Have you read this month’s cover article [March, Tukwila Reporter] about the major grants the Tukwila School District has recently earned as part of the Road Map consortium? We are investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in innovative educational practices we know work, all to benefit Tukwila children! From preschool to post-graduation, we are strengthening the system with intentionality at every level. We want to make sure that all kindergartners come to us prepared to learn and that no young adult leaves without a diploma, which takes many, many levels of support in between. We are about everyone crossing the finish line!
One major theme you may have noticed throughout the grant projects is the power of vision: Our students must see themselves as successful and believe in an unfettered future before it becomes reality. In this regard, Henry Ford was exactly right: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t — you’re right.” The grants are going to set up students to experience successes — through a summer – school program that encourages and prepares middle-school students to tackle more Advance Placement courses in high school, for example. Those successes are going to compound and shape each student’s belief in what they are capable of achieving.
That’s why I am so proud of our award from the state this month recognizing Foster High and Showalter Middle School for their outstanding career- and college-readiness program. Our middle- and high-school students meet with dedicated teacher advisers every week to make concrete, goal-oriented plans for success after graduation. Moreover, our Tukwila counseling and English Language Learner experts helped create a statewide component of the college-preparedness curriculum called “My Dreams, My Story, My Voice.” It enables students to clearly envision themselves as college bound, even when they are the first generation in their family to attend a university.
Ultimately, the Tukwila School District is creating a culture of hope for each child. This comes across through major initiatives but also in our countless every-day interactions. Here’s just one instance: Teacher Jacquelyn Ford was recently overheard in the hallways of Tukwila Elementary saying these amazingly powerful words to a student: “One day, you will come to me in your 40s and say ‘Look what I did, Ms. Ford’,” and it is going to be something amazing. I believe in you.” The adults make a significant difference for our students.
Wow. Just wow.
This June, we are supporting our culture of hope through a long-standing graduation tradition, celebrating our outgoing seniors’ achievements with as much fanfare as possible at Neudorf Stadium; but we will also hold another ceremony to celebrate the transition of our other rising stars: kindergarteners moving to first grade, fifth-graders moving to middle school, and eighth-graders moving to high school. These transitions give emphasis to the importance of bridging students from all levels of the organization.
Again, this is about vision. I want our students to experience success and realize they have a clean slate of new educational opportunities ahead each and every day. I want them to walk across a stage after completing each grade span, full of hope and possibility. I want them to know that their future is full of unlimited potential. It falls in the laps of students in conjunction with caring adults.
Tukwila School District Superintendent Dr. Nancy Coogan can be reached via email at email@example.com