The past months have been busy but important

  • Tuesday, April 17, 2018 2:38pm
  • Opinion

March and April are busy months for school districts that bring complexity, challenging the leaders to stay focused. For Tukwila School District it is extremely busy as we continue to take stock of the direction of the district and further refine and align district goals and actions with our vision, mission, and values and belief statements for improving student learning. After getting the district off to a good start, it turned its attention to reviewing the current strategic plan and its goals and objectives with 75 district and community stakeholders during the month of December, 2017. In February 2018, the school board and interim superintendent came together for a two-day retreat to analyze the information from the first meeting with stakeholders to draft a new statement of vision, mission, and values and beliefs.

During the month of March, a subgroup of the 75 stakeholders and alignment teams from each of the district schools further refined the work that was completed in previous meetings. The teams will come together again in April to move forward to develop goal statements and actions that will inform our work in the district for next year and beyond. The teams will have the opportunity to align their goals and actions based on the new Washington School Improvement Framework. This new Framework identifies how district schools are measured based on the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced the No Child Left Behind Act. Indicators for measuring continuous improvement will be based on: (a) ELA and Math Proficiency, (b) ELA and Math Growth, (c) Graduation, (d) English Learner Progress, (e) Regular attendance, (f) Ninth graders on track and, (g) Dual credit. For more information about the Framework, visit the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s site. For individual district and school report cards click here. Building principals will be on hand to discuss the new School Improvement Framework with the community and families. Watch for principal communications this month to families.

Important to aligning the goals and actions for student achievement with its vision and mission is the development of the four-year budget that represents the district’s priorities expressed in numbers. While this is a major undertaking that occurs at the same time as program planning, it does not supersede it.

As simple as it may seem that the majority of funding should be dedicated to student learning in the district, it is surprising how easy it is to lose sight of this principle when developing and managing a budget. For this reason, the Tukwila School District has formed a district spending/budget advisory committee that meets the second and fourth Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Showalter Middle School library until June to review budgets and budget requests to see how each fits into the aspect of student achievement improvement. School buildings and department leaders have the opportunity to share detailed descriptions that show how their budget priorities impact student learning. The meetings are open to the public and we encourage you to attend.

The district continues to appreciate voters’ passing of the $99 million bond in February 2016. The first three projects paid for by bond proceeds have been completed this month and an open house is scheduled for the public on Wednesday, May 23. The public will have the opportunity to tour the new transportation office, located at the district’s bus barn, the Education Service Center located in the newly renovated Foster Library and Cascade View Elementary School. More details regarding the open house will be available in the May issue of the Tukwila Reporter, on the district’s website and its Facebook page. The digital reader board at Foster High School will also display more information closer to the date of the event. Please mark your calendar.

The month of April is extremely busy for our students as they take state assessments to validate their knowledge and skills of the core academic standards in reading and math. Some students are completing college applications and/or waiting for their acceptance letters and financial aid notifications from postsecondary education institutions, some students are firming up work experience opportunities for summer and beyond, and others are involved in end of the year activities such as sporting events, plays, choir events, club activities and more. While these are milestones and mostly joyful events for our students, we ask that you encourage students to get the proper rest and nutrition they need to be highly functioning during this stressful time of the year. As adults and caregivers, let’s be understanding and mindful of the social and emotional well-being of our students and assist them when they need it the most.

Thank you for caring and supporting Tukwila School District. I wish you well and please reach out to me if you have any questions, concerns, or want more information about the district. I may be reached by email or by phone at berryj@tukwila.wednet.edu or 206-901- 8037.

[flipp]

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