February 2024

Welcome to Foundations, an e-newsletter focused on highlighting how our community's tax dollars through bonds and levies support student learning and achievement while modernizing and maintaining our school buildings.

Extracurricular Excellence

Kentwood and Kentlake cheer squads took home state championships at the WIAA State Cheer Competition at Battle Ground High School February first through third.

Kentwood Traditional completely dominated their division, defending their state title and winning with a 13 point lead over the second-place team. Kentwood Gameday competed in a tough division and sealed the deal, winning their division by less than a point!

They aren't done yet! Kentwood will be heading to Anaheim to compete at USA Nationals in two weeks where they will tackle five total divisions: Traditional, Gameday, Fight Song, Band Dance, and Cheer.

The Kentlake Falcons cheer team gave an outstanding performance in one of the biggest divisions of the day, and took first place in the 3A Small Gameday Division, crowning them state champions! The day was a dream, full of excitement, joy, and of course Falcon pride!

Congratulations to both teams on their success!

KSD thanks our voters for the successful passage of the Replacement Educational Programs & Operations Levy. Neither the state nor the federal government subsidizes extracurricular activities, including athletics, although they are critical for our students and their personal development. Please visit our website to learn more about how local funding from our community supports these activities. 

The following is a brief summary of work the maintenance and facilities teams addressed following the freezing weather event in the middle of January:

  • Central Kitchen (broken domestic water line in boiler room) no interior damage – Maintenance is repairing domestic water make-up line to boiler. Completed.

  • Canyon Ridge Middle (drum drip) no interior damage – vendor repaired January 23. Completed.

  • Daniel Elementary (spigot and exterior fire sprinkler pipe) no interior damage – vendor repaired spigot January 23. The fire sprinkler system was repaired on January 16. Completed.

  • Lake Youngs Elementary (drum drip) no interior damage – vendor repaired January 23. Completed.

  • Neely O’Brien (drum drip) no interior damage. Leak found by cold weather team – vendor completed repairs January 16. Completed.

  • Northwood Middle (exterior fire sprinkler head) no interior damage – vendor repaired sprinkler heads on January 16. Completed.

  • East Hill Elementary (external fire sprinkler head) slight flooding in one office. Water was removed at once, and fans put in place for drying the carpet. Office was able to be used the following day. The vendor will install two dry heads when they arrive. In progress.

  • French Field (water pipe in shop and custodial closet) no interior damage – Maintenance scheduling repairs. Completed.

  • Mill Creek Middle (exterior spigot, broken fire sprinkler line in library, and domestic water line in exterior wall of bldg. A) Library, counseling area, and two offices flooded - areas dewatered and cleaned up. Holes drilled in walls and casework removed to access damage. Drying took several days. Drywall was replaced and painted, and bookshelves reinstalled. Shut off valves were added to the domestic water lines that feed the science room upstairs so the rest of the building can have water until permanent repairs can be made. The fire sprinkler system repaired January 17. Damaged sheetrock removed. Next step is to repair drywall and replace water lines that supply science classroom and insulate space where pipes run. Exterior spigot repaired January 23. The counselor’s office repair was completed. In progress.

  • Meridian Elementary (broken fire sprinkler line and drum drip) leak found by cold weather team. Water in three classrooms and hall. Removed water and cleaned up the area. Room 117 has ceiling damage and was not able to be used. Drying took several days. Casework removed to evaluate wall. A vendor repaired the fire sprinkler line on January 18. The vendor completed repairs in room 117. Completed.

  • Sunrise (spigot) repaired, no interior damage. Completed.

  • Transportation (broken water line) – leak found by cold weather team. Flooding in hall, bathrooms, and main office areas. Water removed and areas cleaned up. Holes drilled in walls and fans and dehumidifiers in place. Removed items mounted to wall below leak to evaluate. Interior drying and cleanup complete. Transportation staff put offices back in place. Domestic water line repaired by Maintenance. The vendor removed, reinsulated, and replaced drywall ceiling in the parking area. Carpet replacement currently being scheduled. In progress.

The cold weather team spent 44 hours checking buildings. The Environmental Services Team spent 159 hours removing water and cleaning up spaces. Maintenance spent 191 hours making repairs and helping address concerns, adding up to 394 hours total.

Matthew Tardif, the head of our risk management department, commented on the efforts of our staff: "The rapid response by everyone involved with no significant loss of learning time is nothing short of heroic." This event is under review to be considered worthy of designation as a federal disaster.

Thank you to everyone involved in this immense effort to ensure our buildings are safe for our staff and students.

Photos of the flooding in our transportation building.

The Lake Youngs Elementary window project was completed in the summer of 2023 with funds from the 2018 Capital & Technology Levy. This work included:

  • Removing aluminum trim plates and original single pane glass.
  • Installing interior wood trim to match framing.
  • Setting new insulated double pane windows.
  • Installing aluminum trim to cover and finish window edges.
  • Installing roller shades.

Another Lake Youngs Elementary project included the playground being replaced over the summer break with funds from the 2018 Capital & Technology Levy. This work included:

  • Grinding asphalt to base and removing unsuitable material.
  • Over excavating areas with poor compaction and setting structural fill.
  • Replacing catch basins.
  • Compacting the base.
  • Paving new asphalt over the playground.
  • Setting temporary striping for game lines.

An additional 2018 Levy project was the replacement of the Central Kitchen exhaust fans. This work included:

  • Removing and replacing exhaust fans
  • Replacing curb adaptors
  • Electrical disconnect and reconnect
  • Replacing stainless steel burner rack and gas manifold
  • Cleaning, start-up, and testing

For more information and details, view the 2018 Capital Project List.

Learn More

The Technology Support Services team, in partnership with the Networking team, worked on resolving ongoing issues with the reader board at Covington Elementary School. The Reader Board stopped working, so the Maintenance department replaced a component to resolve the issue.

The screen is now working, but the Covington Elementary staff could not change the information on the display. After much troubleshooting by the technology teams, it was discovered that the issue was network related due to network traffic being blocked by the district’s web filter.

Pictured above is Technology Support Specialist Lane Kuxhausen who manages the reader boards for the district, along with Network Engineer Carey Christoph.

Building Bridges to a Successful Future

Julie Gibson

Julie Gibson is a Kentlake school counselor whose daily contributions positively influences students in all aspects of their education and beyond. In recognition of last week being National School Counseling Week, we're thrilled to highlight her this month!

National School Counseling Week is always celebrated the first full week in February. The 2024 theme is "School Counseling: Standards-Based, Student-Focused."

The Educational Programs & Operations Levy supports our amazing counselors by contributing to salaries above the state level, ensuring we retain top talent in our district and for our students.

Tell me a little about yourself in a personal as well as a professional capacity. 

I have been married to my husband Drew for 29 years and we are looking forward to celebrating our 30th with a fun “to be determined” trip. We have three adult daughters and two adorable grandsons. When I am not at work, I really enjoy hiking, being in the mountains, reading, cooking and time with family and friends.

How long have you worked for the Kent School District and what's the journey that brought you here?

I have been working as a School Counselor for the Kent School District for 9 years. I earned my bachelor’s degree in social work from Minnesota State University Moorhead and worked with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for many years before returning to school to get my Masters in School Counseling. Both of my parents were teachers, and I have many great memories of the school environment being a big part of my family’s community. I am not surprised that my own career path brought me into the field of education.

Where does your passion for supporting students through counseling come from?

As I mentioned, having parents who were teachers influenced my love for the field of education. I believe my passion for supporting students in a counseling role originated from my family raising foster children. I saw the impact our family was making on children, and I was very drawn to that. School Counseling allows me to be in the educational environment while supporting students social, academic, and career goals.

In your experience, how have you witnessed students benefitting from the support of school counselors?

School counselors can assist students in so many ways, whether they are providing an important guidance lesson to an entire grade level, facilitating a small group, helping a student during a challenging family situation, providing advice on career pathways, or writing a letter of recommendation for college. We have lots of data with the numbers of students that are supported by school counselors, but I wanted to share just a few of the thank you’s I’ve received from students who have benefited from a school counselors’ support:

“Thank you for believing in me and pushing me to keep going.”

“Thank you for being there when I needed it.”

“Thank you for helping me get on the right path.”

“Thank you for caring about my education but also caring for me as a person.”

“I want to thank you for supporting me when no one else was.” 

What has been the biggest reward for you in being a school counselor?

The rewards are many, but I think the biggest reward is graduation day. When I see my students on the graduation stage receiving their diplomas, I realize how privileged I am to know their story. I have seen their challenges, their hardships, their strengths, and their successes and to now witness their graduation day, likely their biggest accomplishment at this point of their life is remarkable.

Starting fresh in 2024, what are you most looking forward to this year?

Growing! Every year I want to grow as a School Counselor and make the biggest impact I can on my students and the amazing staff I work with.  

Remember to Vote

Kent School District encourages everyone eligible to vote in every election to make their voices heard. The February 2024 Special Election deadline to vote is today, February 13. Please visit the King County Elections website to learn more about the Special Election, including what's on the ballot. 

Learn More

Do you have a student or staff member to feature in Foundations?

Let us know at [email protected]

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