Dear Tukwila community,
Our all-staff kickoff event this year had the beautiful coincidence of falling on the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Using this as a launching pad, we came together to talk about our core values —the things that collectively motivate us every day as we serve some of the smartest, most diverse children in the nation. We are in the business of providing access for ALL students. We value the dignity of every life, no matter whose. And we open our hearts to each other, no matter the differences. Ultimately, we decided that we are all responsible for helping to build a socially just world.
We left the kickoff absolutely energized, and the opening weeks of school have seen no come down. I have been the chief learner, getting on the bus with students the first day and visiting as many classrooms as possible. I discovered how to stair-step for counting using math manipulatives, the added challenges of navigating school for students brand new to the country, how to calculate the volume of a gummy bear and make predictions using clues from texts, and how to move kindergartners through their first lunch experience, among many other lessons! There have been a few hiccups, such as a mysterious power failure at Foster the second day, but everyone has come together to support students and each other. Overall, it has been a fun, educational, action-packed opening to school — and it’s only going to get better!
My personal mission this school year, as shared by my fellow educators, is every name and every need. We are going to be doing incredibly hard work, implementing the new Common Core Standards and the state’s teacher/principal evaluation system; we will be aligning curriculum and training educators in best practices; we are expanding targeted intervention strategies to reach each level of learner. At the end of the day, however, it comes down to knowing every child by name and need: Who are they and what do they need to reach their fullest potential?
To get there, we need to partner with you. These are our schools collectively. You are always invited to volunteer, attend an athletic event or performance, or call me if you want to talk about education. If you are a parent or guardian, ask your teacher or principal for resources to help extend the school day at home in fun and meaningful ways.
Welcome to the 2013-14 school year, Tukwila. It’s going to be great!
Dr. Nancy Coogan is superintendent of the Tukwila School District.