Edmonds School District receives Healthy Communities Award for student health and wellness initiative

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Edmonds School District employee LeAnne Brisbois (right) brushes away a tear during a presentation honoring her efforts to feed homeless students in the Edmonds School District. Board President Diana White (left) and District Diversity, Equity and Outreach coordinator Karena Hooks both praised Brisbois' work and dedication to helping students.
Edmonds School District employee LeAnne Brisbois (right) brushes away a tear during a presentation Tuesday night honoring her efforts to feed homeless students in the Edmonds School District. Board President Diana White (left) and District Diversity, Equity and Outreach coordinator Karena Hooks both praised Brisbois’ work and dedication to helping students.

The Edmonds School District was recognized as being a leader in its efforts to improve the health of students.

Snohomish Health District Director and Health Officer Dr. Gary Goldbaum presented the District with a Healthy Communities Award for its leadership in the area of student health and wellness during Tuesday night’s Board of Directors meeting.

“The Edmonds School District has really been a leader in moving the entire county forward through its effort, especially with nutrition,” Goldbaum said.

Goldbaum noted that a District Committee of staff, teachers, parents and other community members met for 18 months to develop new school wellness policies. Their work was motivated by the belief that children who are healthy learn better.

The increased emphasis on nutrition and physical education/activities will be at all grade levels and will impact more than 20,000 students in 31 schools, providing lasting change, Goldbaum said. The award recognized the District’s exemplary dedication to improving nutrition and fitness opportunities through policy change.

“Because you are a leader now in the county, you’re providing a real model for other school districts in the county,” Goldbaum said.

In accepting the award on behalf of the District, Board President Diana White said that the award means a lot. White was a member of the Health and Wellness Committee that tackled the issues.

The decisions the committee made were hard and they received a lot of flak along the way, White said.

“To receive this confirmation that we’re doing something right just means the world to everybody in that committee,” White said.

Earlier in the meeting, the Board honored District employee LeAnne Brisbois for her work in a longstanding grassroots effort to feed students who live in transitional housing or who are homeless.

Community groups and individuals collected food items and Brisbois worked to have the items bagged, organized and delivered to students.

Karena Hooks, District Diversity, Equity and Outreach coordinator, was glad to be at Tuesday’s meeting to recognize Brisbois. She remembered her first year in the district when she met Brisbois.

“I was blown away at her effort, her commitment, her passion and just her persistence,” Hooks said. “She is not going to take no for an answer ever when it comes to feeding kids and doing what’s right for families.”

White said of Brisbois, “LeAnne is a clear example of how the efforts of one person, one particular person, can truly make a difference in addressing this need in our District. For the past three years, LeAnne has provided support in multiple ways, from sorting and packing bags of food to making deliveries, distributing information, connecting parents to resources, and partnering with key community members that have also served as volunteers to assist in establishing a District food program.”

Jennifer Martin (Primary Intensive Support Teacher, Meadowdale Elementary), Hannah Meier (Speech-Language Pathologist, Maplewood Center), Wa-Gro Founders Patrick Crosby and Julieta Crosby and Joy Lohnes (Autism Support Specialist, Edmonds School District) were recognized for their volunteer work by the Edmonds School District.
Jennifer Martin (Primary Intensive Support Teacher, Meadowdale Elementary), Hannah Meier (Speech-Language Pathologist, Maplewood Center), Wa-Gro Founders Patrick Crosby and Julieta Crosby and Joy Lohnes (Autism Support Specialist, Edmonds School District) were recognized for their volunteer work by the Edmonds School District.

The Board also honored three other District employees – Jennifer Martin, Primary Intensive Support Teacher, Meadowdale Elementary; Joy Lohnes, Autism Support Specialist; and Hannah Meier, Speech-Language Pathologist, Maplewood Center for their volunteer work with the Wa-GRO Foundation, a non-profit organization providing education, health, humanitarian and organization assistance to people in the United States and Mexico.

Martin, Lohnes and Meier spent time in a special needs school in Mexico. The three helped with badly needed training.

Wa-GRO co-founder Patrick Crosby was appreciative of all the hard work by the three women.

“They’re constantly, constantly giving,” he said.

The program that Martin, Lohnes and Meier worked on is “actually changing the educational system in Mexico,” Crosby said. “In five or 10 years it will be completed and will go on for a lifetime.”

In other action:

– The Board approved an agreement with the Foundation for Edmonds School District for the Foundation to maintain a physical presence in the Educational Services Center.

– The Board approved a preliminary budget for $100,000 for the domestic water piping replacement and carpenter ant eradication project at the former Woodway High School. Both projects were identified in the 2014 Capital Construction Bond.

The domestic water piping replacement consists of removing and replacing the domestic water system to all the buildings. Much of the current piping is corroded on the inside which restricts water flow. The Carpenter Ant Eradication portion will include controlling current ant infestation as well as assessment of damage and possible reconstruction required, the scope of which is outside the funding of this current project. Both projects are scheduled for the summer of 2015.

– The Board approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the Edmonds Educational Association regarding the 2014-14 Home Hospital Tutor/Home Instruction, a state requirement. The District is required to provide tutoring and instruction for students who qualify for services.

– The Board also approved a contract for General Contractor/Construction Manager Services for the Maintenance, Transportation & Warehouse Replacement Project to Absher Construction Company.

– District Executive Director of Business and Operations Stewart Myhre provided an update on the Lynndale Elementary School project and the impact on the fields used by Pacific Little League.

After talks with the contractors, it was determined that work on the site could be done without impacting the use of the fields. The contractors told the District they would not need any of the fields as staging areas. “We’re planning to stay off the fields,” Myhre said.

As part of the project, the District has discovered that the Alderwood Water District actually owns a 25-foot strip of land that is landlocked by District property. The District has contacted the Alderwood Water District and has asked it to surplus the land to the District.

– Myhre told the Board that the District plans to start charging a scanning fee for Public Disclosure Requests. The District has not had a fee up to now but is allowed to charge a fee under state law. The fee would be for documents that are not in electronic form and have to be scanned in.

– The District also is in the process of working with a company to provide automatic payment services for parents. The company would integrate with the Skyward system.

— Story and photos by David Pan

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