The Issaquah School Board held a regular meeting on Thursday, Feb. 8, at the Issaquah School District Administration Building. The meeting was open to the public, broadcast live on the district’s YouTube channel, and a recording of the meeting is available on YouTube.
Today we’re sharing a summary of a few 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. Or, for other board information such as upcoming meeting dates, times and agendas, and more, visit our School Board page.
Work Study Recap
School Board Directors shared their thoughts about today's work study session, which took place before the regular session and was focused on the Strategic Plan. Director Marnie Maraldo, who shared that she is falling into the role of board historian, asked the group how we utilize our Policy Governance model, in partnership with the Strategic Plan, to ensure that our work is aligned and understandable to the public.
To hear the reflections from each School Board Director, and Superintendent Tow-Yick, visit our YouTube channel.
Works in Progress
Superintendent Heather Tow-Yick shared:
- Registration for kindergarten is open! Help us get a jump start on planning for next year by registering as soon as possible.
- Applications to attend Gibson Ek High School are now open. Learn more on our website.
- Midwinter break is coming up and February is a quick month.
- We are hosting Design Sprints! The first event happened this past Tuesday, Feb. 6, and there are two more to come in early March. Register to attend using our Design Sprints form.
- Tow-Yick continues to conduct empathy interviews with alumni and others are also interviewing staff, students, parents and guardians.
- Cabinet members visited Issaquah Valley Elementary earlier this week and observed breakfast and the Dual Language Program.
- The Bond Advisory Committee kicked off last week. Additional details will be shared in the bond planning update.
For the full Works in Progress report from Superintendent Tow-Yick, please visit our YouTube Channel.
Bond Planning Update
Superintendent Tow-Yick introduced Chief of Finance and Operations Martin Turney and Director of Capital Projects Tom Mullins.
“We really want to make sure that our facilities are these amazing spaces that support, empower and enhance teaching and learning, for our students and for our staff; and create that sense of belonging that enable strong relationships to happen, which is the crux of teaching and learning,” Tow-Yick said. We want to make sure, in support of that, that there’s strong opportunity for innovation and choice, and include more flexible programming and collaborative spaces as we look at our facilities. We want to make sure our facilities support all types of learning.”
Turney and Mullins shared with the board a recap of the first Bond Advisory Committee meeting on Jan. 30, and a look ahead at the second meeting on Feb. 13.
Bond Planning – Facility Assessments
- Assessments of our sites and facilities are complete. The teams that did the assessment work are compiling data, estimating costs and prioritizing projects.
- Preliminary information has been received by Capital Projects staff.
- Initial review with staff is underway, with more complete reports expected in mid to late February.
Bond Planning – Advisory Committee
- The first meeting of the Bond Advisory Committee was held last Tuesday, January 30 in the Administration Building Board Room.
- The first meeting's objective was a grounding meeting to set the stage for the work to come through a solid foundation.
- The group reviewed the charter and learned about how our bond committee's work has evolved from how it was done in the past.
- Members had an opportunity to share about themselves and their affiliations with the district, matched with the district's opportunity to then share our story.
- Members of the community are invited to attend and observe any of the Bond Advisory Committee meetings.
- Second meeting is at 5:30 p.m. on February 13 at the district office.
- Tentative agenda:
- Strategic Plan Connection
- Student Voice Panel
- Safety and Security
- Early Learning
- Analyze facility/site assessments, estimate costs, and prioritize work.
- Stay connected to ongoing secondary innovation work.
- Continue preparation for the upcoming Bond Advisory Committee meetings.
- Provide continual updates on the district website.
To listen to the highlights of the first Bond Committee meeting and next steps, visit our YouTube channel.
Resolution # 1216 Bond Refunding
Executive Director of Finance Moriah Banasick and Cynthia Weed, partner at K&L Gates, shared information related to a resolution to refund outstanding bonds as a way to save taxpayer dollars. This is the third bond refunding opportunity recently, and is projected to save about $5.4 million if interest rates are favorable. Weed shared that this is not new money and there are no gimmicks, rather, this refunding directly saves our taxpayers’ money.
Board members approved the resolution unanimously.
To learn more about the refunding of our bonds, visit our YouTube channel.
Monitoring Report Governance Policy Ends 2: Academics and Foundations (GP-2)
Chief Academic and Student Success Officer Dana Bailey and Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Services Rich Mellish led a presentation on Ends 2.
Before the presentation, Student Representatives to the School Board from each high school shared their thoughts and information they collected from their peers about Ends 2. Students said that a broad number of courses are offered, and that the classes we offer support their career goals.
Mellish focused on sharing qualitative and quantitative data.
- We continue to be an extremely high performing district with high graduation rates.
- We have a substantially high growth rate, yet we are not satisfied with the outcomes for some of our students of color and those experiencing learning challenges.
Furthermore, Mellish emphasized the importance of Universal Design for Learning and integrated Multi-Tiered Systems of Support to try and change some of the work we are doing in our district to move our mission forward.
Board Directors discussed Ends 2 and then unanimously approved the report.
For the full presentation and discussion about Ends 2, visit our YouTube channel.
Monitoring Report - Executive Limitation 10 - Structure of Schools (EL-10)
Chief Academic and Student Success Officer Dana Bailey and Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Donna Hood led a presentation about EL-10.
Prior to the presentation, Student Representatives to the Board shared their thoughts about flex time and home room. While students are not always excited about social-emotional learning (SEL) lessons, they shared gratitude for the time to connect with teachers during flextime. Mia Williamson, a student representative who attends Liberty High School, explained the difficulties in transitioning from an eight-period day to a seven-period day last year.
Hood highlighted the “fill rate” data point, which is the district's ability to fill teaching positions when staff are out. This rate, which started at 84% last year, is now at 95%, which helps everyone feel less impacted by absences.
The board members discussed EL-10, and then unanimously approved the monitoring report.
To watch the presentation and discussion about EL-10, visit our YouTube channel.
- Kindergarten Registration