Tag Archives: North Kitsap School District

NKSD seeks school board member

The North Kitsap School District seeks someone to replace Dan Weedin on the school board. Weedin resigned last week. Here is the announcement.

The North Kitsap School District Board of Directors is seeking qualified applicants and nominations for qualified applicants for a recent vacancy in the Director District 2 position.  Interested registered voters residing in Director District 2 should submit an application and biographical summary to the following address by 12:00 p.m. Monday, November 3, 2014:  Board of Directors, 18360 Caldart Avenue NE, Poulsbo WA  98370.  Materials may also be emailed to khenry@nkschools.org.

 Application, District 2 boundaries, and timeline may be found on our website at www.nkschools.org, or Click HERE.

For additional questions, please contact Korinne Henry at (360) 396-3001 or khenry@nkschools.org.

We encourage you to share this information with anyone who resides in District 2 and who may be interested in serving on the Board of Directors. 

NK’s Page eyes end, but has not set a date

Patty Page, North Kitsap School District superintendent, said on Thursday she will not seek an extension on her contract with the district. That does not mean she is retiring anytime soon.

Page, who started with the district in 2012, signed a three-year contract with the board when she started and has seen one-year extensions each year since. This year she said she doesn’t want one.

Instead, from this point on, as she approaches retirement age she will work with two-year contracts, or go year-to year.

The conversation arose as the board continued conversations about how it will carry out its superintendent evaluation process going forward.

Our conversation about a word that starts with ‘N’

If I call my wife “Babe” I get no criticism.
If my wife’s former boyfriend, (Let’s name one: Monty) calls her “Babe,” well I kind of have a problem with it.

Our stories last week about the Poulsbo Elementary School principal placed on paid leave for using the “N” word, version one and version two, sparked quite the outcry about our PC culture, ways of educating, equivalent words and whether it’s fair that black people can use that word and no one else can.

There are a handful of things about this particular incident that are worth pulling out in ways that are easier here than they are in a news story. And to be clear, I won’t use the word in this piece or any of the stories. I see the point that when I write “the N-word” I’m making you think it. I get that. Louis C.K. does a comedy bit about that and the reason comedy is often so effective is because of how much truth there is to it. But, at the risk of taking a comedian literally, there are parts of his argument I do not agree with. And I feel better not saying it, just letting you think it. Or, if you don’t know what it is, causing you to go ask someone. I’m OK with that.

So, back to the point.

1. No one has said anything negative to me about Claudia Alves, the principal who is on paid leave. No one, that I know of, ever asked for her to be disciplined. I can even see where what has happened is technically not a disciplinary action, although I’m sure it feels like it. Parents have understandably come to her defense, and the parents at the center of this issue said they never asked for any disciplinary action to be taken.

2. The issue for the district, the way I understand it, was in the word’s repeated use. In fact, a North Kitsap Herald editorial makes that case clear as well:

“The school district’s director of elementary education said it was not necessary for Alves to use the N-word in explaining that difference. And it wasn’t necessary for her to use the actual word again, and again in discussing the issue with the student’s parents.”

What Patty Page, North Kitsap School District superintendent, confirmed to me, as well, is that Alves used the word even after the district talked to her about it. The district did not place Alves on leave after her first use of the word. The way Shawna Smith tells it, Alves used the word four times, at least once after she had been advised not to. After the fourth instance, Smith called district officials again. She did not ask for disciplinary action. Smith told district officials, “She’s not getting it,” Smith said.

3. Some were confused by what word caused the problem. It was not “negro,” though that word was troubling to kids in the class asked to use it several times in the play “Martin Luther King, Jr. 10-minute mini: Overcoming Segregation.” In the play the kids were asked to sing lines pulled verbatim from actual Jim Crow laws. Here’s a snippet of the script:

NARRATOR #7: On living and dying:
CHORUS A: All marriages between a white person and a negro are forever
prohibited.
CHORUS B: It is unlawful for anyone to rent an apartment to a negro person
when the building has white people living there.
CHORUS A: Every hospital will have separate entrances for white and colored
patients and visitors.
CHORUS B: At a cemetery, no colored persons may be buried in ground set
apart for white persons.

Neither “negro” or the other “N-word” are considered acceptable anymore, but one was never neutral. The Leonard Pitts Jr. column referenced in the Herald editorial addresses the N-word.

“The N-word is unique. It was present at the act of mass kidnap that created “black America,” it drove the ship to get here, signed the contracts at flesh auctions on Southern ports as mother was torn from child, love from love and self from self. It had a front row center seat for the acts of blood, rape, castration, exclusion and psychological destruction by which the created people was kept down and in its place. The whole weight of our history dictates that word cannot be used except as an expression of contempt for African Americans.”

“Negro” was for many little more than a description of race, but in the late 1960s began, and “began” is important, to fall out of fashion. Slate’s Explainer column offers this history:

The turning point came when Stokely Carmichael coined the phrase black power at a 1966 rally in Mississippi. Until then, Negro was how most black Americans described themselves. But in Carmichael’s speeches and in his landmark 1967 book, Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America, he persuasively argued that the term implied black inferiority. Among black activists, Negro soon became shorthand for a member of the establishment. Prominent black publications like Ebony switched from Negro to black at the end of the decade, and the masses soon followed. According to a 1968 Newsweek poll, more than two-thirds of black Americans still preferred Negro, but black had become the majority preference by 1974. Both the Associated Press and the New York Times abandoned Negro in the 1970s, and by the mid-1980s, even the most hidebound institutions, like the U.S. Supreme Court, had largely stopped using Negro.

In the North Kitsap incident it was the lesser word that launched the use of the worse one, but it was the repeated use of the worse one that led to the paid leave.

4. It might seem a small point to many, but Alves was not “suspended.” She was placed on paid leave.

5. Answering why it’s OK for blacks to say the word and not other races skips over one point and deserves expansion on another. The first point is that many blacks argue against its use. Pitts did in his piece. “How can we require others to respect us when this word suggests we don’t respect ourselves?” he wrote.

Neal Lester, an English professor at Arizona State University, taught a course devoted to the N-word, and said this in a Southern Poverty Law Center Teaching Tolerance intervew:

“The poison is still there. The word is inextricably linked with violence and brutality on black psyches and derogatory aspersions cast on black bodies. No degree of appropriating can rid it of that bloodsoaked history.”

In addressing why there are different rules for non-blacks, I go to the first two sentences of this blog post. I have permission to say things to my wife that other people don’t. I mean, they can say it, but they shouldn’t expect there to be no consequences. If my wife and her sisters each called each other the B-word (not “Babe”), that wouldn’t give me permission to say that to my wife. I might not want my wife and her sisters to say that to each other, but I would also not argue that I should have the right, too. Nor would it mean the same thing. Her relationship with her sisters is different than the one she has with me.

The N-word, when said from a white person to a black person, carries a history with it that is different from the history when one black person says it to another. Perhaps you agree with Pitts that it still carries an oppressive energy no matter who says it, but you can’t deny that it’s different depending on who’s saying it.

And I like this answer, which is technically a question: Why do you want the right to say it anyway? Just don’t.

The video below comes from CNN and I think offers a pretty good treatment of the word, as good as you can get in 10 minutes. It addresses something we didn’t, the fact that there is no word you can use for white people that has anywhere near the meaning the N-word does. A word of warning: The N-word, the real one, is used several times.

Following the first story I got a call from a woman who said she was 92. She had no idea “negro” was no longer a word we use. She also said “I never say (the N-word),” only she used the real word. Later on in our conversation she said it again. Maybe that’s what we should be talking about, the act of saying what we “never” say.

No press box, for now, for Kingston

Note: Please do not copy this entire post or any post or news story and paste it on Facebook or any other site. Pull about a paragraph if you like and that’s considered legal “fair use.” Copying and pasting is a no-no and your teacher will lower your grade if you do it. Thank you.

In a 3-2 vote last week the North Kitsap School Board decided to not fund construction of a press box at the Kingston High School football field. It was a somewhat tortured decision, as board members did acknowledge that the board had made a commitment to the Kingston community.

But in the end there was some recognition that the commitment was for a different version of the press box than the one the board ultimately had designed, for safety reasons. And it was for less money.

This in no way marks the end of varsity football games at Kingston High School. I couldn’t attend Thursday’s meeting, (Other news took precedence.) but based on the district’s recording, which doesn’t include the public comment period, of the board’s discussion of it someone in the meeting said Kingston should play its games at North Kitsap.

Kingston backers seem prepared to live with the less than ample seating and head cover at its home games. The students want to play there and watch the games there. Much of the community loves having games at home. What they have is preferable to them to what they would have at what is clearly the home of the North Kitsap Vikings. My hunch is if the board had been asked whether Kingston should play at North Kitsap the vote would have been 5-0 against it, or maybe 4-1.

“Kingston has a right to have its games played and its band play on its field, and have its soccer team and football team and basketball team and everybody else play at its school and at its own homecoming at its home as North Kitsap has,” said Bill Webb, school board member.

This was not a vote about home games, though. It was just a vote about spending money on a press box, and board members said many in the community recognize that. Sure, a large number want the press box, but there were was a not insignificant number from Kingston who lobbied the board to not spend the money.

Scott Henden, board member and electrician, was willing to donate labor to putting in the electricity. He voted for the press box. Ken Ames did too.

Dan Weedin and Tom Anderson voted “no.” And Bill Webb, who before the vote said he hadn’t decided, ultimately decided that the money “now” wasn’t a good expense.

Kingston boosters and the student body had raised about $30,000. The district had earlier committed to $30,000 and set it aside. The final price tag was just south of $85,000. At least $25,000 too much for now.

The booster club meets Thursday and what to do next is on the agenda.

Kingston Buccaneers’ Game On at Home

This can continue in this very place. | Kitsap Sun file photo by Carolyn J. Yaschur

Kitsap County’s Department of Community Development issued an administrative revision that paves the way for Kingston High School to get a press box at its football field. The North Kitsap School District applied for a conditional use permit to host home games on campus and to add a press box. The county’s approval lends credibility to the idea that this is Kingston High’s home field for good. A building permit is next, barring appeal of the permit just approved.

While community support in Kingston has been high for home games, support is not universal throughout the district. NK Education, a group of North Kitsap adults interested in the education of their kids, gathered written comments about the field. There were lots, by far the majority, of people opposed who said spending $30,000 to match Kingston boosters’ contribution is too much at a time when the district is cutting elsewhere.

And there were those who said the field was never intended to be a place for games. Among those was former school board member Ed Strickland, who was on the board from 2003-2011. He wrote:

“This is what I remember:

“The area we had to work with was very limited. To even get a football field where we put it we had to get some kind of permission to use park land for some of the field. I think this is on the north east side of the field. There is a problem with the east side of the field in that it is on a hill side that could have a problem supporting that side of the field.

“We also had a problem with enough parking for the school. To solve this the field was considered a practice field in the permit process. After this was done we purchased the property to the south of the Spectrum site, so this could be added for parking at a later date.

“In the building of the field, I had Robin, with the Board approval, put in conduit for lights on the field. We also were able to add the artificial surface with some money saved from other parts of the construction. We really had to do this as we were getting artificial turf at the Poulsbo facility. The community raised some of the money for the lights as they were needed for a practice field.

“If we had thought that this was going to be a field for large crowds we would have put in the infrastructure for bathrooms and handicapped access for crowds. This we did not do as we never had the idea that we would not use the Poulsbo facility for games.
The lights were a real problem and the Board really messed up in not putting them in in the first place. This brought the community together in such a way that they supported playing football games at the field. Even though you have no stands to see a game and no way for the Band to have the crowd see their marching, both the Band and football parents put up with this and play their games at this field. There is no place for handicapped or restricted seniors to see a game at this facility.

“If you look at the site, you will see lots of infrastructure for storm water. Adding the stands that this field needs for proper use will require that this problem be evaluated.

“The community needs to be involved in the process of changing this practice field to a game field for spectators. The costs are going to be large. The parking and handicapped facilities will run the project into seven digits if it is done legally. The deed for the park may also be a problem. You can share my thoughts with anyone as most of this is part of the Board record. I voted against the design plan for the school and the field as I could see that where the field was placed was not very well planned.

“Ed Strickland, NK School Board, 2003-2011″

Residents brought up issues to the county about safety of the press box, traffic, stormwater, noise and light and other issues. The chief stumbling block to those who oppose this game use is the county’s opinion that the 2004 conditional use permit “does not limit the field’s use.” The county sees game use and a press box as a minor revision. The use and the press box fall within the bounds set by the previous environmental impact statement, according to the county.

The county has no say, of course, on the wisdom of the school board committing $30,000 toward the press box.

Another argument is that few districts elsewhere have more than one football field. Indeed the Central Kitsap School District’s three high schools all consider a field next to Olympic High School as their home football field. While true, you only need to go to Bellevue to find a school district with four high schools and four football stadiums. Sure, Bellevue is different from North Kitsap. But they have their reasons. North Kitsap and Kingston have theirs.

For all who might want to go back to what the district intended when it built Kingston, that is to not have Kingston play its home games on campus, it could very well be too late for that. Strickland might be the most correct in answering why. “The lights were a real problem and the Board really messed up in not putting them in in the first place. This brought the community together in such a way that they supported playing football games at the field,” he wrote. Once the district let the Kingston boosters raise enough money to put in lights, a huge improvement for that field, there was no way to tell them “no” anymore. The community had invested too much of its own labor, lucre and love to turn it down. Had the district put in the lights from the beginning there would have been little else around which the community could rally, nothing that would have generated as much enthusiasm.

Additionally, if the district had worked even before Kingston opened to alter the stadium at North Kitsap to be a home field for two teams, the anger that led to the lights in Kingston might never have happened either. In Central Kitsap that stadium is near Olympic High School, but it’s Silverdale Stadium, not Olympic.

It’s all Monday-morning quarterbacking now.

You don’t see this at every school board meeting

On June 13, 2013, Megan Leibold made her case in front of the North Kitsap School District’s board of directors. Most of her presentation is similar to anything you’ve ever heard in the public comment portion of school board meetings, though she is especially polished. That’s probably in some part due to the training that has served her well, evidenced by her title as Miss West Sound.

She decides to punctuate her presentation in a way I’ve seldom heard, in a way I wish I heard more. Watch the video.

The tepid applause, at first, is because the board had asked the audience to not applaud or boo during the comment session as a way of controlling the time better.

North Kitsap School District board member doesn’t see a ‘sovereign nation’ in Suquamish

An anonymous caller left me a message expressing his displeasure with a North Kitsap School District board member’s comments on Nov. 8 regarding the “culturally relevant” language in one part and the “sovereign immunity” clause in the contract between the district, Olympic College and the Suquamish Tribe.

The contract deals with the Suquamish Tribe’s Early College for Native Youth program, college-level cultural curriculum for high school kids. Patty Page, North Kitsap superintendent, told the board the program has been in place for years.

Within the contract is a subsection titled, “No waiver of sovereign immunity.” It reads:

The parties acknowledge that the Suquamish Tribe is a sovereign nation. Nothing in this Agreement shall constitute or shall be construed as a waiver of the Tribe’s sovereign immunity.

You can see the Nov. 8 conversation about the program on video on the school district’s site. The contract conversation begins at 57:42. Henden starts his questions at 63:45.

Bill Webb was the first board member to express concern with the contract. He said he wouldn’t vote against it, but wanted an easier escape clause in future contracts if something happened the district didn’t like. The contract then proposed would only allow escape if all parties agreed. Webb wanted a 30-day notice clause. The contract board members will see Thursday allows for any of the three parties to exit with 90 days notice.

Henden then went deeper into his “sovereign nation” dispute at 69:20:

“I understand that they’re federally recognized. I understand, at least in part, the issue of native abuse over the years. I won’t say I understand it totally, by any means, but at least in part I understand some of their issues. I have a problem understanding any kind of English where those words go together and means what we have. I don’t see them as a sovereign nation. Norway is a sovereign nation. And I don’t see why we need to agree to that so that we can have a contract with them. If they are a sovereign nation they are self sufficient, they’re self funded, they’re self protected and there are some things that go with it, at least in my mind. If somebody can give me something other than that in the dictionary that shows putting those two words together means what we have, I’d be glad to see it.”

As it was, Henden said, he could not agree to the contract stipulating that the Tribe was a sovereign nation. “I’m not going to willingly do that,” he said. He also took issue with the part of the contract saying it was negotiated on tribal land. Webb agreed. That part of the contract has been removed.

Page reiterated that the federal government recognizes the tribe as a sovereign nation. Henden said he still couldn’t put together those two words, “sovereign” and “nation.” He dismissed the clause as “politics.”

Ken Ames moved to table the motion. Page said it would be better to oppose it, then give her directions to fix the problems. The board unanimously voted against the contract.

Dan Weedin, board president, said he didn’t think the “sovereign immunity” inclusion should be a deal breaker. Webb said he’d at least like to know why the clause was in the contract. Ames said he supported Henden’s question, or, like Webb, at least wanted an answer as to why it needed to be in the contract.

Henden then said the statement is not true, that it would be against his morals to agree to something he thought wasn’t true.

While Henden’s questions, as he stated them, are offensive to many, perhaps rightly so, the sovereign immunity question has been tough to answer for the U.S. Supreme Court and at least one president.

In one of the final exchanges on the topic Weedin points out what Page did, that the federal government is the entity defining “sovereign nation” as it relates to the tribes. Henden gave that no credibility, offering federal deficits as his example of a federal lack of judgment.

Specifically, it’s the federal courts that provide the legal definitions. In the American Bar piece referenced above, it cites two different meanings that have influenced the courts over the years.

“There are two competing theories of tribal sovereignty: first, the tribes have inherent powers of sovereignty that predate the “discovery” of America by Columbus; and second, the tribes have only those attributes of sovereignty that Congress gives them.

“Over the years, the Court has relied on one or the other of these theories in deciding tribal sovereignty cases. It is important to note that whichever theory the Court has favored in a given case has determined to a large extent what powers the tribes have and what protections they receive against federal and state government encroachment.”

The piece takes the stand that it is troubling how much sovereignty has been taken from the tribes and makes clear how the notion works on the reservations. Tribes, according to the article, are sovereign by the grace of Congress. The courts give the federal government the power to protect tribes from state intrusion, but also the power to define just how sovereign the tribes are. The article points to Supreme Court cases defining whether tribes can prosecute certain crimes and how they can enforce laws against non-tribal members living on tribal land.

Since Henden wanted someone to find a dictionary that offers a definition expressing what exists, there is this from something online called both the “legal dictionary” and the “free dictionary.”

“Tribal sovereignty refers to the fact that each tribe has the inherent right to govern itself.”

What else governs itself? I do. I’m sovereign in the sense that I can eat a peanut M&M and Josh Farley can’t stop me. But if I tried to get a Big Gulp in New York City, the city says I can’t. Am I any less sovereign because of it? Well, yes, I am. Washington is sovereign and can demand that insurers pay for pregnancy coverage and Arizona or Texas can’t do a thing about it. The federal government can, but does that mean Washington isn’t, at least to some degree, sovereign?

That seems to be the answer. Being sovereign, or free, doesn’t mean I can do whatever I want. The courts more or less acknowledge that national sovereignty for the tribes is not like national sovereignty for Canada. Try as we might, our Supreme Court can’t force Canadians to say “about” correctly or the British to stop putting the letter “u” in words like “color,” but it can tell the tribes they can’t put non-tribal members on trial.

Even nations are bound by international law. Granted, it’s at a nation’s consent to be so obligated. But the United States acknowledges “international law,” and saying the U.S. isn’t sovereign will get you a punch in the snot locker in some parts.

George W. Bush acknowledged international law when he attempted to justify to the United Nations his intent to launch the war in Iraq. “For centuries, international law recognized that nations need not suffer an attack before they can lawfully take action to defend themselves against forces that present an imminent danger of attack,” Bush said. So the United States, a sovereign nation, said it was within its rights under international law, an unspoken admission that it is bound by it.

Finally, let’s look inside the big red Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary on my desk and look up “sovereign,” “sovereignty” and “nation.” There are definitions for the first two that include lack of interference from any outside source, but when you get to definitions like “enjoying autonomy,” it doesn’t take much to understand that autonomy is not necessarily absolute. The word “nation” includes the definition “a tribe or federation of tribes (as of American Indians).” Norway would not fit that definition, but it is still a nation.

We’ll see Thursday if that satisfies Henden. Even if it doesn’t, it will probably satisfy the rest of the board.