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School Board Meeting Updates: April 23, 2021

Posted on April 23, 2021

During Thursday night’s meeting of the Issaquah School Board the following topics were presented, discussed, and voted on. Please be advised that this newsletter is not an official record or meeting minutes. Rather, it is a platform to help keep the community well informed of district happenings. To review official minutes from all board meetings, please visit our board meeting archive webpage.

Report Out on School Improvement Plans

School Improvement Plans (SIP) were presented to the Board over the course of the past couple of months.

The Board discussed the unique format they used this year in grouping building levels together for presentations and the rich collaboration between building leaders that came about as a result. The Board shared that these meetings were time well spent and that they enjoyed hearing the stories of students as it helps them better connect with and understand what is truly going on in our schools. Furthermore, they were heartened and impressed by the generosity of our staff in supporting students and families through this difficult time.

The Board approved the 2021 SIP’s as presented. Click here to review school specific SIP reports.

Education/COVID-19 Update

Superintendent Thiele shared that since last Thursday the District has had an in-person option available to students in preschool through grade 12. We continue to celebrate the successful return to in-person learning, one phase at a time!

  • A huge thank you to all of our students, staff, and families for completing the daily health attestations and for following COVID mitigation strategies to help ensure the safest learning environment we can.
  • The District and IEA reached a tentative agreement for students at Echo Glen Children’s Center for in-person learning on Thursday, April 22.
  • Special education students continue to expand to more in-person learning. Beginning next week, they will all have a four day per week option.
  • Athletic events are creating great opportunities and activities for students!

See the recording of the board meeting to hear more COVID updates, presented by Superintendent Thiele.

Resolution 1164 Fall 2021 Teaching and Learning Modality Plan

Board President Weaver read Resolution 1164, stating that the District’s intention is for school to be fully open to in-person learning five days a week in the fall of 2021. A motion to pass the resolution was moved, seconded and then passed after a few quick amendments. Read Resolution 1164 here.

Resolution 1163 Reduction in Force Restoration Parameters

The Board discussed the need to develop further clarity around various budget factors such as:

  • Enrollment shifts
  • Costs associated with COVID mitigation/management
  • Legislative budget
  • Reserve status
  • Flexibility in budget management
  • Priorities of program restoration

Board members mentioned that while reductions have been made throughout the District, we did not dismantle any programs. Rather, programs were reduced so that they can eventually be built back up. The board will further discuss Resolution 1163 at its May 13 meeting after Chief Financial Officer Jake Kuper develops a draft with the support of Director Sydne Mullings and Director Anne Moore. View this robust conversation here.

Board Policy Executive Limitation 2 - Treatment of People and Executive Limitation 12 - Learning Environment

The Board conducted a first read with revisions to EL-2 Treatment of People and EL-12 Learning Environment on March 11, and a second read on March 25. After a third read the board voted to accept these policy revisions.

Capital Projects Update

Director of Capital Projects Tom Mullins and Chief Financial Officer Jake Kuper shared a district-wide update on construction projects including:

  • Cedar Trails Elementary School (Elementary School #16)
  • Cougar Mountain Middle School (Middle School #6)
  • Elementary School #17 and High School #4 new construction projects
  • Updates on Maple Hills Elementary, Beaver Lake Middle School, Liberty High, Issaquah High, and our Holly Street campus

While most projects are progressing as planned, there will be a delay in the opening of Cougar Mountain Middle School, as communicated with the future CMMS community this morning. Planning Principal Erin McKee said that this is disappointing news, but she knows that her future Falcons are resilient and agile.

For information and photos on Issaquah School District construction projects, please refer to the ISD Capital Projects webpage.

Monitoring Report Executive Limitation 12 - Learning Environment/Treatment of Students

Superintendent Thiele shared highlights including professional development around various curriculums, District equity work, inclusive practices, and trauma-informed practices. He also discussed the increase of sophisticated data that has continued to help support our work. The board unanimously approved a motion to accept the report as presented.

Read the monitoring report here or see Superintendent Thiele’s overview here.

Legislative Matters

The Board discussed several relevant legislative highlights including:

  • Updates to the District’s budget status from the State Legislature
  • ESSER funds, the discussion of defining poverty and the impacts thereof
  • Long-term care and disability insurance for employees

Works in Progress

Earth Day was this past week! Superintendent Thiele said that, during his tenure, sustainability has been a value of the district emphasized time and time again. He shared some important dates to recognize:

  • May 7 will be School Lunch Heroes Day! Thank you to our food programs for continuing to ensure our students have been fed, especially in this past year.
  • This week is Administrative Professionals week. Thank you to all the support staff throughout the District today and every day.
  • Graduation ceremonies for Issaquah, Liberty, and Skyline High Schools will be held on June 11 at T-Mobile Park, and Gibson Ek High School will be held on June 10 at Issaquah Community Center.
  • The ISF Nourish Every Mind event will be held on Thursday, April 29 at 7 p.m. Register here.

District Communications

As a friendly reminder, the Issaquah School District will send official District communication using only the channels listed below:

Other Facebook accounts or groups, websites, or media channels are not operated or endorsed by the District.

You can view recordings of this and other past board meetings on the ISD YouTube channel. You can also see future meetings on this channel or via Zoom. Check the District website for more information on attending meetings, giving public comments, or reading the minutes of past meetings.