Submitted by John Arbeeny.
Two prominent and important actions were taken at the Clover Park School Board meeting last Valentine’s Day.
The issue of district discipline (Policy 3241 “Student Discipline”) had been raised at a previous Board meeting (January 10, 2022) by Director David Anderson based on some shocking numbers received in a District FOIA request: 36,118 disciplinary events 2017-2021, concentrated (85%) in just 5 of the 27 schools in the district.
Initially, these statistics were somewhat dismissed by Superintendent Banner and Director Jacobs. However, it was agreed that staff would report on discipline at the January 24, 2022 business session. This briefing indicated that there were issues with discipline in general but lacked specificity regarding individual schools .
At the February 14, 2022 Board meeting, Principal Wagemann proposed “…that this issue of student discipline be placed on the agenda of our retreat for further discussion following the update we received during our January workshop”. The motion was seconded by Director Anderson. A discussion ensued with the following points in support of the motion.
The data presented in the district briefing had not been disaggregated by school, which covered the concentration of disciplinary issues (85%) in only 5 schools. The policy suggests that “accurate and complete reporting of all disciplinary actions. . . is essential for an effective review of this policy; therefore, the district will ensure these reports. Yet no such report has been observed in the past years of Council meetings. There are also the requirements that “With respect to discipline, each school will create an action plan, evaluate previous plans and revise accordingly – all to be shared with the community”.
Director Anderson asked to see these plans.
Director Jacobs countered that the previous staff briefing on discipline was all the board needed to know about the alleged issue.
Director Jacobs added that discipline and all related statistics and reporting were “below the line”, meaning solely the responsibility of the superintendent and not the responsibility of the board.
Principal Anderson responded that since discipline has a critical impact on the learning environment and academic competence (actual learning), it must be within the council’s sphere of interest.
The motion to include discipline on the agenda of the retreat was adopted: 3 yes (Wagemann, Anderson, Veliz); 1 abstention (Jacobs); 1 no (Pearson).
Another issue discussed was Policy 1822: Board Member Training and Development” – specifically, “Cultural Competence, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (CCDEI).
Director Anderson moved a motion “…that Policy 1822 be removed from the 1st Reading (January 10, 2022) and 2nd Reading (February 14, 2022) process and placed in a regular meeting for further discussion. This motion was amended for discussion to be part of the next Board Retreat on February 28 and March 7, 2022. The motion and amendment was seconded by Director Wagemann and discussion ensued with statement following from director Anderson.
“According to the minutes of the January 10, 2022 meeting of the school board: ‘Directeur
Anderson asked if the school board could have a say in the development of the Cultural Competency, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion training program. It has been agreed that Principal Anderson will contact the WSSDA representative DA3 who is from the University Place School District. Director Wagemann agreed to provide him with the contact details.
“January 19, 2022 – Unable to contact WSSDA DA3 representative, Director David Anderson was able to contact WSSDA Executive Director Tim Garchow in an email in which Director Anderson copied the Chairman of the Board of administration of the CPSD and the superintendent.
“On January 27, 2022, Garchow invited Director Anderson to the CCDEI Final Standards
community feedback session. Unaware that there had been an initial feedback session and was now the last, which was held on February 2 and which Director Anderson attended via Zoom, Director Anderson learned the following which explains why he thinks the adoption of the 1822 Cultural Competence Policy is premature. .
“As with all curricula, the school board should have the opportunity to review
program in which council administrators and district employees must be trained. Corn
this program is still under development.
“We should also have the opportunity to go through the 2nd and final draft of what is
is called the CCDEI training rubric. But the community contribution to this was only recently made on February 2. As of this meeting tonight, I don’t think we know the details of the criteria an instructor will use to evaluate the project.
“The Public Education Standards Council subcommittee is not expected to finalize the standards for some time, to be determined, in March.
“In summary, we are being asked as the CPSD Board of Directors to approve at our meeting tonight a policy that directs our Board to be trained in cultural competency, diversity, equity and inclusion:
- and yet the criteria are not finalized;
- the study program has also not been completed;
- nor has this board had the opportunity to review the list of available training programs that the WSSDA “must develop” for school employees – let alone the school board – in the language of SB 5044.
“And finally, as further inducement not to adopt the 1822 policy tonight, Garchow said that
he would make himself available in a Zoom meeting with our school board, if
contacted by the chairman or superintendent of our school board, should we notify this
vote on policy 1822 and explain to all of us where the WSSDA is on all of this, there
being – as we hope raised and clarified here – many questions remain.
The Opposition said Policy 1822 was due to pass on February 14 as it was second reading (although no Council discussion of the matter had taken place since first reading on January 10, 2022) . Director Jacobs said such training is required by law, regardless of the current state of development of the WSSDA program.
It was further asserted that the District could always request revisions to the WSSDA Policy and Program in the future if and when they are found to be insufficient. Apparently, the fine line between law and law enforcement has been lost on opponents of this motion.
The motion as amended in 1822 to include the policy agenda for the board retreat was adopted: 3 yes (Wagemann, Anderson, Velez); 2 no (Pearson, Jacobs).
The public is invited to attend the two Council retreats to be held on February 28 and March 7, 2022, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the CPSD Student Services Center to hear the debate on these two issues and others. Council questions. Public comments will not be permitted.