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Inside Schools

April 2017

2017-18 brings changes to school day and school year

Subjects matter: Middle schools adjust scheduling

Effective with the 2017-18 school year, middle schools will have designated English language arts (ELA), social studies, math and science teachers. Previously, middle school teachers were scheduled to teach both ELA and social studies; or math and science, easing the transition of students from elementary to middle school by having fewer individual teachers and courses.

Next school year, students will have more teachers in middle school. However, each teacher will “specialize” in a content area of his/her expertise.

“We believe this is a ‘win-win’ for students and teachers,” explained Clover Park School District (CPSD) superintendent Debbie LeBeau. “Teachers will teach in their strength content areas and students will benefit from their teachers’ expertise and focus.”

Other benefits to the scheduling change include better retention and recruitment of teachers and more focused professional development.

More time to learn: Elementary schools switch from quarters to trimesters

Also effective with the 2017-18 school year, elementary schools will move from quarterly (45 days) reporting periods to trimester (60 days) reporting periods.

A committee of elementary principals and teachers, along with district staff, studied the recommendation and support its implementation. In addition, parents, principals and teachers were surveyed to determine their level of support. Survey results showed that all parties support the change.

“There are several advantages for both students and instructors in moving to a trimester reporting period,” said Ron Banner, assistant superintendent for elementary schools, citing the following:

  • More time for students to learn and demonstrate proficiency;
  • More time at the beginning of the school year for students to acclimate to school, classroom and schedules before baseline testing and grading begins;
  • Fewer marking periods, to reduce time for necessary testing and to increase instructional time; and
  • More flexibility for teachers to pace curriculum and ensure student mastery of skills.

Consistent professional development: District considers adjustment from early release half days to late-start Wednesdays

The district genuinely values professional development for staff to improve their professional practice. Staff need time to plan lessons and assessments based on the state standards to ensure each student’s school experience is the very best possible.

Helping Students
CPSD educators of all grade levels and disciplines meet regularly in Professional Learning Communities to refine their teaching methods

CPSD is considering a weekly one-hour late start Wednesdays to conduct Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) and provide professional development opportunities. The late start Wednesday schedule would not decrease instructional hours.

In PLCs, education professionals come together on a regular basis to review and analyze student data, revise their teaching strategies and practices and collaborate to improve student achievement.

The goal of PLCs is the long-term improvement of student learning and achievement for all students. PLCs provide a consistent and ongoing meeting time for teachers to collaborate.

Certificated staff do some of this work now during the nine early release professional development half days that are included in the school year calendar. There are however, 23 schools, and the collaboration time varies. In some cases, teachers meet before or after school.

“We believe we can improve student achievement even more by ensuring all certificated staff have a consistent time to collaborate,” said Brian Laubach, deputy superintendent. Over the past several weeks, a proposal was shared with the school board, teachers’ association, staff and families to change from nine early release half days to 29 one-hour late starts on Wednesdays.

The district would maintain three half days in the fall and three half days in the spring for teacher-parent conferencing, as well as the half day before Thanksgiving and the last day of school.

Surveys have been distributed to obtain feedback on the proposed change from parents, staff and administrators. Survey data will be analyzed to determine if additional refinement of the proposal is needed. Staff has also met with transportation and student nutrition services to determine how late starts Wednesdays can be implemented efficiently in schools.

A decision is anticipated by May 1, 2017, and more information will be available at that time.

Clover Park Memorial Day tradition honors veterans with stunning tribute

Arlington Project at CPHSSince 2008, Clover Park High School students and staff have created an annual event called the Arlington Project honoring the fallen in America’s wars from the Revolutionary War to today. The display features individually named markers for the nearly 7,000 fallen from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These markers are installed by students over a four-day period and create a striking display that truly captures the meaning of Memorial Day.

Community truancy boards find solutions to improve attendance, student achievement

With the passing of the Becca Bill in 1995, Washington law requires school districts to file a truancy petition with Pierce County Juvenile Court if a student has seven unexcused absences in a single month, or 10 in a year. But, is court really the best solution to help students and families overcome the challenges that lead to chronic absence?

Like many districts in Washington, Clover Park School District (CPSD) has developed a more holistic approach to improving attendance outcomes: community truancy boards. A typical community truancy board comprises the student, parents or guardians, school counselors, district administrators and representatives from Pierce County Juvenile Court.

“The board asks, ‘What are the barriers preventing this student from attending school, and how can we work together to remove these barriers?’” CPSD’s director of student services Holly Shaffer explains.

“At the close of a community truancy board meeting, a contract is developed between all parties that details what changes the student, parents and school will make to support better school attendance,” Shaffer continued.

Students are referred to a community truancy board when they reach the “risk zone” of unexcused absences and their school counselor or administrator feels they would benefit from the experience.

Woodbrook Middle School seventh grader Leslie Juarez was referred to a community truancy board by her school counselor Melissa Juvik earlier this year.

Student who succeeded with truancy board help
Woodbrook seventh grader Leslie Juarez and her school counselor Melissa Juvik. Juarez's community truancy board experience created the momentum and motivation she needed to drastically improve her attendance at school.

The board was a successful impetus for Leslie and her family to find new ways to ensure she made it to school on time, every day.

“I think that the school staff, parents, district staff and community members working together was very powerful. It showed Leslie that she has many people around her that care about her and want her to be successful,” said Juvik.

“Due to the community truancy board process and Leslie meeting her attendance goals, I’ve had a chance to spend more time with her and talk to her about her plans for high school and beyond,” continued Juvik. “She’s seeing the connection between her daily attendance and making those plans for the future a reality. I would say the community truancy board has had a positive impact on everyone involved,” said Juvik.

With the passing of House Bill 4229 in March 2016, state law now requires all Washington school districts to implement community truancy boards by fall 2017.

District first in western Washington to offer substitute teacher trainings through partnership with WEA

substitute training
Clover Park School District held two guest teacher trainings this spring, with more than 50 participants. In addition to gaining knowledge and resources, guest teachers connected with other guest teachers.

This winter, Clover Park School District (CPSD) became the first district in western Washington to offer trainings for substitute teachers through a partnership with the Washington Education Association (WEA). Two separate sessions were held; one in February and one in March. Attendees came with a wide range of experience in the education field; from retired teachers, guest teachers who have been substituting for a year or more, and even those starting their first assignment the next morning.

The sessions included presentations by WEA representatives, opportunities for networking and sharing tips with other guest teachers, and an overview of available resources. Participants were given a “Super Sub Kit” with a thumb drive containing more than 300 curriculum materials such as PowerPoints, TED talks and documentaries on a range of subjects for grades K–8.

Also newly implemented was a “Training the Trainers” workshop that prepared district employees to facilitate future substitute trainings for the district.

“In the ‘Training the Trainers’ workshops, four guest teachers were identified for their experience, knowledge and commitment to quality education, and asked to complete the program,” explained DeeDee Hill, CPSD’s supervisor for human resources. “The trainers will take the additional knowledge and resources learned and apply them to future guest teacher trainings.

“We now have experienced trainers who are equipped to make our district self-sufficient when it comes to facilitating future guest teacher workshops,” said Hill. “This demonstrates our commitment to helping our guest teachers feel confident and succeed in the classroom which, in turn, leads to better learning outcomes for our students,” she continued.

Educator Networking and Employment Event created valuable connections

Employment Event
Woodbrook Middle School Principal Nancy LaChapelle chats with an educator about career opportunities at the district's first Networking and Employment Event.

More than 30 educators interested in job opportunities in the district attended a networking and employment fair held recently by the district’s human resources department. Attendees enjoyed an icebreaker activity, speaking with district administrators and being interviewed, on the spot, for open positions.

“We were very pleased with the level of participation from principals and administrators,” remarked human resources executive director Lori McStay. “We offered three educators letters of intent at the event, and anticipate offering more soon,” she continued

To attract qualified applicants, human resources staff worked with local colleges and universities to spread the word to recent or soon-to-be graduates of their education programs. The event was also advertised through the district’s website and social media platforms.

Are you an educator interested in exploring career options in Clover Park School District? View open positions on the district website under the employment tab.

Thank You, clover Park School District employees!

Clover Park School District celebrated Classified School Employees Week March 13-17. May 1-5 marks Certificated Employees Week. Thank you certificated staff for creating promising futures for our students!

Three Clover Park High School students earn Act Six Scholarships

ActSix awardees
From left to right: Clover Park High School (CPHS) seniors and Act Six scholars Jasmin Rodriguez, Carlos Alvarez and Sina Pritchard. Three out of 22, or 14 percent, of students in the Puget Sound region to receive Act Six scholarships attend CPHS.

Clover Park High School (CPHS) seniors Carlos Alvarez, Sina Pritchard and Jasmin Rodriquez have earned full-tuition Act Six scholarships. Act Six is a leadership and scholarship program that seeks to develop urban and community leaders to be agents of transformation on campus and in their home communities.

Alvarez, Pritchard and Rodriquez were among 22 students in the Puget Sound region selected as new Act Six scholars, winning scholarships collectively worth more than $4 million. According to Act Six, the students were selected through a rigorous three month competition among more than 700 applicants.

Attention, Alumni

Our alumni webpage highlights Clover Park School District alumni who graduated from Clover Park, Lakes or Harrison Prep and are contributing positively to their communities. If you would like to be featured, visit the Community Relations Department page on the district website and click “Alumni Information.” There, you will find an easy-to-use questionnaire. Take a moment to look at the alumni profiles and then create your own! If you want to recommend a classmate as a featured alum, please call the community relations office at 253583-5040 and give us their contact information. We’ll follow up with them to create a profile

Jillian Russel Hulings

Featured Alumni: Jillian Russell Hulings

Featured alumna Jillian Russell Hulings is a corporate communications specialist at the Boeing Company. Read more about Jillian on the alumni page on the district website!"

Spotlight on Schools

DECA students at State Career Development Conference
Lakes and Clover Park High School students attended the DECA State Career Development Conference in Bellevue recently. Clover Park’s DECA club received a scholarship from the Steven Anthony Rhone Family Foundation, which covered some of their registration and travel costs. Three Lakes students qualified to compete in the School-Based Enterprise Gold Certification project.
Lakes student Jonathan Wilson
As well as qualifying to compete in the School-Based Enterprise Gold Certification project, Lakes junior Jonathan Wilson ran a successful campaign at the convention and was elected DECA State President!
Student who participated in the Future Chefs competition
More than 90 fourth graders from across the district submitted recipes; out of those, 18 were chosen to participate in the annual Future Chefs competition. The “Future Chefs” work with mentors from the district’s student nutrition department to prepare and plate foods, which are then sampled by judges and community members. Tillicum Elementary fourth grader Rawan Al Masslawi submitted a recipe for an Iraqi dessert called Noge, which contains pistachios, marshmallows and coconut.
Image of participants at the Future Chefs competition
Out of the 18 Future Chefs, six are awarded prizes in the categories of: health-conscious foods; kid-friendly preparation; most fun food; best table presentation; judge’s choice and people’s choice. All participants receive a certificate and a cookbook for their participation. Photo by Jeff Borey


Month of the Military Child

Did you notice Inside Schools has a purple theme this issue? That’s because April is the Month of the Military Child. As the school district privileged to serve students and families from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Clover Park School District is honored to participate in observing the resilience and courage of military children this month.


Smarter Balanced testing

Smarter Balanced testing is underway! Find more information on Smarter Balanced in the district website’s “announcements” section on the homepage.


Highly Capable Screening

Clover Park School District (CPSD)’s screening for the Highly Capable program has changed! Instead of a referral process, the district now uses data from standardized, districtwide tests. This makes the selection process more accurate, objective and data-driven; plus, more students are selected.

If your student has shown aptitude to be placed in Highly Capable, you will receive a letter from the district at the end of April. For more information on the Highly Capable program, please contact CSPD’s Assessment and Program Evaluation department at 253.583.5057 or visit the Highly Capable program website under Teaching and Learning on the district homepage

Stay Updated

Check out the Events Calendar

District, school and athletic events are listed on the district website under “Calendar” and “Events Calendar.”

Evergreen Elementary opening celebration set for April 20

A grand opening celebration for Evergreen Elementary, the sixth and final new elementary school on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, will be held Thursday, April 20 at 5 p.m.

City of Lakewood

Growing Lakewood business

Lakewood’s economic development team is working hard to bring new business to the city and support existing businesses looking to expand.

City of Lakewood Logo

Lakewood is a desirable place for businesses to locate for a number of reasons, including:

  • No development impact fees;
  • No local business and occupation tax (or B&O tax); and
  • No added minimum wage requirements.

This, coupled with the city’s prime location along Interstate 5 and its proximity to surrounding suburban cities, makes Lakewood a premier city to do business.

Don’t believe us?

A quick tally shows 28 businesses either recently opened or expanded in the city.

That includes six restaurants: Bleu Note Restaurant, Biscuit House, Bon Asian Hot Pot, House of Mandoo, Pizza Studio, Wingstop and two new Starbucks locations.

Other additions include Tuladhara Yoga studio and six healthcare related businesses like Pacific Medical Center off Bridgeport Way.

Six industrial- and distribution-focused businesses also recently opened including Bite Me, Inc., which manufactures small batch, handmade cookies; and Mastrogiannis Distillery, a family-owed distillery that makes Greek-inspired brandies from local grapes.

Another 22 projects are scheduled to open soon – five of which are restaurants including Black Bear Diner, MOD Pizza and Chipotle Grill – and another 15 projects are “in the works” – including the much-anticipated Chick-Fil-A.

Party City, Marriott TownePlace Suites, Comfort Inn and Suites and CVS Pharmacy have also set their sights to open soon in Lakewood.

To see a complete list of who’s coming to Lakewood and why, view the city’s “Priority areas and Projects, Winter Quarter 2017” brochure online at

Superintendent’s Column

Who was your favorite teacher?

Superintendent Deborah L. LeBeau
Deborah L. LeBeau

More than just a conversation starter, this question can take all of us back to our years in school and evoke the memory of the teachers who made a lasting impression on us, reminding us of the importance of educators in shaping our futures.

Currently, Washington state, as well as the rest of the nation, is experiencing a teacher shortage. As part of our mission to create promising futures for all students, we know the importance of recruiting and retaining quality educators–those teachers who our students will remember as “the teacher who changed my life.”

In this issue, you’ll read about a few ways we’ve tried to attract and retain qualified educators, empower our substitute teachers with resources, training and opportunities to network, and how we’re listening and adapting to feedback to better accommodate professional development in the school day. In all of the ways we encourage and empower our teachers–and all of our staff–we are ensuring they feel supported and prepared in the vital work of creating promising futures for our students

Deborah L. LeBeau, Superintendent