Greywolf Elementary portable offers new classroom space

Greywolf Elementary School teacher Aaron Reno has returned to his old classroom space after teaching his two fifth-grade math classes out of the school’s library since the beginning of the school year.

“The kids cheered and are still happy about it,” Reno said.

“Hopefully I got the message out to our community that we have major facility needs here in Sequim.”

Reno said he was teaching without the necessary classroom essentials, such as a desk or place to put students’ backpacks, and faced constant interruptions in the library as other students checked out books while he was teaching.

A new portable was placed at the elementary school last July to create two new classrooms for the school.

However, the portable opened for classes on Feb. 7 after the school received an occupancy permit from Clallam County on Feb. 6, Greywolf principal Donna Hudson said.

Hudson said one of the classrooms in the portable is being used for a music program while the other space is used for small group instruction and as a flexible learning space for students.

“Mr. Reno, and the students in his class are thrilled to have a real classroom!” Hudson said.

“I cannot thank Mr. Reno enough for volunteering to begin the year teaching in a “non-traditional” environment,” she said. “I don’t think any of us thought that we could be into the second semester of school before our new portable was ready for students. When I go into the classroom now, I see a happy teacher and many, many happy students teaching and learning in a calm, structured learning environment.”

School board updates

At a Feb. 25 Sequim School District board meeting, director Brandino Gibson brought concerns over the developing Arco gas station and ampm convenient store in close proximity to Greywolf Elementary School to the County Commissioners at its last meeting.

Gibson expressed the board’s concerns regarding traffic flow, ingress and egress of the new gas station, safety protocols, environmental concerns, and sharing a road off Carlsborg Road that leads to the school’s “looper lane” where parents regularly drop off and pick up their children to and from the school.

Gibson said the main point taken from his discussion with the commissioners was a need for improved communication between the County and the school district.

The board also formed a committee to seek more information about hooking up to Clallam County’s Carlsborg Sewer System. The board’s deadline to submit an application for a discounted hook up rate of $36,000 is March 31. After that deadline, it will cost the district $192,000 to hook up to the system.

Board directors continue to discuss making a decision on whether or not they want to apply as Sequim schools superintendent, Gary Neal, has stated the district did not budget for this expense and if the board chooses to hook up to the system it will come out of the district’s reserve fund.

Directors also approved Larry Brown’s resignation as a Sequim High School math teacher effective Feb. 28. Brown also resigned from his position as the high school girls’ varsity basketball coach in December.

Snow makeup days

At the Monday meeting, Neal said he continues to seek snow makeup day options — including waivers for the district that would allow it to makeup instructional years without extending the school year through June 14.

The schools closed for five-and-a-half days after a snow storm hit the area from Feb. 8 through Feb. 11.

“We continue to gain as much information as possible before making a decision,” Neal said.

Neal said that, even with a waiver, the school district would need to come up with a plan for teachers to complete 1,027 instructional hours with students.

There is no deadline for a waiver, Neal said, but he wants to be careful about making a decision as it could impact some employees in the district.

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