Washougal School Board honored

State selects WSD board of directors for 2021 ‘Boards of Distinction’ program

The Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA) has selected the Washougal School District board of directors for its 2021 Boards of Distinction program.

The Washougal School Board was recognized for its “exemplary” evidence of ongoing professional development, addressing opportunity gaps, and practicing governance that aligns with state standards, according to a news release.

“I am very proud of the work of our board and honored to receive this recognition,” board president Cory Chase said. “Our efforts have been focused on work surrounding our strategic plan, which was developed collaboratively with our community. I believe the strength of this board comes from members who represent a broad range of perspectives and who are listening to our community. It is exciting to have boards across the state reaching out to learn about the important work Washougal has engaged in after seeing the success we are achieving.”

Board members Angela Hancock, Donna Sinclair, Jim Cooper, Chuck Carpenter and Chase will be recognized along with members of 33 other school boards from around the state during an awards ceremony at the WSSDA’s annual conference in Bellevue, Washington, on Nov. 19.

“This board has been focused on finding ways the district can serve our families and community, engaging in tough conversations to move our school district forward and see students rise,” said Washougal School District Superintendent Mary Templeton. “The board members have transparently led the district through crisis after crisis while still maintaining a focus on student achievement. Under their leadership, the district graduation rate has risen from 74 percent in 2016 to 88 percent in 2020.”

“We have made clear that we seek what is best for students, families, and staff, and have prioritized work that addresses the achievement gap, ensures equity, and provides opportunities for students to be known, nurtured and challenged to rise,” Chase wrote in an application letter. “We listen to the community, weigh important issues in public and encourage civil participation. With multiple children and grandchildren of our own being served in our schools, we have prioritized safety, transparency and excellence in our actions.”

The Boards of Distinction program is designed to encourage boards to examine their practices as governing bodies and how their actions and decisions impact the success of students, according to the WSSDA’s website.

The boards that were recognized have reviewed their decision-making processes and directly tied them to positive student outcomes, according to the news release.

“Despite historic challenges this year, school boards displayed tremendous leadership in bringing students back to in-person learning safely and creatively,” said Tricia Lubach, the WSSDA’s director of leadership development. “Given the obstacles districts have had to face, I think being able to recognize so many boards this year is a testament to the dedication and professionalism of our school directors. The boards that are being honored developed unique approaches that reflected the needs of their students and families and relied on careful analysis of data that indicated those needs.”