School Leaders Celebrate Top 10 Achievements in 2012 at State of Education Address

From the first STEM Expo to Rachel's Challenge, multiple achievements in athletics, the arts and academics to the launch of the Enumclaw School District's Facebook page, Superintendent Mike Nelson covered all the highlights Thursday.


The sixth annual Enumclaw School District State of Education Address Thursday was a low-key affair where the venue - in the past, it was the Enumclaw High School theatre - was moved to the school commons area, and members of the School Board served a simple dinner of soup and salad for community members eager to hear the good news of the district.

The idea was for the audience to "break bread" and have a conversation with each other about education, said Superintendent Mike Nelson.

They did that, but Nelson did grab the attention of the roughly 150 people in attendance as he guided the audience through a 2012 year in review in the form of a Top 10 list. Here are the top 10 milestones in the district in the last year:

10. Facebook: The Enumclaw School District officially launched its Facebook page on Aug. 1, 2012 in a better effort to reach out to parents and the wider community. While the district website (www.enumclaw.wednet.edu) continues to be the recommended destination for complete news and information about the district, its Facebook page is a convenient way - particularly if you are on the social media site regularly - to stay in touch and share comments about all things, big and small, about the school community. Visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/EnumclawSchoolDistrict, and 'like' it to continue following the latest news from your personal news feed.

9. Athletic Programs: As of Thursday night, said Nelson, every Enumclaw High School winter sports team was in first place. This was a reflection of the quality of coaches as well as student athletes, he said. Nelson also highlighted that in 2012, EHS produced state champion boys wrestling and girls gymnastics teams along with an academic state champion girls wrestling team.

See Highlights from Patch:

  • Hornets Repeat as State 3A Wrestling Champions
  • Enumclaw Wins State Gymnastics Title
  • EHS Girls Wrestling Make Strong Showing at 2012 Mat Classic

8. Arts Programs: In the last few years, funding reductions at the state level had been severe, but Nelson celebrated that, "during that time, our arts programs have flourished, and we're very proud of that." A particular point of pride was that though Enumclaw was a one-high-school town, it is still able to offer a variety of arts programs for students including choral, band, orchestra, visual, drama and at younger levels Magic Strings and Arts Impact. "We're proud that we can offer that opportunity for our kids," he said.

See Highlights from Patch:

  • Enumclaw High School Choir Sings at Class of 2012 Graduation
  • Enumclaw High School Drama Presents Les Mis√©rables
  • EHS Orchestra Students Impress at Weekend Competition
  • Artists' Studio Tour Continues Today at Enumclaw High School

7. School Recognition: Sunrise Elementary was recognized as a Title One Reward School while Black Diamond Elementary was named a state School of Distinction in 2012. "You don't apply for these awards," Nelson said. They are given, at the federal and state levels, respectively, for student achievement and student growth over time, he said.

See Highlights from Patch:

6. McCleary v. State Decision: In January 2012, the Washington State Supreme Court found that state lawmakers were failing to fund basic education for the state's children. With a full Legislative session completed, a Dec. 20, 2012 finding (PDF) from the Court found that the state continued to fall short on its "paramount duty" to support basic education. For Enumclaw and all state school districts, the recent finding "allowed us to exhale," said Nelson, because it meant that though new funds may not necessarily be coming, there would be no "horrific cuts" like there were in previous years.

See Highlights from Patch:

  • Local Leaders Weigh in on 'Basic Education' Court Decision

5. Curriculum Enhancements: Terry Parker, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, reported that the middle school language arts program, Spring Board, was now in its second year and is a part of the regular curriculum for all students. Part of a pre-Advanced Placement track outlined by the College Board, it is typically used as an honors program elsewhere, he said. Meanwhile, tenth graders now have a world history option to satisfy their social studies graduation requirement, and educators at the middle school level are also tailoring their curriculum to better prepare for that. There is a particular emphasis on Pacific Northwest history for the eighth grade, he said. Lastly, the district as a whole is going 'back to basics' to bolster reading, particularly in the K-5 levels.

4. Academic Performance: Parker continued that the district has seen strong across-the-board academic performance advances in the last year on the MSP/HPSE/EOC state exams. Nelson attributed the students' success to the "really steady, consistent leaders" in the district.

See Highlights from Patch:

  • Enumclaw School Officials Celebrate Successes in Latest Release of State Scores

3. Technology Installation: Nelson again thanked the community for the 2009 passage of the capital facilities and technology levy that not only saw to the repair of the roof at Enumclaw Middle School but made it possible beginning this 2012-13 academic year for every classroom in the district to have equipment such as interactive Promethean boards, document cameras, projectors, clickers, a speaker system and for teachers to have laptop computers. "The environment of a classroom is beginning to look different, and that's really exciting to see," Nelson said.

See Highlights from Patch:

  • 2011 State of Education Address Showcases Technology
  • 2012 State of Education Address Spotlights District's Achievements
  • Enumclaw Teachers Dive into New Tech Equipment

2. Kindness and Compassion Campaign: What began in September 2011 as a school-led and community-led effort to celebrate random acts of kindness through Rachel's Challenge has now grown into a largely student-led effort to continue that campaign at both middle school and the high school level, said Nelson. High school upperclassmen are working through Link Crew to welcome new students and Net Leaders/Wolf Pack Clubs at the middle school levels are also aiming to eliminate bullying from campus. The most recent example of student work was the memorial for Sandy Hook Elementary and the Newtown, CT community following the devastating December school shooting.

See Highlights from Patch:

  • Rachel's Challenge Touches Heart of Local Community
  • Viewfinder: Rachel's Challege Culminates in Community Rally
  • First Superintendent's Award Given to Five EHS Students who Led Rachel's Challenge Initiative
  • Enumclaw High School Honors Sandy Hook Elementary Victims
  • EHS Seniors Raised More than $900 From Sandy Hook Benefit Concert

1. S.T.E.M. Initiatives: The acronym probably wasn't well known before last year, admits Nelson, but everyone in Enumclaw should now know that STEM refers to 'science, technology, engineering, and math,' if only because of the successful first-ever STEM Expo this past fall. These areas of study have come into focus nationally and in the state as subjects students need to excel in to remain competitive in a global market. The district has continued to promote Advanced Placement classes to challenge high school students, and the new technology in classrooms could hopefully spark an interest in younger students too, he said. Like Rachel's Challenge, STEM needs to be a community effort and has been, Nelson said, involving local businesses who could hopefully hire a local graduate one day and continue to support and grow the local economy. "I think it's going to benefit our kids like nothing I've ever seen," he said.

See Highlights from Patch:

  • Enumclaw Graduates Headed to Four-Year Colleges Trending Upwards
  • STEM Expo Encourages Students to Explore Career Options
  • Industry Experts: Supply Not Meeting Demand for STEM-Educated Workers
John S. January 26, 2013 at 12:50 AM
Excellent coverage of this important event! I wish more people could have attended and learned first-hand all the great things happening in the Enumclaw School District. I'm glad I attended.


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