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NKSD’s growing pains mark last half of 2007

Good things come to those who wait —and work hard. In the first months of 2007, North Kitsap School District’s agenda was dominated by finances and construction. As summer faded into fall, the district’s efforts started coming to fruition, both in and out of the classroom.

Assimilating Kingston High School into the educational mix, substantial upgrades at North Kitsap High School, and Superintendent Gene Medina announcing his retirement were all the educational buzz in the last half of 2007.

Can they fix it?

Yes, they can

POULSBO — The North Kitsap School District bit the proverbial financial bullet in July, approving a $15.2 million bid from Hilger Construction to modernize North Kitsap High School. The bid was $3.2 million higher than originally budgeted.

The school board did some financial footwork, namely shifting funds from capital reserve and a few other line-item changes, to make it financially feasible. The project entails renovating the high school’s main building including the 300, 400, 500 and 600 wings.

The library will be converted into an administrators’ room and space will be added for a new library. The commons area’s square footage will also see an increase. The project is ongoing and should be complete by the end of the school year.

Teachers-of-the-year

awards pack the house

POULSBO — Two phenomenal NKSD teachers were awarded North Kitsap Teacher of the Year Foundation Rangvald Kvelstad Educational Excellence awards in front of a packed house on July 12.

Poulsbo Junior High School science teacher Bill Thompson was named the secondary school teacher of the year for the 2006-07 school year and Suquamish Elementary kindegarten teacher Jamye Lyons was named primary teacher of the year.

Class reconfigurations

mix things up a bit

POULSBO — A new class configuration for the NKSD took effect in fall 2007. High schools began housing students from ninth through 12th grade; junior highs became middle schools for students in sixth through eighth grades; and elementary schools have students from kindergarten through fifth grade walking through their hallways.

Kingston High School

opens to rave reviews, gets 18,400-pound gift

KINGSTON — Students at the brand new Kingston High School experienced quite an eye-opener on Sept. 5 as they took their first tours through hallways, classrooms and commons.

A few weeks after its opening, KHS received a school-warming gift from its sister high school, NKHS — an 18,400 pound piece of granite. The rock was promptly painted in KHS colors and rests near the high school’s main entrance. The gift was a nod to the rock at NKHS that has been traditionally painted over and over to mark special occasions or express an artistic itch.

Welcome home,

Capt. Gordon

KINGSTON — Captain Richard Gordon made a perfect landing in his hometown of Kingston in September, bringing crowds to the elementary school named in his honor.

Gordon is a former NASA astronaut and is one of the few individuals in the world who can say they have been to outer space.

On Sept. 12, 1966, Gordon served as a pilot for the three-day Gemini XI mission which orbited the Earth. But his shining moment in a long line of accomplishments came when he took the command module pilot seat on Apollo 12, from Nov. 14-24, 1969, during the second lunar landing mission to the moon. In total, Gordon completed two space flights, compiling 315 hours and 53 minutes in space.

Keeping a virtual eye

on student progress

POULSBO — A new computer program up and running this year allows parents to keep a virtual eye on their children’s progress in school.

The Skyward Family Access program allows parents of high school and middle school students to receive a login and password information, allowing them to review their student’s progress from homes and offices.

Parents will have access to everything from attendance and quarter/semester grades to current daily grades and emergency contact information.

NKSD Director of Technology and Information Services Bill Every said parents who don’t have access to a computer can contact the school to receive information regarding their child’s academic progress reports.

Two NKHS seniors earn

top academic honors

POULSBO — North Kitsap High School seniors Courtney Fraser and Jonah Bomgaars were named 2008 National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists.

Fraser and Bomgaars entered the 2008 National Merit program by taking the 2006 preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test as juniors, which served as initial screen of program entrants.

More than 1.4 million juniors in nearly 21,000 high schools took the initial qualifying test. The nationwide pool of semi-finalists represents less than 1 percent of high school seniors in the United States.

New names, faces

earn school board seats

POULSBO — Dan Delaney was reelected to the NKSD Position 2 seat when he defeated challenger Reneé Arcement in November. Delaney, who joined the board in 2003, received 57.5 percent of the vote. His was the only contested election.

Delaney joined incumbent Ed Strickland, who was unchallenged and reelected in the Position 5, and newcomer Val Torrens, who was unopposed and elected to Position 4. Strickland received 98.21 percent of the popular vote while Torrens received 95.26 percent.

Medina to retire at end of school year

POULSBO — When the 2007-08 school year comes to a close this June, so will Dr. Gene Medina’s career as the NKSD’s superintendent.

Medina’s formal announcement to retire at the end of the school year came at a November NKSD Board of Directors meeting.

“I think the board is already aware of this, but I am officially retiring in June of 2008,” Medina said. “You reach a point where you know it’s kind of time. It’s time. This is a personal decision.”

Medina took the superintendent’s chair at the beginning of the 1999-2000 school year. Prior to his arrival at the NKSD, he served as superintendent in the Port Townsend School District and the Oak Harbor School District.

Making the decision to call it a career wasn’t easy, he admitted.

Simple majority springs back from the dead

POULSBO — More than a week after Washington’s voters seemingly killed Engrossed House Joint Resolution 4204, later vote tallies brought the issue back from the dead. The simple majority issue, passed statewide by 51.32 percent — about 11,000 votes.

In Kitsap County, the measure was rejected soundly by 56.23 percent, according to Kitsap County’s Web site.

“It’s more than exciting,” said Dan Delaney, a member of the North Kitsap School Board. “It’s extreme poetic justice that it wins by a little more than 50 percent. That’s how we do things in this country — we let the simple majority decide issues, not the minority.”

State educators maintained that allowing school levies to pass by 50 percent boiled down to being an issue of fairness. All other tax districts, including fire districts and regional libraries, need only a simple majority, or 50 percent plus one, to pass a levy. School districts receive funding from the state, while levies help pay for programs that fall outside the realm of basic education, like music and art. Levies also supplement teachers’ salaries.

Let the search for new superintendent begin

POULSBO — The North Kitsap School District Board of Directors has taken the first step in finding a replacement for retiring Superintendent Gene Medina. The board hired Cascade Consulting Group to head up the search during a regular board meeting on Dec. 13.

Basic fees for the search are estimated to be from $14,000 to $17,000, which includes printing costs for the search and travel fees for the final candidates, NKSD Board President Melanie Mohler said. The fees will be paid out of the board of directors’ budget, which is primarily used for travel and election-related costs. The board of director’s budget varies from $30,000 to $60,000 annually.

If school board members visit the finalists’ school districts, that will be an additional cost added to the projected amount.

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