North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Marysville School District prepares for new year

 

September 6, 2017 | View PDF

Christopher Andersson

Grounds technician Andrew King plants some flowers at the Marysville-Pilchuck High School campus on Aug. 31 in preparation for the upcoming year.

Marysville School District officials worked across the summer to make improvements to their schools in preparation for the upcoming school year.

Those changes include a new gym floor at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, a new wheelchair ramp for the M-PHS stadium, more classrooms being moved to the district's early childhood learning center and a number of maintenance projects.

The new floor at the M-PHS gym includes a new logo, stained wood and a new shine.

"It had been 23 years since the district replaced the floor. Normally you should do a full strip every 10 years," said Greg Dennis, facilities director with the district.

"Every decade you have to sand it down to the wood and re-stripe and do all the work," said Mike Sullivan, Marysville School District's executive director of finance. "This year I think we did an outstanding job on this floor."

The district has been working on replacing gym floors across all of their schools the last couple of years, including getting to Liberty Elementary and Totem Middle School last year.

"Obviously it costs more money to do it right, so we're spreading them out," said Dennis. "We have a couple more to do next year."

Students in one Marysville-Pilchuck High School class requested a wheelchair ramp at the M-PHS stadium, which is now installed.

"They sent a very nice letter to me about the two students in the class, although the whole class signed it, requesting a wheelchair ramp," said Dennis.

The district completed the $20,000 project this summer.

"If they really wanted to push it they could have got us for ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] compliance, but we didn't need to go there because it was the right thing to do," said Dennis.

Last year district officials turned the former Mountain View High School campus into a center for early childhood learning and preschool.

Some of that consolidation continues this year with two special education classrooms from Marshall Elementary being moved to the campus.

Dennis said that this was part of a broader effort to not have the district's special education programs as segregated from the general populace.

"We're trying to get a more inclusive model," he said. "They get to share the playground, share space, instead of being excluded or isolated in their own program."

There were a number of other projects during the summer, said Dennis.

Custodians went around to schools in teams this year instead of just being assigned to their normal school.

"We were able to do a deeper cleaning than we would normally be able to accomplish," said Dennis.

Some fresh paint was added to each of the schools, said Dennis.

Allen Creek Elementary School received a new roof.

"We were spending a lot of resources maintaining it, so we needed to replace it," said Dennis.

The entry road to M-PHS received a new surface, removing the deteriorating old road surface and the speed bumps that were there.

Marysville Getchell High School received about 55 new parking spots. Dennis said that the district had been hearing concerns from community members about students parking in the nearby residential areas.

As the school year goes on, more and more sophomores tend to get their driver's license, he said, which was causing an overflow during some months.

For the upcoming years the district will be following their Capital Facilities Plan they outlined last summer.

"It takes into account the existing conditions of our facilities and prioritizes what we need to be working on and how to spend our money," said Sullivan.

It is a 10-year plan but the school board and district staff may revisit it in a few years to see what needs changing.

"We have plans to make improvements continuously," said Sullivan.

The district's full plan is available online at http://bit.ly/CapitalFacilities.

In the classroom, the district will be getting the last year of funds from the voter-approved technology levy.

"We're very excited for continued work on technology," said Marysville School District Superintendent Becky Berg.

Berg said work will continue to help students learn how to gain knowledge for themselves with technology.

"It's great to walk in a classroom and see the kids with their Chromebooks," she said.

The district will also continue their AVID program, which helps students prepare for college, especially those who are traditionally underrepresented in higher education.

Christopher Andersson

A ramp that was installed for students who use wheelchairs at the Marysville-Pilchuck High School stadium.

"It is really unlocking college-going culture for families who haven't had that experience in the past," said Berg, who pointed to the many students last year who accessed scholarships in part because of help from the program.

Berg said the district also values stability and focusing on the foundations of education, rather than trying to always experiment with something novel.

"We try not to start new initiatives each year," she said. "We're drilling down on effective teaching and continuing to educate the whole child."

Sullivan said that the district has done a lot of work over the summer break.

"I'm excited about the work we got done this summer. We've made some improvements to all our schools," he said.

"Are we where we want to be? No, it will take years. But I really feel that we're making great progress toward it," he said.

 

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