Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year!
Yelm Community Schools enjoyed incredible success during the 2018-19 school year, and the new school year brings great hope and expectation for our students and staff. Here are a few of the many highlights from this past year.
- The launch of our Eureka math curriculum K-5 was a huge success. Student achievement in math across the district rose, especially at 3rd and 4th grade where we significantly exceeded the state average.
- Mill Pond and Ridgeline Middle School joined Lackamas, McKenna and Yelm Middle School as No Excuses University Network Schools.
- The graduating class of 2019 received more than $3 million in scholarship offers.
- Across the district in English Language Arts and Math, 61 classrooms demonstrated proficiency at rates that greatly exceeded the state. That is a 33% increase from the previous year.
- 36 Yelm adults earned they high school diploma through our High School 21+ partnership with SPSCC.
- Tornado Alley was completed at Yelm High School making the entrance to the school much safer for drivers and pedestrians.
- A new double classroom portable was added at the growing Lackamas Elementary.
- Yelm High School’s stadium surface was converted to synthetic turf, with new lights and scoreboard. This upgrade makes the stadium a community-use facility.
- Thanks to our generous community, our construction bond measure passed last February which will result in new school buildings for Yelm Middle School and Southworth Elementary. The design process for both campuses is underway and we will break ground for Yelm Middle School in March.
- The facilities operation currently at Yelm Middle School will move to the Fort Stevens campus this fall.
- We exceeded our goal of 100 Graduate Yelm! partners and will start the new school year with 104 businesses, civic groups and faith-based organizations committed to supporting our goal of 100% graduation in Yelm.
- Our new goal for Graduate Yelm! partners is 150 before the end of the 2019-20 school year.
- We will also launch a new campaign to sign on Graduate Yelm! individual partners. This new venture will encourage individuals to spread the word about graduation in their neighborhoods and contacts. We need everyone’s help in supporting students.
Looking ahead to 2019-20, we will continue to work toward our Strategic Plan goals. Here are some of the major themes of our work heading into the new year.
- The highly regarded AVID program will be implemented in grades 6-12 to support graduation readiness at our secondary schools.
- Design work for Yelm Middle School, Southworth Elementary and our safety projects will continue throughout the year.
- Construction of the new Yelm Middle School will begin this spring.
- Construction of Phase 1 of our safety projects will begin in the summer of 2020.
- Increase our Graduate Yelm! Network to at least 150 partners and launch our new Graduate Yelm! pledge for individual partners.
As we head into year four of our Strategic Plan, we remain firmly committed to our guiding beliefs to be learning focused, student centered, results oriented and community connected. The school board continues to strive to provide equity for all students, and to remove any barriers to student achievement. We know that poverty, access to social and health services, homelessness and historical barriers can impact learning, and our district is committed to the success of each child in our schools.
Brian Wharton became Superintendent of Yelm Community Schools in July of 2016. His education career started as a high school English teacher and coach in Spokane. He moved to Western Washington in 1988 and worked with the North Thurston Public Schools until 2010. His administrative roles included Nisqually Middle School Principal, River Ridge High School Principal, and Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources.
Brian began working in Yelm Community Schools in 2010 as principal of Yelm High School before being appointed Superintendent. His education background includes his bachelor’s degree from Whitworth University, master’s degree from Western Washington University, his Principal Credential from Central Washington University, and his Superintendent’s Credential from Washington State University. In the past two years, Brian led the board in re-designing the Strategic Plan guiding the district's work around four core beliefs: Student Centered, Learning Focused, Results Oriented and Community Connected. Through that work, the district has developed numerous partnerships with the City of Yelm, South Puget Sound Community College, Together! of Thurston County, JBLM, Nisqually Indian Tribe, Behavioral Health Resources (BHR), and Yelm and Thurston County Chambers to support the board goals. In 2017 the District launched Graduate Yelm!, a community impact initiative designed to support graduation for all district students.