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Last stop on the Listening Tour: Jackson High School

 

September 6, 2019

Superintendent Dr. Ian Saltzman spoke to parents, teachers, staff, and students about potential improvements needed by the school district.

New Everett Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Ian Saltzman held three listening tours over the past two weeks, wrapping up the tour with a stop at Jackson High School.

The community listening events took place at Cascade High School on Aug. 12, the Community Resource Center on Aug. 28, and finally, at Jackson on Aug. 29.

The hour-long community events were opportunities for Saltzman to hear directly from the community on what they think is going well in the district, what may be improved upon, and any advice they have for him as the district’s new superintendent.

“I’m going to take your input. I’m going to share it with my cabinet, board of directors, and principals,” Saltzman said. “That is how we get some of the work pushed forward.”

The listening tours were open to parents, teachers, substitutes, coaches, and school administrators. He asked three questions and relied on audience members to respond on notecards.

When asked what was going well in the school district, some highlighted strengths in providing students with career readiness, improved test scores, and higher graduation rates. Others emphasized community partnerships and successful special education programs. One attendee praised teacher retention and recruitment.

In terms of improvement, community members criticized building safety and infrastructure management. They wanted answers to growth management and efforts to reduce class size. Others mentioned confusion about variance criteria for school transfers and frustration with the lack of liberal arts courses.

Some attendees held opposing views about what was good and what could be improved upon in the school district. One parent complimented staff on the roll out of one-to-one computers for students, while a school volunteer spoke about the overuse of technology in classrooms.

Communication and transparency were large topics among all community members. Various parents commended the administration for being on top of communication via emails and voicemails. Others showed hesitation about transparency between the school board and parents, connecting the lack of communication to failed levies.

One student highlighted the importance of diversity in the school system, especially relating to the LGBTQ+ community. A former teacher identified a need for teachers and staff to receive diversity training as schools welcome students of all backgrounds.

Transparency remained a constant theme when discussing advice for the new superintendent. Students asked Saltzman to interact with students and be visible in the schools. Overall, the community encouraged him to continue hosting public forums and discussions.

 

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