East Valley schools to see changes due to enrollment slide

With declining enrollment and related staff cuts, East Valley School District administrators are making changes in day-to-day operations.

Interim Superintendent Tom Gresch is hoping scheduling changes will help keep many of the 66 staff members who received layoff notices at the beginning of the month.

One of the schedule changes is that the high school’s Encore Orchestra is moving from first to second period. That impacts Running Start students who take orchestra at the high school before they leave for classes at the community colleges or Eastern Washington University.

Summer Romney, a junior, spoke to the board Tuesday, asking them to keep her orchestra class at first period.

“It’s a place to bond and create new friends,” she told them.

Romney also mentioned the many awards the group has received over the past few years and submitted a petition many of her first-period classmates had signed.

“Summer’s situation is something I’m aware of,” Gresch told the board.

But the schedule change is a necessity, he said. The district will be reducing the music staff from 11.53 to 10 full-time equivalent teachers.

Students in fifth and sixth grade who want to take band and orchestra will take a zero-hour class at the middle school from 7:45 to 8:33 a.m. Fifth- and sixth-graders will alternate days Tuesdays through Fridays. Buses will take students back to their home schools after class to begin their day with the other students.

The orchestra teacher will have a zero-hour class at the high school for the Strolling Strings. Then will travel to the middle school to teach fifth- and sixth-graders before returning to the high school for second-, third- and fourth-period classes.

Gresch said this schedule diminishes time on the road for band and orchestra teachers.

Other changes the district has in place for next year:

• This will be the last year for the Teen Parent Program. Gresch said there are six students in the program, four of whom are graduating. The other two are juniors who had options in other districts. Gresch said teacher Darsi Bankey made sure they each had a place to go.

• The food and clothing bank and the weekly backpack program, previously under the Teen Parent Program, will now be the responsibility of the Intec program, opening in the Walker Center this fall.

• The STAR – Success Toward Adult Responsibility – program, which serves special needs students 18 to 21 years old who have completed high school, will move to a portable at East Valley High School.

• Certificated nursing plan will see a reduction of 0.7 full-time equivalent employees, going from 2.2 to 1.5 FTEs.

• Health and fitness staff will be reduced by 1.0 FTE throughout K-12.

• There will be a reduction of 1.0 FTE in the counseling department, with each counselor serving an average of 523 students.

• Doug Kaplicky has been chosen as the new middle school principal. He has 10 years of administrative experience and a background in middle school administration. He has been a principal in the Warden and Richland school districts, and was selected by the state’s North Central Educational Service District as midlevel principal of the year.

Gresch said there is a deep pool of applicants for assistant principal.

• He also said one of the first changes he would like the middle school administration to accomplish is to incorporate programs the K-8 schools have been working on the past couple of years into the middle school programs, including trauma sensitivity, science, technology, engineering, the arts and math.

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