School board approves project to upgrade former Woodway HS athletic fields

Woodway HS athletic field schematic

Woodway HS athletic field schematic

A project to improve the athletic fields at the former Woodway High School that has been in the planning stages for more than seven years got the green light from the Edmonds School District Board at Tuesday’s meeting.

The board unanimously approved a project and preliminary budget for Phase 1 of the project and a consultant selection and agreement with DA Hogan for design of athletic field improvements.

The City of Edmonds and Verdant Health Commission are partnering with the School District on the project. Verdant is providing a $2.5 million grant. Phase 1 consists of an all-weather field where the existing natural tuft baseball field is located. It will be marked for two tournament soccer pitches and one softball field. The field also can accommodate other uses, such as lacrosse.

The project is scheduled for construction during the summer of 2015. DA Hogan has worked on a number of projects with the School District, including the new Lynnwood High School.

The School District is the owner of the property but the scheduling and the maintenance of the field will be done by the City’s Parks and Recreation Department. The School District, however, will have the right of first refusal.

In other action:

-The Board recognized the Lynnwood High School and Edmonds Woodway High School’s Robotics Teams, Coaches, and Mentors for their achievements this year. Both teams participated in the first Robotics World Championships in St. Louis, Mo.

-The Board authorized the sale of $150 million of unlimited tax general obligation bonds. Proposition 2, a Capital Construction Bond to authorize the sale of up to $275 million of bonds, was approved by voters as part of a special election on Feb. 11, 2014. This sale is the first of three bond sales to provide the necessary funds to replace Alderwood Middle, Madrona K-8, and Lynndale Elementary and to modernize Mountlake Terrace Elementary, Lynnwood Elementary and Spruce Elementary.

-School district staff updated the board on the state testing graduation status for Class of 2013 and Class of 2014 snapshots taken in May. The data indicated that the percentage of students who completed their state testing graduation requirements in reading, writing and math increased from 89.8 percent in 2013 to 92.1 percent in 2014. The percentage of students who have not completed state testing graduation requirements decreased from 10.2 percent in 2013 to 7.9 percent in 2014.

- Director of Career and College Readiness Mark Madison made a presentation on Career and Technical Education. Madison noted that Career and Technical Education (CTE) is driven by the industries and businesses in the community in terms of employment demands. All of the teachers have industry experience.

Most of the Career and Technical Education programs provide college credit. There are 15 CTE program areas that are broad industry categories, such Business and Finance, Engineering, Technology and Construction, and Media and Applied Arts. The District has 63 CTE classes across the five high schools and four middle school CTE STEM course across the four middle schools. There also are five district magnet high school programs where students travel from their home school to another high school specialty program.

Enrollment in CTE is close to 1,100 this school year and has been as high as 1,171 in previous years. About 100 middle school students are involved in CTE this year.

Students can earn nationally recognized certifications, including Microsoft Office, Certified Nursing Assistant and Automotive Service Excellence.

Last year 1,271 students earned a total of 6,559 credits, saving their parents $633,402. Madison expects to match or exceed those numbers next year.

The carpentry program was moved to Edmonds Community College, where it is taught by the college instructor in the college facility. Students did not build a house this year, but Madison expects next year’s students will as part of the Lynnwood Rotary House Project.

The heath care program will be moving from Edmonds-Woodway to Mountlake Terrace because of space issues. A new broadcast production after-school program will be started next fall at Mountlake Terrace.

Finally because the federal government has rescinded Washington State’s “No Child Left Behind” waiver, the school district is required to send letters to parents at the start of school informing them of what has happened.

State School Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn said in an NPR interview that he estimates that 90 percent of the schools in the state will have to send out the letter that says they are a “failing school.”

Board President White raised the issue of whether the School District should boycott sending the letter as means of protest or use the letter to tout the many successes of the district.

The consensus of the board seemed to be that the letter should be written and sent to parents, but that the content of the letter should discuss the reasons why the school district is a success.

“I feel pretty strongly about it. I feel like our schools are not failing,” White said. “I really want it to be heard loud and clear.”

It was suggested that the board seek out other school boards in the county. White indicated that she will continue to ask her fellow Directors’ for input on drafting a letter or a possible resolution.

– By David Pan

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