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Coupeville Schools Superintendent Steve King

As the world deals with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Coupeville plans to open the 2020-2021 school year with primarily online learning.

Superintendent Steve King released a letter to the community Thursday which said he and the school board are recommending the district start in Phase 2 of a 5-phase plan.

Called the “Remote and Connection Model,” it will incorporate “an improved remote learning model with additional in-person connections for at-school opportunities for specifically identified students.”

The school year is slated to begin September 14.

King’s letter:

 

Over the course of the summer we have been working on multiple options for trying to reopen schools this fall.

As we think about in-person school models, we are following the guidance provided by OSPI, the Governor, and the Department of Health that was provided in June.

This week we received updated K-12 Fall Guidance for opening schools and a K-12 Decision Tree that provides metrics for districts to make decisions about reopening.

The guidance documents include social distancing, face coverings, daily health screenings, and protocols for incidents of COVID exposure that could result in student and/or staff quarantines.

The K-12 Decision Tree puts Island County School Districts in the “Moderate Risk” category for reopening schools.

In addition to all of this guidance, we have surveyed our staff and families in both June and late July and we have reviewed the data from these surveys in order to best serve all of our stakeholders.

We also have been working closely with our local Island County Health Department, OSPI, district administration, union groups, and other school districts in the region to get as much input as possible in order to make this difficult decision.

We are also mindful of the current public health environment in our state and community.

Unfortunately, the rate of COVID infection and the concerns surrounding it have been on the rise over the summer.

We know we do our best work and serve our students, families, and community most effectively when we are able to teach children in our schools 100% of the time, however, it has become clear that we are just not able to fully reopen our schools to in-person instruction this fall.

Given all of these considerations, it is the consensus of our school board and administrative team that our schools open the 20-21 school year in Stage 2, which we are referring to as Coupeville’s Remote and Connection Model.

Coupeville’s Remote and Connection Model means opening schools on September 14 with an improved remote learning model and additional in-person connections for “at-school” opportunities for specifically identified students.

This would provide targeted students some opportunities for face-to-face instruction with staff, while minimizing person-to-person contact.

The additional Connection services would support students with special needs, English language learners, kindergartners, and other students “furthest from educational justice.”

We will also have a strong focus on supporting our students and families with social emotional health this fall which may lead to additional in-person work with students along with remote support.

Throughout this school year we will constantly review our plans, local health outcomes, and the K-12 Decision Tree in order to make school model changes.

Please see our current plans and stages for our phased approach to reopening on our website:

http://www.coupeville.k12.wa.us/c_o_v_i_d_closure_-_c_s_d

The rationale for this plan is as follows:

The public health environment and concern in regards to public health in our state and local community are not improving.

Opening with any in-person school model this fall will likely lead to staff and student cohorts quarantined due to exposures. It may also lead to extended school closures.

This would create significant disruptions and no predictable teaching/learning model.

Students and staff perform most effectively with a stable, consistent instructional plan where expectations for engagement and learning are clear and implemented.

Deciding on this approach now allows us to continue to focus on improving our remote model based upon the successes and lessons learned from our spring experience.

With more time for training and implementation we are very confident we will deliver a better distance learning model this fall.

Making this decision now allows staff to focus on opportunities for specifically identified students with unique needs such as kindergarteners and preschoolers, English language learners (ELL), students with special needs, and other students “furthest from educational justice” to have some level of in-person interaction with staff.

These will be tightly managed small group or individual experiences, adhering to all OSPI, Department of Health, and Governor’s Office guidance.

The current 58 pages of guidelines for reopening schools for in-person instruction would likely have a significant negative impact on the learning environment in our schools and classrooms.

At the next school board meeting, August 24, the board will be asked to approve this plan.

Sadly, this pandemic has challenged all of us in many ways. We recognize any change to our regular school model creates complications.

We make this decision with the strong belief that it is the safest option for our community as a whole.

I am so thankful for your patience and understanding during these unprecedented times.

Please continue to show compassion and grace for others in our great community of Coupeville.

I am saddened by the negative impacts that this decision has on so many people, but I am passionate and continue to be optimistic that we will eventually refill our classrooms and hallways with our amazing students when it is safe to do so.

I am certain everyone has many questions regarding the above plan; please keep an eye out for more information in the days ahead.

Please stay safe, healthy and take care,

Steve King

Superintendent

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Coupeville Schools Superintendent Steve King. (Photo property Coupeville School District)

He’s been re-upped.

School Board directors approved a new three-year contract Monday for Coupeville Schools Superintendent Steve King.

The new deal runs from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2023.

King, who has held the superintendent position in Coupeville since 2018, will be paid $168,636 for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year.

In a unique move, however, he will not be getting an immediate pay raise.

With the school district facing uncertain financial times as the COVID-19 pandemic plays out, King volunteered to accept the same salary for 2020-2021 as he received in 2019-2020.

This move was hailed by school board members, who voted unanimously to approve his new contract.

A former Principal at Mount Baker High School, King was an Assistant Superintendent in Oak Harbor prior to accepting the Coupeville job after Dr. Jim Shank departed.

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Danny Conlisk, wearing a lei gifted him by Eileen Stone, is honored for his year as student rep to the Coupeville School Board. (Photos courtesy Dawnelle Conlisk)

Conlisk hangs out with CHS Principal Duane Baumann (left) and CES Principal David Ebersole.

Elizabeth Bitting, the CMS track coach who started Conlisk on his running path.

Deb Sherman, the teacher who gave Conlisk the courage to undertake his first public speaking role at his 5th grade moving up ceremony.

Dad Kenny, mom Dawnelle, and Nana Glyn check out Danny’s official digs.

The baton has been passed.

Coupeville High School senior Danny Conlisk hit the tape on his year-long run as the student rep to the school board Monday, with his older compatriots honoring him as he exited stage left.

The Wolf track and cross country standout is being replaced by junior Tia Wurzrainer, who will juggle the position along with stints as a soccer, basketball and tennis sensation.

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Coupeville teacher Wilbur Purdue

Our teachers here in Coupeville deserve what is owed them. End of story.

As districts around the state battle over money which the state of Washington clearly earmarked for TEACHER SALARIES, and not for schools to poach for paying other bills, the fight has come to the prairie.

There’s an extremely important school board meeting tonight, 6:30 PM, Monday, July 30.

It will be held in the conference room, A305, at Coupeville High School (501 S. Main).

As a lead-in to this meeting, here is a letter from Wilbur Purdue, one of our best teachers and a man who grew up here on the prairie and has chosen to stay here, guiding future generations.

“Fair and equitable salaries!”

These were the resounding words left in the audience’s minds at the packed school board meetings on June 25th and July 9th as community members spoke out in favor of directing state funding for educator salaries in the manner it was legislated.

The Coupeville School District and the Coupeville Education Association are currently in the middle of an unprecedented bargaining session. 

The State of Washington passed legislation providing billions of dollars to fully fund basic education, with close to one billion additional dollars specifically designated for increasing staff salaries.

It is up to individual districts and bargaining units to develop fair and equitable salary schedules that provide professional salaries for the teachers in that district.

Over the past 16 years that I have worked in the Coupeville School District I have had the privilege to take part in building a strong collaborative relationship where the District and the teachers’ union found creative ways to compensate teachers within the limited confines of the district’s budget. 

This year has turned bargaining on its head as the district hired an outside bargainer, and based on his advice, removed school board members from being on the bargaining team for the district.

It is hard to collaborate when the other team doesn’t show up.

For the first time since the 1980’s a new salary schedule is possible for the teachers in your school district.

For the first time, ever, the state has provided ample funding that meets Washington State Constitution’s definition of “making ample provision for the education of all students.”

In the last legislative session, the state legislature provided funding to raise teacher salaries to the level of professionals.

In Coupeville the district was provided with an additional 2.18 million dollars to apply towards staff salaries.

Why are schools in our region not directing those funds where the state has directed them to go?

To quote a recent letter in the Sub Times, “Why do teachers have to beg, bargain and hold signs for these funds?”

The answer is simple, outside interests have divided the bargaining groups into non-collaborative structures. 

They have brought in false claims of restrictions on funding, they have tried to divide the collaborative process, and they have declared a siege mentality of stringing out bargaining sessions as far as they can.

They are trying to lock this region into a devastatingly low salary increase that would put salaries so far behind neighboring districts that the ability to attract and retain talented staff would be nonexistent.

The last bargaining session was on July 2nd and we find ourselves in the exact same state as the first bargain sessions in mid-June.

Recent attendance at school board meetings has highlighted for the Board of Directors how important fair and equitable salaries are to parents and staff. and how not having the district present at the bargaining table was unacceptable.

Due to that community concern the School District has reconfigured their bargaining team, which I think will help this process move forward to develop a new salary schedule that will fairly compensate staff.

Instead of working solely with a hired bargainer with no ties to the school district and the business manager, we will now be able to bargain with a district team made up of the superintendent, a school board member, and the hired bargainer and business manager.

This is a major change in the district’s bargaining team and a big step forward in our collaborative process and I want to thank the Board of Directors and Superintendent for this change.

If you are interested in insuring that the additional funding for salaries does indeed go towards salaries, come make a difference by attending your local school board meeting on Monday, July 30th at 6:30 PM, where next year’s budget will be approved, which will have a direct impact on teacher salaries.

Arrive early if you wish to speak publicly.

Wilbur Purdue,

Coupeville Teacher and Coupeville Education Association Bargaining Team member

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   After freezing at the state cross country meet earlier this year, Danny Conlisk was named Monday to the Coupeville School Board. (Photos courtesy Dawnelle Conlisk)

Conlisk (back to us) awaits his fate at Monday’s School Board meeting.

The Coupeville School Board just picked up some fresh legs.

Junior Danny Conlisk, a three-time state meet participant in cross country and track, was tabbed Monday to replace Laurence Boado as the new Student Rep to the board.

Conlisk will officially take his seat at the next meeting Dec. 18.

The selection continues a trend of success for the speedy Wolf this fall, as he capped his second season as a cross country runner by advancing to state.

He was the first CHS harrier to achieve that feat since Tyler King won the 1A boys title in 2010.

When spring rolls around, Conlisk will be seeking a third-straight trip to state as a track runner, as well.

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