The Pasco School Board has been recognized for being open to the public and working to improve the outcome of all students.
It was named the Washington State School Directors’ Association’s board of the year at the association’s recent conference.
The board was in competition with 14 school districts across the state with 9,000 students or more, including Bellingham, Tacoma and Olympia. Each board member received the association’s Board of Distinction award.
To receive the award, the association requires boards to present evidence in four categories.
The first is development of a plan focused on learning and achievement. The second is employing quality teachers, administrators and other staff. The third is openness and accountability to the public.
Finally, for this year, the boards demonstrated that they are working to close the achievement gap between students of all races and classes.
Colleen Miller, the association’s director of leadership development, said the judges were impressed with the programs the board supported that are focused on helping low-performing students. The judges mentioned the district’s focus on kindergarten and its literacy program.
“Overall, Pasco had a very strong application,” she said. “The board’s involvement in writing the application was very clear.”
Board President Scott Lehrman said that the board spent about 20 hours working on compiling the evidence.
“We’re excited about (the award,)” he said. “It just reinforces for us that we’re doing what’s right for the district.”
“We’re now holding public forums to get community input on a quarterly basis,” he added. “We started recording and putting board meetings online. We’ve invited public input after action items and board reports. We’ve made a lot of progress on being open and accountable.”
Lehrman noted that the district skipped applying to become a board of distinction in 2015, because the board was occupied with other issues, including dealing with the aftermath of an eight-day teacher strike.
The application for the 2015 award was due about a week after Pasco teachers ratified their contract.
“We applied for it in 2014 and this year,” he said. “I believe we’ll do it next year as well. The process helps us reflect on what we do as a board and how it impacts students.”
The Pasco School Board was previously named the board of the year in 2009.