Franklin Pierce – Public Schools in Action Tour

Tuesday, the Franklin Pierce School District hosted many community members and local public officials in its annual Public Schools in Action Tour. The participants were treated to a light breakfast along with an introduction and overview of the school district by Dr. Frank Hewins, Superintendent.

Principal Hartley welcomed everyone to Franklin Pierce High School and invited them to tour several classrooms guided by leadership students. Franklin Pierce High School is a vintage school building dating back to the district’s inception in 1949.

Next, was a trip by school bus to Keithley Middle School to visit the newly opened Commons Building where the district also houses its Central Kitchen facility. The smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls for Wednesday’s breakfasts was permeating the air. During the classroom visits one of the teachers, Mr. Baker, recognized Tono Sablan, a visitor from Pacific Lutheran University’s staff as a former student. Mr. Sablan noted the positive influence Mr. Baker had in motivating his educational path from a time that must have been at least 10 years ago. This was a treat for the students in and visitors to that class (which included a staff member from Congressman Denny Heck’s office and an administrator from Pierce College).

The last stop in the tour was a visit to the new Early Learning Center. This program had to leave the old Parkland School when PLU tore down portions for construction of the new apartment complex on Garfield Street. It has been temporarily housed in the old Spanaway Elementary School building until this site was made available. The district chose the former Parkland Methodist Church building and extensively remodeled it. The building is still under construction, it was gutted and re insulated with the latest in heating and lighting technology added. All the classrooms have windows and natural lighting. The old sanctuary trusses are visible, but the space downstairs is now classrooms and upstairs houses the mechanics of the power plant. The building will be access controlled. Visitors must knock and be recognized by someone in the office for the doors to be opened. New landscaping is currently being added with a courtyard for recess in back, an opportunity for one of the visitors, Robert Sweet, a master gardener to add some pointers to the landscapers and the district.

The tour ended back at FP High School with a delicious lasagna lunch provided by the district’s food services group and a question and answer session with the Superintendent. Dr. Hewins pointed out that anyone that would also like a tour of the district is welcome to contact the district office and they will make arrangements.

The Franklin Pierce District recently held several sessions in a year long process with staff and community members to determine the content of its next bond election. The election will be held in November 2016 and must qualify with sufficient voter turnout as well as reach a 60% super-majority approval level to pass. The average age of buildings in the FPSD is 58 compared to 25 in the Bethel District. The district welcomes any assistance from community members who would like to volunteer in the district, contact the administration office for further information.

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