The following are actions and discussions by the Yelm Community Schools Board of Directors and district officials during the Thursday, Sept. 26, regular school board meeting at the district office.
• The school district recognized 29 elementary educators and presented them with the Excellence in Teaching awards during the board meeting. Lisa Cadero-Smith, assistant superintendent of K-12 education and student learning, said the educators recognized represented some of the most dedicated educators in the district who strive for student growth. Of those recognized, four were from McKenna Elementary, four were from Mill Pond Elementary, one was from Lackamas Elementary, five were from Prairie Elementary, six were from Southworth Elementary and six were from Fort Stevens Elementary.
• The board of directors approved four new hires and five resignations, retirements and terminations.
• The directors accepted approximately $15,520 in donations and gifts, which includes the Thomas Family Foundation’s second donation of $11,000 to go toward science education materials at Yelm High School. Last school year, the district accepted a $13,000 donation. These funds have helped the high school’s science department modernize its teaching curriculum.
• It was reported that seven individual pledges have signed on to Graduate Yelm!
• Facilities Director Chris Hansen presented the board a resolution to pass the 2019-2024 district Capital Facilities Plan, which outlines the district’s vision for repairs and facility additions over the next six years. One particular section of the report showed Yelm Community Schools as a whole are over capacity by nearly 1,340 students, with an expected increase of 500 additional students within the next six years if the district does not address the matter. The greatest needs are seen at the elementary schools and at the high school, and the district has attempted to address this problem with additional portable buildings. The district currently has 95 such buildings in commission. New projects, such as the Yelm Middle School and Southworth Elementary rebuild, are projected to positively benefit the district’s capacity over the next six years. Superintendent Brian Wharton said the number of projects over the next six years is expected to slow down due to McCleary funding discrepancies.
• Education specifications for the Southworth Elementary rebuild will be brought to the board during its Oct. 10 meeting. This document will help the architectural firm identify the needs of each classroom in the new school. Education specifications for the Yelm Middle School rebuild were published last July.
• Bond project manager Kasey Wyatt said designs for the district-wide safety improvements funded by the school bond will be finished in late November.
• During his regular report to the board, Wharton said since the new football field reopened in August, Yelm High School has used the new turf field more times than last year. He also said that approximately 757 high school students were expected to attend the Homecoming dance that Saturday at Yelm High School. The high school football team won their Homecoming game 42-18 against Gig Harbor.