Marysville schools ‘Dream Big For Kids’ March 29

MARYSVILLE — The Marysville School District will be presenting its summit on education, “Dream Big for Kids! Imagine Where We Can Go Together,” from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 29, in the commons and gymnasium of the Marysville Getchell High School campus.

In February of 2013, the Marysville School District Board of Directors began an initiative to increase community involvement, by including parents, students, business and civic leaders, and other community members in conversations to improve the educational opportunities for Marysville students.

The Marysville School Board began the process with a series of community forums, to help identify the successes of the Marysville School District and the areas where it needed to improve. The school district then utilized this information to focus on what it needed from a new superintendent, to help lead the district to its next levels of success.

This led to the hiring of Dr. Becky Berg as superintendent, who has since done significant community outreach work, including meetings with parents, staff and community members, as well as a series of “Coffee and Conversations” with families in the community. While the district has learned much from this process, more insights are needed, which is where “Dream Big for Kids” comes in.

Hundreds of Marysville and Tulalip community members are expected to join business leaders, parents, students and school district staff at this educational summit, to help envision the future of the Marysville School District and its children.

This is a no-cost event, but space is limited, so it’s recommended that you reserve your seat at a table ASAP.

To register, or for more information, call the Marysville School District at 360-653-7058, or visit its website at

Marysville students return to school

Kirk Boxleitner, The Marysville Globe
MARYSVILLE — No matter how many years of first days of school students, parents and teachers have experienced before, it can still be an adjustment, as families found at both Marysville Middle School and Liberty Elementary this year.“It’s all new stuff,” laughed Angela Courier, as she and her husband Richard got their daughter Kailye checked into sixth grade at Marysville Middle School on Wednesday, Sept. 4. “It’s completely different from elementary school. There’s all different school supplies. You need to make sure you’ve got your information together beforehand.”While fellow moms such as Meridith Rosevelt reviewed their own children’s paperwork in the packed main office of Marysville Middle School, Rosemarie Running Water of Tulalip filled out forms to transfer her daughter, Maeliha Matta, to Totem Middle School to be with her friends.

For at least two families at Liberty Elementary, barely more than a block west of Marysville Middle School, this year marked a particularly unique transition.

Art Noriel Castillo entered fifth grade at Liberty Elementary this year, but his father, Arturo Castillo, had to show up early to complete all his paperwork since they just recently moved to the area from Saipan.

“We came here because the schools here are very good,” said Arturo Castillo, as Art Noriel Castillo deemed math his favorite subject.

Monika Little has taught second grade at Liberty Elementary for 19 years, while her husband Richard has taught fourth- and fifth-grade classes at Liberty for 16 years, but this year marked their daughter Maya’s entry into first grade at the school.

“This school already has such a community feel for us,” Monika Little said. “The only difference now is, at various school functions, we’ll be doing double-duty as parents and teachers.”

“We’ve really embraced the culture of this school,” Richard Little said. “What better way to do so than to bring our daughter here?”

Maya Little confidently asserted that she had “no worries” about starting first grade, and like Art Noriel Castillo, she looked forward to studying math in class.

Since the first day of school was the same day for elementary schools and middle schools in Marysville this year, Tammy Hildebrand had already dropped off one child at middle school that morning before introducing her daughter to her second-grade teacher and her son to his fifth-grade teacher at Liberty Elementary barely an hour later.

“I’ve had lots of coffee today,” Hildebrand laughed.

“I still get excited jitters on the first day of school, and I’ve been through 10 principals here,” laughed Karen Wright, a third-grade teacher who’s been at Liberty Elementary since 1984. “I was one of the younger teachers here when I started out, and I stayed here because I love this school and I love our families. I’ve got second-generation students now, whose parents were children in my class, and they’ve heard all the stories. Even the high school kids will come back and remember the places where they sat in my room.”

While third-graders don’t have nearly the amount of nervousness that younger kids do about the first day, Wright still needs to guide them back into the groove of studying, as they’re united with friends they might not have seen all summer long. Wright herself spent her summer studying the Common Core State Standards and acquiring new texts for her students.

“The curriculum has gotten more challenging over the years, and the expectations of state testing are more demanding now, but the kids are basically the same as they’ve always been,” said Wright, who praised the support of her fellow teachers and school staff members. “The kids are just great. I never wanted to become a principal, because being a teacher here is just great. Except for one year in England, I’ve taught in Marysville my whole career, and of those years, I’ve taught at Liberty for all but my first year, when I was at Shoultes. I love it here.”

For Liberty Elementary first-grade teacher Karen Robinson, this year served as a first day of school in more ways than one, since it was also her first day of teaching a class of her own.

“I was a substitute teacher for three years before this,” said Robinson, who credited her own fourth-grade teacher with inspiring her to enter education. “I thought she was so cool, and I knew that’s what I wanted to do when I grew up.”

Robinson’s biggest challenge in preparing her own classroom was figuring out how it should be laid out, since she was accustomed to coming in as a substitute and working within other teachers’ setups for their classrooms.

“In the end, I went with openness,” Robinson said. “I wanted to be able to see all the kids, and to see them learning.”

While Lucas Walker, one of Robinson’s first-grade students, had already attended Liberty Elementary for the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, his first day was still a bit difficult for his mom.

“I let him walk to school by himself, because he’s a big boy now,” Shelly Walker said. “It’s sad that he’s growing up so fast. He’s not my baby anymore.”

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