North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center Natural Resources Program – An open letter for support

From supporters of the program:

Dear supporters of the North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center Natural Resources program,

Your efforts leading up to and at the 4/28 Skills Center Administrative Council meeting allowed us to turn a corner in our effort to retain the Skills Center Natural Resources program.  Today saw encouraging developments in that the program has been verified as profitable (~$37K profit for 2014-15), and the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is willing to help the Skills Center fix some minor compliance issues with the current Natural Resources program delivery model.

Today, 5/6 at 1 pm at the Skills Center, the Administrative Council meets to vote on the future of the program.

Your attendance and participation in the most clear, respectful and civil way possible will help ensure the program’s survival and success.

To learn more, please visit http://nrprogram.weebly.com and read the following points:

  • The program has now been demonstrated to be a net revenue producer.  This fully addresses the most widely alleged shortcoming of the program.
  • Multiple other alleged concerns have either been determined to be completely unfounded, or have been identified as easily resolvable.
  • Appropriate staff at OSPI have already indicated a readiness to assist in addressing any of these residual compliance and administrative concerns—including appropriate minor adjustments required to ensure proper alignment of the course structure & content with the instructor’s credentials.
  • There is extensive community support for continuation and expansion of the program, as demonstrated in two Administrative Council meetings, two PASD board meetings, and numerous other contacts and expressions of support.  The NOPSC and the respective school districts can count on increased involvement and assistance from existing partners, the program advisory committee, and the broader constituency that has shown its support.

Given all the above:

  • There is no logical reason to discontinue the program.
  • To the extent that Skills Center finances are a driving concern, it is clear that this program is a significant positive component in the Skills Center’s overall bottom line, with every reason to expect further growth.
  • Particularly in the financial context, it would be completely counterproductive to discontinue a program with a positive revenue stream, an established curriculum and constituency, and extensive community attention and support, only to try substituting any new program that would be starting from scratch.
  • The program has significant potential to expand in several ways, including closer relationships with existing partners, addition of more partners, and potential development of curriculum continuity into college-level content.
  • The remaining compliance and administrative issues, acknowledged by agency staff as being easily resolvable and in no way program-threatening, are essentially no different than the sort of periodic administrative and compliance issues that all Skills Center programs are accountable for or called upon to address in the normal progression and evolution of educational programs.

In spite of the above, it is possible that a resolution may be introduced to fully or partially lay off teacher Dan Lieberman or discontinue the NR program.  Please come to Wednesday’s meeting with the above information in mind.

Working to save the North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center Natural Resources Program

Ed Chadd has sent this out and I thought I would share it with our readers. Please help save this great program that is educating kids in our natural resources.

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Dear supporters of the NOPSC Natural Resources program,

It appears that there will be one final and very reasonable chance to save the Skills Center Natural Resources program at the upcoming NOPSC Administrative Council meeting:

Tuesday, April 28 at 9 am at the Skills Center (905 W. 9th St., Port Angeles)

You can do any or all of the following:

1. Attend the meeting and invite as many other people as you can.

  1. Be prepared to speak if the opportunity presents itself.
    3. Write statements in support of the NR Program and email them to Tara Morrow (tmorrow1008@gmail.com– cc’d here). Please include your name and physical address.
    4. Send those same statements directly to the NOPSC Administrative Council and PASD School Board (email addresses below).

    If you have any questions or time to contribute in ways beyond the items listed above, please respond.

Some interesting recent developments include these:

* The State AG’s office has informed PASD and NOSPC that the Administrative Council meetings should but have not been following the Open Public Meetings Act. One penalty is that all actions taken at out-of-compliance meetings are null and void.
* This upcoming week, PASD’s Business and Finance Director plans to produce the official Natural Resources program financial report and have it available at the 4/23 PASD School Board meeting in case any School Board members ask to see it (she has never been asked to create a financial report for the NR program).
* A very reasonable solution that could be pursued, if decision makers are willing, is to run the NR program as “CTE Instructional Worksite Learning” instead of “Alternative Learning Experience (ALE).” The current program structure fits both of these sets of state rules, but in 2010, NOPSC decided to run the NR Options and NR 2 classes through the ALE rules.  Changing to CTE would address a concern about ALE, namely that CTE is funded at a higher rate than ALE, and it would allow all parties to compromise while still offering this valuable program.

Thanks, Ed Chadd

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