Franklin named to national register

Franklin Elementary School has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of Interior, where it joins other properties that contribute to the rich cultural heritage of Washington state. The award letter from Washington State’s preservation office explained some of the factors that contributed to this decision:

"Franklin is historically significant for its direct contribution to the broad pattern of educational development in Spokane. The nominated building represents a second phase of school construction in the city and was one of the structures built as part of a quarter-million dollar effort to modernize the school system just after the turn of the 20th century. A later addition in the early 1950s shows how the district adapted to the post-WWII baby boom and the changing needs of its students, teachers and administrators. The school is also significant as a resource that represents the work of noted Spokane architect Loren L. Rand, whose career spanned more than 30 years.”

The design for the upcoming modernization to Franklin features a thoughtful restoration of the original 1909 building, plus an addition that complements the historic design features.

Franklin is the third SPS site to be added to the National Register of Historic Places, which includes Lewis and Clark High School, John R. Rogers High School and Finch Elementary School. Hutton Elementary, included in the Rockwood Historic District, was named to the Spokane Historic Register as a result of its careful renovation in 2015.

Staff Matters

We are SPS

Tina Cichowski, Office Manager, Stevens Elementary

How many years have you worked with SPS? 20 years. I started in 1997 as support staff at Browne Elementary. I have worked at Audubon, Rogers, Holmes and Stevens.

What's your favorite part of your job? Interacting with my Stevens family and learning something new every day! I absolutely LOVE my job!

What are some of the challenges? Trying to balance my life between home and work and not take the stresses of work home.

When you're not at work, what do you like to do? I love to be outside hiking, doing yardwork, spending time with my amazing boyfriend Tim, my family and the best circle of friends anyone could have.

What's something most people don't know about you? I am a breast cancer survivor of two and a half years and I love to run half-marathons…13.1 miles of pure crazy! I LOVE Pittsburgh Penguins Hockey and have been to Pittsburgh twice so far to see them play!

What's your favorite Spokane restaurant? QQ Sushi and Fieldhouse Pizza.

Best thing you've/read/seen/heard lately? "It is not the goal but the way there that matters, and the harder the way the more worthwhile the journey."

Tina C

"We Are SPS" is a weekly feature highlighting our staff members. Who would you like to learn more about? Send your ideas to

Public forum July 11: Multi-Cultural Perspectives on Career Readiness

The Washington State Board of Education will host a public forum, “Multi-Cultural Perspectives on Career Readiness,” in Spokane on July 11 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The State Board has identified closing the opportunity gap for students of color to be one of its ongoing priorities. The goal of the forum is to have participants collaborate to create a shared understanding of what it means for students to be ready for life after high school, to identify the existing supports and barriers to postsecondary readiness for students of color in the K-12 system, and to help the State Board of Education develop equitable policies to support career readiness for all students.

During the meeting, discussion will be facilitated in small groups. At the conclusion of the meeting the small groups will report highlights from the discussion to the entire audience. The discussion will be documented throughout by State Board staff members so the Board can continue to work toward greater postsecondary readiness for students of color based on community input. The Spokane forum is the third of a series of forums that will be held across the state over the next few months.

Cookies, brownies, and mixed nuts will be served at the beginning of the meeting and guests will have a chance to meet and talk with Board of Education members and staff. The forum will be held at Spokane Convention Center in Room 401A.

If you are able to attend, please RSVP as soon as possible by clicking here. Feel free to pass on this invitation to others who may be interested in attending.

If you have any questions regarding this forum, or if translator services or other accommodations are needed, please contact

DEBUT: Holmes students create West Central Neighborhood News

The fifth graders in Nancy Holten's class at Holmes Elementary have been working feverishly this spring interviewing and writing articles for the first ever West Central Neighborhood News newspaper. The project was the brainchild of Brooke Matson from Spark Central, the group paying for the publishing of the paper. The project started with a visit from Spokesman Review reporter Shawn Vestal who came to speak to the reporters-in-training about the duties and responsibilities of journalists. Shawn brought reporters’ notebooks for the class and Brooke made press credentials for all of the kids.

Students brainstormed a list of story ideas, set up interviews and wrote stories on many topics. The class just published the first edition of West Central Neighborhood News, which was sent home with all Holmes students. You can read it right here.

Holmes students read their newspaper

The future of SPS communications is in your hands!

We hope that SPS Weekly News provides you with timely, informative articles and notices that are easy to scan for what interests you. I have some ideas of my own for how to spruce things up around here, but as the school year comes to a close, I'd love to know your thoughts. HOWEVER: Profanity and personal attacks are not appropriate. If you choose to share your ideas in this short survey, please be professional. 

Spread the word: Unity in the Community is Aug. 19

The 23rd annual Unity in the Community, the region's largest multicultural celebration, will be Saturday, Aug. 19, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. In addition to live entertainment and a unity parade, there will be free K-8 school supplies & kids helmets while supplies last. Learn more on their website here.

FYI: Health benefits from smiling

Smiling gives the brain as much pleasure as 2,000 bars of chocolate, or $25,000. Abundant research on facial feedback shows that smiling feels great. A group of researchers in the UK working with Hewlett-Packard Development Company, tried to quantify and make sense of what all this brain activity meant. They used an electromagnetic brain scan machine and heart rate monitor to establish “mood-boosting values” for various brain stimuli. They discovered that smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in very powerful and surprising ways.

How did the power of a smile stack up against other “well-regarded” pleasure-inducing sensations? Depending on whose smile you see, the researchers found that one smile can be as pleasurable and stimulating as up to 2,000 bars of chocolate! And although it feels good to eat chocolate, some people may argue that receiving unexpected money for no work is not too shabby, either. The British researchers found that it takes a lot of money to beat out the most rewarding smiles that we see. In the case of this study, it took up to 16,000 pounds sterling in cash to generate the same level of brain stimulation as one smile! This is equivalent to about $25,000 per smile; not bad! And you can think about it this way: 400 x $25,000 = … by just being positive and present like a child (who smiles 400 times a day, remember), you can feel like a billionaire every fiscal quarter of the year.

Via Smile: The Astonishing Powers of a Simple Act (TED Books). 

Blended Learning

Blackboard upgrade

The district will be upgrading Blackboard over the summer by be completed by early August. The new version will have both the current interface (called “Classic”) and a more simplified interface (called “Ultra”). The upgraded version will be hosted by Blackboard (“Saas Deployment”) vs. our Technology Services department, so we will no longer have any down-time, which we have been experiencing this school year. Once the upgrade is completed (by early August), staff will be automatically enrolled in an online Blackboard Basics class. The online Blackboard Basics class will provide training videos on the upgrade, new Ultra interface, and how to convert a course to Ultra. Teachers can complete the online Blackboard Basic class for clock hours if they would like or simply use the materials for reference. There is also a Blackboard Basic in-person course offered at the T&L August Summer Institute and in-person courses will be offered regionally in early fall.

For more information:

  • SaaS (Cloud) Deployment 
  • BB Ultra Overview 
  • BB Ultra Videos 
  • Classic Interface: Looks the same as the current interface. Classic will be the default for all users and teachers can use a “wizard” to convert their class to the Ultra Interface if they would like. It is likely that Ultra will be a good solution for Elementary or wherever a simpler interface will be needed.

Blended Learning sessions at Summer Institute

The August Summer Institute is featuring the following Blended Learning sessions. Please see the attached flier for course descriptions and sign up for classes through the Professional Learning catalog here
 Participants Blended Learning Courses
Grades K-12 Teachers, Administrators Blended Learning Basics
Secondary SS, Special Ed, Intervention  Blended Learning for Social Studies Classrooms (Blackboard/eText) 
Secondary ELA, Special Ed, Intervention  Blended Learning for English Classrooms (Blackboard/Springboard) 
Secondary Science, Special Ed, Intervention  Blended Learning for Science Classrooms (Blackboard/eText) 
Grades 5-12 Math, Special Ed, Intervention  Using MathXL with Blackboard in Blended Math Classrooms 
Secondary Spanish, Special Ed, Intervention  Estudio in Spanish Classrooms (with Blackboard)
Secondary French, Special Ed, Intervention  French Instruction with Blackboard and Website 
Grades 5-12 Special Ed, Intervention  Blackboard Support for Special Ed and Intervention 
Intervention Teachers, Administrators, Special Ed, Regular Ed  Effective Secondary Afterschool Intervention 
Grade 5-6, Administrators  Elementary Accelerated Math New Teacher Training
Special Ed, Intervention  MobyMax for Special Ed Math Classrooms 
Grade K-Algebra Teachers, Special Education, Intervention  Dreambox: K-Algebra Supplemental Math Resource 
K-8 Teachers, Special Ed, Intervention  MobyMax: K-8 Supplemental Resource
Grades K-12 and Administrators  Teaching with Blackboard (Basics) 
Grades K-12 and Administrators  Blackboard Advanced 
Grades K-12 and Administrators  Blackboard Collaborate: Facilitating Student and Group Conversations 
Prehired and Aspiring Virtual Teachers  New Virtual Teacher Training 

Budget & Accounting

Year-end reminders

A detailed memo including end-of-school year reminders, checklists, and deadlines was sent to all buildings on June 2. The following reminders are important for all staff awareness as the school year comes to a close.
  • Submit the following for approval and reimbursement: Outstanding receipts/invoices for purchases you may have made during the school year, and Mileage Reimbursement forms for approved local travel. Follow your building approval process when submitting all claims for reimbursement. Once approved, the documentation must be sent to the Accounts Payable department for payment.
  • What if I purchase classroom supplies or materials for next school year? First obtain authorization and guidelines from your principal/administrator. September 15, 2017, is the deadline for turning in reimbursement requests for the purchase of classroom supplies and materials made during the summer, e.g. on or before August 31, 2017. Exceptions cannot be made to this deadline date, so please make sure all reimbursement requests and receipts are submitted on or before September 15, 2017.
  • The warehouse will have limited operations during an inventory reorganization and electronic data cleanup project this summer. The warehouse ordering system within Business Plus will be unavailable from Friday, June 16 until Wednesday, July 5. Please contact the warehouse staff at extension 7173 for assistance during this time.

Have a great summer!

Community Relations

New SPS videos

congratulations! Did you miss one of our SPS high school graduation ceremonies? Never fear, you can find them all (and share them) at under the “SPS Events” playlist.

SPS in the news

In which we share the week's mentions of Spokane Public Schools from an amalgamation of news sources.

Human Resources

Organizational changes

Congratulations to the following people moving on, moving up and moving around:
Whitman Elementary: Jody Schmidt will be principal at Whitman, following Kara Powell’s decision to relocate to Ocean City Elementary. Jody will be continuing to serve the Whitman community in a new capacity; she has served Whitman as a Principal’s Assistant from 2015 to 2017.

Moran Prairie Elementary: Following Moran Prairie Principal Mark Gorman’s decision to retire this year, and in consideration of the timing, hiring pool, and the needs of that community, Clint Price was invited to serve Moran as its new principal. Clint has served as Garfield Elementary’s principal for seven years.

Garfield Elementary: Jollene Vining, who served as a teacher and then a principal’s assistant at Garry Middle School from 2013 to 2015, will be Garfield’s new principal. For the last two years, Jollene has been the principal at Mirror Lake Elementary in the Federal Way School District.

Longfellow Elementary: Ken Hermanson, of the Longview School District, will be the new Longfellow principal as Meghan Anderson becomes principal at Lincoln Heights. Ken was a member of the SPS administrator team from 2000-2003 during which he served as a PA and then as an AP at Shaw.

Lincoln Heights Elementary: Nancy Lopez-Williams has taken a leave of absence to relocate to England to be with her active-duty husband. Current Longfellow principal Meghan Anderson was selected as the next Lincoln Heights principal.

Career and Technical Education (CTE): Will Sarett will be the CTE director for Yakima Public Schools. Rob Reavis will assume that role, providing leadership in the CTE Department, contributing to our work related to AVID, and participating in the development of STEM programming.

Garry Middle School: Wendy Watson was chosen as the new principal of Garry. Wendy has been the director of Secondary Curriculum for the past five years. Prior to that, Wendy served as an assistant principal at North Central High School.

Chase Middle School: Following the announcement of Chase Principal John Andes’ retirement, John O’Dell was chosen as the new Chase principal. John has served as an assistant principal at Ferris the past several years.

Salk Middle School: Salk Principal Carole Meyer will become an associate superintendent in the Moses Lake School District. Peter Elzey, currently an assistant principal at Lewis and Clark was selected as the next Salk principal. He served there as a principal assistant from 2008 to 2010.

Secondary Assistant Principals: Chris Dunn and Andre Wicks will be joining the administrative team at Shadle Park High School as assistant principals. Chris comes to Shadle from Rogers High School and Andre is transitioning from a role at the central office. Phil High-Edwards will join Lewis and Clark’s administrative team. Tracey Leyde will be assistant principal at Sacajawea and Steven Kollar will be assistant principal at Glover.

College and Career Readiness: Scott Kerwein, who will be following in Melissa Pettey’s footsteps as she begins her new work with the Spokane International Academy, will be joining the SPS administrator team for the 2017-18 school year. Scott has been serving Central Valley’s University High School as a College and Career Readiness counselor since 2008.

Secondary Social Studies: Susie Gerard, current teacher at Lewis and Clark High School, will be joining the Teaching & Learning Department to lead Secondary Social Studies.

Print Shop and Science Center: Robyn Norwood, Print Shop and Science Center supervisor, has reduced to part time and will supervise the science kit assembly operations. Mark Martell, long time lead operator in the Print Shop, has been promoted to supervisor of the Print Shop and Mailing Services.

Additional administrator changes: Chief Human Resources Officer Tennille Jeffries-Simmons is leaving SPS to become associate superintendent of System and School Improvement at OSPI in Olympia. Chief Financial Officer Linda McDermott will assume HR leadership duties in tandem with her CFO role during this transition.

Chief Innovation and Research Officer Steven Gering has accepted a position at School by Design, a school improvement consulting firm that specializes in process and management solutions to increase school and learning effectiveness.

Phil Wright will be the new executive director of Facilities and Planning, overseeing the Maintenance, Custodial Operations and Capital Projects departments and leading long-range facility planning.

Instructional Programs

Elementary End-of-Year Instructional Programs Survey: Feedback needed!

As you wind down the school year, we would really appreciate you taking a few minutes to complete the end of year survey (links below). Your feedback will help us meet your professional development and instructional planning needs. We will keep these surveys open until the end of June. Thanks everyone! Happy last week of school to you all!

Grades 3-6 End of Year Instructional Programs Survey 

Grades 1-2 End of Year Instructional Programs Survey 

Kindergarten End of Year Instructional Programs Survey 

17-18 Year Long Plans and Tri 1 Cross Content Road Maps

We will be posting the Year Long Plans (YLPs) and Tri 1 Cross Content Road Maps (CCRMs) to Blackboard tonight and tomorrow as “works in progress” to support you with planning ahead for next year. Our team will continue to refine and link as needed. We will have updated, printed copies available at Summer Institute and at sites when you return. If you have questions between now and then, please know that I am just an email away. Happy Summer to you all! Karin Thompson,

Journeys overview course is now available online

New-to-SPS teachers who are required to attend the Journeys I Overview course now have the option of completing this course online at their own pace. This class is also offered in person at Summer Institute on Monday, Aug. 14, from 8:30-11:30 a.m. If you prefer to take this course online, please click here to register via our online professional development catalog. 

This self-paced, online course about Journeys ELA curriculum is designed to provide teachers with an understanding of the instructional components of the curriculum and how the print and digital resources assist with meeting the demands of the Common Core State Standards. Participants will also learn ways to plan instruction with the workshop model in mind.

**This is a required course for new K-5 classroom teachers**

Reminder: Register for T&L Summer Institute classes

Don’t forget! The Teaching and Learning Summer Institute is waiting for you. You don’t want to miss out on a great way to start your school year. Register now so you get the classes you want. Register online here. Don’t miss out!

Questions? I am happy to help! ~Tricia

Technology Services

What happened to my Schoolwires Editor?

Over the summer, Schoolwires will be rolling out updates to the Flex Editor. Here's what you can expect when you return to school in the fall.

Flex Editor will now be Content Editor: Around the end of July, all Flex Editor apps will turn into Content apps. You will also notice that the Flex Editor will no longer be an option to add to a page. Initially, you will not see a change to your pages. However, your editing experience will change.

Why is Schoolwires doing this, you ask? It is another step toward reaching our goal of everyone being able to easily write and update content that is accessible to everyone, and can be viewed from any device.

Find more information, tips and training here.  Completely confused? Send us a message here: webhelp

Old (Flex) Editor
New (Content) Editor
content editor


Last day fun walk/run June 15

Imagine yourself surrounded by friends and walking/jogging along the gorgeous Spokane River. Your batteries are being charged as you absorb the beautiful scenery and you get to have coffee and treats and the end of your early morning jaunt. Is there any better way to start the last day of school? I think not!

Come join your fellow district team members for an early morning walk/run just for fun. There is a catered treat for the building with the highest percentage participation so there is an incentive. We will provide the sunshine (really, we ordered sunshine), good friends, fruit, water, coffee, pastries and fun. All we need is YOU!

WHEN: Thursday, June 15, 6 a.m.
WHERE: NEW Location! INB Performing Arts breezeway by Anderson Astronaut Statue (by floating stage)
WHAT: 1-3.5 Miles of sheer JOY! (you pick the distance)

No registration needed. Just show up and enjoy. Sponsored by your very own Wellness Program.

We value your feedback! Contact with any questions, comments or concerns.