Port Angeles School Board to consider ‘highly capable’ program plans at Thursday meeting

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

Board to hear about increasing enrollment

Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles School Board members will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday to hear a report on increasing enrollment at area schools when they meet at 6 p.m. Thursday.

A workshop will precede the regular meeting at the Central Services Building, 216 E. Fourth St.

The schools’ long declining enrollment trend has reversed in the past two years.

In May, district enrollment reached 3,894 students.

Enrollment was at 3,762 in 2013 and 3,763 in 2012 — the district’s lowest enrollment in decades.

The numbers reflect an increase of 128 full-time-enrolled — referred to as FTE — students at the elementary level, 4.76 FTE at the high school level and 13 in Running Start.

Middle school enrollment dropped by 20.54 FTE but is 24.17 FTE higher than expected after a large eighth-grade class matriculated to the high school and was replaced by a small incoming seventh-grade class.

On Thursday, the board also will consider replacing dilapidated Spanish language curriculum books, approving a new 12th-grade English curriculum to meet new state graduation requirements and accepting a $1,000 donation.

Donation

A Port Angeles physician, Dr. Sam Baker, has donated $1,000 to the high school machine shop.

The donation was accompanied by a hand-written note:

“Dear Mike, here is a donation for the PAHS machine shop because of the excellent work the students and you have done in making the fracture distractors. You all have helped many injured patients in third world countries. Hope this helps.”

Fracture distractors are metal devices used to set broken bones.

Advanced machine shop students have manufactured several distractors and sent them to medical charities around the world.
PORT ANGELES — The School Board will consider approval of a new program for “highly capable” students Thursday.

The board will hear the recommendation for the new program, affecting some 60 elementary schools students — as well as any middle school students who might be identified — during a workshop at 5 p.m. at the Central Services Building, 216 E. Fourth St.

The board is expected to vote on the recommendations at the 6 p.m. regular meeting following the workshop in the same place.

A committee has drafted a plan to meet a new state requirement for school districts to offer highly capable programs by the beginning of the 2014-15 school year.

“Highly capable” students are defined as “those who perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels when compared with others of their age, experiences, or environments.”

The committee’s elementary school program recommendation would create three self-contained classrooms for first- through sixth-grade students at Roosevelt Elementary School.

The students have been identified in the past two months as being eligible.

The cost to implement the elementary-level highly capable program is expected to be at least $225,000, to hire three additional teachers, provide bussing, supply the classrooms with materials and provide necessary training to teachers.

“Due to the unique nature of the needs of highly capable students, this will need to be a ‘school within a school’ situation where the staff has the flexibility to design the program that will serve the highly capable population they are entrusted with,” the committee’s written recommendation said.

Students would begin working at levels about a year ahead of their age-peers, it said.

The committee said Roosevelt was chosen because it has room for three new classrooms and an express bus between Stevens and Roosevelt can transport west Port Angeles students.

The committee also considered placing the program at Jefferson Elementary, to replace or work alongside the existing Multi-Age Classroom, or MAC, program, but the concept was discarded because of the effect on existing MAC students.

Class sizes will remain small because flexibility is needed for the accelerated, individual student learning plans.

The middle school program recommended includes seventh-grade honors language arts taught at the eighth-grade level along with pre-algebra and eighth-grade honors language arts taught at the ninth-grade level, along with algebra.

High school students identified as highly capable now are offered a selection of honors, Advanced Placement and University of Washington courses.

Juniors and seniors have the option to attend classes at Peninsula College through the Running Start program.

No changes to the high school program are proposed.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 06. 2014 7:02PM
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