CPSD schools getting more fathers involved
Research shows that fathers today are more involved in their children’s education than ever before. For that reason, Clover Park School District (CPSD) schools are welcoming more dads onto campus and into classrooms.
Two programs, in particular, are highlighting this trend. On the first day of school this year, Lochburn Middle School hosted a Million Father March event as a way to encourage dads and other male role models to bring their kids to school.
“For the most part, we see a lot of women involved in our students’ lives at school, but I don’t think the men actually get a direct invitation,” said Lochburn teacher Talia Kircher, who organized the event. “This event was important because it showed our students that not just our staff care about them but also the men in our community care about them and their education.”
The Million Father March is a nationwide initiative spearheaded by the Black Star Project to get black and Latino fathers more involved in their children’s education. Lochburn was the first CPSD district school to participate. Dads and other family members along with their students were welcomed by staff and provided donuts for breakfast. Several fathers lined up in the school’s entry way and cheered and gave high-fives as buses emptied and students arrived for their first day.
“It had an impact not just on our families but also on our staff,” said Lochburn principal Greg Wilson. “It was a positive experience for our staff to see how many families, and particularly male role models, cared and felt that the first day was important to starting the school year right.” While the Million Father March offered an exciting way to kick off the school year, another program also gets dads in schools, all year round.
Rainier Elementary School hosted its third annual Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads Of Great Students) launch pizza party Sept. 14 to get more dads volunteering in the school.
“When we have events where their dads come, the kids get so excited,” said Rainier principal Kylie Danielson. “It makes them excited to have their dads in school – it’s another opportunity for them to get quality, one-on-one time with their dad.”
Watch D.O.G.S. is a program created by the Center for Fathering to give students access to more positive male role models as well as put more male figures on campus to help strengthen school security and reduce bullying.
The program has seen positive growth since it was started by Rainier staff members Kimberly Boyajean and Gricelda Villanueva near the end of the 2015-16 school year. More than 400 dads signed up last year to volunteer and the school saw dads volunteering on almost a daily basis.
Villanueva said the students are not the only ones impacted by the program.
“A huge realization for me is the impact it has on the dads,” she said. “Involvement opens your eyes. Once they come in, they’re usually hooked and then they want to come back.”
CPSD has active Watch D.O.G.S. groups in a number of schools, including: Beachwood, Idlewild, Custer, Dower, Four Heroes, Oakbrook, Meriwether and Lake Louise Elementary Schools, Lakeview Hope Academy and Harrison Preparatory School.
New elementary reading curricula implemented
Clover Park School District (CPSD) implemented two new reading curricula for the 2017-18 school year for elementary- and preschool-aged students. One of the curricula will be used in kindergarten through fifth grade classrooms, while the other is aimed at special education preschoolers.
Each school year, CPSD updates one content area.
Selecting a new curriculum begins by reviewing Washington State’s Learning Standards, which serve as a roadmap to preparing students to be careerand college-ready after high school. CPSD staff also examine what students’ needs are in the various content areas, and then gather input from parents and teachers.
“We have a process for selecting new curricula that is aligned with what Washington state recommends,” said CPSD supervisor of English language arts and social studies Erin Vidal. “We evaluate for standards and bias and narrow down materials to figure out which ones we’ll pilot in the district to get feedback on implementation from students, parents and teachers.”
The process resulted in choosing the Reach for Reading curriculum for kindergarten through fifth grade students and Pearson’s Opening the World of Learning curriculum for preschool special education students.
Cengage, the publisher of CPSD’s new reading curricula, collaborated with National Geographic to include high-interest, non-fiction content along with fictional stories and a digital component to enhance learning for students at all skill levels. Newer state standards encourage greater interaction with the kinds of non-fiction reading students will be exposed to in college and in their post-education careers.
“We’ve seen a decrease in narratives and an increase in non-fiction texts,” Vidal said. “That means that there is science and social studies content embedded in the new reading curriculum.”
Each student will have their own book and can access leveled library books in each classroom that complement the stories in their book.
The curriculum also features a technological component. Students have access to a digital platform that allows them to see their text books, play literacy games and take assessments from home. Teachers can use features aligned with the current classroom technology, such as smart boards, to engage students.
Another unique factor of the new curricula is diversity."
We talk about the diversity within our schools and the importance of embracing and learning about it in our communities,” Vidal said. “That diversity is represented in the new curricula. Students can open their books and see people who look like them.”
Parents and community members can serve on the adoption committee and view the final proposed materials at a community showcase before they are adopted by the school board.
For more coverage on the new curricula, listen to September’s episode of Community Conversations on the CPSD website
Lakeview Hope Academy receives Partnership School Award
Lakeview Hope Academy recently earned a 2017 Partnership School Award from the National Network of Partnerships Schools (NNPS). The award specifically recognizes Lakeview’s Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Family Academy.
NNPS reviewers praised Lakeview’s STEM Family Academy for good planning, including high school students and having translators to allow more families to actively participate.
“Lakeview’s Action Team for Partnership listened to what parents said about needing resources and support to help their students in science and from that feedback, created the STEM Academy night,” said Clover Park School District family and community partnership coordinator Holly Bocchi. “Students are the ultimate winners when schools and families partner together.”
The STEM Family Academy was created to support students participating in the districtwide STEM fair last year by supplying materials to families, providing students with hands-on experience with different aspects of STEM and encouraging collaboration with parents.
“Teachers facilitated the activities,” said Lakeview teacher Paulie Jacobson, who served on the action team committee. “But the activities were family and student-focused – they were interactive and involved.”
One of the primary goals of the STEM Family Academy was to bring awareness of science-related activities to students and support students outside the classroom.
“Over the past few years, we’ve really pushed to get parents involved in our school,” said Lakeview principal Meghan Eakin. “We wanted a program that could support Lakeview’s STEM fair. There was a school wide expectation that everyone did it, and I didn’t want to assume students would be able to take it home and complete it without the necessary support from the school.”
Lakeview’s Math Family Academy was also praised by the award committee for its use of games to develop computational skills.
“These events are not done for parents or to parents but with parents’ help and input,” Bocchi said. “We are so proud of the work Lakeview continues to do to engage families in school.”
Check out the latest Community Conversation on the district website
On the first Friday of every month, CPSD partners with local radio station KLAY-1180 AM to air Community Conversations, a segment featuring 10-minute interviews with district administrators regarding pertinent updates and information.
In this month’s Conversation, executive director for teaching and learning Kristi Smith and English language arts supervisor Erin Vidal discuss the two new reading curricula being implemented in the district’s elementary schools. To hear current and previous Community Conversations, please visit the district website at www.cloverpark.k12.wa.us.
New state education budget lacks clarity
The Washington state legislature’s last minute approval of the state budget has left school district leaders across the state scrambling and looking to the Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction for clarity in how funds will be distributed to individual districts. The budget was part of the legislature’s attempt to fully fund schools in response to the Washington State Supreme Court’s 2012 McCleary Decision.
There has been news coverage about how the new legislative budget passed in June is going to affect funding at a number of districts in Washington in school years 2018 and beyond.
“We still cannot definitively say how all these new changes will affect Clover Park School District (CPSD) due to a number of uncertainties and a lack of clarity from the legislature,” said Rick Ring, administrator for business services and capital projects.
As we learn more about the specific impacts to CPSD, more information will be published in Inside Schools and other communications channels.
CPSD explores sale of Woodbrook property
The Clover Park School District (CPSD) Board of Directors is proposing the sale of the property where Woodbrook Middle School is located. The district is planning to build a new middle school on the current Mann Middle School site that would consolidate Mann and Woodbrook Middle Schools into one school.
As a result of the new school, the property, which includes Woodbrook along with three smaller parcels, would no longer serve a necessary function for the district. The property is more than 37 acres and has been zoned as Industrial Business Park by the City of Lakewood.
The recommendation for the sale came from the district’s Facility Advisory Committee in January 2017.
A public hearing was held Sept. 13 to share information about the proposed sale and provide the opportunity for public comment.
Woodbrook and Mann students and staff will remain in their existing facilities until the new middle school is completed. The new middle school is currently in the design phase. The CPSD Board of Directors will consider a resolution for the sale of the property at its Oct. 9 meeting.