School briefs

Former Mercer Island School District administrator Michael Soltman was named Vashon Island School District Superintendent on July 1. - Photo courtesy of the Vashon Island Beachcomber
Former Mercer Island School District administrator Michael Soltman was named Vashon Island School District Superintendent on July 1.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of the Vashon Island Beachcomber

State Board tweaks math requirement

The state Board of Education has made a minor revision in high-school math-credit requirements in an effort to improve test scores and math performance standards.

During a meeting in Gig Harbor on Friday, July 17, the board gave students more flexibility in their choices for high school math.

The board decided earlier that beginning with the class of 2013, high-school students will be required to earn three credits of math to receive a diploma.

When the requirement was changed in 2007 to raise the math requirement from two credits to three, the state rule said that students who took high-school math classes without credit as eighth-graders were required to repeat the same courses for credit in high school.

The state board decided Friday that students can choose to start with a different math class in high school and do not have to repeat the eighth-grade class if they don’t want to.

Mike Schiehser, MISD’s director of instruction and assesment, said the changes would have little influence on the district since most students here take three math classes anyway. The highest effect, he said, would fall on vulnerable students who are already struggling with math.

“But as far as the teachers and the funds, it has zero impact,” he said. “If there is any impact, I believe it will be an increased use of our interventions. They’ll be used more for our struggling students.”

Former MISD administrator Soltman named head of Vashon Island schools

The Vashon Island School District recently appointed former Mercer Island schools administrator Michael Soltman as their new superintendent.

Soltman worked on Mercer Island as an associate superintendent for curriculum, instruction and personnel from 1990 to 2002. A resident of Vashon Island until 2002, he most recently served as superintendent of the San Juan Island School District until the opportunity to return to Vashon proved too good to resist.

Soltman is assuming responsibility at a time when Vashon is facing severe challenges. As reported in the Vashon Island Beachcomber, the 1,500-student school district is currently grappling with declining enrollment, a high school in disrepair, a bare-bones budget and the aftermath of one of the first bond measure defeats in the district’s history.

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