By Florine Gingerich
At the Edmonds School Board meeting Tuesday, nobody mentioned that students in the district and their parents speak over 85 different languages. But board members listened attentively when Dr. Ellen Kahan, Assistant Superintendent, described activities of the Equity Alliance for Achievement. The committee, composed of parents and school personnel, is working to develop a series of training programs to help parents of color understand how to participate in school activities and advocate effectively for their children. The program has persuaded schools to hold more parent meetings in Spanish or with translation available. With donated funds, they’ve purchased listening devices for translation at PTA meetings and other school activities.
Dr. Kahan also discussed enrollment at the district’s two “choice” schools, Madrona and Maplewood K-8. The district selects students for each of these schools by lottery from a waiting list generated by parents who sign their students up after they’ve visited the school, a process which presupposes that parents know the schools exist and understand the procedure. Madrona and Maplewood are less racially diverse than the district as a whole and attract mostly students who live west of Highway 99. Dr. Kahan will meet with representatives of the choice schools to discuss how they might expand expand their outreach in advance of the kindergarten lottery in January.
At each regular meeting, the Board celebrates a person who has made an exceptional contribution to district students. This week it honored Karyn Roseburg, a first and second grade teacher at Westgate Elementary. Roseburg was nominated by the mother of a student for creating a learning environment where even easily distracted students can succeed. If you’d like to nominate someone for special recognition, visit the district website, and click on the link for the School Board under “About Us”.
About the School Board: Each of the five members of the Edmonds School Board is elected to represent a different part of the district. The board hires the Superintendent and sets policies, following up to see that they are effectively implemented. School Board meetings are open to the public. Though members are entitled to a stipend of $50 for each day or part of a day spent on board business, all the current Board members refused to take that money for the 2009-2010 school year.
My Edmonds New school board contributor Florine Gingerich has a son who attended the Edmonds public schools, where she volunteered in roles ranging from pouring juice in kindergarten at Madrona K-8 to serving as president of the Edmonds-Woodway Music Boosters. With her husband, Doug Purcell, she practices law at Purcell & Adams, PLLC, a South County firm emphasizing business law, real estate and estate planning. Visit them at purcelladams.com, or contact her at email@example.com.