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Community tours Arlington schools


Christopher Andersson

photo BY CHRISTOPHER ANDERSSON Weston High School students Cammy Green, left, and Zack Bailey, demonstrate a catapult made with rubber band power at the Know Your Schools tour on Nov. 15.

Arlington School District officials took local parents and community members to local schools as part of their Know Your Schools event on Nov. 15.

The tours are designed to give local parents and legislators a close-up look at what's going on in the district's schools.

Arlington School District Superintendent Chrys Sweeting, who has had the job only for a couple of months now, said when she was learning about the district she liked how the community and schools worked together.

"I was encouraged that the community, the educational community and the community at large, really believe in working together," she said.

At Weston High School, Arlington's alternative high school, students said they enjoyed the small tight-knit community available from such a smaller high school.

"Teachers get to know you and you know everybody," said Zack Bailey, ASB president for the school.

"If you're having a bad day, they [the teachers] really understand you're having a bad day and can help you," he said.

"It's an extremely positive environment. Some groups don't always get along, but generally we are a community," said Weston High School student Cammy Green.

Green also said she enjoyed some of the practical classes she was taking, like the forensics class where students use real-world science techniques to solve a murder.

"Right now we're analyzing real hair samples," she said.

Weston High School has also been the site of Everett Community College's new Advanced Manufacturing Training and Education Center extension, where students can have advanced machinery training available after graduation.

"They're really working with our kids to integrate projects," said Weston High School Principal Will Nelson.

"This program is meant for college students who want to learn precision machining," he said.

"The hope is that when they graduate they'll be able to go directly to a place like AMT [the manufacturing business]."

The staff at Eagle Creek Elementary is working on multiple initiatives encouraging attendance for students.

Washington state schools have the worst attendance in the nation, said Assistant Superintendent for the district Kathleen Ehman.

"There's been a big focus on fighting absenteeism from the state," for this year, she said.

The school is also working on integrating play into their lessons for young children, said Assistant Principal Bethany Belisle.

Christopher Andersson

ECEAP teacher Angela Rosenstiel and Arlington Police Department Mark Pennington talk about the early childhood education program at Eagle Creek Elementary during the Know Your Schools tour on Nov. 15.

"We're allowing them the opportunity to play and explore, and within that there is a lot of opportunity to explore learning as well," she said.

Eagle Creek Elementary is also the site of the district's ECEAP program, which provides education before kindergarten.

The program is mostly available in half-days for low-income families.

"Some kids don't have the same opportunities," said Belisle, and even playing with puzzles can be a good step in childhood development that they may not have, she said.

Overall for the district Sweeting said she hopes to talk more about adverse childhood experiences (a.k.a. ACEs) that can affect childhood behavior this year with the district's staff.

"We really are wanting to enhance our staff's understanding of trauma-informed situations that students might be coming from," she said.

"Students that have been struggling in ways we might not know, there are ways we can engage those students," she said.


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