller also tied her gift to staff at the beginning of the school year to some of those principles. Staff members received a heart-shaped gift that reflected some of the staff goals. The heart itself stands for Kibler’s motto, “The School With Heart,” Miller explained. The gift also serves a purpose, it can be used as a hanger, and its link-style form reflects Rachel’s Challenge. Staff goals also included literacy, PLC and mathematics.
Miller showed board members how math scores ,which hovered in the 30 percentile, have risen to 69.1 percent in the 2011 fourth-grade Measure of Student Progress. Miller noted staff was returning to an emphasis on reading. She also noted efforts in teacher training, intervention, enrichment and support.
In other business, the board:
• heard an update from members Nancy Merrill and April Schroeder, plus Nelson and district business manager Tim Madden, who recently spent time meeting with Legislators in Olympia.
District leaders said they are taking a wait-and-see attitude toward the budget. During their visit, the Supreme Court decision that it is the state’s paramount duty to fund basic education was a topic of discussion. Enumclaw leaders believe it will play a role in this year’s budget, but what that may be has not been determined.
District leaders also wanted to make sure their voice was heard on the teacher-principal evaluation process the state is planning. The district has been working with the University of Washington on a program and would like to see the state go with it.
• started discussion regarding the 2013-14 school calendar. Enumclaw School District and Enumclaw Education Association leaders are expected to begin negotiations regarding the calendar in March. Nelson explained it has been a tradition and courtesy to employees and parents to put together a calendar two years in advance.
The board would like to see a start date no earlier than Sept. 3 and a close date no later than June 13 with testing windows taken into consideration when looking at mid-winter and spring break options.