Messages to the Community
Independent Column week of September 25, 2023
Review & Revise
Sustainable improvement requires reflection, evaluation, and adjustments
During the school year of 2021-2022 the Chewelah School District engaged 29 community and employee stakeholders in a strategic plan development. The results of the committee's work can be viewed on the District’s website. The plan was completed approximately 15 months ago. The time has come for us to review this plan.
The Chewelah School District strategic plan provides direction and focus. In general, strategic plans do not change much because plans of this nature are usually large in scope. The plan also reflects the main purposes of an organization, which, in the case of education, should never change. I can’t imagine a school deciding that student learning is no longer the main purpose. Nevertheless, within education a plan can provide direction to meet the specific or personal needs of a community. Not all communities have the same needs or culture, nor do they operate under the same conditions or values. This is why strategic plans are essential for organizations to achieve their purposes.
During the years of implementing a strategic plan, however, different conditions can shift. Because conditions or the environments in which we live can change, it's important that plans are reviewed to “keep the main thing the main thing.” (Covey) Some examples specific to the Chewelah School District are that our economy has drastically changed and the social challenges of our students have changed at a faster pace than normal. Furthermore, the District is in the last year of using the extra funding provided by the federal government when the government imposed the shutdown of our schools. This funding was called Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funding or ESSER funds. After this school year the District will no longer have these extra funds. These funds have provided special services and supports that were deficient in our District before the shutdown.
In addition, the Chewelah School District received findings from the CMSi Audit conducted in our District last May. This audit gave a thorough and careful review of the District’s purpose, initiatives, leadership and best practices in the classroom. It is important that we review these findings from the audit and see where we can apply the recommendations to improve the performance of the District. The strategic plan review will allow us to look at the audit findings and confirm what we are doing right and offer course corrections in areas we need improvement.
The Chewelah School District will review the strategic plan this year. This process will help us to apply the CMSi audit findings, improve policy, revisit our goals, and review resources. One of the many steps in reviewing our strategic plan will be looking at programs and services. We’ll need to evaluate them as well as prioritize them. It is simple to say that they are all important, however the District does not have endless resources. This means we need to prioritize. We would like to hear from you, the Chewelah community, and include your views when we prioritize.
It is not possible to bring everyone together as a community to help us prioritize. Nevertheless, we can hear from everyone if we provide a way to get your feedback. Please take a minute and rank the nine (9) items in order of priority by using this link or QR code. Thank you, Chewelah! https://forms.office.com/r/W2eLAtZuEj
Independent Column week of September 10, 2023
Leadership in the Chewelah School District
Developing a culture of meaningful leadership
The Board of Directors for the Chewelah School District sets goals each year. Due to the fact these goals are big in scope, it may take three to five years to achieve them. Big goals do not change much because of the time it takes to achieve them. Nevertheless, updating goals and reviewing goals on a regular basis requires consistent leadership because there are many distractions that make it hard to stay on a course long enough to achieve "big" goals. This is why change can take a long time with pre-established organizations. It is intentional focused leadership, however, that maintains the steady course to obtain success. Once an organization has meaningful goals and those goals are aligned with their purpose and vision, leadership becomes essential for achievement to take root, grow, and produce the fruit or outcomes desired.
The Chewelah Board of Directors has established goals for the coming years. The Board of Directors is seeking feedback about their leadership. Please take five minutes, scan the QR code or copy the link provided and complete the survey. Thank you. https://forms.office.com/r/n5qYqBt9mb
Independent Column week of September 3, 2023
Chewelah Supports Children and the Chewelah School District
Sacrifice: An act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more worthy or important.
It is a blessing to everyone to be part of a community that supports children. The investment in our children is worth the sacrifices we make. What makes sacrifice more virtuous is when investors see that their resources are used wisely, responsibly, and appropriately. The Chewelah School District hopes that the families and businesses who make sacrifices to support our school facilities see and believe that the is delivering and meeting their expectations. Among the many sacrifices made, I am specifically referring to the passing of Capital Levies in the Chewelah School District over the last several
The foundation of prosperous communities is rooted in families. I see sacrifice being synonymous with family. As a father of five children sacrifices are constant and part of raising a family. A family worthy of praise makes sacrifices to serve others as each individual acts responsibly. Additionally, when families come together and make sacrifices for a specific and worthy cause great things happen in communities. The Chewelah School District is a primary recipient of the good resulting from the sacrifices of families coming together. Because of the continual support of the families and businesses in Chewelah, the Chewelah School District is able to maintain and provide proper care of school facilities for students.
The Chewelah School District wishes to thank families and business families for coming together and trusting the Chewelah School District to be good stewards of school facilities.
Independent Column July 26, 2023:
What is the best financial decision the Chewelah School District can make on behalf of the needs of students while considering the current economic hardship in our community?
Levies, Capital Levies & Bonds. How much is too much and how little is not enough?
Every community faces the same predicament and opportunity as Chewelah every 3-4 years. The Chewelah School District is approaching the season where decisions have to be made about Levies and/or Bonds. Where some may see levies as an opportunity, others may view them as stressful predicaments. On Thursday, August 3 at 6:30pm at the District Office, the Chewelah Board of Directors will engage in an investigative and fact gathering conversation session with Ken Murphy of ALSC Architects and Cory Plager of D.A. Davidson (Finance). These two individuals are experts in their fields. They are coming from Spokane as consultants to help inform, share options, and answer questions. The Chewelah School Districts seeks to obtain the financial facts, to listen to all stakeholders, and develop the best options for the community to choose. The best way to accomplish this goal is to ensure that all decision makers (voters) have the facts and information necessary to give input to the Board of Directors.
An additional layer of challenge for the District regarding the levy is the economy. In the last three years we have all experienced significant inflation over a short period of time. Everyone has experienced price increases beyond the norm. I personally don’t remember anything like this since the early 80s. Our current economic situation has created hardship for us all. For the Chewelah School District, we have spent months and years making plans for facility improvements only to find out that the price we were quoted two years ago is now 40% more or higher. Food prices and services have gone up similarly to some degree impacting our home budgets. Because of the poor state of our economy, the Chewelah School District is having to make tough decisions like everyone else.
Recently, the Chewelah School District had to make the decision to put a pause on the project approved by voters in our last Capital Levy to redo the Jenkins parking lot. The cost to remodel our science classrooms went up over 45%. The cost to redo the parking lot went up around 35%. In order to complete the science classroom remodel we had to cancel our plans to redo the Jenkins parking lot. We have hope, however, of finding grant funds to pay for the parking lot later. Recently the Chewelah School District was awarded a planning grant to apply for another Small Modernization Grant through the State of Washington. The current project of replacing the HVAC system this summer at Jenkins is funded by a 3.5-million-dollar Small Modernization Grant awarded to the District two years ago. With this planning grant we just received the Chewelah School District will be seeking this same grant to complete other major capital projects in the District. We anticipate including the Jenkins parking lot in this grant.
Taxes are not fun, nor are they popular topics to discuss, even though we know they are necessary. Nevertheless, it's part of our reality and we must understand our situation together before we can make decisions as a community. Thomas Jefferson in his 1801 inaugural address made this statement, “But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.” We all share similar principles and have similar interests when it comes to education. Recognizing the value of taxes, we all share our dislike for them as well. Therefore, we share a common predicament. The Chewelah community is invited to attend the Work Session meeting on August 3rd to listen, ask questions and give input so we ensure that the best decisions are made. We hope to see you there.
4.18.23 Educational Effectivness
4.13.23 Robo Calls and Safety
3.23 Focus Group
12.13.22 Respiratory Illness Letter
11.16.22 Health Guidance
10.21.2022 SRO Memo
8.30.22 Parent Night
8.29.22 SRO Information
8.25.22 School Guidance
5.20.22 Chewelah School District Showcase
4.22.22 EES Family Survey
4.13.22 Student Covid Immunization Not Required
3.10.22 Mask Friendly
3.3.22 Mask Update
2.22.22 Mask Requirements Change
2.15.22 Mask Mandate Update
October 2021 Academia
1.14.22 Remote Learning Letter to Parents
1.13.22 Test to Stay
11.8.21 Home Study And Practice
11.8.21 Snow Closure Plan
9.7.21 Covid Quarantine Procedure
8.18.21 Statement on Employee Vaccination Requirement
8.10.21 Inslee Health Requirement