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MSD seeks input on future of schools

 

October 18, 2017 | View PDF

Christopher Andersson

Two of Marysville Getchell High School's small learning communities, Bio-Med Academy, left, and the Academy of Construction and Engineering.

The Marysville School District is looking into their high school and middle school structure to see if changes need to be made and is hoping for public participation in that process.

District officials hope that the discussion can help guide them on a number of issues like Marysville Getchell High School's SLCs (small learning communities) and if they should continue, how best to spend the district's funds, and what the best model for future students should be.

"We want to make sure we're going in the right direction," said Emily Wicks, coordinator of communications and community relations at the district. "That we're finding what's best for the students."

District officials hope to come out of the discussion at the end of this school year with a focused strategic plan for the district's future.

Community members who want to be involved in the process can sign up at bit.ly/SecondaryPlanningSignUp.

The conversation about the district's secondary schools grew out of last year's meetings about Marysville Getchell High School and their SLCs.

"We've had a few changes on the Getchell campus in the last few years," said Wicks.

Originally the campus was four separate schools, but that original idea has been eroded since the time Getchell opened.

Crossover classes were introduced "because options were limited under the original four-school concept," said Wicks.

Last year they reduced the high school to one principal.

Staff and students hoped for a solid identity one way or the other and the district held a number of meetings about if they should continue with the SLC model.

"There were a lot of different opinions on what to do," said Wicks.

Eventually a report from the Washington Association of School Administrators was brought in late last school year and the issues discussed reached across the entire district.

"It really did end up being a conversation of what are our needs," said Wicks.

"It prompted a discussion of the bigger challenges of the district," she said. "What should middle school in the district look like and what should high school look like?"

Transportation costs increase for all students because of the way high school in the district is set up.

"Because students have their choice of high school, we spend a lot more money on transportation," said Wicks.

There is also the district's declining enrollment numbers to consider. This year there have been about 205 less students enrolled.

"Why is that and what year are they leaving," said Wicks. It's possible the large size of the middle schools is driving people off, she said, and if that is the case she hopes the public can talk about solutions.

The facilities that need to be improved in the district are also up for discussion, such as Getchell's gym which many have said is too small, according to Wicks.

Public input could also help shape the direction of a potential future bond measure.

The district hopes to do public opinion research this fall and release the results in November. They then hope to have personal group chats or one-on-one talks with individuals from all stakeholders in the community.

"Everyone in the community, whether they have children or not," said Wicks.

In addition to the more direct contact, they expect one large group meeting between November and April.

A full timeline of the district's plans can be found at http://www.msd25.org/o/District/page/secondary-schools-planning-2017-18.

 

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