Category Archives: Schools

NKSD Superintendent evaluations, contracts and goals

Related to our story on the North Kitsap school board’s recent evaluation of Superintendent Patty Page, I’m sharing below documents I received from the district as a result of public records requests.

Page in May received a vote of no confidence from the teacher’s union. The board on July 14 gave her a largely favorable evaluation for her performance in the 2015-2016 school year (and a raise), as we reported, but in her goals for the upcoming school year (the last for Page, who retires in June 2017) the board expects Page to foster better relations with the union and the community.

As you can see from past evaluations, completed in 2013-2015, the board has held Page in high regard throughout her tenure. “You are a great leader. Keep it up. Your energy makes a big difference in running the school district,” the board’s summary evaluation for 2015 states.

The 2015 report makes note of a “concern of one board member that information presented to the board is not balanced.” And a midyear report in 2015 notes room for improvement “in community engagement and collaboration.” Otherwise the board has glowing praise for Page.

The evaluation’s quantitative scale scale ranges from 1 to 4, as follows: Distinguished (4.0), proficient (3.0), basic (2.0) and unsatisfactory (1.0). Most scores awarded by the board in 2015 for Page’s performance on evaluation criteria are in the mid- to high-3 range.

The 2014 evaluation lauds Page for navigating the district through a budget crisis, school closure and negotiation of several open contracts. “Patty was tough but fair and kept us in the know throughout the bargaining process,” the board stated in its June 2014 evaluation. Other comments: “Finances are better than in a decade; district better each year she is here.”

The board’s evaluations stand in sharp contrast to reports from the teachers’ union that members disapproved of her leadership as early as 2013, about a year after she joined the district.

The 2014 evaluation shows the board was well aware of the teachers’ discontent. “Patty has taken a lot of heat from the teachers’ union and the public, mostly based on board decisions. This created a lot of negative press, and (she) never once tried to blame the board.”

One “area for improvement” noted in 2014, “Need to increase delegation and take care of self by not putting in so many hours.”

That year, the board scored Page lowest in the area of “family and community engagement,” a score of 2.6 out of 4, where her overall score for 2014 was 3.275.

Related to the evaluation process, the board established goals for Page for the 2014-2015 school year, also for the 2015-2016 school year, and they have proposed goals for the 2016-2017 school year (to be approved Aug. 18).

In Page’s past contracts from the 2012-2013 school year (her first with the district) through the 2015-2016 school year, you can see her salary was $140,000 for her first two years, $146,000 in 2014 and initially $148,920 in 2015.

Page’s contract for the 2015-2016 school year was revised in August 2015 to reflect a 3 percent raise the board gave her, since the state gave a 3 percent raise to all certificated public school staff. Her salary then was $153,388.

In her contract for the upcoming school year, the board gave Page a 1 percent raise over her 2015-2016 salary of $153,388, plus a 1.8 percent raise which all public school certificated staff received from the state, for a salary of $157,711, plus benefits.

Stacie Schmechel and Suzi Crosby, two NK parents who diligently watch the school board’s actions, were at the July 14 meeting. Schmechel and Crosby have complained about the superintendent’s evaluation process and did so again at the meeting.

Crosby said the board needs to be more detailed and explicit in explaining their evaluation of the superintendent, and she said, they need to connect the dots between goals set at the beginning of the year and the superintendent’s performance on those goals.

Schmechel, during public comment at the meeting, stood silent at the microphone demonstrating what she said is a lack of response by the district to public records requests she has made regarding Page’s evaluations, including the board’s deliberations in executive session. Schmechel disputes that deliberations on the superintendent’s performance should take place behind closed doors.

The state’s open public meetings act exempts from open session meetings “to review the performance of a public employee.” Although final action — hiring, firing, renewal of contract, non-renewal — must take place in public.

The state’s open public records act generally exempts evaluations of a public employee from disclosure. But not in the case of the director or lead employee of a public agency.

“This is an exception to the normal rule that public employee evaluation information affects employee personal privacy rights and is exempt from disclosure under RCW 42.56. 230(3),” said Korrine Henry, North Kitsap’s public records officer. “The rationale for this exception is found in an appellate court decision involving a city manager. Like a city manager, a school superintendent manages the district and is evaluated directly by an elected school board, the same as the elected officials of a city evaluate a city manager, thus the public has a legitimate interest in knowing the results of the evaluation.”

The district doesn’t automatically make the superintendent’s final evaluations public, but will disclose them on request. Some districts make superintendent contracts easy to find on their websites. Why not final written evaluations?

Let me know if you have any trouble with the links or if you would like emailed copies of the documents. Chris Henry, Kitsap Sun education reporter

Footnote: Board President Beth Worthington said Friday she was in error at the July 14 meeting in saying the board had set goals for the three previous years (only two). Going forward, she said the superintendent’s performance on the past year’s goals will be documented as part of the year end evaluation (as on the evaluation approved last night).

Precinct map of SKSD bond vote invites theories on bond’s failure

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words.

Tad Sooter, the Kitsap Sun’s business reporter and all ’round data guy, created this interactive graphic map of precinct data from the April 26 South Kitsap School District bond election.

For the second time this year, voters turned down a 30-year $127 million bond to build a second high school and make technology improvements at South Kitsap High School. At least 60 percent approval is required; yes votes amounted to 59.39 percent. The margin in February was even closer.

So close, yet so far.

Bond supporters used precinct data from previous elections in their campaign strategy for the April 26 vote. The data is publicly available on the Kitsap County Elections website for every measure. How an individual votes is not shown, but anyone clicking on the website can see how many yes and no votes there were in each precinct. On Tad’s map, click on each precinct for details of vote tallies.

Looking at the map suggests voters in more rural areas of South Kitsap, Gorst and that odd area off Highway 3 that seems like it should be part of Bremerton don’t affiliate strongly with South Kitsap School District. Whereas, most of the more centrally located precincts that probably have a neighborhood school nearby gave strong support (61 to 65 percent) or very strong support (over 65 percent) to the measure. That’s just my theory of course.

Alternatively or concurrently, there could be an age demographic at work.

Most of the people we heard from who were strongly against the bond were retired people on a fixed income who said they were too tapped out with taxes to add more, among other reasons for opposing the bond. Do these people live in the more rural areas?

And what about relative affluence? Look at the Harper 240 precinct near upscale Southworth hanging out there far from the center of town, though not far from South Colby Elementary, with 65-plus support for the bond.

Sunnyslope 281 precinct, near where the new high school was to be built, was in the 56 to 60 percent range, not quite passing. Nearby precinct 220, encompassing McCormick Woods, was 61 to 65 percent. Across Old Clifton Road, two precincts full of affordable single family homes and probably many young children, hit the 65-plus mark.

It would be interesting to see economic and demographic data overlaid on the voting data. Well, get Tad right on it.

NKSD superintendent evaluation, what’s next?

There’s been plenty of news lately about Kitsap County school superintendents.

Last week South Kitsap School District Superintendent Michelle Reid announced she will be moving to the much larger Northshore School District in Bothell. And Faith Chapel, superintendent in Bainbridge Island School District for the past eight years, was lauded last Friday on her retirement.

In North Kitsap School District, Superintendent Patty Page has faced mounting criticism from the teachers’ union and community. A vote of no confidence by the union on May 26 was supported by members of the custodial and food service employees’ union. And on June 9, the school board received a petition from community members with 419 signatures asking the board for a leadership change, as union leaders also have suggested.

The petition reiterated the union’s complaints about a climate of intimidation under Page’s “top-down leadership” style.

Given all that, there is heightened interest this year in the superintendent’s annual evaluation process.

The board met last week in executive session (a meeting closed to the public) that was on a Wednesday (not the board’s usual Thursday meeting). Board president Beth Worthington confirmed that the special session held June 15 was related to Page’s annual evaluation and that the board had met in executive session June 9 for the same reason.

Districts all have slightly different methods for evaluating the superintendent. As in North Kitsap, discussion of a superintendent’s performance and goals for the upcoming year typically takes place in executive session.

In Bremerton, for example, both the mid-year and year-end superintendent evaluation are done in executive session, BSD spokeswoman Patty Glaser said. The superintendent’s progress toward his own goals are reviewed in executive session. The district’s goals, which may overlap with with the superintendent’s goals to some extent are presented and voted on in open session, before the public, Glaser said.

Worthington explained, “It has not been the practice of NKSD to discuss the content of the superintendent evaluation in public. The board works hard to have a relationship of trust, honesty and support with the superintendent and will work hard to have the same with future superintendents. Not discussing the evaluation of the superintendent performance in public allows for meaningful and productive communication for improvement for the benefit of NKSD.”

The superintendent’s final evaluation is, however, a public record. The state’s open public records act generally exempts evaluation of a public employee from disclosure. But not in the case of the director or lead employee of a public agency.

Korinne Henry (no relation to me), North Kitsap School District’s public records officer, explains, “This is an exception to the normal rule that public employee evaluation information affects employee personal privacy rights and is exempt from disclosure under RCW 42.56. 230(3). The rationale for this exception is found in an appellate court decision involving a city manager. Like a city manager, a school superintendent manages the district and is evaluated directly by an elected school board, the same as the elected officials of a city evaluate a city manager, thus the public has a legitimate interest in knowing the results of the evaluation.”

In North Kitsap, the superintendent’s evaluation is a summary incorporating all board members’ input and consensus of the board on the superintendent’s performance in meeting goals and on a number of evaluation criteria, such as leadership, community engagement and collaboration, and improvement of student education and services. The superintendent’s contract, including salary, also is a public document.

Any action taken by a school board in executive session, such as voting to renew (or not renew) the superintendent’s contract, must be made in open session before the public.

Under NKSD policy and procedure, the superintendent’s evaluation is to be completed by July 1, but the board can extend or modify the contract before July 1. That will be the case this year, Worthington said. “Due to the complexity of current issues and scheduling constraints of individual board members, I believe we need more time.”

At Thursday’s board meeting (June 23), the board will consider a resolution to extend the July 1 date to the July 14 regular meeting, Worthington said.

The board at the July 14 meeting also will discuss Page’s goals for the 2016-2017 school year. “That has been our practice for the last several years,” Worthington said.

Page has said she is retiring at the end of the upcoming school year after a lengthy career in education

As leader of the district, Page’s annual goals are inevitably intertwined with North Kitsap’s Strategic Plan goals. There are three main goals in the plan, one of which is “stakeholder satisfaction and support.”

“The superintendent’s goals may relate to her individual performance in assisting the district to attain the Strategic Plan and goals,” Worthington said.

Worthington and Page in a May 25 letter to the public (the day before the no confidence vote) acknowledged they had not publicly addressed climate surveys by the teachers’ union in 2013 and 2015 that reflected negatively on Page’s leadership. In the letter, Worthington and Page pledged a commitment to improving relations with staff and the community. Public and staff comments at the June 9 board meeting indicate a growing impatience to see signs this effort is under way.

Chris Fraser, teachers’ union president, said frustration among her members is growing due to lack of movement. “The school board should strongly consider buying out the contract for our current superintendent and selecting an interim superintendent with input from stakeholder groups,” Fraser wrote in a June 9 press release.

The board meanwhile has made discussion of communication and public trust a regular item on its agenda.

Fraser has called for the board to meet with employees and has criticized Worthington for discouraging such meetings. Worthington said it’s not the board’s role to “address complaints directly with citizens, employees and employee organizations.” That’s up to administrators and supervisory staff, she said.

Worthington said that board members are indeed willing to meet with staff and receive their written complaints, comments and concerns. What the board shouldn’t do, she said, is meet in any context that would smack of taking administrative action or constitute negotiation of contract terms. Doing so could compromise the relationship between the district administration and the union, Worthington said.

However, Worthington said she supports suggestions from board members Jim Almond and Glen Robbins, who said they’d like to go out to schools on a listening tour.

“While we can’t really be the workhorse in resolving complaints, we find it valuable to know what people’s experiences are,” Worthington said.

It’s a subtle difference. How did it get lost in translation?

“We probably are not as competent and well versed in public relations as we should be,” she said.

New Bio-medical class at West Sound Tech

For today’s story on a fast-track certification program for teachers in career and technical education, I visit John Thornton’s Bio-medical Research & Global Health class at West Sound Technical Skills Center.

Thornton, a retired Navy corpsman, recently graduated from a program at Olympic College that counts work experience toward teacher certification. The program could help address a shortage of career and technical education teachers in Washington State, OC officials say.

There’s a growing interest in CTE, which allows students to explore possible career fields, earn certification for entry level jobs and pursue a plan of study that leads to post-secondary education with a tight focus on a specific career or skill.

Although most of Thornton’s students plan to go to college and beyond, they could qualify right now for entry level laboratory jobs.

As I toured the lab, I had to keep reminding myself these were high school students.

I interviewed lab supervisor Hannah Whitbeck, 17, of Chimacum, on her study of a new gel being used to promote clotting in battlefield wounds. Whitbeck, a senior in white lab coat, showed me around the lab, which has equipment such as a spectrophotometer, for analyzing samples by the light absorbed in each, and an incubator, in which students were cultivating bacterial samples from swabs of epithelial cells in their mouths. Nothing nasty found, by the way.

Brandon Hoover a South Kitsap High School junior had designed a water purification system using materials, like cardboard, rocks and plastic funnels, that could be readily found in most settings, including third world countries. He called it the Zimbabwe Project. The frame is made of sturdy recycled cardboard. Water is poured through a series of funnels. The rocks remove larger debris. The water is then boiled and the steam is captured as condensed water in five-gallon jugs.

Kelsey Lantrip also of South Kitsap High School, researched the potential toxicity of crumb rubber used in artificial turf. Lantrip showed me Petri dishes containing samples from turf fields at Bainbridge Island’s Strawberry Hill Park and South Kitsap High School’s new turf field, which uses natural materials like ground coconut husks instead of crumb rubber, as on most turf fields.

Lantrip said she tested to see whether the samples were mutagenic, likely to increase the frequency of mutation in an organism. South Kitsap’s samples were not mutagenic; the Bainbridge samples were. Granted the samples are small, and this is not proof that either substance is carcinogenic or safe. But it’s a start. “I think this is a small portion of what could be done,” said Lantrip, who advocates systematic study of turf fields, as has been proposed nationally.

Carry on, kids, and thanks for the tour.

The students took a trip to Seattle’s Gum Wall, before it was demolished and took lab samples. They were even interviewed by a Seattle TV station. Remarkably, all they found was normal flora.

On the education beat: March 15, 2016

Heading for a levy “cliff?”
Look, out there on the horizon, is that the threat of teacher lay-offs?

School District officials say it’s possible if the Legislature doesn’t agree on stalling a “levy cliff” that’s looming for the 2017-18 school year.
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Photo by koratmember at freedigitalphotos.net

Higher local school levy lids (maximum collection amounts allowed) are due to sunset. A bill that didn’t make it through the regular session would have allowed districts to continue collecting at the higher amounts, at least for a year. Without an agreement, local funding will be slashed in the 2017-18 school year.

“This would clearly impact our ability to hire or retain staff for the 2017-18 school year,” Bremerton spokeswoman Patty Glaser said.

We’ll be keeping an eye on the levy cliff bill in the special session, now under way.

Coverage of lead in Ordway water continues
As last week wrapped up, we gave an update of the Ordway water quality issue, as a panel of experts reassured parents that their children’s exposure to lead from water at the school most likely had been low. The district continues to use bottled water at Ordway as a consulting firm re-tests all the faucets and water fountains.

Tomorrow, I’ll be meeting with the Bainbridge Island School District facilities director to review water testing records to date. The district is working on a map showing how each faucet and fountain at six schools tested. I also plan to check in with other districts to see if any of them have done voluntary testing for lead in their schools’ water. The kind of testing BISD undertook in December will be required of school in 2017.

North Mason School District to transfer land for park
The district hopes to transfer property it owns on Sweetwater Creek to the Port of Allyn for use as a park.

The port is working with the Salmon Center to build a park and restore the water wheel at the site.
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The school district, which bought the parcel in 1997, had planned to build fish ladders for spawning chum, create trails and a small park. But the district already has its hands full with the Theler property, a wetlands and community center that was deeded to the district but which the district can no longer afford to maintain.

“This looks like a really good project for the community, but it’s not a good project for the school district,” Superintendent Dana Rosenbach said.

The Salmon Center has led efforts to get state grants for the park work.

Award winning bus mechanic at work
And in case you missed it, here’s a video of Maurine Simons, a South Kitsap School District bus mechanic who earned a place in a national competition. Simons was the first woman to compete in the National Association for Pupil Transportation’s annual bus mechanics competition.

Note, March 24, 2016: I have been out of town since March 16, tending to a family matter that came up unexpectedly. I did not have a chance to meet with BISD officials about water test results. Thanks in advance for your patience, as I regroup on coverage of the issue of lead in Ordway Elementary School water.

Former SKSD Super LaRose to leave Culver City

Former South Kitsap School District Superintendent Dave LaRose is leaving Culver City Unified School District at the end of the school year, according to The Wave Newspapers of Culver City.

LaRose cited personal reasons for leaving the job that drew him away from South Kitsap in 2012. He is not taking a position with another district, he said.
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“If the next chapter of my life was to be in a leadership role for a school district, there’s no place I’d rather be than here in Culver City,” LaRose is quoted as saying in The Wave article. “I’m not sure what I will be doing next, but it has truly been an honor to serve the Culver City community.”

LaRose said the next chapter of his career may include consulting, a sabbatical or even teaching.

LaRose, known during his tenure in South Kitsap as a charismatic evangelist of the “whole child, whole community” philosophy, accepted the job at the Southern California school district in 2012, saying at the time he wanted to be closer to his daughters, one of whom was living in California, the other who was attending college in Arizona.

LaRose was promoted to superintendent in 2008 by the school board after serving as the district’s assistant superintendent for family and support services and as principal at Orchard Heights Elementary School.

Echoing comments made by South Kitsap school officials when LaRose left this community, Culver City Board President Steve Levin said he was sorry to see LaRose leave.

“Dave has been an amazing, charismatic leader for the district, and we’re really sorry to see him go,” Levin said. “He has helped us make great strides in the right direction, and we are committed to keeping that momentum going. Dave’s legacy will benefit our students for years to come.”

During his time in Culver City, LaRose championed the Culver City Compact, “a signed document that outlines the community’s commitment and vision for a bright educational future that was adopted by a large group of community members, businesses and organizations,” according to The Wave. He also oversaw the launch of $106 million in major renovations and technology upgrades that are could take 12 years to complete.

South Kitsap School District serves more than 9,000 students; Culver City Unified serves roughly 6,500.

A clarification on paraeducator pay

Since we ran our article on paraeducators, several people have pointed out that the base salaries we cited from the state’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s website seem high compared to what these employees are actually taking home.

The base salaries listed by the state are for full-time equivalent positions, and we should have made that clear in the original story, which has been updated with a note on the clarification.

Here’s the updated paragraph: “In Kitsap and North Mason counties the average base salary for a full-time equivalent position ranges from $32,354 in Bremerton to $37,317 on Bainbridge Island, according to the state’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The statewide average is $35,193, with average benefits valued at around $20,000. In reality, most paras work part-time, so their actual take-home pay is much lower.”

How much lower? Bainbridge Island para Mike McCloud, who is also president of his local classified employees union, gives this example. A para on Bainbridge earning $19.66 per hour typically works six hours a day, 180 days a year, which works out to $21,232.80 per year. Paras on Bainbridge get 11 paid holidays ($117.96 per day x 11), for an additional $1,297.56, making a total of $22,530.36 per year, or about 60 percent of the $37,317 allocated to Bainbridge Island School District per FTE para.

Mike adds that the state average of $20,000 in benefits for a FTE also is high compared to what virtually all paras actually receive. “Since paras work only about 30 hours per week, we only receive 3/4 (.75 FTE) of the state allowance for medical insurance benefits,” Mike said in an email to me.

The paras I talked to accept the part-time nature of their jobs. As I mentioned, some have spouses who have the primary job, but some work a second job or more. There are trade-offs and some perks to the job, as we mentioned. For example, summers off with the kids, the fact they do get medical benefits and the flexibility part-time work gives to, say, run a business on the side.

Health District working with NKSD on air quality at Poulsbo Elementary

Update, 3:15 p.m. Feb. 10: North Kitsap schools Superintendent Patty Page informed parents via email that maintenance staff believe they have located the source of the odors at Poulsbo Elementary over the past several weeks. An inspection of equipment this morning showed exhaust was leaking out of a heat exchanger on one of the HVAC units on the roof.

Monitoring inside the building today showed no carbon monoxide, indicating the one (undamaged) burner they’ve been using since this morning is free of exhaust leaks. “Running the unit on one burner will provide adequate heat to the space it serves,” Page said.

Air Masters, the company that worked on the units this summer, will be on site Monday to inspect the unit and identify repairs. Monday is the earliest Air Masters can get there, Page said.

Note, this is likely not the end of the school’s HVAC woes, as the aging system gradually degrades. The district’s goal is to replace the sad, old thing, and they’re working on a plan. Read on.

Feb. 9, 7:45 p.m.: A few new developments today (Tuesday) on the issue of odors at Poulsbo Elementary School: a meeting with parents, new equipment to monitor air quality and an “evolving” plan for replacing the aging and cranky HVAC units sooner rather than later.

Superintendent Patty Page and other district officials met with parents at the school this afternoon to answer questions and field comments. The parents’ frustration was evident. Parent Lori Smith said it seems that the district is downplaying complaints of illness. “What’s the next step for the next time Friday happens?” Smith said, referring to reports of odors on Friday that brought the fire department and gas company officials out to check. The school was deemed fit to occupy and school was not cancelled.

“Nobody’s doubting anybody,” Page said in response to Smith. She said teachers have the go-ahead to remove students from a class, and Principal Claudia Alves has authority to evacuate the school without checking with central administrators. Parents are asked to report any odors to Alves or the main office. That’s the protocol, but no one will get in trouble for calling 911 if they are concerned, Page said.

The Kitsap Public Health District has loaned the district a sophisticated and fairly new air quality meter that measures for unhealthy levels of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and relative humidity. The device also measures particulate matter, but unlike the other measures, there’s no health standard for that. The device is designed only for use in schools, and is available to the health district through a partnership with the state Department of Health and federal EPA. It will be in place in a classroom until at least Friday, as work to fix immediate problems with the HVAC units on the school’s roof continues. Health officials will analyze data from the device and determine if monitoring should continue beyond Friday in other locations of the school.

Maintenance staff purchased a hand-held gas detecting device, which they have been using since Monday. They also will regularly monitor air quality at the school.

“North Kitsap School District has a plan for investigating the odors. We support their plan and think they are taking the right approach to their investigation at this time,” said Karen Bevers, health district spokeswoman.

Health district officials have received 10 public health concern reports related to the school and “have responded to all those individuals,” Bevers said.

Finally, the district may be closer to replacing the units than earlier thought. Even a few weeks ago, district officials believed that fixing the system would require replacing not only the units but the entire air duct system as well. The projected cost would be on the order of items typically funded by a bond, and yet the district has no immediate plans to run a bond. Within the last few days, however, another potential solution has been suggested by Rashad Green, the district’s heating and air conditioning technician, who has been assigned to bird dog problems at Poulsbo Elementary. Green, relatively new to the district, has extensive knowledge of HVAC systems. He believes there are ways to replace the units without having to tear up the air duct system. District officials will be vetting that possibility with a contractor and checking on the price tag. Regardless of the cost, Page said, if this is a viable option, the district will make it work.

Green said he has two small children and understands the parents’ concern. He pledged vigilance. “I want you guys to feel that your concerns are listened to and that you’re being hear,” Green said. “We want to make sure you’re comfortable and that your kids are safe.”

Page said the problem with the schools HVAC has been ongoing for years. In an earlier renovation of the school, the HVAC system was not replaced. Now the system is so old it’s almost impossible to get parts. Problems date back to at least 2009, according to a local newspaper article, but Page said problems likely had been cropping up before then.

On the education beat: Jan. 28, 2016

Catching up and looking ahead on the education beat here at the Kitsap Sun.

Next week (Tuesday) we’ll have a story about how to pick the best kindergarten class for your child.

I’m also working on a story about special needs students and the people involved in their education. I’d like to hear from students, parents, paraeducators, special ed teachers and anyone else with thoughts on the intersection of special needs and public education.

Contact me at (360) 792-9219, christina.henry@kitsapsun.com or https://www.facebook.com/chrishenryreporter.

Now for a recap of this week’s education news:

Voting on education funding
First and foremost, did you get your ballot? Voters throughout Kitsap and North Mason counties on Feb. 9 will decide on bond and levy measures. In case you missed it, this story gives a summary of measures by district.

Theler Center, school district asset or albatross?
Following up on Arla Shephard Bull’s comprehensive history of the Mary E. Theler Community Center and Wetlands, North Mason School District, which owns the property, hosted a meeting to bank suggestions about what to do with Theler now that the trust established to support its upkeep is depleted. Ideas ranged from burning down the community center to starting a GoFundMe account.
A Mardi Gras themed murder mystery fundraiser is set for 6 p.m. Saturday at the Mary E. Theler Community Center, 22871 Highway 3 in Belfair; 360-275-4898.

When caring parenting crosses the line
Do you meddle in your children’s business? Have you ever kept a reminder sheet of upcoming tests? “Helped” them with a project, or, let’s be honest, did the bulk of it yourself? Excused them from chores because they have “so much homework?”
It’s a habit that can escalate, according to Julie Lythcott-Haims, a former dean at Stanford and author of “How to Raise an Adult,” who will speak on Bainbridge Feb. 3. One college student she knew had never learned to pump gas because her parents visited every weekend and filled the tank for her.
Although the author observed the problem of hovering parents (she tries not to use the helicopter parent tag) as one of upper middle-class and affluent families, it is by no means limited to the 1 percent.
Lythcott-Haims’ talk is not limited to Bainbridge families. Here are the details: 7:30-9 p.m. Feb.3 at Bainbridge High School, 9330 NE High School Road; Cost: $15. Register at: raisingresilience.org.

Education tidbits
A Bremerton elementary school teacher earned her masters degree through classes at Woodland Park Zoo.
And South Kitsap School district will host a meeting 5:30 p.m. Thursday (that’s tonight) at South Kitsap High School to explain the International Baccalaureate program it hopes to bring to schools, including the high school. We wrote about the program last spring.

Article on corporal punishment gets folks talking

For some reason an article written Aug. 15, 2015, on the subject of corporal punishment in schools, has been widely discussed recently on social media.

The article, by Nate Robson of Oklahoma Watch, talks about a policy allowing for paddling of students at Chouteau-Mazie Public Schools, about 25 miles east of Tulsa.

Oklahoma is one of 19 states that allow schools to physically discipline students, according to Robson. Washington State outlawed corporal punishment in 1994.

“Oklahoma Watch is a nonprofit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) corporation whose mission is to produce in-depth and investigative journalism on public-policy and quality-of-life issues facing the state,” its website states.

Washington State, with others around the country, is taking a hard look at discipline practices, given that data show minorities, male students and special education students, among other groups, are disciplined at a higher rate than the general population of kids.

In 2011-2012, the data year in question for the Oklahoma Watch story, special education students made up 15 percent of Oklahoma enrollment but were more than 20 percent of students who were physically punished.

The Kitsap Sun has done articles on disproportionate discipline. In earlier stories, we discussed the impact on minority groups. With the recent release of new discipline data by Washington State’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, we plan to take a close look a discipline as it affect special education students.

We are looking to talk to parents of special needs students, students themselves, teachers and para-educators about their experiences with discipline.

Contact me, education reporter Chris Henry, at (360) 792-9219 or christina.henry@kitsapsun.com.