Dear Community Members,
Amy Beth Cook, Superintendent
Welcome to 2013! In the education world, we celebrate our “New Year” each fall with the start of school, and the first half of the school year has been very exciting. As always, it has been a pleasure and reward to spend time in our schools and classrooms. I’m happy to see strong leadership from our administrators and educators and the intentional instruction that is engaging student learners at all levels.
As you know, in November, we began the district’s strategic planning process that will culminate this spring. A total of 19 focus groups were held with 248 participants. I sincerely appreciate the input received from our parents, community members, staff and students.
The school board and district leadership team will meet to analyze the data from the focus groups to create a vision and mission statement, and develop goal areas for a new strategic vision document. Once this is complete, we will again ask for staff and community input into the goals created. Once goals are set, committees will be created in each of the goal areas to determine action steps to achieve the goals. The end result will be a living document that reflects the unique needs of our students and community and a continued plan for success.
Given the tragedy in Connecticut in December, there has been an increased awareness nationwide regarding school safety. As always, the safety of our students is our number one priority. We have a tremendous working relationship with the Lake Stevens Police Department, and I met with them in December to discuss an ongoing partnership to establish and implement best practices for student safety. We are currently assessing needs at each building and will continue to work together to improve the safety plans in place at each of our locations.
A new teacher and principal evaluation system, based on changes in state law, is set to be implemented in the fall of 2013. Administrators and teachers have been working together to learn the language of Charlotte Danielson's Framework for Teaching, which will be incorporated into new evaluation criteria beginning next year.
Work is also being done by district employees to better-use student learning data to guide instruction. Data is especially important as we lead up to state testing, which begins this spring in all of our schools. To ease in planning, testing dates were included in the district calendar and are also available on the district website. Please help us achieve success by sending students to school well-rested and focused. I’m confident that our students and staff are prepared for these important assessments.
As you can see, we have been busy planning for, and implementing an academic program designed to meet the needs of all students. I am appreciative of the work done by our staff and the difference they make in the lives of our students. Additionally, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to become better acquainted with our families and community members. I welcome your thoughts and ideas as we embark on the second half of the school year.