After struggling with being bullied in elementary and middle
school, Eagle Harbor High School junior Otis Doxtater created a
program that helps students learn tolerance, unity and
Otis’ efforts inspired many students Tuesday when he led the
Commodore K-12 Options School student body and employees in an
Prior to a morning assembly, Otis visited classrooms with a
strip of orange paper for each student. The students wrote what
made them special on one side of the paper and on the other
described what things they would do to stop bullying. The
classrooms then created a chain of orange links, which later were
connected with the rest of the school’s classes during a silent
Otis is known to many island residents for holding an
anti-bullying sign near the Bainbridge McDonald’s restaurant on
High School Road, off State Route 305. With “Stop Bullying” on one
side and “Love and Equality” on the other, the signs elicited
support and people wanting to talk to him about bullying.
“At Eagle Harbor High School everyone knows everyone and people
are very accepting,” Otis said in a news release published by the
Bainbridge Island School District. “I really found the right fit
here. Now I want to help others feel they can talk freely about
bullying prevention and know their actions can make a
Otis’ efforts coincide with the eighth annual National Unity Day
on Wednesday (Oct. 22), which encourages schools, businesses and
communities to come together against bullying and unite by wearing
orange with a message of support, hope and unity.
Combined, Bainbridge Island School District employees Cami
Dombkowski, Bob Houk and Kathy Roberts worked 82 years in public
education and today from 3:30 to 5 p.m. the district will honor and
recognize the well-known trio with a reception in the
Bainbridge High School Commons.
three will retire from the BISD Friday.
human resources and transportation director, retires after serving
the school district since 1990.
lead custodian, came to the district in 1986.
administrative assistant to Superintendent Faith Chapel, started
working for the district in 2001, after spending 17 years with
Everett Public Schools.
Bainbridge Island School District will be unloading all its old
kindergarten through eighth grade math books to families of
district students from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, July 10, at the
Commodore Options School, located at 9530 N.E. High School
which are at least four years old and could be as old as 10 – will
be on sale from 50 cents to $1, district accounting specialist
Julie Gray said.
to purge the old math textbooks followed the Bainbridge School
Board’s adoption of a new K-8 math curriculum. In the June 26 board
meeting, a consent agenda item was passed to dispose of surplus
the July 10 sale to district families, the books will be available
for purchase to other school districts on July 14-15, Gray said.
The remaining books will then be shipped to the state’s surplus
facility in Olympia, the Washington State Department of Enterprise
Services, likely sometime in the fall, Gray added.
information about the math textbook sale, contact Gray at
206-780-1063 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bainbridge High Principal Jake Haley accepting a principal position
at Costa Mesa High School in California, Bainbridge Island School
District named Mary Alice O’Neill as the school’s interim principal
for the 2014-15 school year. She will start July 1.
was the associate principal at BHS from 1999 to 2001 and Woodward
Middle’s principal from 2001 to 2009. She currently works as a
teacher on special assignment.
excited to fill this important role,” O’Neill said in a news
release. “I believe we have one of the finest high schools in the
state. I’m looking forward to working with the amazing students,
the talented and caring staff, as well as the supportive parent
has worked as an educator for more than 30 years in Kitsap
County, California and Kuwait. She holds a bachelor of arts and
masters of education from the College of William and Mary in
thrilled to have Mary Alice rejoin the district in this critical
role,” Superintendent Faith Chapel said. “She is a skilled and
experienced principal and understands the needs of our
will work through the end of the school year before starting his
new job in California July 1.
month, Amii Pratt was named the new associate principal at Sakai
Intermediate School. The half-time administrative position – which
was cut in 2011 – is being reinstated as a result of the district’s
increased enrollment and changes in administrative roles and
responsibilities. She’ll start her new job July 1.
has excelled in a number of instructional and leadership roles in
the district, and she is highly regarded by those who have worked
with her,” Chapel said.
brings 11 years of educational experience to this new position. She
taught first and second grades at Wilkes and Ordway Elementary
Schools and second grade at Ogden Elementary in Vancouver, Wash.
She also served as a K-5 English Language Learner coordinator
in Vancouver for two years.
Pratt is a K-5 English language arts teacher on special assignment
and is a principal intern at Blakely Elementary. She has designed
and led professional development sessions and co-facilitated the
Teacher Evaluation Committee for the Bainbridge Island School
graduated in 2001 from Oregon State University with a bachelor’s
degree in science and a year later earned a master’s degree in
teaching from OSU. In 2008, she achieved her National Board
Certification, a rigorous and advanced teaching credential. This
year, she received her Initial Principal and Program Administrator
Certificate from the University of Washington’s Danforth
Educational Leadership Program.
***Story updated 11 p.m. May 13 to reflect Newport-Mesa Unified
School District’s Board of Education voting 7-0 on Tuesday
night for Jake Haley to be Costa Mesa High School’s new
Being closer to family who live in California will likely take
Bainbridge High School Principal Jake Haley back to the Golden
State, where he worked from 2005 to 2010.
Haley was named officially the new principal of Costa Mesa High
School after the Newport-Mesa Unified School District’s Board
of Education voted 7-0 for his hiring at Tuesday’s
meeting. Haley will start July 1.
Haley would replace Phil D’Agostino, who left in March to
become the district’s director of student services, the Daily Pilot
“His background is in educational leadership, mathematics,
special education and athletics,” the Newport-Mesa Unified School
District news release stated of Haley. “He expresses a passion and
commitment to instructional leadership, a desire to meet the
individual needs of students and staff, and, exhibits the ability
to build relationships balanced with a sense of humor.”
Costa Mesa High School ranked 131st in California and 650th
nationally in U.S. News & World Report’s best high school
rankings in its recently released 8th annual list of more than
19,400 public high schools in 50 states and the District of
Columbia. Costa Mesa, a seventh through 12th grade school, has a
total enrollment of 1,693 students.
Haley’s roots run deep on Bainbridge Island. He entered Wilkes
Elementary as a kindergartener and attended BISD schools until he
graduated from high school in 1993. He was Bainbridge High’s
student body vice president his junior year and student body
president the following year.
After earning an undergraduate degree from Whitworth University,
Haley was hired as a BHS math teacher in 1997, a position he kept
through the 2005 school year. During those years, he also served as
the Spartans’ assistant football and assistant boys basketball
“This has been one of the most challenging and difficult
decisions that I’ve had to make in my professional career,” said
Haley, who will continue to work as the BHS principal through the
end of the school year. “For 28 years, Bainbridge has been my home
as I’ve evolved as a student, teacher, coach and principal. I will
deeply miss the students and staff of Bainbridge High School who
have enriched my life in countless ways.”
Haley left Bainbridge in 2005 to become the head football coach
for El Toro High School in Lake Forest, Calif. He guided the
Chargers to a pair of 5-6 records his first two seasons, a 6-6 mark
in 2007 and a 2-8 campaign in 2008, according to MaxPreps.com.
He then was hired as an associate principal for Laguna Hills
High School in Orange County, where he worked during the 2009-10
school year. Haley returned to Bainbridge in 2010 when he was hired
as Bainbridge High’s associate principal. Last July, he was named
the school’s new principal.
U.S. News & World Report ranked Bainbridge the sixth best
high school in Washington and 276th best nationally. Last year, BHS
was ranked seventh in the state and 274th nationally.
“Jake is an outstanding educator who has made significant
contributions to our district as a student leader, teacher and
administrator,” Bainbridge Superintendent Faith Chapel said. “He
will be greatly missed by everyone who has worked with him.”
Chapel said the Bainbridge Island School District will start
making decisions on replacing Haley in the next few days and will
announce those plans through the district’s Listserv email
U.S. News & World Report ranked
Bainbridge High School the sixth best high school in the state and
276thbest nationally in its recently
released eighth annual rankings of more than 19,400 public high
schools in 50 states and the District of
Last year, BHS was ranked seventh in the state
and 274thnationally in the magazine’s “Best
High Schools Rankings.”
Washington state schools made the magazine’s 2014 list. Eligibility
for the list required school’s garnering a national gold or silver
medal; Bainbridge won a gold medal.
International Community School was ranked the top school in the
state, followed by Bellevue’s Community School, Bellevue High,
Newport (Bellevue) High and Interlake (Bellevue) High.
Moines’ Aviation High, Seattle’s Roosevelt High, Seattle’s Garfield
High and Winthrop’s Liberty Bell Junior/Senior High rounded out the
state’s top 10.
School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas, Texas, earned the top
honors nationally, followed by BASIS Scottsdale in Arizona and
Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology in
International Community School was ranked the highest nationally in
the state at No. 13.
to information the magazine posted online, Bainbridge High has a 67
percent participation rate in Advanced Placement course work. Out
of its total enrollment of 1,309, 50 percent of the student body is
made up of males, and it has a total minority enrollment of 11
elderly couple were in a bind and needed help
discovering their mailbox had been smashed during a weekend prank,
the couple called Bainbridge Youth Services seeking help because
they couldn’t get their mail delivered to them and they were too
feeble to fix the box themselves.
High juniors Peter Lindsey and Grayson Wildsmith were recruited by
the agency to donate five hours on a Saturday to rebuild the
had to mix the cement, place the new mailbox beam in the cement and
then fasten the mailbox to the beam,” said Marina Cofer-Wildsmith,
executive director of Bainbridge Youth Services, which is housed in
the high school. “All this done without any spotlight on their
work. No community service hours expected, no payment … they did it
just because. The couple were so grateful.”
shared the story of Lindsey and Wildsmith on the heels of the
successful three session Healthy Youth Summit, which was
sponsored by Bainbridge Youth Services, Raising Resilience, Rotary
Club of Bainbridge Island and the Bainbridge Island School
attracting more than 60 participants and community leaders for the
first stakeholders meeting in September, the first summit in
November garnered 171 participants. The next three-hour meeting in
January had 168 participants and the third in March tallied 101
people. More than 50 youth participated in all three events, but
approximately 200 youth voices helped shape the direction of the
conversations as a result of youth surveys.
meetings meant a great deal to Dave Cinamon, whose daughter attends
each event with a feeling of relief, happiness and optimism, having
learned more about this stage of my daughter’s life,” said Cinamon,
an architect on the island. “I loved each event – being with other
parents, and listening to great speakers and educators explain how
a teenager’s brain is developing during these years.”
School District Superintendent Faith Chapel said she found the
meetings “very effective.”
the years, I’ve participated in many discussions about
adolescents,” Chapel said. “Without a doubt, these were the most
constructive and substantive sessions I’ve experienced. Each
segment was unique in its format and content, and the speakers and
facilitators were very effective.”
Cezanne Allen, board chair for Raising
Resilience, and Cofer-Wildsmith said the motivation for the Healthy
Youth Summit was simple: engaging both youth and adults. After
starting with teens telling them through survey data that
“we aren’t happy” and that adults
“put too much pressure on us making a decision for the future,” the
teens moved to “give us a voice” and “please redefine success –
congratulate us for who we are, not what we
expectations for these summits were more than met, as we engaged
all facets of our community and built momentum for ongoing
conversation and action,” Allen said. “The dialogue between youth
and adults in the room opened up rich understanding, trust and
respect on both sides. Common community-driven values were
articulated and 100 committed adults and youth worked together to
design action steps to move our community from good to
result of the summits, Cofer-Wildsmith said she hoped to implement
methods to improve the way island adults “engage, empower and
listen to our youth.”
trying to establish a community movement where we look at how we
behave and interact with our youth differently – supporting their
strengths and less focusing on their deficits,” Cofer-Wildsmith
said perceptions between Bainbridge adults and youth have changed
following the meetings and that the conversation will
working to support the action groups that emerged and to empower
and bring leaders from a wide variety of sectors together to create
a common agenda for action to support healthy youth development,”
Allen said. “We will plan a follow-up summit next year to
consolidate our learnings and track our progress.”
some of the achievements that came as a result of the three
community Healthy Youth Summits:
— Bainbridge Police Chief Matthew Hamner starting a Youth
— Bainbridge Island Arts & Humanities Council are planning
to add a youth board member.
— Senior Center discussion youth technology mentorship for
— Parent-driven youth mentor program established.
— Bainbridge Youth Services launching a paid summer internship
***Editor’s Note: This story was published in the April
11 Islander section, but since it wasn’t available online we
are posting it to this blog as well.
***Story updated to include quotes from Wilkes and Blakely
elementary schools, 2 p.m. April 17.
Make it five straight years — that’s how many times Bainbridge
High School has earned a Washington Achievement Award for Overall
In addition to overall excellence, BHS also was noted for its
“This is a team effort,” Bainbridge High Principal Jake Haley
wrote in an email sent out on the district’s email Listserv
account. “I’d like to recognize first and foremost our amazing
students, the amazing staff at BHS, equally dedicated district
staff, who provide the infrastructure that allows us to do our work
in the buildings, and many, many supportive and involved parents
and family/community members! It truly takes everyone!”
BHS wasn’t the only Bainbridge Island school recognized for the
Blakely and Wilkes elementary schools also received “Overall
Excellence” awards. In addition, Blakely receive praise for its
high progress, reading growth and math growth.
“Staff, students and parents all deserve recognition as we
celebrate this achievement for the second consecutive year,”
Blakely Principal Reese Ande wrote in a Listserv email. “The
passion, dedication and desire to always be improving is a
cornerstone of our community.”
Also through Listserv, Wilkes Principal Sheryl Belt added: “We
had earned this award twice in recent years for high literacy
achievement, so we’re really excited to be recognized for math
achievement as well with this award.”
Eagle Harbor High also special recognition for its reading and
Using three years of data, the awards are given to the top 5
percent of all the state’s elementary, middle, high and
comprehensive schools and participating schools that meet the
highest performing designation according to the Elementary and
Secondary Education Act Flexibility Waiver.
Statewide assessment data for the three previous years
determines the Washington Achievement Award based on analyzed data
from the Accountability Index and criteria from the Elementary and
Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Flexibility Waiver.
The community is encouraged to attend the third and final
Healthy Youth Summit. It will be held from 9 a.m. to noon
Saturday in the Bainbridge High Commons.
Co-facilitators will be Doug Nathan and Carolyn Milander, a 2012
“The day’s focus will be action: what action are you as an
individual or an individual organization willing to take to
make Bainbridge Island a healthier place for youth to thrive and
grow,” Milander said.
National presenter Clay Roberts will lead the group in an
inspirational talk titled “Take a Moment, Make a Difference.”
Roberts efforts have been featured on NBC’s “Today” show and he has
spoken at more than 700 events around the world.
Participants will later collaborate with other audience
members who share their passion for self-selected themes that
emerged from the first two summits, as they try to answer, “How can
we turn our vision for healthy youth into practice?”
Bainbridge Youth Services, Raising Resilience, Rotary Club of
Bainbridge Island and the Bainbridge Island School
District are partnering for the summits.
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND – Two new 70-passenger buses will arrive in
time for the 2014-15 school year and another will arrive the
following school year after the Bainbridge Island School District
announced it received a $90,000 state grant to purchase the buses
at Thursday’s school board meeting.
Cami Dombkowski, the district’s human resources director, told
the board that she was initially expecting to receive a grant of
about $40,000 from the state. Dombkowski said the state wanted to
get all of the district’s buses that were from 1988 or older off
the road, including a 1978 bus.
Dombkowski said the district will use the grant to help buy two
$144,000 buses this year. Bainbridge Island School District has 30
buses total in its fleet. After the purchase of the new buses, the
oldest bus that will remain in the fleet will be a 90-passenger bus
built in 1985 that the district will continue to use for long
More students than expected showed up for the first day of
school Wednesday on Bainbridge.
Island School District announced a preliminary first-day head
count of 3,700 students, amounting to 115 full-time equivalent
students more than expected. Administrators had projected
enrollment to dip by about 25 FTE.
Here is the email district spokeswoman Pam Keyes sent to parents
Welcome back to a new, exciting school year!
The Bainbridge Island School District is delighted to report
preliminary, first-day enrollment of 3700 students – a number that is 115
FTE (full-time equivalent) students higher than anticipated. We want to add a
special welcome to the many new families who enrolled students during
these past few weeks. It is wonderful to see so many new faces in each of
The enrollment increase is distributed across all grade
levels, K-12. While numbers tend to fluctuate during the first few days and weeks
of every school year, there has clearly been the need to add staffing
and additional class sections. The district has added two elementary
classes and high school sections in English, Math, Science, Health and World
While changes in the number of high school sections will
affect some individual student schedules, BHS Principal Jake Haley noted
that “reducing and balancing class size will support the district’s goal to
provide students with the best possible learning environment.” The
district will continue to carefully monitor enrollment and class size to see
if additional adjustments are needed.