The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Michele Smith
The Times 

Dayton School board report for November


November 26, 2020

DAYTON—Mason Finney, a senior at Dayton High School and the ASB public relations manager, spoke at the Dayton School District board meeting last week. Finney said the middle school and high school students have voted for their choice of DW Athletic Combine mascot, and the ASB counted the ballots last week.

The ASB is organizing the process under the direction of HS/MS Principal Kristina Brown. The top two votes will be selected, with a final vote sometime in the New Year.

Finney also discussed Mental Health Week, which took place last week. Students received tips and tools for enhancing mental health during the first fifteen minutes of first period classes. On Friday, they practiced meditation.

Superintendent Guy Strot said the District is partnering with Blue Mountain Counseling of Dayton for counseling services. From Blue Mountain Counseling, Caitlin Patterson will be at the school Monday through Thursday, each week, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Her vision for supporting students is to provide a neutral environment to help them process and overcome difficulties through a “mindset reset.” She will teach students coping skills and social and emotional learning.

Strot said recent guidance from WIAA is that Season 2 will be moved from December to February, with each season lasting seven weeks. Boys and girls basketball will start in Feb. and football and volleyball will begin in March. Track, softball, and golf will begin at the end of April.

A curriculum for sex education will be selected in the spring of 2021 by a committee made up of school staff and parents. It will be adopted by the board and taught beginning in the fall of 2021. Strot said parents have the option of opting out for their children.

Strot met with U.S. Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and others from the community, on Nov. 13. There is a military liaison in her office who can help the District start a Junior ROTC program, he said.

The alternative school for Dayton students is the Open Doors Program at Walla Walla Community College. Eight students are enrolled in the program.

The board considered and approved a 24-credit graduation requirement for Open Doors students. The Washington State minimum requirement for graduation is 24 credits.

MS/HS Principal Kristina Brown said there had been two fire drills, one earthquake drill, and one noncritical lockdown drill to date. Brown is getting door coverings for every campus door and working on clarifying procedures for all staff in a critical lockdown event.

Brown said middle school teacher Jeff McCann did a “really nice job” with his slide show presentation for Veteran’s Day.

Guy Strot, who is also the elementary principal, said the teachers appreciated that they could pause the slide show for discussion.

Strot said he has been getting to know each of the elementary teachers and discussing goals with them.

Facilities Maintenance Manager John Delp reported on building infrastructure, which requires attention.

“Where do we start? Where is our focus?” he asked.

The parking lot behind the gym and the high school is deteriorating, and windows throughout the campus have broken seals or wood rot. Windows need to be replaced at the administration building and the elementary school building.

The bleachers and track at the football field need attention, and there have been issues with irrigation water at the athletic complex.

There are some issues with the newest boiler in the elementary building, which have been or will be repaired. Overall, the new heating system is efficient, said Delp.

The company in charge of completing work on the awning over the elementary blacktop is working to correct issues, and all the damage will be fine after the “bugs” are worked out.

Food Services Director Jana Eaton said the Summer Food Program model for youth eighteen years or under, who live in the community, has been extended through the entire school year.

Food Service staff begin the day serving breakfast and lunch to the community. The students are eating breakfast and lunch in the cafeteria on trays.

“It is working well,” said Eaton.

Grab and Go bags are also being prepared for MS/HS students

Eaton said the District received a grant to provide fresh fruit and vegetables to elementary students. She plans on providing take-home boxes once a week.

Eaton is applying for an equipment assistance grant in December.

“We need a new kitchen stove. When it takes several hours to boil a pot of water, I think it’s time for a new stove,” she told the board of directors.

Last year, the District received a grant to purchase a new holding/proofing cabinet, an appliance used daily in the school kitchen.

Business Manager Paula Moisio said 98-percent of the District’s portion of property taxes had been collected by the county.

At the end of the 2019-20 school year, there was a $641,000 ending cash balance. The larger than budgeted ending balance was due to savings from reduced transportation, professional development, and athletic programs because of the COVID-19 restrictions.

Most school districts across the state experienced larger than expected cash balances. Moisio said the District needs to be careful with expenses as she is concerned state legislators may think school districts are “flush” with cash and make cuts to school budgets.


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