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School Board considers changes to culminating project
School Board considers changes to culminating project
Posted on 10/18/2017

Highlights of the school board meeting held on October 16, 2017

District Highlights

Chief Communications Officer Brian Fox presented directors with several examples of partnerships between the district and local businesses and organizations. These include the following:

  • The Puyallup Rotary has joined forces with Half Price Books in Tacoma to allow each building librarian to pick out up to $300 in books for school libraries. This began last June and is finishing this month. All students potentially benefit because the books are going directly into the library collections at their schools. In total this will be about a $10,000 donation.
  • On November 16 Rick Wells, director of athletics, health, and fitness, will be bringing together all the area youth sports program presidents and directors to make sure the district has addressed the needs of our community’s youth by equitably scheduling area programs into district facilities for the 2018 calendar year. All presidents and directors will meet at Sparks Stadium.
  • Director Wells also reports of a partnership between the district and Daffodil Bowl. Lonny Olson will be serving the district as an In The School Bowling & Youth Coordinator. He will teach a workshop to elementary PE teachers in late November. In addition, the Washington State Bowling Proprietors Association has purchased six portable bowling lanes and equipment for elementary teachers to use.
  • Shannon Blankenship from Microsoft recently brought the worldwide lead for application development along with two engineers to a meeting with four PSD special education teachers. Teachers shared student needs and learned about the possibility of beneficial applications for teachers to use in the classroom.

Next, Executive Director of Capital Technology Randy Averill provided a brief update on work resulting from the 2014 Technology Levy. Highlights include:

Installation of 70 inch (or larger) LCD displays in all secondary classrooms and Shaw Road Elementary.
Audio amplification in all secondary classrooms.
Increased Wi-Fi in all secondary classrooms.
Recent deployment of 12,000 student computers.

Finally, Fox reported on a new effort to engage staff, parents, and community members with the use of a communications tool called ThoughtExchange. In conjunction with a parent forum at Edgemont Junior High concerning the possible reconfiguration of grades at Northwood, Mountain View, and EJH, parents were invited to participate on a digital platform. “Using ThoughtExchange,” reported Fox, “people share their thoughts in response to a broad question. Participants then consider the ideas shared by others and rate them using stars to indicate their level of agreement.”

The North Hill Reconfiguration ThoughtExchange began October 10, the night of the parent forum, and will remain open for sharing through October 25. At the time of the board meeting 243 thoughts had been shared by 104 participants. Fox reported the district will be following Board Policy 2022 Electronic Resources and Internet Safety regarding the removal of posted material.

The purpose of using ThoughtExchange is to provide all staff and parents in the North Hill schools the opportunity to share their thoughts and help the district and school board get a sense of the shared values and priorities. At the time of the board meeting 3,593 ratings had been recorded.

“We can already see patterns of interest and concern,” said Fox. “But ThoughtExchange consultants will be reviewing each thought and organize the ideas into themes. We will be able to share the analysis of all input on the district website so participants can see how their thoughts compared to others.”

Directors will view a full report on this ThoughtExchange at the regularly scheduled school board meeting on November 20.

Board Policy Updates

Directors were presented a second reading of several school board policies which have been revised due to legislative changes, suggestions by the Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA), or to implement district efficiencies and effective use of available resources. These policies include:

Policy 2021 - Library Information and Technology Programs

Policy 2255 - Alternative Learning Experience Programs

Directors approved all revised policies.

Report – Instructional and Organizational Alignment: Culminating Project

Chief Academic Officer Brian Lowney introduced directors to a joint committee including representatives from the school district and the teachers’ union with the purpose of reviewing and revising current practices associated with the Culminating Project.

The Culminating Project has been in existence in the Puyallup School District for over 20 years. It has recently been removed as a state graduation requirement. Teachers, principals, and families have expressed concerns about the value of the Culminating Project for our students, especially considering the commitments and requirements students face in 2017. 

While there are several components of the project stakeholders continue to find meaningful, incorporation of such into the current state graduation requirement for a High School and Beyond Plan is being taken into consideration.

Lowney shared the following purposes for the committee work:

  • Align practice with current state graduation requirements and board policy resulting in a meaningful post-graduation plan for each student;
  • Draft a proposal of recommended changes, including associated policy changes as needed; and
  • Present recommendations to the school board in fall 2017.

To view the slides used in this report click here.

Report – Annual Assessment and Performance Indicators Update

Director of Instructional Leadership for Assessment and Accountability Almai Malit-Idler provided directors with student achievement data. The Board of Directors has identified five performance indicators for which regular updates are provided. These include:

  • Kindergarten Readiness
  • Third Grade Literacy
  • Eighth Grade High School Readiness
  • High School Graduation Rate
  • College and Career Readiness

Director Malit-Idler presented a focus on the performance indicators that have updated data points: third grade literacy and eighth grade high school readiness.

“Our student achievement data continues to show that we continue to outperform the state,” said Malit-Idler. “More importantly, while we continue to show growth in most tested grade levels in all three content areas, our staff continues to be relentless to better themselves in supporting each of our students to meet the standards.”

Visitors to the PSD website can view current student achievement data as presented in the district’s “Data Dashboard.”

Report – Boundary Review Committee

Director of Facilities Planning Brian Devereux shared an update on the work of the PSD Boundary Review Committee (BRC). Commissioned by the Board of Directors on April 18, 2016, committee members are charged to review and make recommendations to the board regarding adjustments to school attendance areas.

The term of the committee is from September 2016 through November 2018.

Devereux reminded directors that the 36-member committee will represent each region of the district K-12. Implementation of the recommendations is planned for the 2019-20 school year.

Thus far, members of the committee have met nine times. They have studied demographics for the area and enrollment projections. District policies and initiatives drive the conversation and planning.

A new webpage has been created to keep parents, staff, and community members apprised of the work. Visitors to the website will find attendance maps, program reports, school board reports, and more.

To view the slides used in this report visit the PSD website.

Report – Bond Oversight Committee

Chief Operations Officer Mario Casello updated the board on the work of the PSD Bond Oversight Committee (BOC). Commissioned by the Board of Directors on February 22, 2016, committee members are charged to make recommendations to the board for bond project modifications.

Casello presented a summary of the BOC meeting held on September 27, 2017 including the following details:


The project is going very well. The floor plan has been determined and we are now looking at materials and colors. Bid documents are being compiled for a March bid. The project is currently on budget with the escalation estimate and bid amount in alignment.

New Elementary

There has been a lot of interaction with the community and neighbors in the area. Initially, a traffic assessment was done and it was established with Pierce County that a center turn lane wouldn’t be required, but the district is looking into installing one anyway to help control traffic congestion. The district is having an additional traffic analysis done to see how the intersections and pocket neighborhoods will be affected. There will be a bid alternate for a Safe Routes package to install sidewalks with an estimate of $700-$800K. Alternate safe walking paths and separations are being considered.


The Northwood project is progressing well and will go to bid in November. The district has been collaborating with the City of Edgewood to sell Parcel B of the Northwood property to the city. The city is interested in building a future road on the property. If the district dedicated the right of way to the city, PSD would still have to pay wetland mitigation. Last week, the city offered the district $60K for the property. The sale is being finalized.


The Pope Design Advisory Team is still meeting. The Pope project differs from the other projects because it is a remodel/expansion which prevents the district from strictly adhering to the ed specs. It was decided to expand the school rather than rebuild because a $3M remodel was done in 2007.


Things are progressing very well with design features.  This spring, the committee voted to increase the Sunrise Elementary project budget to meet road improvements. The increase will enable the district to install an electronic signal. Sunrise will be the district’s only three-story building when completed.


The footings are being installed and the foundation will begin soon. Framing will begin mid-October. The addition will go up quickly because the walls are prebuilt, the roof should go on the first part of November. The Hunt bid sheets were shared with the committee. All bids were very close. This says the team did a good job with the documents that were given to the contractors, enabling them to make accurate bids. This will be positive when PSD goes to bid with the other projects.

To view the slides used in this report visit the PSD website.

Report – 2017 Naming School Advisory Committee

For school board consideration, Chief Operations Officer Mario Casello proposed the commissioning of a 2017 Naming School Advisory Committee to identify a name for the new southwest elementary school located at 7911 – 144th Street E in Puyallup, which is part of the 2015 Construction Bond package. Commissioning this committee is in alignment with Board Policy 6970.

Casello presented the following details:

  • The advisory committee will have no less than nine members comprised of community members, students, and district staff. The committee will be facilitated under the leadership of Mario Casello, chief operations officer.
  • The work of the committee is to actively solicit names and written rational from the community, students, and staff for a period of 30 calendar days. Once the suggestions have been gathered the committee will hold at least two public hearings.
  • The committee will present two to five name recommendations for the board to consider along with supporting testimony for each of the recommended names for their final decision.

This item is for board consideration. Directors may choose to take action at their next regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, November 6, 2017.

Action Taken – Sale of Riverside Elementary School Building

For school board consideration, Chief Operations Officer Mario Casello presented new information regarding the potential sale of the Riverside Elementary School building.

On June 5, 2017, the board gave their authorization for the district to surplus Riverside Elementary School and to seek a buyer for the property. The district has been negotiating with the Washington Premier Soccer Club for the past two years and has received an offer for consideration.

Directors approved the sale of Riverside Elementary School as presented.

Action Taken – Capital Facilities Plan Update

Director of Facilities Planning Brian Devereux presented Resolution #121 2017-18, the annual Capital Facilities Plan update.

School districts are required to submit an updated Capital Facilities Plan annually to each municipality from which school impact fees are collected to comply with local and state law. For Puyallup School District this includes Pierce County, City of Edgewood, City of Fife, and City of Puyallup.

Devereux provided the following updates to the Capital Facilities Plan:

  • Enrollments and projections from Les Kendrick's January 2017 report.
  • Level of Service (“LOS”) standards
  • Elementary - 24 students per general education teaching station.
  • Secondary - 28 students per general education teaching station.
  • Revised student generation factors for single-family and multi-family development.
  • Inclusion of capital projects within the 2015 Bond Program.
  • Inclusion of three future junior high expansion projects at existing sites.
  • Revised School Impact Fee calculation of $14,642.13 per single-family unit and $4,233.45 per multi-family unit.

To view a copy of the resolution visit the PSD website.

Human Resources Report

The Human Resources report approved by the school board can be found using the link below:

Human Resources Report October 16, 2017

Upcoming Meetings

The next meeting the Puyallup School District Board of Directors will be at 6 p.m. on Monday, November 6, 2017 at Ballou Junior High School at 9916 – 136th Street East, Puyallup, 98373.