Letters to the Editor for Sept. 9, 2014

Child’s failure to perform is a failure of the parent

My two cents on the Sept. 2 letter to the editor titled “Outraged about school district’s failure to perform:”

The failure to perform is generally directly attributed to the failure to parent. Teachers have your student in their classroom for a short nine months. Parents have them for 18 years.

Are you doing your part? Do you send them to kindergarten already knowing their colors, letters, how to write their name? Do you read with them, check their homework, ask them their spelling words? Do you discuss real-life math problems and science at dinner time, during car rides, or while taking a walk? Does homework get done before television, video games, and cell phones when they get home from school? Do you feel any sort of responsibility of being your child’s first teacher?

The Washougal School District has Family Access, where you can view their grades and missing assignments at any time. Are you using it?

All five of my children have been through the Washougal School District, and I am extremely pleased with the education they received. One was valedictorian of her class, two were salutatorians, and the other two were both in the top 10 percent of their class. To date, they also boast three Bachelor’s Degrees and two Master’s Degrees. They were well-prepared for higher education, and on more than one instance their college professors specifically praised the job their high school teachers had done.

My children are not geniuses. Their dad and I just gave a darn.

Most people who complain about teachers, the school district, etc., can point their fingers directly at themselves as the problem.

Laurie Johnson, Washougal

Washougal School District is top notch

I am both a teacher and a parent. When people ask if I am going to take my children to Evergreen schools, where I teach, I respond, “Why?”

Two of our children have graduated from WHS and one is a student there now. I have nothing but respect and appreciation for the teachers, administrators and school board.

I started attending school board meetings about six years ago in the midst of the budget crisis. I have continued to attend meetings regularly and have learned much about the role of the school board.

The school board is responsible for hiring and evaluating the superintendent and to oversee the budget. Our school board is filled by volunteers from the five areas in our district. They attend public meetings twice monthly, for three or more hours each, attend multiple school events each month and each board member participates in other board committees at the county and state level.

Every month I see our board working tirelessly to balance state and federal regulations with best practices for our students.

Dawn Tarzian has been a breath of fresh air over the last three years and easily the best superintendent we have had in years. Mrs. Tarzian is focused on students first. She expects that decisions are in the best interest of the students’ academic and emotional needs. In my regular attendance at school board meetings I have never heard her refuse to respond to or avoid questions. She follows up when she needs time to gather information to respond accurately and honestly. Mrs. Tarzian makes regular visits to classrooms in the district and provides teachers with information after her observations.

Our superintendent and school board work hard to support teachers and students. They have worked to provide money savings, such as energy efficiency, refinancing the 1999 bond to a lower interest rate, and paying off the balance on property to save interest there as well.

If you are going to measure our schools by a single measurement such as the state test, go to the OSPI website and look at the district report cards. Washougal schools are outperforming the state average in most areas. Yes, we did not meet AYP. Lots of schools didn’t. We are asking students with significant disabilities and students who are minimally English proficient to take the same test as our average and high achievers.

I am not against high expectations, however, the bell curve is real. About 80 percent of the population is average, 10 percent above average and 10 percent below. It’s repeated throughout nature and it’s real.

Thank you Washougal teachers, administrators, school board and support staff. You are appreciated by your community and students. Keep up the good work and have a great year.

Gail Anderson, Washougal

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