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School Board Meeting Updates: October 15, 2021

Posted on October 15, 2021

The Issaquah School Board held a regular meeting Thursday, October 14 at the Issaquah School District Administration Building. The meeting was broadcast live on the ISD YouTube channel, and a recording of the meeting is available.

The following is a summary of the topics the Board and district staff discussed and action the Board took at the meeting. It is not an official record or meeting minutes. To review official minutes from all board meetings, please visit our board meeting archive webpage.

Prior the approval of the Consent Agenda, Superintendent Ron Thiele walked on a proposed contract to appoint an outside expert consultant as the District’s State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Responsible Official for the High School #4/Elementary #17 Project located on the Providence Heights property.

The District, consistent with State law, is the SEPA Lead Agency for this project and District regulations authorize the Superintendent or his designee to act as the SEPA Responsible Official. The District previously performed a SEPA review but choose to withdraw the initial SEPA Threshold Determination to consider fully outside comments provided as a part of that process. The Superintendent’s designation of the SEPA Responsible Official will facilitate a thorough and transparent SEPA process. A motion to approve the contract passed as a part of the Consent Agenda.

Work Study Review

Prior to the regular board meeting, the Board conducted a Work Study on the Special Education Recovery Plan. For public information, the Board summarized this session sharing the high quality of work the Special Services department is meeting the current challenges with.

The Board further shared the depth of thought that went into the planning so that we could quickly execute services at the beginning of the year. Finally, the Board was grateful that the department has engaged with the recovery plan as a way to engage with families and provide better services for our students.

To listen to the report out on the Work Study, watch our YouTube Channel.

Report Out on Board Retreat/Work Session

The Issaquah School Board held a Retreat/Work Session on both October 11 and 12 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day at the Administration Service Center. A brief summary was provided for public information. A few highlights of the Districts work and the discussions had are:

  • EL-12: Scope and Sequence of Curriculum
  • Full COVID-19 Recovery Plan: Level by Level, Throughout the System
  • Safety and Security: Options Moving Forward

To listen to the report out on the Board Retreat, watch our YouTube Channel.

Report Out on the Town Hall

The Issaquah School Board held a Town Hall meeting on September 30, 2021 at the Performing Arts Center, Issaquah High School. A brief summary was provided for public information. Reflections by the Board on the event include:

  • Format was well done with facilitation from Dr. Director Harlan Gallinger
  • Conversation about regionalizing future meetings to different neighborhood schools throughout the District to increase in-person accessibility
  • Director Sydne Mullings appreciated the opportunity to engage with the community at the event and to hear about what is going well

To listen to the report out on the Town Hall, watch our YouTube Channel.

Report Out on the WSSDA Regional Meeting

The Issaquah School Board attended the Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA) Regional Conference at the Puget Sound Educational Service District in Renton on October 6, 2021. A brief summary was provided for public information including conversation around the various struggles Districts are having as a result of COVID-19. The top additional supports needed across the region are for special education funding followed by COVID-19 recovery funding.

To listen to the report out on the WSSDA Regional Meeting, watch our YouTube Channel.

School Operations and COVID-19 Mitigation Updates

Superintendent Thiele updated the Board on School Operations and COVID-19 mitigation in the ISD, followed by Board discussion. Thiele began by celebrating that we have been back to in-person learning for six weeks in alignment with the resolution the board passed last spring.

Deputy Superintendent Dr. Josh Almy shared an update on COVID-19 supervision throughout the District including the rollout of the Test to Stay program (see page 14), data on close contacts and quarantining, and updates on our Districtwide Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s).

Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Donna Hood shared an update on the vaccine mandate as it relates to both District staff and volunteers. A few important highlights include:

  • Bus routes will not be affected and we have ten additional drivers in training now
  • We have approved 393 volunteers at this time to be out in schools
  • Individuals who are exempt from the vaccine have a variety of enhanced safety requirements specific to their role, based on individualized assessments

Executive Director of Middle Schools Jason Morse shared an update around additional layered mitigation strategies being used in middle schools. As a system we will begin reopening locker rooms, lockers, as well as adding staff to further support the needs of our middle schools.

Executive Director of Business and Operations Martin Turney shared that we will be partnering with Costco to host a COVID-19 clinic for students ages 5-11. We estimate being able to serve between 1800-2000 students. Tentatively planned dates include first doses on either the first or second week of November with tentatively planned second doses on the first week of December. Expect additional information in our Districtwide E-newsletter this next week.

To listen to the discussion on School Operations and COVID-19 Mitigation Updates, watch our YouTube Channel.

EL-8 Communications and Support

Thiele presented the internal annual monitoring report for EL-8 Communications and Support to the Board by sharing an overview of the report. The Board then engaged in a conversation around compliance of reporting in alignment with reporting in a timely manner of noncompliance with any policy of the Board. A motion was made and the report was unanimously approved.

To listen to the discussion on EL-8 Communications and Support, watch our YouTube Channel.

EL-3 Personnel Administration

Gallinger asked for data to be included on internal annual monitoring report EL-3 Personnel Administration in the years to come. Hood shared that the data set from evaluations from last year was brought down to two criterion instead of eight due to COVID. As a result, the District may want to pull data from 2018 and/or 2019 as the baseline. A motion to lay the question on the table was approved, EL-3 will return at the next meeting.

To listen to the discussion on EL-3 Personnel Administration, watch our YouTube Channel.

Legislative Matters

The School Board further discussed the letter to Governor Inslee and Superintendent Reykdal regarding Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding dollars. In listing the line items that were designated/allocated for recovery by the Legislature in the letter that was sent as a reply, Reykdal omitted that when you disaggregate the funding data, Issaquah will likely only get just under $50,000 for the entire year. This 50k is based on transition services for about 5 students if they remain in attendance for the entire school year. Per the letter, OSPI has $93 million unallocated federal ESSER funding that can be used to equitably support the few districts left underwater like Issaquah School District.

To listen to the discussion on Legislative Matters, watch our YouTube Channel.

Works In Progress

To listen to Thiele’s recap on current works in progress, watch our YouTube channel.

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.