An Equal Educational and Employment Opportunity School District
Last fall, the District decided to establish guidelines that would refine the processes used for improvement andinnovation, including the development of school-initiated pilot projects. The District formed a K-6 EducationalPrograms and Innovation Committee which has been charged with the task of reviewing and recommendingprocesses for piloting new ideas or programs. The committee is composed of parents, teachers, classified staff,administrators and school board representatives. It has been meeting since last November and will present itsrecommendations in May.
Donations Preserve Programs, Support Innovation
The District is blessed to be the recipient of community generosity. It receives donations and grants from manydifferent groups such as businesses, community organizations, Parent-Teacher Organizations (PTOs), athletic andmusic boosters, and of course, the Bainbridge Schools Foundation (BSF), which provides invaluable support fordistrict priorities. During the past 5 years, when state funding has been drastically reduced, donations from BSFhave exceeded $4 million dollars, allowing the District to retain staff, maintain class size, train teachers, preserveimportant educational programs and services (e.g. art, music, counseling, educational support), and fund innovation.Many fundraising organizations accept designated grants or donations for specific programs or projects. PTOscollect donations for Outdoor Education, and booster clubs accept donations for specific sports or music programs.BSF receives some donations for specific purposes such as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)and support for special education. It has also covered start-up costs for innovative programs such as ST Math andZeno Math
two programs for elementary students and families. The use of designated donations to supportSTEM, the WINGS special education program, and the Spanish Immersion Pilot are consistent with past practiceand have ensured that projects such as Spanish Immersion are cost neutral for the District.One of the concerns raised about the Spanish Immersion Pilot relates to district documentation and acceptance of donated funds. All donations over $1,000 are submitted to the Board of Directors for approval through the Consent
Agenda, and BSF donations are no exception. Currently, the District’s forms –
used for all donations - provide ageneral description of how those funds will be utilized. Both the District and BSF Board members are aware of theconcerns that have been expressed about the level of detail in these forms and are jointly working on revisions toreporting, documentation, and communication processes.
Feasibility Study for Spanish Immersion
strict is currently conducting a “feasibility study” for the Spanish Immersion Pilot Project. Initial results and
future options will be presented to the School Board on March 14 for approval on March 28. The study willincorporate a great deal of data that will address questions related to student enrollment, staffing, and multi-yearcurricular and instructional implications. A copy of the study is included in the Board packet for the March 14
meeting and is available online through the District website.
World Languages in Elementary Grades
The Bainbridge Island School District regularly reviews curriculum. In the last two World Language Programreviews, elementary language instruction has been identified as an important goal; however, budget cuts have been abarrier to implementation. This year, the K-6 Educational Programs and Innovation Committee identified worldlanguages as an important innovation to consider, and a brief survey was conducted to gauge parent interest. Thesurvey results indicated that elementary world language instruction is of great interest to Bainbridge Island families,
with moderate interest in immersion programs and significant interest in “Foreign Language in Elementary Schools(FLES)” programs which involve regularly sched
uled classes taught by specialists during the school day. A sub-committee is being formed to research options for providing world language instruction to all of our elementarystudents.
Community Commitment to Excellence in Education
Bainbridge Island has a long-standing tradition of passionate debate, and the topic of Spanish Immersion is noexception. It has been evident from the start that every person who has expressed an opinion on this subject caresdeeply about the quality of education of our children. Our schools are great because our community cares, and wewelcome your comments and suggestions as we work to innovate and improve.Sincerely,Mike Spence, President, Board of DirectorsFaith Chapel, Superintendent