Opinion

Thank you voters for helping your schools

SUPT. SAYS

As I write this second column for the Patriot, it is spring vacation in the Bremerton schools. As such, it is a relatively quiet time of the year. Our facilities and support staff are busy at work, “spring cleaning” and completing punch list items for the new high school and middle school additions. Nonetheless, without students, the schools are very quiet, indeed.

This week, as our families and staff enjoy a well-deserved break from school, it seems like a good time to stop and reflect on the year to date. We have received national acclaim for our Early Childhood Education/all day kindergarten efforts, but for this month, I would like to focus on the innovations we have made in our secondary schools, grades 6-12.

Thanks to Bremerton voters, we have expanded classroom space at Bremerton High School and Mountain View Middle School. This has enabled us to offer consolidated learning communities for students in grades 6-8 and 9-12. At Mountain View Middle School, we launched a new program this year called Sixth Grade Prep, which we hope will help ease the transition for students from elementary to middle school. Students can also take up to two years of Spanish at Mountain View. Bremerton High School serves as a State Lighthouse for Navigation 101 – a student advising and guidance program. Mountain View Middle School also participates in this program. We are one of the only districts in the state to offer a FREE SAT Prep class for students who are considering post-secondary education and we have more Washington Scholars than all other county school districts combined. Bremerton High School is also a proud recipient of the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) Parent/Community/School Partnership Grant. This provides our district with additional resources and personnel to help students pass the WASL and graduate on time. Starting in January 2009, the Bremerton School District, in partnership with the National Guard, will open Washington state’s first and only Washington Youth Academy.

Our staff is dedicated to helping all kids learn. Our teachers average 15 years of experience — and over 56 percent have Masters Degrees. Plus, all of our paraeducators meet or exceed the national requirements. Each has either 72 college credits, an Associate’s Degree or has passed the national equivalency test. Our support staff transports our young learners safely each year. Bremerton School District buses travel more than 300,000 miles annually. In our efforts to provide quality student transportation, we are purchasing three new buses for our fleet this year. The Bremerton School Board of Directors is a 2007 recipient of the Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA) Diversity Award. The district received this honor for its relentless commitment to eliminate prejudice, bigotry, and discrimination, and for its use of a variety of strategies to address the achievement.

Bette Hyde is superintendent of Bremerton School District.

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