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District nixes senior projects

Okanogan students won’t need them to graduate anymore

— The School District is scrapping its senior culminating project graduation requirement after this school year.

The School Board’s decision, made during its meeting last Wednesday, came on the heels of the state dropping the projects as a state graduation requirement.

Okanogan has required all seniors to do a culminating project for at least a decade, long before the state made it necessary for graduation.

Over the years, Okanogan seniors have explored a variety of topics, from cooking and music to small engine repair, video production, careers and sewing. They’ve organized sports camps, various fundraisers and pageants.

The projects take months to complete.

Superintendent Richard Johnson said the staff recommended the projects be dropped as a district requirement because the state is requiring students take more math and science.

High school Principal Bob Shacklett said more state testing is being required, too.

In other business, the board:

• Acknowledged the April 28 death of federal and state projects director Pam Snyman, who had been with the district from 1991 until her death.

She was 67.

“Pam always reflected what is good by looking at the positive and trying to change the negative,” Johnson said. “I have never known her to give up on a student or a cause that she felt could help children and adults become better people.”

• Accepted the resignations of fourth-grade teacher Scott Duncan and Curriculum and Assessment Director Denise Varner, who are retiring at the end of the year. Duncan has been with the district more than 20 years. Varner has worked for the district 25 years. They are married.

• Hired Matt Dickinson as a temporary custodian.

• Granted fourth-grade teacher Jim Anderson a one-year, unpaid leave of absence.

• Awarded contracts to Custom Building Services of Okanogan to repair the roof on the portable building behind the middle school for $14,040.03, and to Yusi Construction of Okanogan, to replace a sidewalk and retaining wall next to the secondary campus for $58,649.64.

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