Community support helps Tukwila students thrive | Nancy Coogan

  • Monday, December 19, 2016 5:00pm
  • Opinion

Nancy Coogan

As we come to the close of this calendar year, I want to reflect on the hundreds of people who give their talents, time, and treasure to ensure that Tukwila is a great school district.

All families have the same desires: to work in living-wage jobs, to make sure that their children get a good education and that all members of the family become active, positive contributors to our community. Every parent wants for their children what I wish for my own: the highest quality education.

Our students and families inspire me daily. As I visit classrooms, I observe students who are compassionate with one another, eager to learn and up to any challenge. They have the highest expectations for themselves and want the district to challenge them to those expectations.

The parents and family members I meet ask me how they can best support their children to be successful.

Parent engagement is a top priority. This year we are asking families what they are interested in knowing and being able to do to support their scholars. We will create and offer workshops based on that input.

I am very grateful to all TSD staff members – from our certificated and classified staff, our bus drivers who greet our scholars daily to nutrition services and maintenance staff. You make a positive difference every day for our scholars. We know that relationships are critical to their success, and I see and hear our staff working diligently to make connections with each and every student daily.

Our students and our staff are blessed by the community that surrounds us. Community members contribute in many ways, not just once or twice, but on an ongoing basis. Thank you. You demonstrate the meaning of kindness, compassion, generosity, and love. Students act in response to these attributes, and they rise to meet high expectations as well.

I would particularly like to thank our city. Mayor Allan Ekberg and the city of Tukwila are devoted partners. We work collaboratively on many projects that serve our residents. In November, the mayor and City Council members hosted a delegation of Foster High School students to hear concerns in the wake of the recent election. The students articulated the vision that they see for our community and will provide on-going input to the mayor and council, who listened with concern and open hearts.

Tukwila Fire and Police departments spearheaded the third annual Operation Warm in October. They donated enough coats to provide warmth for all kindergarten students. I am so proud to be part of a community that demonstrated this generosity.

Many community members came together Nov. 19 for our Stuff the Bus campaign. This campaign provides food for our homeless students through the fabulous work of Jenny McCoy, the executive director of Stillwaters, a nonprofit organization that on a weekly basis provides food for the weekend for close to 100 of our students. More than 1,600 pounds of food was donated. We have joined with other partners to set up more Stuff the Bus campaigns to ensure that we are meeting the basic needs of our scholars and families. I would like to thank Target at Southcenter for hosting us for our first campaign and the Sabey Corporation for providing the banner that attracted many families to contribute. This community makes a difference.

Our next Stuff the Bus campaign will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, at Saars, 3725 S. 144th St., Tukwila.

Watch our website and social media for more information on the type of foods needs.

Clothes Are Really Expensive (CARE) nights are an annual tradition where schools collect warm clothing and other gently used items and invite families to “shop” for what they need. This year we had employees from Supercuts volunteer to give free haircuts to our scholars. Approximately 100 students left CARE night with a fresh haircut to accompany their new outfits.

Inspirus Credit Union is yet another organization that deserves recognition. Inspirus presented Jonathan Houston, our McKinney-Vento coordinator, with a check for $1,500 to support our homeless families.

Rotary International Clubs are all about service, and they have traditionally supported schools with dictionaries and donations. Most recently the Rotary Club of Duwamish Southside gifted the Tukwila Elementary library with $500.

I ask all of our families and students to consider this: Our community supports you and wants you to be successful. The generosity described above demonstrates that. We are here for you, and we stand with you. Recent resolutions also demonstrate our district and cities commitment to each and every family.

The Tukwila School Board recently adopted a resolution (http://bit.ly/2hjrTDY) that reads, in part, “In our local community, we have strong and unwavering values. We are committed to the humanity of every person; we care for each other; we believe in dignity, freedom, safety, and compassion. Therefore be it resolved that Tukwila School District stands united with our students and our families and that the Board of Directors recommits to model and to enforce the values and policies that are included in this resolution.” The Tukwila City Council also approved a resolution of commitment to being a diverse, tolerant, and inclusive city. (http://bit.ly/2hjrTDY) I am proud of the school board, and our city for passing these resolutions and I am proud to be your superintendent.

As I look back over 2016, my heart fills with pride for our students, respect for our families and great gratitude to our staff and our community. Have a wonderful, restful end of 2016. As we move into 2017, let’s find joy in everything we do and be most gracious and kind to those we serve.

Tukwila School Superintendent Nancy Coogan can be reached at 206-901-8006 or at ncoogan@tukwila.wednet.edu.

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