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November 2021 District Newsletter

All Benton City residents should have received a copy of our November 2021 Ki-Be Schools District Newsletter in your mailboxes. If you did not receive a copy of the November 2021 newsletter, please contact our district office to assure that your mailing address is included in our distribution.

The articles included within that newsletter can be found below, or you can view the November 2021 newsletter as a PDF online here.


Superintendent’s Message

Dear Kiona-Benton City Community Members,

I can’t tell you how enjoyable this fall has been, walking through the halls of the schools with a full complement of students and being able to go see football games, volleyball matches, soccer games etc. But I am more excited for parents and grandparents in that respect; some of the best times in school are sports and activities where you can go participate and know that your family and friends are watching. We all missed that!

We have a new testing program that the district is using called MAP, and if you had kids here 10 or more years ago, you may remember it. It is a fairly quick test that gives us a baseline of where all of our students are. I have told my staff and the school board that I am not focusing on our results on the SBA or other state testing; this MAP assessment will give us real information that we can use to de-termine what our kids need in ways of support at a local level.

We are still struggling to find substitute employees at every level, so whether it is driving a bus, supervising recess, or teaching a class, if you have any interest in working for the district please feel free to call me or come by the district office.

Our Ki-Be Schools Community Council takes place the first Tuesday of each month and is scheduled at 6:00 PM in the high school library. There is no agenda for this open meeting; it is a chance for anyone from the community to ask any questions, relay concerns or promote their school-related activity. We have been getting a small but regular turnout of community members, so please feel free to join us. It is a little more relaxed atmosphere than a board meeting, especially if you don’t want to be on camera, and you can always call or email in advance to make sure I have the answers you’re looking for.

Please feel free to contact me at 588-2000 if I can be of service, and I look forward to seeing you at a Ki-Be school event soon!

Pete Peterson,

Celebrating the Ingenuity and Collaboration of Arts and Science to Engage Students

When educators work together with local partners, they create greater learning opportunities and success for students. Maria Weakley, a 4th grade teacher at Kiona-Benton Intermediate
School, recently returned from the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) Conference where she was invited to copresent with LIGO Hanford Observatory and Mid-Columbia Ballet to showcase their success by bringing the positive impact of science and art to students. The event was held in Portland, Oregon on October 28-30.

At the conference, they not only presented but also demonstrated the positive impact of bringing science and art together. LIGO is part of an International Network of gravity wave detectors. There are only three in the world, with one being here in Hanford. Mid- Columbia Ballet students performed an interpretive dance for the students to mimic how wave technology works. Students were able to see and learn how science and art permeates all facets of life. Ki-Be Intermediate School is being highlighted as an example of successful collaboration between teachers, artists, and scientists to broaden the learning scope of our youth.

What began as annual field trips for Maria’s 4th grade classes, grew in 2018 when Amber Strunk with LIGO and Renee Adams with Mid-Columbia Ballet invited the whole 4th grade team to collaborate on an art and science project. From there, the brainchild was born. Students watched the interpretive dance by Mid- Columbia Ballet showing how gravitational waves can be interpreted as art. Students then created individual art projects with their own interpretation of gravitational waves.

"Kids naturally are curious and creative," says Mrs. Weakley. "Arts and Science naturally bring out the best in our kids."

There has been a growing movement in support of the benefits of science-art collaborations – it even has its own hashtag: #SciArt.

The partnership that began in 2018 and has proven to be an amazing opportunity not just for the students, but also forging important professional relationships. “Extending ourselves beyond our usual work communities, bringing another voice to the students, helps broaden their learning capabilities,” Mrs. Weakley says.

The growth for students and educators extended to the families and communities as a result of an exhibit staged at LIGO in its second year. Parents and families were amazed and excited to see what their students created and accomplished.

“We couldn’t have done this without the enthusiastic participation and support of our principal, our art and PE teachers, and of course, my amazing 4th grade team!”

“The Sun,” by Ki-Be Intermediate student, age 9

splatter paintingI painted the front and sides of my painting yellow. Then I splashed black paint on it to show a sun storm. You can see some other colors on there through the yellow. I see green. Maybe it’s the inside of the sun. I wanted to make people feel like they’re in outer space.








students looking at small displays

ABOVE: Displays from the student’s exhibit.

Amber Strunk points to LIGO facility in the distance with group of students

ABOVE: Amber Strunk of LIGO explains about the long arms of LIGO to Ki-Be students at their field trip.

New Ki-Be Staff, 2021-2022

We are lucky to have so many amazing teachers with such a great wealth of knowledge joining our team for the 2021-2022 school year! Please join us in welcoming the following new employees to the Kiona-Benton City School District.

District Office

Kurt BeckleyKurt Beckley, Executive Director of Finance

Kurt comes to the district with a background in banking including 18 years of experience in commercial and agricultural lending. His interest in expanding into financial management led him to pursue a mas-ter’s degree in Global Enterprise Management from JIU University online, along with a master’s certification in Finance from University of Washington’s Pacific Coast Banking school. He earned his under-graduate degree at Washington State University.

“Our district goal to improve communication about our work is vital to parents and the community,” says Superintendent Peterson. “Kurt’s vision for expanding the working relationships in the community and communication about our financial plans, both short-term and long-term, are imperative to building trust. I have no doubts that, with his focus on positive community relationships and transparent decision making, he will help us achieve this goal.”

Having lived in Kennewick since 2003, Kurt says he is very happy to be joining the Ki-Be district. “The most exciting thing is the fact that this is a new career path for me as well as an opportunity to put my experience and education to use after a long career in banking.”

Primary School

Jessica MejiaJessica Mejia, 1st Grade

Jessica joined our 1st grade team this year as our new Bilingual Program Classroom Teacher. Jessica was raised in Benton City and attended school here from Kindergarten through her High School graduation in 2013. She then attended WSU in Pullman and earned a degree in Human Development. She went on from there and got her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and gardening.

Laurel Summers, Kayla Persinger, and Virginia Nagle

Laurel Summers, Kayla Persinger and Virginia Nagle, Paraeducators

We have 3 new paraeducators who are working with us to support our students. Laurel Summers and Kayla Persinger have both joined our amazing RTI team, and Virginia Nagle is supporting our TK program. They all come to us with patience and flexibility and have helped us get off to a great start!

Intermediate School

Lacey TreatLacey Treat, 3rd Grade

Lacey joined our 3rd grade team this year. She grew up and graduated in Selah, Washington. Lacey attended and graduated from Central Washington University with a BA in Early Childhood Education. She has taught Kindergarten in Prosser for several years and 2nd grade in Kennewick last year. This is her first year teaching 3rd grade; however, her wealth of experience has already proven beneficial for our students. When Lacey is not teaching, she enjoys hiking, paddle boarding, camping, boating, and travelling with her family.

Andria CorriellAndria Corriell, 3rd Grade

Andria is another new addition to our 3rd grade team this year. Andria grew up in Kiona-Benton City Schools. She graduated with her BA in Elementary Education. She did her student teaching with us last year. When she is not teaching, Andria loves to travel and experience new foods and adventures.


Amber McKeeAmber McKee, 3rd Grade

Amber joins our 3rd grade squad this year after completing her student teaching last year. She grew up in Freeman, Washington, a small community just north of the Spokane Valley. She received her BA in Business Management from University of Phoenix and then her master's degree from Grand Canyon University. Amber loves to spend time with her family boating, riding dirt bikes and side-by-sides, and camping. She also loves to run, but she keeps that for herself.

Katy TrimbergerKaty Trimberger, TK-5th Technology

Katy joins us as our Technology teacher during Specials for all grades TK-5th. Katy graduated from Connell High School and then went on to the University of Idaho where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems. She later earned her Master's degree in Education from Grand Canyon University. Katy loves spending time with her family and volunteering for various or-ganizations.


Analicia AlvaradoAnalicia Alvarado, 4th Grade

Analicia joins our 4th grade team fresh off a very successful student teaching experience. Analicia grew up here in Kiona-Benton City and went on to attend Eastern Oregon University where she earned a BA in History, with a minor in Writing and Reading. Shortly after graduating from EOU, she started her Master's degree in Elementary Education from Heritage University. She also received her ELL en-dorsement. Besides being an avid runner, Analicia likes to read and is quite the movie buff.

Kaylee HullKaylee Hull, Elementary Life Skills

Kaylee received her Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of
Nevada. After college, Kaylee explored various careers within her degree field before returning to Central Washington University to pursue her teaching certification in special education. After teaching in a middle school behavior program for two years, Kaylee is excited to return to elementary Life Skills to support our most vulnerable population. Kaylee has a passion for advocacy, behavior intervention, snowboarding, travel, and cats.

Middle School

Stephen KellyStephen Kelly, 7th-12th Grade Choir and 5th Grade Beginning Band

Stephen Kelly and his daughter moved to the district from Texas and have spent their entire lives in the Midwest. Before moving to Washington, Stephen was a worship and youth pastor for 22 years and loves teaching students of all ages. His goal is to teach people to be the very best version of themselves through the tools and expression we find in music. “The disciplines and lessons we find in learning music applies to all of us no matter our age or walk of life.”

Duncan TitusDuncan Titus, 6th- 12th Grade Band

Mr. Titus was born and raised in Ohio. As a tuba player, he quickly discovered a love for helping others to make music and followed this passion through a Bachelor's of Music Education at Ohio State University and a Master's of Arts at Washington State University. After teaching for a year in Oregon, Mr. Titus is happy to be back in Washington in the wonderful community of Benton City. When he's not teaching or playing one of his many instruments, Mr. Titus enjoys reading, board games, and early morning runs.

Jenny CareagaJenny Careaga, 6th-8th Grade Art

Jenny Careaga decided to change careers and pursue her teaching degree at 46 years old. She is a recent graduate from Heritage University and this is her first official year teaching. She has 4 kids and loves all things artsy craftsy, cooking, gardening, home improvement projects and spending time with family and friends.


High School

Brett CoxBrett Cox, Spanish

Mr. Cox comes to Ki-Be High from Walla Walla, to Prescott, to Grand Coulee Dam. He lives in Richland with his wife and two boys.




Jeff BeauchampJeff Beauchamp, Social Studies

Mr. Beauchamp has almost 20 years of experience teaching social studies in both eastern and western Washington, including three years teaching in Maryland. He grew up north of Seattle and has degrees from UofW in History and Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Education from Antioch University Seattle. He has many years’ experience coaching high school football and wrestling as well.


Sondra EdwardsSondra Edwards, Math

Sondra Edwards has been a math teacher for 26 years. She began her career at Ki-Be Middle School before leaving to teach high school and college math in the Tri-Cities. Now that her youngest of three sons just graduated high school, Mrs. Edwards decided to return to Kiona Benton to teach at Ki-Be High School with her husband Mr. Edwards, a 30+ year Bear.


Pattie Malloy-FloraPattie Malloy-Flora, Math

Pattie Malloy-Flora graduated from Eastern Washington University, has a Master’s degree from Western Governors University, and is National Board Certified. She taught math at Kennewick High School for 30 years and coached Fastpitch Softball for 25 years at Kennewick High. Pattie is the mother of two boys age 24 and 19.



Teachers Earning ELL Endorsements

Stephanie Lyon Rau Stephenie Olson Pam Tracy

In order to provide inclusive services for our English language learners, the Kiona-Benton City
School District is supporting teachers across the district to obtain their English Language
Learner (ELL) endorsement. This certification provides teachers with instructional strategies and a foundation of knowledge in English language development when teaching second language learners.

Primary teachers Stephanie Lyon Rau and Stephenie Olson, and intermediate teacher Pam Tracy worked through the program during the last school year to obtain their ELL endorsement to utilize this school year. Congratulations to these staff members on this awesome accomplishment!

To learn more about the ELL program in Ki-Be, contact Diann Zavala, Director of Special Services & Migrant - Bilingual Programs, at 509-588-2023 or

Highly Capable Program

We, as a community, believe highly capable students are those who perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels when compared with others of their age, experiences, or environments. Outstanding abilities are seen within students’ general intellectual aptitudes, specific academic abilities, and/or creative productivities within a specific domain. These students are present not only in the general populace but are present within all protected classes. If you are interested in having your child tested for this program, please ask your building administrator for a Highly Capable referral form. You can also learn more about the Highly Capable Program on our website at

Become a Volunteer Mentor!


Are you interested in making a difference in the life of a Kiona-Benton middle school
student during your lunch break? You are invited to serve as a volunteer mentor in United Way's 2021-2022 middle school lunchtime mentoring program!

Chronic absenteeism is a growing concern that affects whether a student will graduate from high school. Research shows that early intervention, including mentoring, can help students stay in school. Becoming a lunchtime mentor can make a difference!

Mentors will meet with their assigned students once a week, on the school grounds, for 45 minutes during the mentee's lunch period from October 2021 through May 2022. United Way will provide all necessary training, and no prior experience is necessary.

What you will do as a mentor:

  • Listen and be a reliable, positive adult role model.
  • Support student success by helping your mentee feel good about him/herself.
  • Demonstrate appreciation for learning and respect for the school.


  • Dependable, responsible, and patient.
  • Open-minded
  • Positive attitude
  • Good listener
  • Able to meet for 45 minutes once a week for the school year (September – June)
  • Able to attend quarterly mentor trainings at United Way or over Zoom


  • Making a difference in a child’s life.
  • Giving back to the community.

How to apply:

Interested future mentors must fill out an application, complete a short interview, and pass a school district background check. United Way staff will contact you with next steps.

For more information, please visit the United Way of Benton & Franklin Counties website at or contact Paul Klein at 509-581-3939.

Child Find Screening

If you need further assistance, please contact Diann Zavala, Director of Special Services, at 509-588-2024.

IDEA requires all states to have a “comprehensive Child Find system” to assure that all children, birth to 21, who are in need of early intervention or special education services are located, identified, and referred. Effort is made to reach:

  • Children who reside within the School District boundaries including preschool-aged children;
  • Children attending approved, nonprofit private elementary and secondary schools located within the District boundaries;
  • Highly mobile children (such as homeless, foster care, and migrant children)
  • Children who have a disability and may need special education services even though they are advancing from grade to grade; and
  • Children at home or home-schooled.

Do you have a question about your child’s development? Contact the Kiona-Benton City School District Special Services at 509-588-2024 if:

  • You have questions whether your child has a disability.
  • You are concerned about your infant, toddler, or preschooler’s development.
  • You know your child has a disability and are looking for appropriate educational services.
  • You would like to know how to help your school age child succeed in school.

Evaluations for infants and toddlers: The Kiona-Benton City School District, in contract with ESD 123, offers free of cost evaluations for infants and toddlers, birth through three. This evaluation will help you to determine if your child is following a typical pattern of development. If appropriate, ESD 123 will provide early intervention help for your child. For questions or assistance, contact the Early Childhood Special Education Administrator, at the Educational Service District 123, at 509-544-5744.

Three to five year olds: Developmental screenings and evaluation are provided by Kiona-Benton City School District for children, between the ages of three and five, to identify possible delays in language, motor, cognitive or social-emotional development. If you have questions or concerns about your preschooler’s development, or to refer a child for evaluation, contact the Special Services Office at 509-588-2024.

School Age Children: The Kiona-Benton City School District identifies children five through 21 who may have a suspected disability. A parent, staff member, community member, or private school staff member may refer a student at their local school by contacting the School Counselor or School Psychologist at your child’s school.

Athletics Update

Winter sports begin for schools on Monday, November 15 (with the exception of middle school boys basketball, which began on November 1st). The WIAA and State Department of Health requires COVID testing for all school winter sports, including cheerleading. In Kiona-Benton, winter sports consist of boys basketball, girls basketball, boys wrestling, girls wrestling, and cheerleading (basketball). The COVID Consent Form will be available for all parents to fill out on FinalForms when they sign up their child for a winter sport. Winter athletes and parents should be expecting communication from their winter sport coaches through emails in FinalForms. We encourage families to visit the Ki-Be website at and click on the Athletics link, or go to to sign up for your winter sport soon so you don’t miss any important updates.

Important Dates


  • 2 – Ki-Be Schools Community Council Meeting, 6:00 PM, Ki-Be High School Library
  • 8 – School board meeting, 6:30 PM
  • 22 – NO SCHOOL – Middle School Student Led Conferences, 12:00-7:00 PM
  • 22 - School board meeting, 6:30 PM
  • 23 – Early Release at 11:00 AM. Middle School Student Led Conferences, 12:00-3:00 PM
  • 25-26 – NO SCHOOL – Thanksgiving Break


  • 7 – Ki-Be Schools Community Council Meeting, 6:00 PM, Ki-Be High School Library
  • 8 – All-in party for middle school students with all assignments turned in
  • 13 – School board meeting, 6:30 PM
  • 10 – Middle School Music Concert, 6:30 PM at the High School PAC
  • 17 – Early Release at 11:00 AM
  • 20-31 – NO SCHOOL – Winter Break


  • 4 – Ki-Be Schools Community Council Meeting, 6:00 PM, Ki-Be High School Library
  • 17 – NO SCHOOL – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • 19-21 – Early Release at 11:00 AM for 9th-12th grade only
  • 21 – Quarter 2 Ends
  • 24 – Winter MAP Testing Window


  • 1 – Ki-Be Schools Community Council Meeting, 6:00 PM, Ki-Be High School Library
  • 21 – NO SCHOOL – Presidents’ Day


  • 1 – Ki-Be Schools Community Council Meeting, 6:00 PM, Ki-Be High School Library
  • 2 – All-in party for middle school students with all assignments turned in
  • 11 – NO SCHOOL – Professional Day/Snow Make-up Day

** Rember CRT early-release at 1:40 PM each Wednesday

Nondiscrimination Notice

The Kiona Benton City School District does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation including gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability in its programs and activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The Director of Special Services has been designated to handle questions and complaints of alleged discrimination: Title IX Coordinator/Section 504/ADA Coordinator/ Civil Rights Compliance Coordinator, 1105 Dale Ave., Kiona Benton City, WA. 509 588-2024

Title I, Part A Complaint Procedure Link: