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San Juan Island School District: Transition to Kindergarten program to start in Fall 2024

LWVSJ Observer Corps* Notes:  SJI School Board, October 2023 meeting

Superintendent Fred Woods visited Bellingham School District's Transition to Kindergarten program with FHES Principal Holly Wehner and Board Chair Sarah Werling-Sandwith on October 17. The program gives children a solid basis entering kindergarten. Fred described school communication with families using Parentlink, which sends messages via email, text, or the SJISD app.   Social media is a challenge to keep without a dedicated communications officer. 

The three principals presented their School Improvement Plans.

The Elementary School will focus on improving K-5 writing.  Fourth and fifth grade scores on state tests results will show a 5% increase over prior years.

The Middle School plans to increase academic achievement with a 10% increase in students meeting Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) growth goals vs. 2023 data and 100% of students showing growth from Fall to Spring. They hope to build student connections to school, raising all climate survey responses to at least 75% positive.

The High School’s goals are that students taking state assessments will meet or exceed the pre-pandemic pass rates on all exams. Tenth grade students will improve pass rates by 5%, and the number taking math assessments will increase from 50% to 55%. Eleventh Grade students will improve on science assessments. Covid school closures especially affected ninth graders, who will be given extra assistance. They work on social emotional well-being to increase students who feel: I belong to a group of friends at school; My teachers take the time to get to know me; people at my school care if I’m not there; I feel safe at school. The Board approved the plans.

The Board passed resolutions to participate in the Mastery Based Learning Cooperative and pursue a grant for Griffin Bay School; and to establish a transition to kindergarten program to begin in Fall 2024 for 4-year-olds with a target of 15-18 students based on need.  The program will be designed to not compete with other pre-school programs.

The board discussed capital requests and the technology levy will have a separate meeting for further work.  Final discussion will be completed by the November board meeting.  The levy will be on the February ballot.

The Board approved payment for two capital projects--paving of parking lot at the high school. And emergency plumbing repairs. The Board approved to move forward with the Apollo Solutions Group estimate for urgent repairs.  Apollo will seek grants to cover the cost of all initial work.

Student enrollment across all schools increased by 12 students.  The budget is essentially flat through October. Board members will be attending the WSSDA annual meeting in Bellevue on November 16-18. The next board meeting will be November 29.

*The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan organization encourages informed participation in government. The Observer Corps attends and takes notes at government meetings to expand public understanding of public policy and decisions. The notes do not necessarily reflect the views of the League or its members. 

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