Frankly Speaking . . .
From the early
days of our nation, public education has played a vital role in shaping and
developing young people to fully participate in our American democratic
society. In addition to preparing them
for productive work and fulfilling lives, public education has also been
expected to accomplish certain collective missions aimed at promoting the
common good. These include, among
others, preparing youth to become responsible citizens, forging a common
culture from a nation of immigrants, and reducing inequalities in American
society. Public education has been, and
continues to be, the “Great Equalizer.”
There is no better
long-term economic investment for our state and country than ensuring strong public
schools. The caring and hard-working FPS staff do whatever it takes to maintain
safe, secure, and well-kept facilities, stay abreast of and use the most
effective instructional strategies, efficiently feed and transport our
students, work collaboratively to determine and provide the necessary support
for students who need it, and stay within the annual budgets allocated. I can assure you that you can be as proud as
I am of the work being accomplished by the students and staff throughout the school
district in which you reside.
As we complete
the first half of the 2013-14 school year, we are continuing to see the
escalating student academic achievement we had worked and hoped for within all
of our schools. Despite the fact that
our challenges are not diminishing, we are still making progress meeting the
many and varied needs of our students. Our efforts are making a positive
difference in the lives of our children and their families. The success we
are having has everything to do with the vision of the School Board, the
expertise of our district leadership, the commitment of our dedicated staff and
the support of our citizens.
staff, students, and district have already demonstrated success on a variety of
levels this year including, but not limited to:
As you can see, your schools are alive and
well serving the needs of our children, our families, and our community. You can be proud of what we are accomplishing
and your trust and continued support is greatly appreciated and never taken for
- School/Community/Business Partnership – Greater
Tacoma Community Foundation, Childcare Center Partnerships, YMCA, Pierce County
Library System, UWT, PLU, Kiwanis, Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, Mid-County
- Ford MS students selected to All-State Band and
- 21 African-American students earning Elizabeth
Wesley Merit Awards;
- Kicked off the second year of the PEP (Parkland
Education Project) program partnering with PLU to have 300 5th
graders from our four westside elementary schools spend an entire day on their
- Celebrating Focus on Education Week with a very
successful “Your Public Schools in Action” Tour highlighting our STEM offerings
at all three levels;
- Making overall gains toward meeting the state
average for all grades in reading, math and science;
district’s ELL program met all three of the required AMAOs (Annual Measurable
Achievement Objectives) for all our schools under the Title III accountability
system of NCLB;
district’s elementary reading RTI process continues to be a model worthy of
study and replication throughout the state and throughout the country according
to the US Dept. of Education;
- Making significant progress on all components of
our District improvement plan;
- Fall student athletes compiling a cumulative GPA
- Having a nationally recognized JROTC program
earning the highest attainable rating of “exceeding standards”;
- 100% of students with severe disabilities
meeting state standard on the WA Alternate Assessment System (WAAS) Portfolio
- District meeting all requirements on the annual
OSPI District IDEA Determination Summary (Special Education), the highest level
possible and requiring no sanctions;
- Maintaining a strong fund balance despite challenging
- Applied for and were successful in receiving
multiple state and federal grants including those for STEM programs, energy
efficiency, and safety/security;
- Overall suspensions are down and attendance and
on-time graduation rates are up (Class of 2013 - FPHS 91.2%, WHS 85.5%);
- FPHS selected as 1 of 4 schools in the State to
be designated as a STEM Lighthouse School;
- Ford MS Principal Heather Renner being selected
as Middle School Principal of the year by the Association of Washington School
- Another successful Helmet Bowl attended by a
large crowd witnessing an exciting and competitive game as FPHS went on to
defeat WHS and the Captain’s Council collected over 400 items and over $100 to
donate to our local FISH Food bank;
- 50+ students attending the Pierce County Skills
Center; 100+ students taking college classes through Running Start
- The School Board has now incorporated the use of
electronic tablets (iPads) and we have converted our Data Notebooks to a
- We have added a new School Board member, Mr.
Doug Carlson, to our great Team and have not missed a beat;
- FPS Board of Directors recognized at the annual
WSSDA Conference as a 2013 Board of Distinction for the fourth year in a row.
Top 10 Reasons for
Supporting Public Education
10. An educated population is the cornerstone of democracy.
This nation's well-being depends on the decisions of its educated, informed
9. Education reduces costs to taxpayers. For every dollar spent to keep a child
in school, the future costs of welfare, prison, and intervention services are
reduced. It can cost less to educate a child now than to support a teenage
parent or a repeat offender in the future. Education monies help to secure the
future of all citizens.
8. Public schools are the only schools that must meet the needs of all students.
They do not turn children or families away. Public schools serve children with
physical, emotional, and mental disabilities, those who are extremely gifted
and those who are learning challenged, right along with children without
7. Public schools foster interactions and understanding among people of
different ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
6. "Education is the best provision for old age"-- Aristotle. The
future support of our aging population depends on strong public schools. In
1954, there were 17 workers to pay the Social Security cost for each retiree.
Now, there are only three for each retiree. It is likely that the productivity
of these three workers per retiree will depend on the strength of our public
5. More than 95 percent of our jobs require at least a high school education
and the majority of living wage jobs currently require education or training
beyond high school. There is no question about the need for an educated work
4. The nation pays a high price for poorly educated workers. When retraining
and remediation are needed to prepare a worker to do even simple tasks, the
cost is paid by both employers and consumers. This process raises the price of
American products and makes it more difficult for this nation to compete in the
3. The cost of dropouts affects us all. This nation loses more than $240
billion per year in earnings and taxes that dropouts would have generated over
their lifetimes. Well-supported public schools can engage all students in
learning and graduate productive and competent citizens.
2. Children are our nation's future. Their development affects all of us. Good
education is not cheap, but ignorance costs far more.
And the Number One reason to support public education. . .
1. Public education is a worthy investment for public funds. We can invest now,
or we can pay later.
-- from the Illinois Coalition for Public Education.
In a special
election taking place on February 11th, the Franklin Pierce School
District has two very important measures on the ballot. Proposition 1 is our
4-year Educational Programs and Operations levy renewal that provides over 20%
of our annual operating revenue funding such things as classroom teachers,
safety/security personnel, student transportation, programs for special needs
students, textbooks, classroom supplies, library materials, arts and athletics.
Proposition 2 is our 4-year Instructional Technology levy renewal. This is a
capital levy that will continue to fund the acquisition, installation, and
modernization of instructional technology equipment, infrastructure, systems
and facilities all to enhance student learning. This issue of the Views will
provide you with additional factual information on both of these important
upcoming measures. Don’t forget to exercise your civic duty by registering and
voting by February 11th.
Please stop in at any of your local schools to visit
or attend an activity. I guarantee you
will be pleased with what you see. Stay
warm, stay healthy, and don’t forget to send in your ballot on February 11th.