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CRIME BLOTTER | Drunk driver passes out behind the wheel at a drive-thru [2]

VOL. 15, NO. 49

Mirror

F E D E R A L WAY

division of Sound Publishing

OPINION | Roegner: PACC, direction of city at stake with new council [6] Letters: Ode to one giant of an editor [7] LEVY | Federal Way School District gears up for levy vote [9] PRIEST | Citizens thank Priest for time as mayor and beyond [10]

SPORTS | Federal Way falls short against CALENDAR | Christmas concert to benefit Royal Family Kids [16-18] FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2013 | 75¢ Chiawana, 40-7 [19]

School board approves changes to grading system by Greg Allmain gallmain@fedwaymirror.com

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he Federal Way Public Schools (FWPS) Board of Directors voted to make a change to the district’s standards-based grading (SBG) system during its Nov. 26 meeting. The change will switch the district’s grading system off the controversial and confusing algorithm known as the “Power Law,” to a more traditional averaging methodology. The change will take effect Dec. 13 and apply to students in secondary school — sixth through 12th grade. The change came after the district received data from surveys of teachers, parents and students, and also looked at possible changes to students grades between the “Power Law” and averaging methods. Federal Way Superintendent Rob Neu and district official Ron Mayberry gave a joint presentation to the board and the members of the community Nov. 26, explaining that the switch from the “Power Law” to an averaging model would be static for most students. “There was 12,166 A’s under power law. It became

11,629 under averaging,” Mayberry said, referencing a chart in a PowerPoint presentation. “513 of those A’s moved down to a B, 22 to a C…We had some that moved up, some that moved down.” “Basically, in the aggregate, there were 34 more A’s, 1,606 more B’s, 668 fewer C’s, 985 fewer F’s, in our four comprehensive high schools,” Neu said. “As Ron indicated, 537 A’s will be lowered by going to averaging. 133 B’s will become A’s, 74 will be lowered. 1,587 C’s will be raised, 33 will be F’s.” Neu noted that across other demographic lines, such as race or socioeconomic status, the change over from the “Power Law” to averaging was essentially static. An analysis of the last three years of grading data, if it had been on the averaging system, was also presented by Mayberry, with the results again being relatively static. Perhaps most revealing were the survey results presented by Neu. According to Neu, a quick analysis of the survey results from teachers (638 who identified what grade level and/or school they were at), the majority of

‘Aladdin’ takes center stage Above, Casey Raiha (left) as Aladdin and Terry Edward Moore as Abanazar. Centerstage’s production of “Aladdin” will run through Dec. 22 at various times on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The production is a family fun excursion into the wild and wacky world of fabulous Christmas “pantomime.” The show is best for ages 5 and up. For more information, visit CenterstageTheatre.com, or see the calendar listing on page 16. Right, Casey Raiha (left) and Anna Maria Clausen as PC Pongo. michelle smith lewis, Contributed

[ more GRADE, page 5 ]

Council approves next step for PACC project in split vote By Greg Allmain gallmain@fedwaymirror.com

NEWSPAPER RACKS: To see a list of rack locations for the print edition of The Mirror, visit federalwaymirror.com/about_us.

In a 4-3 vote, the Federal Way City Council voted to approve the land use permit application process for the proposed Performing Arts and Conference Center (PACC) project in downtown Federal Way. Council members Dini Duclos, Martin Moore, Jeanne Burbidge and Bob Celski were the yes votes, while the dissenting votes were Mayor-elect Jim Ferrell, and Council members Susan Honda and Kelly Maloney. According to Patrick Doherty, director of Community and Economic Development for the city, this process would run the city “up to” $65,000 and

would, it’s hoped, favorably position the city for federal funds from the New Market Tax Credits program. The city stands to gain approximately $7 million from that program if the PACC is considered a worthy project by the “community development entities” (CDE’s) that receive and disburse the federal funds. “In the design development process…the land use application is the next logical step in that process,” Doherty said to the council during its Dec. 3 meeting. “Meaning that since the schematic design plans have been produced now by the design and development team, the next step waiting to be taken is submittal of those plans for the permit.”

Doherty said the permit application process would include, in addition to those already completed schematic designs, “written narratives, an environmental checklist and technical reports.” Doherty noted that for the New Market Tax Credits program, the completion of the permitting process would signal “a fair degree of readiness” to the CDE’s who control those funds, and would better position the city for those funds. “It’s very important to them to understand how ready the project is,” he reiterated. Maloney was the first to express concerns about this next step, saying there are so many “moving parts” right now that she would like the city to take [ more PACC, page 5 ] a breather and really


Federal Way Mirror, December 06, 2013