By Krestin Bahr
As we near the end of first semester for Eatonville School District, this is a time to reflect on the year’s progress. Over the holidays, I was reminded about the role that education has played in the history of Eatonville. This led to the discussion that 100 years ago, a monumental milestone was started. A century ago, Eatonville schools graduated their first two students – Susan Van Eaton and Edward Christensen.
At this time, the superintendent B.W. Lyon’s challenge was to create a vision statement that would focus on accreditation. He felt education was the avenue to “opportunity.” This word, as well as “truth,” became the foundation of his vision. Other qualities he encouraged were character and citizenship. In 1914, he developed a catalogue publicizing this philosophy.
His aim and purpose were
• To reverence truth and welcome progress.
• To hold securely the settled truths of modern science.
• To prize learning for service rather than accomplishment.
• To build character and develop citizenship.
Lyon believed, “In fact to further all activities that tend to develop the individual morally, mentally and physically for the ultimate reliance in all social reform or reconstruction must be upon the education of the individual, for only by raising the intelligence and character of the individual members of society can a higher type of social life result. One of the fundamental principles upon which our education is based is that there should be opportunities for all – opportunities for those who can go to college and also appropriate opportunities for those who cannot go to college but from necessity must take up the burden of life.”
How similar the times seem based on his vision and our current reality. The need for opportunity, equity and support is universal for children as they grow into adults. Public schools have created a place for all children to succeed and to flourish.
Do you imagine that superintendent Lyon could have fathomed what today’s graduates must have for 21st-century skill in order to be successful for the world of work? Technology has changed and continues to change at breakneck speeds. No longer are there readily available jobs for young people without some sort of post-graduate training – college, trade schools, intense technical training for our global world market. Our students must compete with other students from around the world as they go forth after high school into the world of work.
What are the skills that students will need in the future for jobs that may not even be invented yet?
The 21st-century skills that prepare for a more complex life and work environment and are essential to prepare for the future are:
• Critical thinking and problem-solving.
• Collaboration, creativity and innovation.
• Information literacy.
• Media literacy.
• Information, communication and technology literacy.
• Flexibility & Adaptability.
• Initiative and self-direction.
• Social and cross-cultural skills.
• Productivity and accountability.
• Leadership and responsibility.
Eatonville School District has continued a passion for innovation and support for all of our students over the last century. We are proud of the progress that our schools are embarking on. In fact, the list of new positive achievement and supports listed this fall/winter of 2013-14 are as follows:
1. All-day kindergarten for all students. Provides equity and access for all students at the beginning of their school career.
2. Significant state academic awards. Eatonville High School: School of Distinction 2013; top 5 percent of school districts for improvement of academic scores. Columbia Crest – Academic Reward school; top 5 percent of all Title (free/reduced lunch category) schools in the state, and STEM Lighthouse Grant Award, intended to further develop project base, and K-6 science-oriented programs.
3. School Alert. First Pierce County school district to implement an innovative school safety program that allows for immediate lockdown procedures for all schools. This will be fully impended by the end of January. This is a partnership with our local police department. This model ensures increased security measures.
4. Graduation Alliance OSPI Program HB 1418 Reengagement School. The No Drop Out program was reconfigured to increase student reengagement to include students from ages 16 to 21. Graduation Alliance is identified as Eatonville School District intervention for high school students needing more time/contact to achieve a diploma. This is a new designation for school districts.
5. Center for Leadership UW. The instructional framework implemented in all classrooms for optimal instruction for all students. All staff have been trained and are working to increase academic achievement for all of their students. This is the third year of Eatonville’s implementation in the Teacher Principal Evaluation Pilot (TPEP). Principals and teachers are working together to implement the new four-tier evaluation system developed by the state.
6. All middle school students have access to premier literacy program Spring Board – College Board program. Spring Board prepares all students for rigorous coursework in high school.
7. Common Core is being implemented in all grade levels. Preparation for the new Smarter Balanced state exams is a focus in all content areas.
8. College-Bound Scholars. A program in the 7th/8th grade that allows for students who qualify to sign up to become College Bound Scholars. Our goal is to sign up 100 percent of all qualified students. They must sign up by 8th grade. This will allow them to have their tuition paid for four years of college and/or certification post-secondary schools (Bates, automotive, welding, aerospace). This is a significant focus in the middle school.
9. Our 2011-12 graduation rate is 98 percent. Washington’s traditional method of calculating the graduation rate is based on a composite cohort of students, using data from a single school year. The estimated annual graduation rate applies a compilation of dropout rates across the four high-school grade levels to the number of that year’s 12th graders. This rate also has an adjustment for students who continue to be enrolled after four years.
The Eatonville School District has served as the heart and soul of our community for the last 100 years. On Feb. 11, the district is running a replacement Maintenance and Operations Levy. This is not a new tax, and is expected to remain at the rate per thousand that Eatonville School District residents currently pay. The district utilizes these funds to cover 24 percent of annual expenses of operating the district not provided by the state of Washington, including sports, music, drama, after-school academic support, necessary instructional support, transportation, building maintenance, curriculum, technology, classroom materials, etc. The levy provides the funds required so that all children can become successful and achieve their dreams. Please be sure to vote.
Thank you for your continued support to continue a century of excellence and community strength.
Krestin Bahr is superintendent of the Eatonville School District.