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Shopping 'till they drop at the Vinland uniform fair

"POULSBO - They got Pat Goodwin at the door. Goodwin was just one of many parents to show up at Vinland Elementary's uniform fair Wednesday afternoon. The fair is an opportunity to let parents and students buy clothing for the school year. That's a different task at Vinland than any other school in the district; Vinland is the only one that requires uniforms. That's why booths from Nordstroms, Penny's and The Gap were set up in Vinland's gym Wednesday ... and why Pat Goodwin was stopped at the Nordstroms booth, two shirts already slung over her arm. I've got two shirts so far, Goodwin said. They snagged us walking in the door. Next to Pat Goodwin stood her daughter Sheila, who is entering the sixth grade at Vinland. With two shirts - a white and a blue - picked out, the elder Goodwin said, We still need some pants and socks. She looked at the gym full of clothing. Everything, including the pants and backpacks and shirts and socks and hooded sweaters, were in the required colors, khaki, forest green, white and blue. Goodwin said she likes the uniform policy but, Sometimes you'd like to dress them in something different. Goodwin said her daughter looks forward to the monthly half-days where students can wear any clothes they please. Assistant Principal Lynn Rasmussen said she was a skeptic about school uniforms when she first joined Vinland Elementary two years ago. She isn't anymore. I've been won over, Rasmussen said. She said the uniform requirements, which have been mandatory for two years, have reduced fights and tension over clothing, a problem she said exists in schools. There are a lot of issues around dress that become behavior issues, she said. (At Vinland), you don't have kids taking other kids' clothes or getting into arguments, the kind of arguments I was familiar with before coming here. They're nonexistent. They just don't happen. The kids come to school ready to learn. Vinland requires kids to wear the school colors, navy blue, forest green, khaki, or white. Any combination of colors is possible. The requirement make things a lot easier for parents, Rasmussen said. The parents say, 'Hey, there are no arguments in the morning,' she said. The program is still flexible, Rasmussen said, with students giving suggestions to the school along with their parents. Last year, for example, the school eased the requirements on collars. You tweak things as you go, Rasmussen said. "

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