The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Michele Smith
The Times 

Dayton School Board report for October


October 29, 2020

DAYTON—Dayton School District Superintendent Guy Strot talked about the effect the COVID-19 challenge was having on staff and students when he addressed the school board at last week’s meeting.

He said he is very proud of the staff and students in the elementary school and in the middle and high schools for following the rules and following the District’s Reopening Plan. The teachers are doing an amazing job of “soldiering on” during this stressful time.

There is a good working partnership between the school and the staff within the County Public Health Department. Strot said he would be touring school facilities with a representative from Washington State Labor & Industries to ensure the District has done all it can to keep school employees safe.

Strot said there is a district budget shortfall due to a smaller student enrollment than was anticipated. The budget was based on a projected enrollment of 382 students. Twenty-four students have switched to other schools and programs, and eight students are being homeschooled. (The Middle School, however, gained three students.)

The shortfall is estimated at between $80,000 and $120,000. The District will watch expenses, and no radical changes will be made, for now.

Business Manager Paula Moisio discussed revenue. She said the District had filed a $50,000 claim with FEMA, but no reimbursement has yet been made. All the funds allocated to the District from the CARES Act have been spent.

Strot asked the Board of Directors to approve a change order for the elementary roof project and approve sales tax for the project in the amount of $14,000.

He said there are some damages that occurred during construction that need to be addressed. The District is negotiating with the contractor for that.

Strot asked the Board of Directors to consider policies that are out of date or are deemed essential at future board meetings.

“Great things are happening in the grade school,” Strot said in his report about Dayton Elementary School.

The Parent-Teacher Service Organization (PTSO) hosted a “successful” book fair in the library.

Blue Mountain Counseling of Dayton sponsored a creative pumpkin coloring contesting.

October 20 was pumpkin delivery day from the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla for students in preschool through third grade.

Judi Pilcher, President of the Food Bank, has reached out to offer the Backpack Program, which will provide weekend bags of nonperishable food items to qualifying families. HomeStreet Bank also donated $500 to provide winter apparel to elementary students.

Strot said Fire District 3 visited K-3 classes to talk about fire safety.

Parent-teacher conferences are Nov. 4 through Nov. 6. Many teachers are offering evening or afternoon conferences.

Secondary Principal Kristina Brown said parents have the option of phone, Zoom, Google meets, or in-person conferences.

“We usually get a really great attendance,” she said.

Brown told the board of directors she has been visiting classrooms and performing teacher evaluations.

“It is exciting to see great teaching and students engaged in learning,” she said. “We are so thrilled to be back in the schoolhouse.”

Brown said some students had fallen behind, academically, over the last six months.

“It has been several months since we’ve done any screening. We really want to know where our kids are right now, so we can work with them and provide interventions.”

She said students are being tested, in English Language Arts (ELA) and math, using Star assessment testing.

Star testing helps identify students who need additional academic support. It provides a consistent tool for monitoring progress. The data can be used for planning individualized or small group instruction, and in professional development for staff. Student attitudes can also be assessed using this tool.

Brown said ensuring grade-level performance is the goal of quarterly Interim Assessments for ELA and Math. These assessments help teachers better understand student comprehension and identify target areas of concern.

Brown wanted to give a “shout out” to teachers Kristine Warren and Heather Clarys for organizing the PSAT. Thirty-four students in Grades 10 and 11 and two Running Start students took the Preliminary SAT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) on Oct. 14.

Brown said a tour with Educational Servce District (ESD) 123 Loss Control Specialist Christine Poirier had been scheduled to evaluate facility safety.

She said football, basketball, volleyball, and strength training for fall conditioning are underway, and coaches meet with the students once a week.

“We appreciate the coaches who are volunteering their time to work with our students,” she said.


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