Sequim School Board considers curriculm changes, more

While the Sequim School District board of directors’ meeting was dominated by the interviews of two candidates for the interim superintendent position on June 17, there was other district business of note.

Board President Brian Kuh announced that outgoing Sequim schools superintendent Gary Neal would be back to work shortly after an agreement was made on a special, separate contract to help with the transition to an interim superintendent.

Neal has been out of the office in recent days after the district’s legal team rejected an agreement between he and the board regarding his excess vacation days. The new contract allows Neal return to the office while still receiving compensation for his vacation time.

New curriculum on the way

The board also heard a presentation from Sequim High School English teachers on the potential adoption of a new English curriculum that was piloted this school year. English teacher Cheryl Eekhoff, who led the presentation, said this would be the first such adoption in 14 years.

The curriculum, called Pearson Realize myPerspectives, Eekhoff said, was well received by students according to survey statistics given during the presentation, and that teachers liked the flexibility of the curriculum and how it could be tailored to students of different skill and learning levels within a classroom without leaving anyone behind or holding them back.

The teachers, as a group, indicated they would need more access to computers no matter the eventual decision on the curriculum adoption.

Possible administration changes

The board heard more public comments on the issue of Sequim Middle School principal Vince Riccobene’s future at the school, with teachers speaking both for and against his removal.

Several Greywolf Elementary School teachers also spoke, asking that Greywolf principal Donna Hudson not be removed from the school. The comments were in response to speculation earlier in the public comments portion of the meeting, and in the comments from a June 3 meeting that she might replace Riccobene should he be removed from SMS.

Board President Brian Kuh spoke to the crowd after the public comments to let them know that even though the board couldn’t directly respond to them at this time, he did appreciate the courage to speak out on either side of the issue, and that the board is listening and considering what is being said. That said, he also reminded the crowd that any decision would be in the hands of the superintendent, and the board would support that decision.

Kudos for Little

The school board also recognized and honored Damon Little, Sequim High School senior and student board representative, for his work with the board. Board directors shared appreciation for what Little had done with the board, and board director Robin Henrikson read several comments she had gathered from the district and the community regarding Little’s contributions.

With Little graduated and moving on to Gonzaga University in the fall, junior class representative Payton Sturm will take his role, and Olivia Preston is the new junior representative next school year.

Concussion protocol

As part of a discussion around the district’s updated concussion, head injury, and cardiac arrest policy, staff noted that the school district has purchased and will be using a new concussion assessment system called Cognigram. It will be used to establish baseline concussion testing protocol profiles for athletes at the high school level, and could be used at the middle school level as well.

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