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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.

SKHS grads revisit childhood at South Colby

A new tradition among high school graduates that gives a nod to nostalgia is spreading here in Kitsap County.

Last week, members of Bremerton’s senior class visited their elementary schools on graduation day, wearing their caps and gowns. The idea came from a Texas high school, whose images went viral after its seniors journeyed the halls of the local elementary schools.

On Monday, seniors from South Kitsap High School stopped in on South Colby Elementary for a trip down memory lane … and to inspire younger students.

The South Kitsap grads were greeted and cheered by students and teachers who formed a “tunnel of hope.”

Here are a few photos provided by South Kitsap School District.

This is Anna Somerville walking down the breezeway through the tunnel of high fives and cheers. Anna was the senior field marshal for the SKHS marching band this year, and she is going to The Honors College at WSU.

Below is a group of grads (left to right): Richard James (who will be going on a mission to Utah in July), Kevin Morrison (low brass section leader in the SKHS band. He’s participated in wrestling and track, and is going to George Fox to study engineering), Analise Burko (president of the National Honor Society. She’s participated in basketball and tennis, and is going to the university of Washington to study biomedical engineering), and Chloe Meyers (low brass section leader in the SKHS band, who was on swim team and in the school play. Chloe is going to The Honors College at WSU to study chemistry and pre-med).

South Colby students gave the graduates messages of encouragement.
From left to right: Karissa Gay, Hanna Spencer, Phoebe Chobot, Gracie Thompson, Alisa Young, Jayden Lynch, Emma Keddy.

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.

A message from NMSD superintendent on the shooting in Belfair

Two children were confirmed dead today by the Mason County Sheriff’s Department in a shooting in Belfair that left the gunman and two other people dead.

The home where the shooting occurred was nowhere near schools in North Mason School District and school continued without interruption. Inevitably, however, the whole community will be affected.

North Mason School District Superintendent Dana Rosenbach posted the following message, copied below in full, on the district’s website.

Take care. Chris Henry, Kitsap Sun

“Today has been a tragic day

Today has been a tragic day and we are all affected by the great loss. As parents you may want to talk to your children about today’s tragedies and their impact. Witnessing or even hearing of a traumatic incident may affect a child or adult in a variety of ways. Therefore, it is very important that children be given ample opportunities to ask questions and to talk about their reactions to the incidents. Currently children may also have concerns about their safety and security and consequently may need reassurance. Over the next two days, you may find your children need to discuss their questions and concerns with you. For that reason, we are providing the information at the end of this message.
Over the weekend, or at any time, you may access the Lewis/Mason Crime Victim Service Center at 1-888-288-9221 for 24 hour help in dealing with trauma. In addition, you can get more support at the National Traumatic Stress Network (
For children, Dana Rosenbach
North Mason School District Superintendent

When reacting to a traumatic incident, a child may display behaviors such as the following:
• Clings close to adults
• Displays regressive behaviors (acting like a much younger child)
• Repetitively reenacts the event in play activities
• Appears not to be affected
• Thinks about it privately
• Asks a lot of questions
• Appears frightened
• Appears agitated and angry
• Appears sad and withdrawn
• Displays difficulty sleeping
• Stomach aches and somatic complaints
It is very important that you take the time to listen to your children. If they seem to need to talk, answer their questions simply, honestly and possibly over and over again. Below are some suggestions that parents may find useful in helping your child deal with the present events:
• Assure fearful children that you will be there to take care of them. Reassure them many times.
• Provide physical closeness. Spend extra time putting your child back to bed. Talk and offer reassurance.
• Encourage children to ask questions and to discuss, write or draw their feelings.
• Be a good listener. Listen carefully for any misconceptions or distortions the student may have regarding what happened.
• Talk with your child and provide simple, accurate information to questions.
• Provide play and fun experiences to relieve tension.
• Help the child develop safety plans and procedures (“What should you do if….?”)
• Remind them of concrete examples of where they are being protected and cared for by parents, adults, teachers, police, etc.
• Make sure the child gets rest and exercise.
– See more at:”

Oly cheer squad takes first in state

Olympic High School’s varsity cheer squad has brought home a state trophy … again. This is the fifth time since Coach Kristie Freeman took on the team in 1990.
The competition took place Jan. 30 at the University of Washington. The 20-member Oly team competed in the co-ed cheer division of similarly sized squads (non-tumbling). Here’s a video from the team.

We asked Kristie what it takes to bust those moves. The answer is “a tremendous amount of athleticism.”

“I would say they work just as hard as any other sport in our school,” Freeman said.

The cheer season (like most fall sports) begins in the mid-summer. Besides learning routines, cheer squad members spend hours each week in conditioning, running, sit-ups, push-ups. In the video, you’ll see team members lift others in the air and deftly catch them coming down. That takes strength and coordination.

“We practice every day and sometimes Saturdays,” Freeman said

Throughout the fall, the squad takes part in regional competitions. Advancing to state requires a certain number of points, earned at lower level competitions. Meanwhile, the squad cheers on other athletes at football and basketball games. They are busy nearly every day July through January, and the season continues in February with basketball playoffs.

“I’m really proud of the kids. They worked really, really hard, and they did everything I asked them to do,” Freeman said.

This is not a sport for prima donnas. “There are no standouts. It’s a group effort,” Freeman said.

Routines are tightly choreographed. Freeman herself has never been a cheerleader. She began coaching cheer in 1978 in Raymond, Wash., when the cheer squad there needed a leader or would have folded.

“It is very time consuming, but it’s a passion,” Freeman said. “I’ve always had a passion for cheer. I love it.”

Congratulations, Oly cheer squad. You rock.

Kitsap education news, Jan. 11-15

And now a roundup of this week’s education news in Kitsap and beyond.

Follow the news as it happens at and on Facebook at

Contact Kitsap Sun education reporter Chris Henry at (360) 792-9219 or

When the big one hits
A team of Kitsap Sun reporters looked at what would happen to Kitsap County in an earthquake on the Seattle Fault of a magnitude 7.0 or greater.
“The earthquake is a nightmare for the 40,000 students attending schools around the county. They have been drilled in earthquake response, and their teachers keep supplies on hand for emergencies, but only a small percentage of school buildings were built or retrofitted to current seismic codes, leaving the rest vulnerable to shaking.”
Local districts have long-term plans for replacing buildings and have identified those that are oldest and most at risk, but the reality is replacing or retrofitting all the schools in Kitsap County will take decades.
If you haven’t had a chance to checkout the Kitsap Sun’s comprehensive package on “Our Big One,” I highly recommend you take some time with it. The package is available on mobile devices but because of the number of graphic illustrations, it may be more easily viewed on tablets or laptops.

SK Choir Carnegie bound
South Kitsap High School’s Highlighters jazz ensemble, Chamber Choir and Women’s Ensemble will travel to New York City in March for an invitational performance event at the famed Carnegie Hall. Only 16 districts in the country made the cut.
Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 2.59.58 PM
South Kitsap Choir Boosters plans a rummage sale 3-7 p.m. Jan. 22 and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 23 at the Port Orchard Pavilion.
Here, in case you missed it, is a video of the Highlighters doing their thing.

Free, all-day kindergarten coming to Bainbridge
The relatively affluent district is the last in Kitsap County to offer tuition-free, all day kindergarten. The new deal starts in the 2016-2017 school year.
The state has been ramping up its funding for all-day kindergarten, starting with the least affluent districts. In 2015 the Legislature agreed to cover the cost of all-day kindergarten for all districts in the upcoming school year.
Bainbridge parents can learn about the new program at a meeting 6-7:30 p.m. Feb. 3 in the Ordway Elementary School Multipurpose Room.

Inslee pushes for education funding plan
The Governor said he wants to address the teacher shortage by raising beginning teacher salaries from about $36,000 a year to $40,000 annually, in this story by the Associated Press.

District provides counselors for students after bus collision
A collision Jan. 13 involving a South Kitsap school bus, a pickup truck towing a trailer of bark and a passenger car resulted in one student and the bus driver being taken to Harrison Medical Center. The student was evaluated as a “precautionary” measure, according to the Washington State Patrol.
(photo shared on Kitsap Sun’s facebook page)
Students on the bus, all from Sunnyslope Elementary School, were safely evacuated. Counselors were available at school the next day to support students after the accident, said district Spokeswoman Amy Miller.
The truck’s driver was cited for driving too fast for conditions, the WSP said.
“We are thankful that no one was severely injured and for the quick response from South Kitsap Fire and Rescue, Washington State Patrol and Washington State Department of Transportation,” Miller said. “We also thank the community for their concern and well wishes.”

Coming up next week: a roundup of bonds and levies on the Feb. 9 ballot.

PO Council vote on appointment unanimous

The Port Orchard City Council formalized its appointment of Scott Diener on Tuesday with a unanimous vote. Diener, who fills the vacant district 3 seat, was immediately sworn in. He took his seat and served with the council for the remainder of the meeting.
Councilman John Clauson said of the selection process, “We had six very good candidates; that’s the good news. The bad news is it made the selection very, very difficult.”

Diener said the city was “entering a new chapter” of its history.

“I’m very honored to work here,” said Diener, a senior planner with Kitsap County. “I have no preconceived notions about what’s best. We as a group will write that new chapter. I look forward to working with you all.”

The council interviewed candidates on Thursday and held two (closed) executive sessions before reaching a consensus Monday. All candidates were notified of the decision before Tuesday’s meeting.

Get your PO council applicants’ documents here

The city soon will make public the application documents of the six people deemed eligible for filling the district 3 council position vacated by new Mayor Rob Putaansuu. I offer them now for your viewing pleasure. I’ve included the incomplete packet submitted by Jaqulynne Ford, who is not eligible due to lacking a cover letter and response to council questions, City Clerk Brandy Rinearson said..

And yes, I will be asking Brandy how residency is verified … for all candidates.

If you have any trouble with these links, email me at

Amy Miller

Scott Deiner

Jaqulynne Ford

Marcus Lane

Jay Rosapepe

Chris Tibbs

Nick Whittleton

Chairwoman of PDC to speak at money and politics forum

Katrina Asay, chairwoman of the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, will be part of a panel of speakers on the topic of money and politics at a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Kitsap Thursday in Poulsbo.

The panel will speak on how money influences state, local and national elections, especially since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010.

The Public Disclosure Commission oversees campaign finance in state and local elections, hosting a public database of campaign contributions and expenditures, including sources of funding for and against candidates and ballot measures.

Campaign finance was a hot topic in Port Orchard elections during the 2016 election season.

Asay, a former member of the state House of Representatives and former mayor of Milton in Pierce County, will be joined by PDC spokeswoman Lori Anderson.

Also on the panel is Dean Nielsen, principal of Cerillion N4 Partners, a political consulting firm, and Serena Larkin, a senior communications associate with Sightline Institute. She was a member of the communications team for the Honest Elections Seattle campaign.

The league promises “a lively discussion about a timely issue affecting political campaigns at all levels.”

The forum will be from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Poulsbo City Hall, 200 NE Moe St.

It will be recorded for future broadcast by BKAT, Comcast Ch. 12 and WAVE Broadband, Ch. 3.

For information, visit, or e-mail Kim Abel at

SK’s turf field of dreams to open Friday

Football season kicks off tomorrow at South Kitsap High School with a new coach and a new turf field.

The Wolves play Central Kitsap, guided by coach Gavin Kralik, who is profiled in the Kitsap Sun’s football tab, Kickoff, 2015. The special section gives highlights on how this year’s season is shaping up throughout Kitsap and North Mason counties.
Before the game, district officials will host a dedication of the new, high tech turf field and track that were built thanks to donations of more than $500,000 from Kitsap Bank and $150,000 from author Debbie Macomber and family.

Joe Knowles won’t lose his spot of honor at the school, where people will refer to “Joe Knowles Field at Kitsap Bank Stadium.” The track will be named in honor of the late Dale Macomber, son of Debbie and Wayne Macomber.

“What an opportunity we have — this team of incredible, generous and innovative individuals has come together and forged a partnership that will change this community and inspire its young people for generations to come. What we are doing is truly special,” said Superintendent Michelle Reid.

Central Kitsap High School also has a new turf field, or rather a resurfacing of its turf. North Mason will get a turf field next year, leaving Bremerton the last district waiting in the wings.

Congrats South on your new field. Go Wolves!