Wahluke principal gives beginning of school year reports

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Mattawa — The principals from the schools in the Wahluke School District reported on the start of the school year to the Wahluke School Board during a regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 10.

Brandy Ross, principal at Mattawa Elementary School, reported that their school has become the “new comer hub” for students coming into the country.

“The kids are clustered into classrooms,” Ross said. “They’re really excited to have each other. Last year, the kids spread out between the schools. Now they have each other to talk to. We hope to do it again next year.”

Mattawa Elementary School has also placed their highly capable students into a cluster classroom, where “teachers can do small group instruction.” The new math curriculum adopted by the school board this summer is also allowing teachers to group students by levels, ensuring that students are getting the instruction they need at their level.

Saddle Mountain Elementary School principal Kurt Hoffman said that his “staff and administration are working hard to establish efficiency.” He also said that the three elementary schools have worked together to come up with a common student handbook.

Karl Edie, Morris Schott Elementary School principal, told the board that 90 percent of the staff at his school were there last year. Eighty percent have been there for the past five years.

Edie reported that discipline this year is focusing on rewarding students for good behavior and creating positive interactions.

“We are teaching them what they did wrong so they can do it better the next time,” Edie said. “We’re teaching them good manners and behaviors.”

Wahluke Junior High principal Andrew Harlow laid out his goals for the school year. He wants 70 percent of his teachers to find their collaboration sessions and training to effective and supportive. Currently, only 30 to 40 percent find them helpful. He would like to see 70 percent of teachers using three or more of the WICOR strategies of writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization and reading in their classrooms each period. He is hoping that 90 percent of teachers will have students use their AVID binders in class. And he would like to see 80 percent of his teachers truly participating in house activities.

Harlow told the board that Wahluke Junior High is in the top 10 percentile for growth in math and English language arts. While the data showed that students still are not where they should be in these areas, they have improved a lot.

Wahluke High School principal Cody Marlow said that the enforcement of the dress code had gone well. In the first ten days of school, dress code violators had been narrowed down to approximately 15 students.

“There are over 700 kids at the high school,” Marlow said. “That’s 98 percent accuracy.”

Marlow told the board that they are running out of space for classrooms. There are currently four teachers that do not have a permanent classroom, but have to push a cart from classroom to classroom.

“We’re gobbling up our space,” said Marlow. “Pretty soon, we’ll have no library. Then we’ll have classes in the commons. It would not be very cool.”

He suggested getting portables for the high school next year to help with their lack of space.

Marlow’s biggest goal for the high school is to instill one simple theme.

“We are Wahluke,” he said. “This is our community, our home. It is what we should be proud of. They know that coming back home, it is still going to be Mattawa.”

Rachal Pinkerton may be reached via email at rpinkerton@suntribunenews.com.

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