Focus on student growth, community engagement | GUEST OPINION

The Marysville School Board focuses on two major objectives:  student growth and community engagement. The board was recognized as Washington State Board of the Year for that clear and steady focus and personal dedication and commitment.

Student achievement is the focus of every board meeting.  As board members, we hear success stories from schools, get regular student growth updates and ask questions about what else we can do and are also quick to compliment the extraordinary efforts being made by our schools. Recent successes include: Marysville MIddle School state recognition for closing the achievement gap; Co-Op state recognition for science; 10th Street and Arts & Tech High School recognition for innovation; Totem Middle School recognition for eighth-grade algebra; Quil Ceda and Tulalip elementary recognition for their work with student diversity. And seven schools were recognized for outperforming similar schools statewide. We are proud of the work of our teachers, principals, support staff and especially the students.

Community engagement has been equally important to the Marysville School Board. At the end of every board meeting we go through the events calendar to ensure, wherever humanly possible, board representation at school and community events.  This in addition to the 20-plus hours per month dedicated to board meeting activities.

The board is taking community engagement to the next level — two way conversations that make our community an even better place to live and work. We began this process with the recent selection for the new superintendent. At least one board member attended each of the 32 focus groups held to get input on the new superintendent. The board members spent hours reviewing the 400 surveys as they identified key criteria for the new superintendent, and made personal phone calls to get 40 community representatives to sit in on the board interview process.  As a result, the board was able to select a great superintendent candidate to lead Marysville into the future. Dr. Becky Berg, currently superintendent in Deer Park, is also a great instructional leader and president of ASCD — the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development — an international association of 100,000 educators.

Next up, the board is asking for community engagement in the strategic transition from Dr. Larry Nyland to Dr. Berg. We want to continue the good work already underway and be clear on what is needed to reach the next level of student success.  This two-part process begins this spring and finishes next fall.  Patrons and staff will be asked to provide feedback this spring on priorities already underway and then help make adjustments to that work under Dr. Berg’s leadership in the fall.  We called it Roots and Wings in the superintendent search ... building on a strong foundation and launching us to new successes.

Our Marysville School Board is “all in” around student success and community engagement.  But we can’t do it alone. We are so appreciative of the many community partners that are stepping up to support our students, our schools and our communities: The city of Marysville, Tulalip Tribes, Opportunity EXPO, Marysville Together, United Way, YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs, Rotary, Soroptimists, Kiwanis and so many more. Thank you for lending your hearts, hands and heads to make Marysville and Tulalip an even better place to live, learn and work.

Please join us for a special community engagement event:  Tuesday, May 14, 5 p.m. To register go to www.msvl.k12.wa.us, seating is limited.

Chris Nation is the Marysville School Board President and can be reached via email at chris_nation@msvl.k12.wa.us.


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