Firefighters host survivor assembly at Mattson | Kent school briefs

Mattson Middle School students learned about fire safety procedures by competing in races during a recent assembly hosted by the Kent Fire Department and the City of Kent Emergency Management.

Around eight of the school's drama students were on two survivor teams and competed against each other just like in the show "Survivor". All races were related to fire safety procedures so students could know what to do during an emergency.

"We believe that teaching our students about safety is our number one job as educators," said Judy Beliveau, Mattson principal. "This assembly is a fun way to get the kids engaged in safety procedures and learn about safety firsthand."

Mattson students also partnered with the fire department on its Toys for Joy campaign.

Kent recognized as Board of Distinction

Kent was one of 23 school boards recognized by the Washington State School Directors' Association.

Award applicants submit an essay and supporting evidence to demonstrate how they are putting the standards into practice. This year, applicants addressed the following:

respecting and advocating mutual understanding of the roles and responsibilities of board members and the superintendent.

Applications are evaluated by an independent review panel, and awards are given to those who receive at least an 80 percent score.

Kent School Board members are Agda Burchard, Russell Hanscom, Timothy Clark, Karen DeBruler, Deborah Straus and Dr. Edward Lee Vargas, superintendent.

WSSDA's Boards of Distinction awards honor school boards that demonstrate effective use of the Washington School Board Standards. The standards, developed and adopted by WSSDA in 2009, promote researched-based governance practices that lead to high levels of student and district achievement.


The Kent School District was chosen to become one of five new "signature" districts to participate Project Red's 1-to-1 technology implementation program, bringing the total number of participating districts to 15. Project RED ("Revolutionizing EDucation") is an organization whose purpose is to research the costs and impact of technology implementations in K-12 schools. Following its first national study in 2010, the group concluded that technology, when properly implemented, can have a significant positive impact on student achievement and can offer financial benefits at the federal, state, and local levels. Districts are chosen to be a part of 1-to-1 based on technology in place, how they are implementing it, how it interacts with curriculum and how the technology is utilized in the district. ...

School district staff held a retirement party on Nov. 30 for Jim Auckland, supervisor of the maintenance department. Auckland retired after 41 years with the school district. In honor of his years of service and dedication, the Board of Directors approved the renaming of the district's Operations Center to the "Jim Auckland District Operations Center." Auckland began his career at KSD in 1971 as a grounds man and over the years worked his way up to electrical/mechanical lead and then department manager before being named supervisor of the maintenance department in 2010. ...

Alisa Vinje, a Kentlake senior and a prospective student of the University of North Dakota, recently won second place in the University Language Services national photo contest with her photo of the UND campus. Vinje's photo can be viewed at To enter the contest, high school students were asked to submit a photo they took of a campus during a visit and provide a 200-word description of how the photo represents college to them. Vinje focused on the independence, serenity and all around friendly vibe of UND. ...

Kentwood's annual canned food drive has collected more than 39,000 pounds of food for the Maple Valley and Kent food banks. Last year, students collected more than 48,000 pounds of canned food and this year they hope to exceed that with 50,000 pounds of canned food. The last collection day is Friday.

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