The first day of school is approaching fast and Jenkins Jr./Sr. High School is preparing for new staff, new coaches, and, once again, a new schedule.
Four new staff members and four new head coaches have joined this year’s Jenkins staff to bring a variety of new experience to the group.
Sue Fisk has taken over as the new school counselor to fill a vacancy left when Christina Potter resigned. Prior to taking the position, Fisk was a counselor at Colville High School.
Cameron Gump, a recent graduate of Eastern Washington University, will teach high school P.E. including weights class and lifetime fitness, plus a section of junior high algebra. He takes over the teaching position that opened when Jim Fisk retired at the end of the school year.
New science teacher Jenny Youngblood fills the position vacated by long-time Chewelah teacher Jim Biancardi, who is now teaching at Deer Park High School. Most recently, Youngblood was a long-term substitute at Mount Spokane High School. Jenkins Principal Shawn Anderson said she has experience teaching biology and chemistry courses, which is what she will be teaching in Chewelah, in addition to a new forensic sciences class.
John Johnson joins the staff as a special education teacher. He fills a position vacated by Jami Nielsen who resigned after one year to move out of state. According to Anderson, Johnson is looking forward to being back in the classroom since owning and operating his own business for the last several years.
As for new head coaches hired this year: Tyler Goldman is coaching varsity basketball, taking over the program from Jason Norman. Sawyer Bardwell is coaching varsity baseball after the resignation of Luke Jeanneret, who coached the team for seven years. Bardwell has also been hired to teach fifth grade at Gess. Science teacher Levi Hogan has taken over the Chewelah football program since Jim Fisk retired. His assistants include Cody Peone, Tom Skok and Cameron Gump. Finally, a new varsity wrestling coach is set to be hired this week since Justin Newby resigned after one season.
The Jenkins Jr./Sr. High School’s daily class schedule will now include seven periods versus last year’s six. The two-semester system remains the same.
Anderson, in his second year at JJSHS, said the seven period schedule offers more flexibility for students to take a larger variety of classes compared to the six-period schedule, although there is less time for each period. Each period will be 50 minutes long instead of an hour.
Vice principal and Athletic Director Pat Gaffney said this year Washington State increased the number of required credits to graduate from 20 to 24. The new schedule increases the amount of classes they could offer to give students a better chance at completing what is required.
There are also more sections available of required class option and less chance for students to have conflicts with scheduling the classes they need or want.
Anderson said students also have more time in their schedule to take elective classes. This change is especially notable at the middle school level where each student must take five required core classes each semester.
Gaffney said one drawback for the new seven-period schedule is less time in the classroom for classes like PE and lab sciences. They also want to communicate with the teachers to keep in mind that students have a bigger class load when assigning homework.
In fall 2014, when Jenkins Jr./Sr. High School first consolidated the middle school and high school, the trimester schedule (implemented in 2009) gave the high school students five periods a day while the middle school had seven periods a day. Switching to a six-period semester schedule last year aligned all the passing periods for the high school and junior high students, except for having separate lunch times.
Last year, Jenkins High conducted a survey for feedback on what classes students would be interested in taking, which dictated some new class offerings for this coming school year.
The high school will be offering a forensic science class as an elective science credit, which will be taught by Jenny Youngblood. Anderson said the class is picking up popularity in other schools and curriculums have been established in the recent years.
He also said said one of his own goals is to be able to offer more traditional PE classes and move away from weight training-focused physical education. Lifetime fitness includes different aerobic exercise, CrossFit training, plyometrics, and strength training. He said the plans for the class in the future include integrating cross-country skiing, mountain biking and hiking. But according to student’s surveys, weight training was still preferred by most students.
This year the high school is adding two “bridges” courses, one for math and one for English/Language arts, which is a new curriculum to help students become college ready. Junior and seniors who did not pass state standardized testing (receiving a score of 2 instead of a 3) will be able to take the class, which gives them a little different learning and teaching approach on those subjects. Those who receive a grade B or better in Bridges will automatically qualify for the 101 level courses for English or Math at Eastern Washington University or any junior college.
The school will continue to offer six AP options: AP US History, AP World History, AP 11 English, AP 12 English, and AP Art opportunities. Classes are open to juniors or seniors to receive college credit, although AP World is available to sophomores. Students must pass the AP end of the year exam to receive college credit.
Also, since high school foreign language credits are required to attend a four-year university, Anderson said every student is placed in Spanish, although their parents have the ability to sign a waiver to get them out.
OPEN HOUSE AUG. 29
The first day of school for K-12 in the Chewelah School District is Wednesday, Aug. 31.
The District will be hosting its before school Open House on Monday, Aug. 29 at 5 p.m. at Gess Elementary. Dinner will be served in the cafeteria and then students and parents will be released to meet their teachers, get their class schedules, sign up for lockers and visit classrooms.
By Kellie Trudeau / The Independent Staff