Sequim School Board considers curriculum, public comments

SEQUIM — While this week’s Sequim School Board meeting was dominated by the interviews of two candidates for the interim superintendent position, there also 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 him and the board regarding his excess vacation days.

The new contract allows Neal to return to the office while still receiving compensation for his vacation time.

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.

It would be the first such adoption in 14 years, according to freshman English teacher Cheryl Eekhoff, who led the presentation.

The curriculum, called Pearson Realize myPerspectives, was well received by students, according to survey statistics given during the presentation. The 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 anyone back, Eekhoff said.

The cost of the curriculum itself doesn’t seem to be an issue compared to the costs of other curriculum the department had also reviewed and rejected, but costs of computer equipment that needs to be added to the department to help support that curriculum would be a factor.

However, the teachers, as a group, said they would need more access to computers no matter what the eventual decision on curriculum was.

The board heard more public comments on the issue of Vince Riccobene’s future at Sequim Middle School (SMS), with teachers both for and against his removal speaking, and middle school teacher Shannon Paselk’s statement against Riccobene being interrupted by an unidentified member of the audience.

Multiple Greywolf teachers also spoke asking that their principal, Donna Hudson, not be removed from the school in response to speculation earlier in the public comments and in the comments from the June 3 meeting that she might replace Riccobene should he be removed from SMS.

Kuh said that even though the board couldn’t directly respond to them at this time, he appreciated the courage to speak out on either side of the issue.

He also reminded the crowd that any decision would be in the hands of the superintendent, and the board would support that decision.

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Conor Dowley is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].

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