Public relations, tour on tap for retreat

School Board plans two-day session



— Discussions on possibly hiring a public relations firm and a tour of the new Washington Elementary School building are on the agenda for a two-day School Board retreat.

Starting at 6 p.m. today, the board will review meeting protocols and the district’s student achievement plans.

Also tonight, the board will discuss how it will evaluate Superintendent Kevin McKay’s performance in the future.

McKay was hired in April. He was previously the Zillah School District superintendent.

The retreat reconvenes at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, when the board hear a public relations presentation by Vancouver-based edTactics.

The board isn’t scheduled to take action.

If the district hires edTactics, the focus will be “... taking the temperature of perceptions,” spokeswoman Jessica Morgan said.

“It’s an independent, third-party group, someone from the outside, to get an idea of how taxpayers view the district,” she said.

Also Thursday, the board will review McKay’s areas of focus for 2016-17.

Morgan said the discussion is an extension of “wonderings” McKay reported to the board after he started work July 1.

McKay noted his “wonderings” were based on conversations with district staff and community members.

They include partnerships with local non-profits and the status of the district’s student health center.

McKay has also been exploring what he said has been described to him as a “leadership void.”

Other “wonderings” McKay has reviewed with the board include elementary school boundaries and enrollment, as well as the number of out-of-district students enrolled in local schools.

McKay has also indicated there is room for improvement in student discipline.

Also Thursday, the board will review long-range planning for programs and school facilities.

The retreat wraps up with the board touring the new Washington Elementary School building on Harrison Avenue.

Construction on the new school is scheduled to be complete by the end of this month.

District school officials have scheduled the 2016-17 school year to begin a few days later than normal, on Sept. 6, to accommodate the construction schedule.

Retreat meetings tonight and Thursday will be in the district’s Denny Blaine building board room at 810 E. Custer Ave.


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