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School Board Meeting Procedures
School Board Meetings are held at the Riverview School District Educational Service Center, unless otherwise communicated. Meetings are the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month at 6:00 PM, except in December (2nd Tuesday only), April (4th Tuesday only) and July (4th Tuesday only).
Agendas and Supporting Documents are posted on the Friday prior to each Tuesday School Board Meeting. Modifications may occur up to 24 hours prior to the meeting. Audio recordings of the meetings are posted within two days after each meeting. Written minutes are approved and posted after the subsequent School Board Meeting.
Members of the public may attend School Board Meetings either in-person or virtually. To access the meeting virtually, go to http://www.rsd407.org/meetings.
Public Comment at School Board Meetings may be given in the following ways:
In-person, by signing in on the Hearing of the Public document; and/or,
Emailing the School Board. Please write Hearing of the Public in the subject line of the email.
Work Study Sessions are opportunities for the board to learn more about a specific topic. No decisions are made at Work Study Sessions. They are open to the public. There is no provision for public participation.
Executive Sessions generally occur before or after a School Board Meeting. These sessions are not open to the public. They are limited to specific topics such as personnel matters or acquisition of real estate.
IntroductionExecutive Summary This report presents the findings of the Leadership Profile Assessment conducted by Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA) in February, 2022 for the new superintendent of the Riverview SchoolDistrict (RSD). The data contained herein was obtained from input the HYA consultants received from internal and external stakeholders of the Riverview community via an online survey and via individual interviews or focus group/listening sessions (conducted via phone or Zoom). The surveys, interviews, and focus group meetings were structured to gather information to assist the RSD Board of Directors in determining the primary characteristics desired and needed in the new superintendent. Additionally, the HYA consultants collected feedback regarding the strengths of the District and some of the challenges that it will be facing in the coming years. Participation The numbers of participants, by stakeholder group, in the two methods of data gathering are listed in the following chart: It should be emphasized that the data is not a scientific sampling, nor should it necessarily be viewed as representing the majority opinion of the respective groups to which it is attributed. Items are included if, in the consultants’ judgment, they warranted the Board’s attention.
Summary of Stakeholder InputThe focus group sessions were conducted between January 27 and February 16, 2022. A total of 20 listening sessions were conducted, including two open community sessions. The online stakeholder survey timeline was January 31 through February 16, 2022. All discussions were respectful, insightful and helpful. The HYA associates conducting the focus groups and interviews would like to thank the participants for giving so freely of their time and for the depth of the discussions regarding Riverview School District during the sessions.
Strengths of the DistrictWhile hundreds of comments were made regarding the strengths of the District, the following three major themes surfaced often and across multiple stakeholder groups. Small Community and District – Tight Knit In describing the Riverview School District, people frequently first spoke about the community. They described why a growing number of people are choosing to move into and remain in the area. Many stakeholders described the smaller communities of Carnation and Duvall as tight knit communities, where people are friendly, helpful and welcoming to newcomers. They like the benefits of a smaller, rural community – stating that “it’s a great place to live and raise a family.” People appreciate the low crime rates and their shared sense of safety. Several people stated that the community has been tested, and that in adverse times “everyone comes together” to help one another. With a shared responsibility for the well-being of the community’s students and children, some stakeholders shared that the Riverview School District has been able to forge healthy partnerships with nonprofit entities based in the area. Within this contextual framework, many people stated that they like the small size of the Riverview School District, its small class sizes, and the high level of parent involvement. Several people shared an acknowledgement and appreciation that Riverview has brought up its level of academic excellence over the past several years. Because of these academic improvements, the district has earned a growing sense of pride, is retaining more students and employees, and is becoming a “destination” district (i.e. is no longer a stepping stone for staff moving to a neighboring district). The greater continuity among teachers and staff, who also live and work in the community, fosters deeper relationships with their students and their students’ families. These lasting, multi-generational relationships, where teachers often feel like family, contribute to the culture of a small, tight knit community – appreciated by so many in Riverview. Great Teachers; Great Staff The Riverview community loves its teachers. Knowledgeable, dedicated, kind, caring, and hard-working were how most people described the district’s teaching staff. Families with students at the elementary school level, were especially glowing in naming teachers and school staff as a strength of the district. Also of note, stakeholders aware of the district's bargaining efforts, shared that the district benefits from strong labor relations, built upon mutual respect, and consistent, open two-way communication. Among district and administrative staff, people commented on a strong sense of teamwork where everyone steps in to assist with emerging needs, regardless of roles or titles, to support one another. Many internal and external stakeholders recognized the longevity of service and continuity of school staff and district leaders. They acknowledged their competence, loyalty, dedication and commitment to supporting student success and noted the stability that their long tenure has provided for the district. Top Tier Schools A large majority of stakeholders acknowledge the growth that the Riverview School District has made in delivering instructional excellence, and are confident that a majority of Riverview’s students are receiving a high quality education. People acknowledge the unsettling disruption and impact that the COVID pandemic has had on academic achievement and the social-emotional well-being of students and staff. There is mixed sentiment regarding the district’s response to the pandemic. Some feel that the district has been overly and unnecessarily cautious, while other people believe the district hasn’t taken enough precautions to protect staff and students and would like to maintain a full time online learning option for students. However, apart from divided feelings on the COVID response and continued recovery, most stakeholders continue to name high graduation rates (above 90%), strong test scores (above state and national averages), the availability of advanced placement and honors courses, and continued academic growth and achievement among Riverview’s core strengths. Still, not eager to rest on Riverview’s laurels, most stakeholders shared that there is room for improvement, especially in serving students with special learning needs.
Challenges and Issues Facing the DistrictDiversity, Equity, Inclusion Stakeholders want the Riverview School District to “take more action” and “be more authentic” in its efforts to address incidents of racisim, homophobia, discrimination, harassment and bullying in schools. Riverview’s approach to addressing racism and systemic inequities was the most commonly and frequently shared concern among students at the high school level and their families. There was some awareness of school and district efforts to address these concerns, including listening sessions to hear directly from students. Despite these efforts, students, student families, and staff shared that the day-to-day experience for students has not improved as a result. It was suggested that a comprehensive approach needs to be developed with key stakeholders, especially those students and families who are underrepresented and/or who have been victimized. Students, student families, and staff shared the need for ongoing and comprehensive professional development for all staff addressing culturally responsive and inclusive practices. Some also shared the need for greater and more consistent accountability for students, staff, and school leaders in response to behavior which directly violates non-discrimination/anti-bullying policies. Others called on the need to more intentionally recruit and hire a more diverse teaching and support staff that will better reflect the growing diversity among Riverview’s families. Some input gathered through listening sessions and the survey confirmed competing opinions among student families and community members regarding whether or not it was the district’s role to address these issues. While these opposing views were noted, the clear majority of input received indicated that schools should be a safe place for all students to learn, which is free from discrimination, racism, and harassment of any kind, and where diversity is valued and respected. Population Growth/Facility Needs Top of mind for many stakeholders is how quickly the area is growing, especially Duvall, and how the Riverview School District needs to plan for the coming influx of residents and their school-age children. The pending growth is an overlay to existing facility challenges. Many stakeholders believe that several school buildings are overcrowded and outdated. Beyond broken curb repair and the need for a fresh coat of paint in many facilities, there is the feeling that the elementary and middle schools are outdated and need upgrades, and that the middle and high schools aren't large enough to absorb a projected increase in student enrollment. People are cognizant that the last bond measure did not pass, and so the list of facility needs has not been addressed and, instead, has grown. The next superintendent will need to review and update the Comprehensive Facilities Plan, and develop a strategy for garnering voter support for a future bond initiative to address these needs. Mental Health Support COVID has impacted the mental health and well-being of students, teachers, and school staff across the country. However, in Riverview, many stakeholders were clear in stating that the need for increased mental health and social-emotional support started well before the COVID pandemic began. Several people mentioned multiple youth suicides and accidental deaths just prior to the pandemic. Not all stakeholder groups mentioned this as a concern or challenge for the district. However, the need for mental health support ranked so highly and consistently among students, their families, and several key members of the community that this elevated as a central theme that warrants additional attention from school and district leadership and its community. The stakeholder request seemed to center on a desire for the district to be more responsive to the needs of all students – those students who need extra academic support, who are perhaps bullied, who learn differently, who are interested in nontraditional career fields, and who need school supports that are not currently provided. This group also indicated a need for more after school activities, beyond athletics, for students who hunger for additional enrichment and peer connection. Many stakeholders stated a need and desire for activity buses that would help eliminate the barriers to equitable access and participation to these activities that contribute to creating a well-rounded student. Communication From school to school and across the district, there is an inconsistency of experience with regard to communication. As was previously mentioned, some stakeholders believe their schools communicate consistently with student families and that those schools lean into the issues of greatest concern. Conversely, other stakeholders find that information is not shared in a timely manner, nor is the information centralized or easily accessed. While improvements to the district’s website have helped, there is a desire for more frequent, direct, and more transparent communication from the district and schools. Some stakeholders shared that they are aware of good work “going on behind the scenes” at the district level, but that these actions and efforts aren’t being communicated clearly enough, nor in a timely manner. As a result, they believe that trust and confidence in the district has waned. Some stakeholders acknowledged district efforts to gather input, but felt that follow-up communications were less frequent and consistent. With regard to future bond and levy measures, there is a desire for greater transparency on how the district arrived at cost estimates for bond initiatives and for greater detail regarding how levy funds will be utilized. Tension Between Polarities of Thought and Experience From stakeholder group to stakeholder group, district constituents would hold up a feature of the district and name it as a strength, and then the next group would name that same aspect as a challenge. For example, some people applauded the strength of continuity that comes with long tenured leadership, and others expressed a frustration with what has felt like a “good ol’ boys network” that has run the district for years. In terms of the pandemic, some residents felt the district was too cautious and were angry about the mask mandates, and yet others were pleased with the district planning and response. Some held up the availability of technology as a strength, while others felt like the district was very much behind the technological times. Some wanted more staff and financial resources dedicated to student athletics, and others felt like the student athletics program received too much focus and financial resources and that other student enrichment programs should be more widely available. People talked about how Carnation and Duvall create a tight knit, unified community, and yet others spoke about a lingering tension between the two communities. Some people were struck by the breadth of academic programs the district is able to offer given its small size, and others feel that the district is falling short in offering a breadth of classes and programs that would better foster student retention. These are a handful of many examples that can be shared. It’s not fair to say that the community is divided. Rather, it is more accurate to state that within the communities that make up the Riverview School District, there are differences of opinion and experience. As such, the next superintendent will need to be a careful listener, and someone who can help bridge the difference of thought and experience, so that the community can truly be unified in its strategy and approach to serving the academic and social-emotional needs of its students.
Desired Characteristics for Next SuperintendentFocus group participants were asked to name the desired leadership characteristics for the next superintendent of Riverview School District. The following summary of personal characteristics and attributes, skills, and experiences reflects input gathered during listening sessions and survey results. To see a single-page summary of the Desired Characteristics for the Next Superintendent, please click here. A track record of success in building and sustaining collaborative trusting relationships was a priority in the context of addressing current community divisions related to challenges facing the district. Community leaders in both Carnation and Duvall welcome the opportunity to discuss new ways to partner with RSD to address mutually beneficial ideas and goals. Additionally, the superintendent must be able to navigate the complexities of serving a rural school district that is spread over 250 square miles. Stakeholders want someone who is a good listener, exercises frequent and transparent communication, is community-minded, and is approachable. As the community grows and changes, the ability to anticipate the impact this growth will have on the district, and to plan and adapt accordingly will be imperative. RSD students, staff, student families and community members desire regular opportunities to engage with the superintendent, Board members, and school leaders to share ideas, provide feedback and participate in group processes that inform decision-making regarding current and future challenges. The close knit nature of the district and community lends itself to this leadership approach, and the strengths of the district and community serve as a strong foundation upon which to build. The next superintendent should possess the following characteristics: Communicator/Relationship Builder ● Humble, open-minded, honest, and transparent communicator who can listen to multiple perspectives regarding challenges facing the district, synthesize and share input gathered, and keep the community informed. ● Community-minded, visible, highly accessible and approachable to people throughout the district, and actively engaged in community life. ● Inspires unity, teamwork, and a strong sense of shared responsibility for student success and well-being. ● Able to build and sustain collaborative trusting relationships with community partners to address mutually beneficial ideas and goals. Experienced Empathetic, Instructional Leader ● Fosters a positive, professional climate of mutual trust and respect among faculty, staff, and administrators. ● Collaborates to develop a powerful, cooperative Board/superintendent team that together will guide the District’s mission, vision and goals moving forward. ● Committed to ensuring a safe, inclusive, culturally responsive district/school culture for all students. ● Able to balance the tension between innovative/new ideas and the need for curriculum consistency, program stability, and staff capacity. ● In response to the COVID pandemic recovery, can bring all stakeholder groups together around instructional priorities, best practices, performance measures, and the social-emotional needs of students, student families, and staff. ● Understands the importance of differentiating instruction and support programs to meet the unique and diverse needs of varying groups of learners within RSD. Experienced Operational Leader ● Anticipates community growth impacts and facilitates planning initiatives to prioritize necessary projects and secures funding with community support. ● Recognizes and develops support systems and programs necessary to serve a rural school district spread over 250 square miles. ● Facilitates responsible financial planning aligned with system priorities and available capacity.
ConclusionThe search team would like to thank all the participants who attended focus groups meetings or completed the online survey. We are especially grateful for the assistance, support and collaboration provided by Stacy Cook and Mike Ward, who assisted behind the scenes with coordination of our meetings and website support. Respectfully submitted by, John Bash and Lisa Flores HYA Associates