North Beach

School District


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    All students are goal-oriented, independent, resilient and confident risk-takers, who believe in their power to embrace learning and to EXCEL.

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    North Beach School District is committed to fostering an environment that will educate, nurture, motivate and graduate critical thinkers, who are respectful leaders, skillful communicators, and contributing members of the local and global community.

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  • Pacific Beach Students Make Kelly “Blue” for Academic Gains!

    "This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things that you can cultivate through your efforts.” Carol Dweck

    The North Beach School District has taken on the ambitious task of transforming the academic performance of all its students in answer to the mandate of the school board and the belief of Superintendent Andrew Kelly.

    Superintendent Kelly with blue hair Sometimes, transforming student achievement requires being willing to transform yourself. And while it’s serious work, there’s even room to be a little silly.

    On Monday, December 10, Superintendent Kelly delivered on a promise to dye his hair “Pacific Beach Elementary School blue” if the students in Will Oak’s 5/6th grade classroom showed significant growth on their interim iReady assessments in English Language Arts and Mathematics.

    Superintendent Kelly’s challenge to the 29 students in Oak’s classroom was to show aggregate growth of 10 points per student, for a total gain of at least 290 points in English Language Arts (ELA) and 290 points in math. The class exceeded expectations, gaining 297 points in ELA and 309 points in math.

    All schools in the district designate students’ achievement with a color. Green means that students are right at grade level. Yellow means kids are approaching grade level. Red means students are well below grade level. Superintendent Kelly gave Oaks an alternate way to win the challenge, by having at least six students advanced a “color” designation, thereby moving all kids closer to performing at grade level standards. Mr. Oaks is happy to report that his kids also met that challenge, with Serenity and Jade advancing in ELA and Adin, Cameron, Alek and Katana all advancing in math!

    Superintendent Kelly explains that the underlying goal is for staff to understand the detailed data profile as it relates to student achievement, and what that data indicates about the systems and structures in place in North Beach. By using the data profile to create metrics, staff can ensure the continual growth of our students AND become the highest performing district in Grays Harbor by June of 2020.

    Will Oaks shares that his first priority in taking the challenge was, “to show his students I believe in them 100% and that they are just as smart and capable as any student anywhere.” Beyond that, he said, “We want to lead the culture change in our district and help the district become academically high-performing.”

    Pacific Beach Principal Lynette Reime adds, “All our teachers and classified staff are working incredibly hard to ensure that our kids reach grade level standards and beyond. We’re excited to see just how much progress we can make with everyone working together.”

    It’s been an exciting start to the 2018-19 school year in North Beach School District. Superintendent Kelly’s focus on building an adult culture committed to supporting each and every student is moving forward; all staff are working collaboratively to put the systems and structures in place to position kids for success.

    “Our scholars in North Beach are exceptional,” Kelly emphasized, “We take each student from where they are and build a differentiated plan of support to ensure their academic success.”

    It seems clear that in addition to a focus on growth and academics, there is also a place for fun and encouragement within the North Beach School District. #riseABOVEtheTIDE


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  • How We Decide to Close or Delay Schools Due to Weather

    Dear North Beach School District Families:

    For each of my 49 years, I’ve been blessed to live in the Western United States. I’m accustomed to inclement weather; torrential rain, freezing conditions, icy roads, snow, power outages and road closures due to flooding or downed trees. During the winter months, the odds are high that we’ll need to adjust our school day or bus routes.

    At the same time, we need to conduct school as scheduled if we can safely do so! Frequent interruptions in our school schedule interfere with precious instructional time, and inconvenience parents who must work regardless.

    Winter Beach Damon Point Let me tell you a little about the process of how we decide whether to close or delay schools. Before we make such a decision, we consult with numerous staff members, other school districts and Grays Harbor road crews who are actively monitoring conditions throughout our district.

    Our school district covers significant geographic area and the conditions can vary widely based on weather patterns, freezing levels, wind, etc. Deciding to delay or cancel school is a balancing act and many factors go into our decision. Here are a few:

    • Can we ensure that buses will be able to navigate roads safely?
    • Will students be safe waiting for buses, driving or walking to school?
    • What are the predicted weather conditions later in the school day so we can also ensure students a safe return home?
    • Is there current or projected flooding that may block access to roads, schools or homes?
    • If we start school late, (one or two-hour late start), will conditions substantially improve?
    • Will we have heat and lights in our schools?

    School closure/delay decisions will be made between 5:30 and 6 a.m. in order to notify bus drivers and other staff, as well as parents. It’s not unusual for weather to change dramatically after that decision has been made, but once we’ve decided to hold school, it’s important to stick to the decision instead of making a last-minute change that can leave our scholars waiting for a bus or home alone.

    Once we do make the decision to close or delay schools, we use multiple methods to get the word out to parents, students and staff. We use electronic means to notify news media outlets and we add a post to our district Facebook and web page. If you “like” and “follow” our page, you should see these notices in your feed. You can always click over to our Facebook page (@northbeachschooldistrict) to check.

    Finally, we always send an automated message by phone and email. This is why, if you have changes in phone numbers or email addresses during the school year, it’s vitally important that you your student’s school office; this will help us get these messages to you dependably.

    If we prepare carefully and consider all possibilities, we can ensure the safety and well-being of each of our scholars and the staff who serve them during extreme weather conditions. Having served as a school administrator for 25 years, I have experienced school closures/delays that were “spot on” and I’ve experienced some that missed the mark. Please know I will do my best and provide me a little grace if I miss the mark!

    Thank you for trusting us with your most precious commodity -- our scholars.

    We will continue to work to improve every aspect of our school district to ensure that our kids get the very best education and care possible.

    For Kids,

    Signature, Superintendent Andrew Kelly




    Andrew E. Kelly, Superintendent




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  • North Beach Middle/High School Principal Focuses On Removing Barriers

    Cynthia Valdez, principal of North Beach Junior/Senior High School, knows what it’s like to be a student in a system that doesn’t entirely know how to serve you; in a school that goes through the motions, but doesn’t implement from the heart.

    Cynthia Valdez She recalls, as a Kindergarten student, being taken out of class for language testing. “A very tall man took me to a small room, asked me questions in English, and then asked more questions (the same questions, she now knows) in Spanish.  Because I didn’t understand Spanish, I started to cry,” she recalls.

    State law requires schools to conduct this testing yearly to determine bilingual students’ English and Spanish fluency, although schools have different ways of identifying students for the testing.  She was tested every year until sixth grade despite her parents’ repeated efforts to tell the school she spoke English, and despite never speaking a word of Spanish in class. While her family does have Hispanic roots that stretch back through her Valdez grandparents to 1694 New Mexico, she was raised by two English-speaking parents. She believes the only reason she was tested was her last name.

    One of her passions as a result of  this experience is ensuring students are known, not stereotyped.  She doesn't want any student to  experience any kind of stereotyping in her school, or elsewhere. When stereotyping occurs, associated expectations about students’ abilities often place an added barrier to their success. “Those additional, imposed barriers then keep many kids from receiving any kind of rigor in instruction, or reaching high levels of academic achievement,” Ms. Valdez emphasizes.

    When she reached high school, she decided to study Spanish, and it came easily to her. Somewhere around that time she also saw the movie, Anna and the King of Siam, and she felt the calling to become a teacher. These were the first steps in becoming a recognized state and national leader in bilingual education.

    Ms. Valdez earned a Bachelor of Arts, followed by a Masters of Education from Eastern Washington University. She began her teaching career in Pasco, earned a continuing principal's certificate and, in 26 years in education, has taught or been an administrator in several districts before joining North Beach School District. 

    Early in her teaching career, she began serving on committees with OSPI, and has helped develop best practices and regulations. She currently serves on the state’s Dual Language Task Force supporting the Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

    Ms. Valdez has always loved the coast and, in visits to Ocean Shores, often found herself wanting to live and work in the area. When the opportunity to take the helm of NBMS/HS came up, she applied. “I’ve been sitting behind a desk for 16 years, and I realized it’s time to put my money where my mouth was,” she said. She’s excited to bring her best strategies to the district’s secondary school, which serves 299 students.

    For example, she has implemented several OCDE Project GLAD® strategies at the school. Project GLAD® was developed to enable teachers to more effectively instruct non-English speakers, but the strategies are effective for English-speaking students, too. Ms. Valdez has been honored as the National OCDE Project GLAD® Trainer of the Year, so watch for more innovations in instruction at the school.

    Ms. Valdez has two children. Her 23 year old son, Glenn, works for Schweitzer Engineering Labs in Pullman and graduated from WSU in Electrical Engineering, Math, and Computer Science.  His hard work has just earned him his first patent. Natalie, her 15-year old daughter, has just finished up her AP coursework from first semester in her previous school and will become student number 300 in the district’s secondary school.

    Among Ms. Valdez’s top goals for the school is to restore trust and relationships between administration, staff, students and parents. She’s also exploring ways to expand academic options in the school, both in types of classes and levels of rigor. Students are currently being surveyed for their top choices, after which Ms. Valdez expects to announce some new offerings.



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  • Rhonda Ham: Creating a School Environment that Supports and Believes in All Children

    Ocean Shores Principal Rhonda Ham Ocean Shores Elementary has made substantial gains in academic achievement under Principal Rhonda Ham, who credits her staff and greater community. But as the school’s instructional leader, she is, as the saying goes, where the buck stops. It’s not hard to see she has worked diligently to create a school environment that supports and believes in all children.

    Principal Ham has lived in Grays Harbor County for her entire life, raised her own four children here, and has been an educator with North Beach School District (NBSD) for 33 years.

    After graduating from Hoquiam High School and Grays Harbor College, followed by Western Washington University, she briefly worked as the director of a local parks and recreation district. It wasn’t long before her passion for teaching called to her, and she answered, applying for a position here at NBSD. 

    She taught for eight years at the old Ocean Shores Elementary, then was hired as a science and math teacher at North Beach Junior High for another seven years. She also coached basketball and softball.  She then returned to Ocean Shores Elementary, serving in a variety of roles -- 3rd grade teacher, LAP and Title I specialist -- before earning her administrative credentials and being selected as OSE principal. She’s now in her eighth year in that role.

    Longevity in a small-town school district means you often know not only your students well, but their parents, grandparents and sometime great-grandparents.  Those relationships give educators insights and additional opportunities to reach out to students and enhance their learning.

    Principal Ham is excited about how the school community is coming back together to meet each and every kid’s needs. The greater community is noticing the renewed enthusiasm and this, she believes, has resulted in enrollment at the school shooting back up by 45 students this year.

    The school has been named a Washington State School of Distinction for the second year in a row, an award that is given to the top five percent of elementary schools in Washington when ranked by growth and improvement. She’s quite proud of this award, noting, “It shows the commitment of our staff, community and parents.”

    Principal Ham’s advice to parents? Don’t ever stop believing in your kid’s no matter how old. “Our kids are our most prized possession and we can never stop believing.”




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