Students from Brier Terrace Middle School came before the Edmonds School District Board of Directors Jan. 29 to present public service announcements on issues they believed to be important.
“When most people think of Brier Terrace, they think of the STEM program, but Brier Terrace is so much more,” said Principal David Golden. “Tonight we wanted to highlight the other side of our program, which is humanities.”
Beth Poole, an English and social studies teacher at Brier Terrace, said it is important for students to understand who they are, which she said can be difficult for middle schoolers.
“We start with first learning about ourselves so we can learn history better,” she said. “My hope is not only to grow them individually, but also as citizens of this country.”
Students presented short videos on topics like stereotypes, racism, bullying and voting. Presentations showcased the students’ creativity while also providing well-researched information.
“Stereotypes can affect the decisions of important people like police officers and politicians,” said eighth-grader Ianna Liaw. “For example, black drivers are 31 percent more likely to be pulled over by police officers than white drivers.”
Students also discussed the issue of bullying and involved other students in the school by conducting a poll of bullied students at their school.
“In a survey conducted at our school, almost 20 percent of students said they are or have been involved in bullying,” said eighth-grader Kaylee Meyers.
On the topic of racism, students used Native Americans and the “blatant racism” against them as an example.
“We pretend these people don’t exist and discrimination against Native Americans has become automatic for many of us,” said eighth-grader Zoe Teran. “Take the Washington Redskins for example — their mascot is a ‘typical’ Indian man and their team name is a racial slur.”
Board President Diana White praised the work of the students, particularly the students who presented the topic of racism toward Native Americans.
“Being a Native American person myself, I really appreciate this message, because I know there’re are a lot of people who think we’re a lost culture” she said.
The Edmonds School Board also recognized the individuals and groups who have worked with the district’s capital projects department on the “aggressive construction schedule” funded by the 2014 capital bond approved by voters.
“In the last five years, they have overseen and executed over $320 million of construction,” said Executive Director of Business and Operations Stewart Mhyre. “We are very, very lucky to have such an accomplished team.”
The next bond measure will be before voters in 2020, and it will include another round of projects for the district, Mhyre said.
The month of January is School Board Recognition Month, and board members were recognized for their work during the meeting.
“The state of Washington does a lot to recognize the service of these incredible elected officials,” said Superintendent Kris McDuffy. “They work tirelessly on our behalf to be sure we have the best public school system we can have.”
Members of the superintendent’s cabinet took turns reading a proclamation from Gov. Jay Inslee that praised school board directors for “playing a crucial role in promoting student learning and achievement by creating a vision, establishing policies and budgets and setting clear standards of accountability for all involved.”
The school board also heard financial reports from Mhyre covering the months of November and December 2018. The reports can be viewed on the school board’s agenda here.
–Story and photos by Cody Sexton