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Page turned in Coupeville school history
Over the past five years, the Coupeville School District has seen changes ranging from the completion of a new high school to a trimming of approximately 10 percent of its budget.
The school district saw another change Friday when Superintendent Patty Page finished her tenure in the Coupeville School District. She announced her resignation in the spring so she can take the superintendent position in the North Kitsap School District.
Despite the recent budget problems, she expressed pride in the staff’s dedicated efforts to give students on Central Whidbey a good education.
“We really have done a good job at changing the focus from teaching to learning,” Page said, describing how education has changed in Coupeville over the years. She said she continued a process that started before her arrival. Curriculum has been realigned, professional learning communities have been strengthened and learning goals have been attained.
The school district’s performance in state assessments has improved to where officials received recognition this year from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for student performance in language arts. It was the second time in as many years the school district earned such distinction.
Page reminded people of some of the challenges the school district will continue to face after she leaves Coupeville.
The school district will have to continue to adjust because of its changing demographics, happening at a time when state and federal funds continue to decrease.
She noted that the school district is seeing more students qualify for free and reduced lunches, more students from different ethnic groups and more special education students in recent years. She added the school district also works with Readiness to Learn to help identify and assist homeless students living on Whidbey Island.
The demographic changes in the district come as officials have been making painful cuts in recent years. Those cuts included the elimination of teaching and support positions along with increasing fees for students and residents.
On a brighter note, the school district saw an enrollment increase starting with the 2011 school year, which prompted the hiring of additional staff and boosted the district’s fund reserve.
“I’m leaving the district in very solid financial shape,” Page said.
The Coupeville School District is also improving the technology staff and students’ use of technology. Page said when she started in the school district five years ago, 90 percent of the district’s computers didn’t meet state standards.
Thanks to a technology levy approved by voters two years ago, the school district is able to make upgrades, which include computer labs, wireless network and the addition of online portable devices.
She added that staff members are looking at ways to integrate students’ electronic devices into the classroom.
The changes aren’t being done for the sake of technology, but because it’s the world students live in, Page said.
A temporary replacement has been named to fill Page’s position.
Karen Koschak was named interim superintendent last month. She will hold the spot for one year while the school district conducts a search for a permanent superintendent. She starts work in Coupeville in July.