Inside this Staff News you will:

  • See the ongoing steps we're taking to keep staff safe
  • Take a look at an average day for one of our elementary teachers
  • Get information on how you can become a principal or administrator 

(Pictured above: Safety is always our priority. Some of our staff members are now getting professionally fitted for N95 masks. Click here to watch a brief video of the fitting process.)
A day in the life of an elementary school teacher
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has drastically shifted the way we educate our students. All of our teachers have had to reshape and refine their skills to adapt to this new world, but the transition has been especially difficult for our elementary teachers.

Working with young students is challenging enough in a face-to-face classroom, but keeping the attention of a 5-year-old over Zoom can be a Herculean task.

Distance learning can be frustrating for everyone, including parents. Some elementary parents feel like they’re being asked to do too much and wonder why teachers can’t host more all-class Zoom sessions during the day.

So, what are our elementary teachers doing when they’re not leading Zoom classes? The short answer: Much more than you would imagine.

America the Beautiful!
In honor of Veterans Day, Graham-Kapowsin High School's "virtual band" recently recorded this beautiful rendition of America the Beautiful. Click here to watch the performance.
New info on Open Enrollment
We're less than two weeks from the close of our annual SEBB Open Enrollment period! Open enrollment is your opportunity to make changes to your health plan benefits. All changes made during open enrollment are effective January 1, 2021.

If you currently have your spouse enrolled in medical, you may be required to reattest to the Spousal Surcharge. If this is the case, you will see a pink banner across your account indicating this requirement. 

Because of this, and the fact that some plan costs have increased, we highly recommend logging into your SEBB My Account to verify your benefits for 2021 (under "Coverage Elections") and make sure that there is no further action required.

Also, if you are currently enrolled or interested in enrolling in a Flexible Spending Account and/or Dependent Care Program, you must re-enroll these products each year. Click to view Navia enrollment options.

Enrollment in Voluntary Benefits through Northwest Benefit Advisors is also going on now. Text 52855 for a link to the NWBA website.

Learn much, much more about Open Enrollment here.
ESC holiday schedule
With the holiday season approaching, we wanted to remind you of those dates that the Educational Service Center will be open with limited service or closed for regular business.

Limited service dates are those days with limited staff availability, no front desk reception, and no service to the general public. On closure dates, the ESC campus will be closed.

We would like to give a Shout Out to Ward for his thoughtful design of our book drop base! We appreciate your hard work and willingness to listen to our ideas.

-- Savannah & Melissa, Roy Elementary


Dionne is an amazing and caring person! I appreciate all that she does for her students on a daily basis and how she goes the extra mile. I highly enjoy working alongside her and working as a team to make sure the needs/wants of our students are met. Thank you!

-- Megan Laurent, Community Connections


Rose deserves commendations for everything she does to help students, guardians, staff, and other teachers. Thank you, Rose!

-- Rob O'Connor, Spanaway Lake High School

Do you know anyone who deserves a little extra recognition? Fill out your own staff "Shout Out" here.
Something greater than themselves
While our students have access to JROTC programs at all three of our comprehensive high schools, that is certainly not the norm across the country.

“We are a very unique district in that we have these programs,” said CTE Director Ron Mayberry. “There are over 400 school districts on the waiting list to get JROTC programs.”

From Debbie Carlman, Director of Equity and Achievement

In recent weeks we have been reminded how divided our country is. Undoubtedly, our staff, families, and our students have strong beliefs about what is happening in the world around us. These feelings run deep for many of us.

In these times, it is even more crucial we set a positive example for the students we serve. As educators, we play an important role in the social emotional development of our students and how they view society. We must recognize and respect the reality that our students are showing up with their own opinions and feelings about social topics. Oftentimes, these feelings reflect what they are seeing and hearing in their immediate surroundings.

Students and families will feel passionate about their beliefs. It is not our place to attempt to change those beliefs. When we attempt to do so, we run the risk of alienating students and families and damaging relationships needed to ensure the success of our students. Sometimes, we just need to talk to better understand and learn from each other.

If you feel it is necessary to create space for your students to have conversations please reach out to our department for support. Our Equity Specialists have been partnering with schools to help students process their feelings around equity related issues. You can also visit our page on the district website for additional resources. For tips on how to nurture tolerance in your learning environment click here.
COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols
The health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority. The District will regularly review guidance from state and county health departments, as well as the state Department of Labor & Industries, to update the District’s measures as the guidance evolves.

Click on the image above to find the current building protocols for staff. These protocols will be regularly updated to stay aligned with the latest information from the Health Department.
Principal certification 
Are you an aspiring school leader who is committed to serving all students?

Pacific Lutheran University is offering a one-year, highly supportive cohort-based principal preparation program leading to Washington State or program administrator certification.

Learning and activities are embedded. Program faculty is comprised of regional practicing school leaders. PLU's certification program is among the most affordable of all face-to-face programs in Washington.

Take part in an information session to learn more about the program on November 19 or January 7 at PLU or contact Allison Drago here for more information.

edTPA update
The edTPA is a performance assessment for pre-service teachers. Revisions to the edTPA are now being considered in order to better reflect and support Washington’s students and teacher communities. PESB, in partnership with the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity, and Pearson, invite you to provide input on the next version of the edTPA.

Register to attend a listening session about the process on Nov. 17 (link) or Nov. 18 (link) from 4 to 6:30 p.m.
Going the extra mile
Our teachers will do whatever it takes to keep their students engaged in learning!

In one of her recent live Zoom classes, Centennial Elementary first grade teacher Lindsey Piccirillo agreed to put a sticker on her face every time a student engaged in learning, saved their work as a draft, or responded appropriately to a question. Seems like it worked!
School Board meeting recap: 11/10/20
Graduation Statistics Update

The district’s combined graduation rates rose from 87.2% in 2019 to 87.9% in 2020. GKHS boasted a 92.1% graduation rate! See more data here.

Policies Adopted

The School Board adopted the following policies. Those listed were presented and discussed during the October 13, 2020 Board Study Session and brought before the Board previously for First and Second Reading.

  • 2255: Alternative Learning Experience Programs
  • 3122: Excused And Unexcused Absences
  • 4300: Limiting Immigration Enforcement In Schools (New)
  • 6112: Rental Or Lease Of District Property

Year End Financial Report

CFO Billy Wessell reviewed the financial status of the District in all funds after closing the books for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

Enrollment Update

Mr. Wessell also reviewed the 2020-2021 enrollment updates from the October count. Our October 2020 Enrollment is 436 FTE lower than budgeted.

Temporary Construction Easement at Clover Creek Elementary

Pierce County is extending its sewer line in front of Clover Creek Elementary. As part of that work, they are constructing a stub out to the Clover Creek property in the event the school needs to connect to the sewer system in the future. To construct the sewer stub out Pierce County will need access to and disturb school property temporarily. Per the temporary construction easement, Pierce County will restore the disturbed areas.

You can find the full list of agenda items on BoardDocs.
Bethel School District does not discriminate in any programs or activities on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following employees have been designated to handle questions and complaints of alleged discrimination: Title IX Coordinator, Director of Athletics and Security: 253.800.4303; Section 504/ADA Coordinator, Executive Director of Special Education: 253.800.2300; Civil Rights Compliance Coordinator, Director of Equity and Achievement: 253.800.2019. All individuals may be reached at this address: 516 176th Street East, Spanaway, WA 98387. // El Distrito Escolar de Bethel no discrimina en sus programas o actividades por motivos de sexo, raza, credo, religión, color, nacionalidad, edad, condición de veterano de guerra o grado militar, orientación sexual, expresión de género o identidad, discapacidad o uso de perro guía entrenado o animal de servicio, además ofrece igualdad de acceso a los Boy Scouts y a otros grupos de jóvenes especificados. El empleado mencionado a continuación ha sido designado para atender consultas y quejas de supuesta discriminación: Coordinador del Título IX, Director de Atletismo y Seguridad: 253.800.4303; Coordinadora de Sección 504/ADA, Directora Ejecutiva de Educación Especial: 253.800.2300; Coordinadora de Cumplimiento de Derechos Civiles Directora de Equidad y Logro: 253.800.2019. Todas las personas pueden ser contactadas en esta dirección: 516 176th Street East, Spanaway, WA 98387.