Dear Parents, Staff, Students and Community Members:
As we approach Winter Break, I want to thank you for all of your support and hard work this school year. It is hard to believe that we are already mid-December and soon we will finish the first half of the school year. The good news is that in less than one week, we will begin to see days with more daylight!
Below, please find a couple of updates about the district.
Feedback from Last Week’s Tragedy
Thank you for all of the comments, suggestions and expressed concerns about the senseless tragedy that took place last week in Connecticut. In addition to addressing our District’s immediate needs of heightened awareness, building access and support for students and staff, we will need to think long term about facility design and access. The Board will be updating their Strategic Plan, including facility needs, starting in January.
School Board Update
On December 6, Harlan Gallinger officially became the newest Director on the Peninsula School Board. Dr. Gallinger was appointed to fill the position vacated by Jill Uddenberg, representing District 4. There are three years left on Ms. Uddenberg’s four-year term, so the position will be open for election in 2013 for the remaining two years.
In addition to Dr. Gallinger’s appointment, the Board also elected Wendy Wojtanowicz to continue as Board President and Matt Wilkinson to continue as Vice President. Below is a short biography about each of our Board of Directors.
Ms. Wojtanowicz considers herself a life-long learner. She has served on the school board for six years and represents District 2, the upper Key Peninsula and parts of north Gig Harbor. Her interest and passion for serving on the school board comes from serving as a parent volunteer in our schools and then later by serving on District Parent Council. She volunteers on the math committee, has been PTA president at both the elementary and high school level and is a member of the diversity committee. Wendy works in Career Services at Everest College.
Mr. Wilkinson has served on the school board since 2007. He represents District 1, the lower and central Key Peninsula area. Matt is dedicated to improving education and opportunities for young adults. He is the District’s state legislative representative and also serves on the math committee. His community involvement includes suicide prevention and parks appreciation. Matt works in computer support at CSC Bangor.
Mr. Wilhelmsen has served on the school board for the past two years. He represents District 3 which includes the central, east and part of north Gig Harbor. As a past teacher, he is committed to making sure our students get the best education available. His passion is to help guide our District to achieve the honored status of best district in the state. Rand served on the District’s audit committee before being appointed to the school board. He has also served on several bank boards. Rand is a Senior Vice President in the investment department for West Coast Bank.
Mr. Jones has been on the school board since last December. He represents District 5, the southern part of Gig Harbor which includes the Goodman and Harbor Heights areas. He wants to be a part of shaping the lives and education of the children in our community. He is involved in the Harbor’s youth sports and activities. He serves on the board of several youth organizations. Rick is Chief Pilot for H&W Aviation.
Dr. Gallinger was appointed to the school board this month. He represents District 4, the west side of Gig Harbor, including Fox Island. Harlan has a strong interest in improving science and math curriculum, educational equality, improving school facilities and planning for long-term growth in the District. Dr. Gallinger is an Emergency Physician with Tacoma Emergency Care Physicians.
Inclement Weather Plans
I mentioned in the last newsletter that our emergency and snow routes are now available on our website http://psd401.net/. In addition, you can also find our Inclement Weather and School Closure procedures on our website.
It is very timely to again review this information as we are already experiencing winter weather conditions. All school closure decisions focus on student and employee safety as the highest priority.
We are currently in the process of adding three new methods of communication to increase our reach to parents, staff and community members. We have been collecting cell phone numbers from parents and will soon be sending out short text messages to investigate the possibility of whether this may be an effective means of communication for contacting parents.
Also, within the next month, the District will be launching official Facebook and Twitter accounts to provide parents and community members with another way to get important news and information. More information on all of these initiatives will be available on the District website soon and in the January newsletter.
Facility Updates and Celebrations
- Thanks to a generous donation from the Cheney Foundation, the bleachers at Roy Anderson Field are being replaced. Completion is expected in early January. Look for an announcement of a dedication ceremony.
- The move of the Community Transition Program from the Soundview Annex to the Peninsula School District Annex in the Gig Harbor Business Park should be completed before the end of January. The official opening celebration will take place in mid-January.
Little Known District Facts (thanks to key District staff for their historical information)
- Did you know Henderson Bay High School started as Huloima Wehut on the Key Peninsula and was located at the Key Center Community Center? The name meant “a different way or different path”.
- Peninsula Schools became independent from Steilacoom School District in 1877 with the establishment of Artondale School District #14. The first school was at the head of Wollochet Bay and had fewer than 20 students enrolled. The teacher was Emmett Hunt, age 19. Not until 1941 did the present Peninsula School District 401 come into existence. And then, because of World War II, construction of Peninsula High School was not feasible until 1947.
- The building that is now the Key Peninsula Civic Center was the original Vaughn Union High School, organized in 1903.
- The total cost to construct Artondale Elementary on its current site when it was opened in November of 1959 was $251,969, including the cost of the property!
Educational Service Center (District Office) Hours During Winter Break
December 24, 2012 and December 25, 2012: Closed
December 26, 2012 through December 28, 2012: Open to public by appointment only
December 31, 2012 and January 1, 2012: Closed
January 2, 2013 through January 4, 2013: Public hours 9:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m.
As a reminder, Friday, December 21, is an early release day with high school out at 10:45, middle school at 11:30 and Elementary at 12:15. I hope you find safe travel wherever your adventures take you during this break and that you find time for family, friends, and relaxation.