Crescent School Board in Joyce wins award for distinction

JOYCE — The Crescent School Board has been named a 2016 School Board of the Year by the Washington State School Directors’ Association.

The awards were presented in Spokane last week during the annual conference of the association.

“It was exciting for the board,” said Crescent Superintendent Dave Bingham.

“They worked really hard over the last four years to support school improvement.”

The board will be honored for the award at the next school board meeting, which is at 7 p.m. Tuesday at 50350 state Highway 112 in Joyce.

Crescent won the statewide award in the category of schools with 1,000 students or less. The total student body at the Joyce school numbers about 320 students.

The board decided to apply for the award this year “because we had such a successful year last year,” said board President Trisha Haggerty.

“It’s the staff and the teachers who do all the work, but the board had worked well together,” she said.

“We thought: This is the year that everything’s coming together.”

Community’s impact

Haggerty stressed the level of community involvement as a primary factor in winning the award.

Voters in the district approved by more than 60 percent both a maintenance and operations levy and a capital levy in February.

The district also underwent a successful superintendent search, she added.

“The biggest success was the community involvement the entire way through both the levy process and the superintendent search,” Haggerty said. “That stood out in the application, how much community was involved.”

Bingham said community involvement was a big factor and also called attention to improved graduation rates.

He said the board was supportive of after-school programs for middle and high school students, which, he felt, contributed to “a significant drop in the number of students with failing grades” from the 2014-15 school year to the 2015-16 school year. Reached the day before Thanksgiving, he didn’t have exact figures.

The Washington State School Directors’ Association also named Pasco and Riverview 2016 School Boards of the Year.

The three boards were chosen from a field of 24 boards which had been named earlier as boards of distinction — an award that Crescent School District has won for two consecutive years.

“Each of these boards was exceptional at using data and other evidence in making good decisions for their schools,” said Tim Garchow, the association’s executive director.

“Moreover, they had a strong focus on student achievement and reducing opportunity gaps for disadvantaged students.”

In addition to the above three boards, the other school boards named as boards of distinction were Anacortes, Auburn, Battle Ground, Bellingham, Camas, Clover Park, Eatonville, Everett, Evergreen, Federal Way, Highline, Issaquah, Kent, Lake Washington, Olympia, Pullman, Puyallup, Quincy, South Whidbey, Tacoma and Wapato.

In a separate awards program, the North Kitsap and Federal Way school boards were honored for their efforts on behalf of diversity. Those awards were handed out by the Washington School Boards’ Educational Foundation.

Distinction award

The annual Boards of Distinction program honors boards that demonstrate effective use of the Washington School Board Standards, adopted in 2009, the organization said.

Award applicants submitted essays and supporting evidence to demonstrate how they are putting the standards into practice.

This year, applicants addressed:

• Being accountable and open to the public, and seeking divergent perspectives in its decision-making.

• Adopting a collaboratively developed district plan focused on learning and achievement.

• Employing and supporting quality teachers, administrators and other staff, and providing for professional development.

Applicants also discussed specific decisions their boards had made and evidence on how they were working to help close the opportunity gap, the association said.

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Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at lleach@peninsuladailynews.com.

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