Friday Update

White Swan Cougar Band performed at the Mt. Adams School District Spring Band Concert.  The concert was at our new Harrah Campus this past Wednesday evening.  The Cafetorium was filled with parents, siblings, relatives, community members, and staff.  Mr. Jones and his musicians from 4th grade through 12th grade made the audience smile from ear to ear.  Congratulations for a job well done and Thank-you to these fine musicians. 

The White Swan Senior class was celebrated on Thursday.  There was an awards assembly where students were celebrated for their accomplishments, awards, and scholarships and that was followed on Thursday evening with a Senior banquet with pictures, stories, and a few tears.  Congratulations to the White Swan Cougar graduating class of 2022. 

Attendance and Reengagement was a primary focus this week at our District Cabinet Meeting. 

Ms. Briana Carballo-Wilcox presented to administrators some recent data that she has gathered regarding attendance.  As we can fully understand, there was a significant drop in attendance from 2019/20 through the tail end of the recent pandemic.  What is difficult to understand and that for which we are participating in this Attendance and Reengagement Grant with ESD 105, is the noticeable gap between our Hispanic students and our Native American students in daily attendance.  We plan to have a study session in July for the Board of Directors to review this data and also any updated end of year data on attendance.  At the study session, we will have a discussion as to how the Board thinks that we should adjust to better support students to bridge this gap and also for the board to learn about some of the strategies that the District has planned for next school year which will include reengaging with the Attendance Summit and including the broader communities. 

District Administrators had a meeting this week with the Yakima County Sheriff and Yakama Tribal Police.  This was the third of our regular and on-going meetings with law enforcement to have an on-going dialogue to keep our students, staff, and community safe.  The meeting was productive as we discussed all of the end-of-year activities and the support from both agencies that they will provide during these events.  In addition, we were assured by Yakima County Sheriff that we will have a commissioned officer in the District starting at the beginning of next school year.  I want to make sure to acknowledge the dedication and support of both agencies they have provided in recent weeks.  Response time and consistent presence in the White Swan Community has been very much appreciated by all.  Please if you get a chance, remember to thank them for their service. 

The school tragedy in Texas has a direct impact on every school and family in the country.  We are saddened by the recent shooting and our hearts and prayers are with the families of those who lost loved ones during this past week.  As a result, the next day at our Administrative Cabinet meeting, the District discussed how to ensure that our buildings are secure and well supervised.  The new Harrah Campus has video surveillance, electrically programed doors and secure entrances, with multiple levels of security being monitored throughout the day.  In addition, there is technology in the building that allows the principal or designee to completely lock every door and to secure the building.  Potential breeches in our systems were addressed during this meeting with action to close those gaps immediately.  At the White Swan Campus, security is not as easy to establish.  There are at least eighteen outward facing doors that need a remedy.  That will be an agenda topic at the Board Retreat in June.  That said, we also discussed security and supervision for students and staff and those continue to be assessed as much as we are able.  Regular meetings with law enforcement help as does the increased presence of both Yakama Tribal Police and Yakima County Sheriff in the region.  All of our preparation and concern does not wipe away the pain of those families who are dealing with losses this week and for years to come.  Yet, we can and are reminded to attend to what is important in life, which is the love and guidance of our children and all youth in our community, and to continue to teach and model responsible, respectful, and kind behavior toward all people.  Please, if you see something, say something and call the school, local law enforcement, and 911 if it is an emergency.