VANCOUVER, Wash. -- Evergreen School District's new superintendent John Steach is ready for a great school year.
Tuesday he met with students at Henrietta Lacks Health and Bioscience High School, known as Hela High, as students gathered for an orientation.
Steach said this year the district is making changes to help its students, including providing supplies for elementary schools, buses for special after-school programs, and even breakfast, lunch and dinner for about 500 secondary students.
“We’ve really, at Evergreen, embraced the fact that education is more than just about academics. It’s about taking care of the whole child,” Steach said. “With our poverty rates increasing over the last decade, over half of our kids qualify for free and reduced lunch.”
Last year, Evergreen made headlines for pushing back the start time for high schools an hour. Steach said this year those new start times will remain the same.
“Anecdotally, when you talk to students and you talk to staff members, we think there have been a lot of intangible benefits that the students have gained,” he said. “Some of our behavioral programs report that students who have struggles with behavior historically do better with being able to sleep in and come a bit later, and that’s one of the things we have really picked up on.”
This new school year the district is working on going digital. About 15,000 Chrome books will be passed out to middle and high school students this fall.
“We’re going to be rolling out one-to-one devices for all 6th though 12th grade students in the district,” said Steach. “Through those devices teachers will be able to access and customize curriculum and resources to individual students.”