Dear families, staff and community members,
The Marysville School District is in the midst of seeking input from students, families and the community to help shape the direction of our district to ensure every student in Marysville has access to a high-quality education in a safe school environment. We have been meeting with groups throughout the District, and will soon launch an online survey on these topics.
As part of this community engagement process, we heard that some families feel the District has not done a good job communicating changes we have already made at the Getchell High School campus. We want to be as transparent as possible and want to update you on the current situation. We will do our best to keep you informed as we move forward, but of course if you have questions, feel free to call or email.
Small learning communities, like the four schools on the Getchell campus, were popularized in the mid-2000s. Since then, research has shown small learning communities do not by themselves increase graduation rates or student academic performance. We know many students and families appreciate the smaller settings, and we also hear many families want access to programs, courses, sports offerings and more extra-curricular opportunities such as student-run clubs, offered at larger, more traditional, comprehensive high schools.
Two shifts have already taken place at Getchell:
- Having four principals and associated administrative staff was financially difficult, so in 2016, the District named a single principal for the entire Getchell campus.
- In addition, the Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) report (May 2017) recommended a change in the scheduling process. Students wanted more flexibility in scheduling and the ability to take classes offered in the other schools. So prior to the start of this school year, the District changed the Getchell schools to one master schedule for ease of scheduling crossover classes.
Additionally, campus-wide assemblies, student leadership, counselors assigned by alpha, and state assessments are now offered. These changes streamlined processes and gave students broader access to courses and other opportunities.
The WASA report further recommended shifting away from small learning communities and moving to neighborhood boundaries for high schools. While we have not yet made this decision, the report is one of the reasons we are exploring these issues in our community engagement process. (Please click the link above if you would like to read the WASA report.)
Our Next Steps
Based on the WASA report recommendations, one of the options the District is considering is returning to neighborhood boundaries for high schools and creating two comprehensive high schools – Marysville Getchell and Marysville Pilchuck. Please know we have not made any decision regarding whether to stay the course or to make this change. For the 2018-19 school year, the Getchell campus will function the same as this year. In addition, the District plans to continue to offer alternative, choice high school experiences at the Marysville Tulalip Campus.
Please also note that:
- If the District makes a decision to change to boundaries for high schools, we are committed to doing what is best for students, and that means making sure the freshmen who start at one high school in September 2019 can finish their high school career at that school if they choose (however, the District would need to determine how/if transportation can be provided).
- We will not make any decision lightly, and if we do decide to establish neighborhood school boundaries, we will seek your ideas about actual boundaries, transition processes, and other issues through our traditional community advisory group processes in the summer months and into next school year.
We will make our best effort to clearly communicate with families and the community about what is happening going forward. Please look for an online survey later this week to give us your opinion on this topic, and others.
Information and instructions for the high school selection process, the form, and the high school course guide for incoming 9th grade students (current 8th graders) will be given to students and posted online on March 16. Listed below are opportunities to visit each high school campus. The window for completing the selection form will be March 19 - March 30.
Campus Visit Dates (5:30 - 6:30 pm):
- Marysville Getchell Campus - March 20
- Marysville Pilchuck Campus - March 21
- Marysville Tulalip Campus - March 22
Thank you for all that you do to support each student’s success and for your support of the District. You can get more information about the secondary school planning process here. And if you have any questions, I’m happy to answer those. Please direct your questions or comments via email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-965-0005.
Jason Thompson Acting Superintendent
Marysville School District No. 25 – 4220 80th Street NE – Marysville, WA 98270 – www.msd25.org p. 360-965-0005 f. 360-965-0006