Marysville OKs 2 comprehensive high schools with boundaries; 3 ongoing committees

MARYSVILLE – The school board approved setting up two comprehensive high schools using boundaries Monday night.

But there was one addition suggested by director Chris Nation that the board also approved.

Interim superintendent Jason Thompson’s earlier recommended setting up two ongoing boards made up of students, parents, Marysville and Tulalip community members and district personnel.

Nation asked for a third one.

Thompson had asked for committees to look at Enrollment and Demographics, and Deeper Learning.

Nation thought another committee, looking at Equity and Diversity, should be established.

Nation also made a motion to develop high school boundaries for two comprehensive high schools including elementary and middle-level feeder patterns and to maintain choice programs at Tulalip Heritage High School and Mountain View Arts & Technology High School, including maintaining Alternative Learning funded programs. The recommendation says, in part:

• Each high school should provide a comprehensive course list including strong and varied Career and Technical Education opportunities, advanced coursework available to all students, and tiered interventions for academic and behavioral support.

• Class offerings should provide a range of pathways for students in both college and career exploration. • Provide choice for all high schools, including the now-combined Mountain View Arts & Technology, along with Tulalip Heritage, through an in-district waiver process.

• All high schools should offer access to fine arts programs and extracurricular activities.

• Boundaries should be established through a comprehensive process that recognizes and considers the diverse nature of our community and in turn, that diversity is reflected in the student demographics at each school

• A working committee should be convened to review district enrollment and demographic trends and recommend boundaries to the school board for feeder

high schools, beginning with elementary through middle and ultimately high schools.

• Continue to strengthen choice programs, including alternative paths for high school graduation.

Thompson’s plan goes on to discuss next steps in the process, including creating two new community engagement committees made up of staff, parents, Marysville and Tulalip community members, and students.

The Enrollment and Demographics Committee would look at the demographic and enrollment trends in the district and recommended boundaries. It would be ongoing to adjustments could be made as enrollment changes.

The Deeper Learning Committee would look at how to include Small Learning Communities in the new comprehensive schools. The intent of the SLCs at MG was to change the dynamic of classroom learning to be more student-centered, student-focused and include a large component of student choice and engagement. These are concepts we recommend be implemented across all of our secondary schools with the guidance and support of a community, parent, student and staff. Deeper learning refers to education to solidify the benefits of cognitive research. Simply put, the brain learns better when we are more engaged with and see importance in what we are learning. Deeper Learning Competencies include: Master core academic content, Think critically and solve complex problems, Work collaboratively, Communicate effectively, Learn how to learn and Develop academic mindsets.

The Deeper Learning Competencies incorporate skills and knowledge necessary to prepare students for life beyond school academically, professionally and civic participation. All of these connect directly to work already started in the district with program implementation including AVID’s WICOR strategies, technology professional development and what we know about learning in general. The best of the SLC model should be recommitted to as we move forward with a more financially feasible model in Marysville, Thompson’s recommendation concludes.

In summary, Jodi Runyon, director of engagement and outreach, added: From the time when the SLCs began to deconstruct to today has not been an easy process. It has been full of passion, frustration, confusion, and hours of work and study. The deconstruction began when a budget crisis three years prior created a reduction in staffing that impacted the SLCs.

In addition, students and parents wanted more class options and choices that resulted in cross-over classes being formed, thus creating a “feeling” of a comprehensive high school. The district contracted with two consulting firms to study the SLC model.

The board also acknowledged the district may not be able to implement new boundaries until the 2020-21 school year.

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