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Photo Courtesy: Yelm Community Schools

This report is the second in a series highlighting Yelm Community Schools ahead of a crucial February 14, 2012 Replacement Levy.
Read more from the first report.
The time has come that our schools are no longer “Yelm’s best kept secret.”

This writer had the distinct pleasure of being a visitor at Lackamas School in the Bald Hills on Thursday, December 8 for a campus tour escorted by Kurt Fourre, Lackamas Principal. Mr. Fourre was raised in Puget Sound and served in the Kent, WA & Tenino School Districts and the Yelm Community Schools Administrative Offices prior to being named Lackamas Principal 3 years ago.

Kurt explained Lackamas opened 7 years ago, and is a K-6th grade school, which means this year’s 6th graders will be the very first to have attended Lackamas for all 7 years. The main buildings were originally built in 1914 and have been beautifully restored to their original splendor, being brought up to date to modern codes, yet providing a wide array of functionality, void of coldness of the usual concrete/glass structures built today. One houses the office, a few classrooms, maintenance staff and teachers’ study, the other building is the gym, which also is used as the cafeteria area. The balance of the buildings are very strategically placed and comfortable portable buildings.
Read more about Lackamas School.

Mr. Fourre’s enthusiasm for kids was felt immediately upon entry and his popularity amongst his own office staff, teachers and students in all the classes we visited was genuine and sincere. I could not help but notice the affection Kurt received from students we passed along the way. This is a testament to this man’s nature and his work!

While all I encountered were exceptional, there were a few things that stood out in my mind:
– Mrs. Adams works with very small groups of children (six at a time) that are on the lower end of the spectrum in reading skills and assists them in moving from the bottom of their group’s skill-set to becoming more competent in basic abilities. If Yelm Community Schools (YCS) Replacement Levy does not pass, this is a program that would be in jeopardy. The performance jump attributed to Lackamas’s recognition (see below) are from classes like this that work with small groups of children, Kurt explained. This is a Title I special program funded by the state and when the state cuts funding to education, YCS’s goal is to keep funding directly to the kids, so their levy is relied upon to support these types of vital programs.

– Kurt stated that his desire and indeed, the intent of all of his colleagues at other schools, is to keep the budget cuts away from the classroom as much as they can. This was underscored by Superintendent Wolf on the schools bus tour a few weeks ago.

– Another standout was the 6th grade class of Teacher Reenie Morgan. They were engaged, open to questions and an exchange with a visitor and excited to share their math curriculum being taught, encouraged by Ms. Morgan. Of course, these are students of the “upper class” in this school!

Ms. Nass employs a unique teaching technique I observed, having 4 students sharing one table in “pods.” Clearly, teachers using this format have to be on their toes to utilize this teaching method properly. I thought how much I would have liked that when I went to school.

In closing, Principal Fourre said the key to the progress at Lackamas is collaboration – staff, parents & teachers and all strive to have no issues.
Read more from KOMO-TV 4 in Seattle.


If you would like further information about the Yelm Community Schools Replacement Levy on February 14, 2012, I encourage you to contact YCS Community Relations Coordinator Denise Bagwell. click here.

“Lackamas Elementary was named as a 2011 School of Distinction.”
“This award recognizes Lackamas as one of the 5% highest improving schools in the state of Washington for Reading and Math achievement over the past five years. Only 53 elementary schools across the state earned this honor.

Principal Kurt Fourre credited the school’s improvement to the hard work, programs and processes the staff have put in place to help students achieve at high levels. ‘I am very proud of the commitment our staff has to the district’s mission and vision,’ he said. ‘The Lackamas staff is truly ‘dedicated to learning and achievement.” District-wide initiatives such as Response to Intervention helped create smaller groups for struggling learners,” quoting YCS.
Read more from Yelm Community Schools (YCS).

Posted by Steve on December 9, 2011 at 5:27 am | Permalink

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One comment

  1. It was a pleasure showing Mr. Klein around Lackamas Elementary. It is clear that he has a genuine desire to see that the children of Yelm receive the best possible opportunity to learn and grow.

    Comment by Kurt Fourre on December 9, 2011 at 10:43 am

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