Diana Reaume, QVSD Superintendent, was recently a guest speaker at a weekly meeting of the West End Business and Professional Association. Reaume shared with the group that this year is a special one as she has seen this year’s graduating class of 2019 grow and learn in her past 13 years at QVSD.
“I have known this year’s graduating class since they were in Kindergarten, it has been fun to watch them grow up.”
Reaume has been at QVSD for the past 13 years in several positions and most recently as Superintendent.
She shared some positive news as well as concerning news with the group regarding the future at QVSD.
“We are seeing a trend of families moving to the cities for jobs,” Reaume shared. This shift has resulted in a decline in enrollment at QVSD which means a decline in funding.
A bright spot in the scheme of things is the online school QVSD hosts. The online program has 2,350 students from across the state and has added $5 million to the district in funding.
Forks High School has 14 Running Start students, for which no State funding is received. The demographics at QVSD is 47 percent white, 12 percent native, 33 percent Hispanic. Seventy percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch fees. A program that provides backpacks with food for the weekends has about 50 students participating. Each Friday the students get sent home with meals, Reaume said that the local Soroptimists help with the program.
“Despite the McCleary decision it is not fully funding schools, there are many changes because of McCleary,” Reaume said.
“The student to teacher ratio continues to be a challenge, we employ 200 people and have a budget of $41 million.”
One bright spot has been the teacher mentoring program. Reaume shared that the district was seeing 22 percent of new teachers leaving after the first year, now the retention is at 92 percent. “Everyone is now helping with retaining teachers,” Reaume said, adding, “It can be hard, no malls no movie theater, it is hard for them to mesh with the community.”
The mentoring program helps teachers new to the area learn where things are and supports them as they get used to our rural community.
“Students need to learn to read by the third grade if they can’t read they can’t learn,” Reaume said, “We want to offer a quality program and prepare students for college or whatever path they choose.”
Reaume told the group that seventh and eighth graders get the opportunity to visit college campuses as well as vocational colleges. “There is so much technology in today’s jobs, we need to train students for the 22nd century.”
Reaume said that this year has seen the most student participation in winter sports activities, as well as good participation in the music program and a new strings program offered this year.
As far as the campus Reaume is looking to replace the alternative school building in June with a portable unit. The stadium has been put on the backburner for a while as budget worries in the next three years loom.
“In three years I foresee massive budget cuts as McCleary funding goes away,” Reaume said. “We will need to continue funding wages, health insurance, pensions, and so many unfunded mandates, such as school security and mental health issues. This is not a sustainable model to fund schools.”
Other impacts on student numbers at QVSD could be the new Quileute Tribal School.
One of the most recent investments in school security has been a large number of cameras, “The cameras we have installed have paid for themselves over and over and several more will be installed on the football field soon,” Reaume said.
Staff training with regard to security is ongoing at QVSD and the district’s hazard mitigation plan is proceeding with the addition recently of a large generator. In the event of a disaster, the generator will provide power to parts of the school to offer a shelter, kitchen and laundry facility. The school is partnering with the Red Cross in this effort in case of an emergency.
Reaume invites the community to ask questions and early next year she hopes to facilitate a roundtable dinner with the school board members and a group of students.