Marysville working to help students find their paths

MARYSVILLE – Helping students figure out what they want to do is utmost on the minds of Marysville educators.

At Monday’s school board meeting, educators talked about various ways to accomplish that.

One is the Regional Apprenticeship Pathways in which students will be able to learn about jobs in the trades industry.

“It’s an awesome opportunity for our students,” communications outreach director Jodi Runyon said. Educators said the community has spoken and it has listened that all students won’t go to college so other options are needed.

“They need other avenues to grow and move on in life,” Runyon said.

Another avenue is called Diversifying Pathways. It will be part of programs with Everett Community College and the University of Washington at Bothell. Students will focus on careers in health care and education. Those are two areas where there are regional shortages in qualified workers, Runyon said.

Students will be recruited and selected. They will receive clear direction and earn college credits in high school. The goal is that they will work locally when they graduate.

“We will grow our own” teachers, interim superintendent Jason Thompson said, adding it has been a challenge hiring diverse teachers here.

Director Chris Nation said the Navience program also is helping students plan their futures, instead of just “taking classes.”

Also, assistant superintendent Scott Beebe read a resolution noting October is Disability Awareness Month. He said the district employs a number of disabled workers.

Nation added that staff has helped disabled students get jobs. The district also has hired longtime advocate Preston Dworskin to work with businesses to try to find jobs for disabled people.

Thompson read a resolution on Wellness and Unity Month. He mentioned the Tulalip Tribes as being active with programs to promote sound mental health, and to fight bullying, suicide, substance abuse and domestic violence.

Nation said the state school directors association wants lawmakers to provide more funding for such issues.

Thompson said, “We need more money to support students who have trauma in their lives.”

Director Maria Maksimos said she worried about the students because of a threat at Marysville-Pilchuck High School last week. Thompson said police Monday found the person who made that threat.

Nation said safety is another area of concern for the state directors association. It wants to make sure every school has the proper resources in place.

“Take everything as seriously as possible,” he said. He added schools shouldn’t need metal detectors and things like that. Students want their schools to be welcoming.

“Just be aware of your surroundings,” Nation advised.

At the meeting, Runyon also went over some information about how active the schools were over the summer break. About 700 kids attended summer school and 18,825 free meals were served to those in need. Professional development included training for new teachers and Advancement Via Individual Determination training for 164 teachers.

“Teachers don’t get summers off,” Thompson said. Many went to training over the summer just because they were interested – most of the time without pay, he added.

Many volunteers cleaned up various schools citywide, and there were successful Stuff the Bus and Tulalip Backpack Bash events that provided school supplies for kids. Rudy Raccoon was a big hit teaching kids not to be scared to ride the school bus.

Looking ahead, Runyon said a key focus this year will be building relationships.

Also, two people spoke during the public comment period. Lois Landgrebe said the Native American education curriculum Since Time Immemorial needs to be taught to all students.

And Lia Blanchard praised the district for enhancing its Highly Capable program. Nation said she can thank the legislature for increasing funding for those programs.