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School board addresses myriad of issues

Tina Peabody speaks to the Sunnyside School Board, flanked by Anthony Chavez, about his work to support the Wounded Warrior Project. Chavez told the board that he hopes someone else will take up the torch and continue his efforts.

Photo by Laura Gjovaag.
Tina Peabody speaks to the Sunnyside School Board, flanked by Anthony Chavez, about his work to support the Wounded Warrior Project. Chavez told the board that he hopes someone else will take up the torch and continue his efforts.

Down one director with the absence of Dylan Gardner, the Sunnyside School Board took its time last night (Thursday) working through a lengthy agenda.

The school board honored student Anthony Chavez for his work supporting the Wounded Warrior Project and also recognized fourth grade students from Pioneer Elementary School for their dedication to math. The students placed fourth out of 19 teams at a recent Math is Cool competition.

The board also honored district employees for their efforts to support Lower Valley Relay for Life, noting that the district had earned a special award for stepping up to host the 2014 event at Sierra Vista Middle School. Director of Executive Services Curtis Campbell said the 2015 Lower Valley Relay for Life will also be held at Sierra Vista.

The board, too, approved the move to District 6 of the WIAA as they renewed the school district’s membership in the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.

The board also approved the district’s summer athletic program schedule, a set of criteria for approving an architect for the Washington Elementary School project and a resolution requesting that the federal legislature fix the problems with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

A memorandum of understanding between the school district, Sunnyside United, Sunnyside Transformation Yakima Valley and Nuestra Casa was not approved by the board due to concerns of various board members.

Director Michelle Perry questioned the need for a memorandum, while Board President Rocky Simmons asked for more details on the roles of each organization. Director Sandra Linde wanted something added to the memorandum that would explicitly state that the arrangement does not provide financial support from the district to the other entities.

The board also discussed an ESL program for parents of middle school students to be run with the participation of Nuestra Casa. The goal of the program is to help parents become involved in the school work of their children, giving both the parents and the students more confidence.

Simmons was concerned that the program would be duplicating the ELL program as presented in the classroom, causing potential funding issues or questions from the auditor. He was assured that the program was supplemental and would support the classroom work without supplanting it.

The board also heard a presentation on the Common Core standards and how they are affecting mathematics teaching in the district.

The remainder of discussion items concerned district athletic programs, starting with an online survey that the district set up to receive feedback from parents and student athletes. The results are being used to focus the direction of the district’s programs.

Athletic Director Bill Daley said the district has a goal that 100 percent of student athletes will be on track for graduation. He said the current rate is about 80 percent. He also said the program has a goal of zero ejections from games.

The board also discussed potential arrangements for a new athletic facility for the district, with the general news from the architect being that Clem Senn Field is not large enough, so the district will likely resurface the existing track and build stands and facilities there.

Another long discussion was about how to involve the community at large, as opposed to just parents, in the athletic programs, whether as boosters or sponsors. No conclusion was reached.

Daley finished the discussion with the presentation of a rubric for evaluating the performance of coaches in the district. The approach is different in that it provides coaches with specific information on how to improve and details on what the district expects from a coach.

The meeting concluded after more than four hours.

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