Nov. 3, 2023
The classroom lights were dim and students were comfortably seated in the front of the room, fully engrossed in their teacher’s reading of The Wind in the Willows.When Livia Olesen came upon one of the identified vocabulary words, her Skyline Elementary School third-graders would recite the definition, in unison, complete with hand gestures to help them retain the information.
“Conceited—overly proud of yourself,” the students chanted while pointing their noses in the air.
“What makes Toad conceited?” asked Olesen, as nearly a dozen student hands shot into the air to answer her question.
Students were introduced to the adventures of Mole, Rat, Badger, and Toad, all while strengthening their understanding of character traits, settings, themes, plots and sequence of events. Following their reading they worked collaboratively to draft an opinion about Toad and why he was irresponsible.
The story is part of Domain 1: Classic Tales in the Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA) curriculum, which was adopted by the Lake Stevens School District’s Board of Directors in May 2023, after a two-year comprehensive curriculum review and piloting process.
“My students are adapting very well to CKLA,” said Olesen, who was one of 20 teachers to pilot the curriculum last school year. “In third-grade we invest two hours each day to complete a lesson to ensure we teach all of the parts—speaking and listening, foundational skills, writing responses to reading, independent and partner reading, and handwriting. Activities such as these integrate ELA standards while exposing students to a variety of genres and topics. Our new curriculum will equitably give a foundation to all students in our district.”
During the pilot of CKLA, Olesen guided her students as they made connections across topics and disciplines. Their vocabulary was enhanced, which also supported their writing skills. She sees her students engaged in their learning and having fun.
"They are excited to learn, and their daily reflections show that they are enjoying the materials."
“They are excited to learn, and their daily reflections show that they are enjoying the materials. I’ve even had families tell me that their children are actively sharing what they’ve learned when they get home. And, I’m learning right along with them,” said Olesen, who is looking forward to exploring future learning topics including animal classifications, the Roman Empire, Native Americans, ecology and more.
CKLA was fully implemented at the start of this school year in kindergarten through fifth-grade as the district’s core language arts curriculum. It immerses students in rich content from literature, history, geography and science, while fostering a deeper understanding of subjects and supporting effective writing and communication.
Nov. 3, 2023
Large sheets of paper line the room, filled with colorful Post-It notes containing questions, suggestions and creative ideas.Participants of varying ages and roles are huddled in small table groups throughout the room—pouring over data, maps and charts. The synergy in the room is palpable as the group collaborates and works through scenarios.
This group is Lake Stevens School District’s Facilities Needs Advisory Committee (FNAC). It includes parents, caregivers, staff, students and community leaders, and is being led by Andrea Wright—a district parent, volunteer and engaged member of the community. FNAC members applied to participate after engaging in the district’s Facilities Needs Survey in early September.
“I’m honored to lead this dynamic committee,” exclaimed Wright. “We’re collaborating to tackle the multifaceted challenges of safety, programs, building condition and capacity. Our shared commitment to prioritize these challenges, and create a recommendation to the Board of Directors, guarantees that our schools will continue to effectively support all of our students for years to come.”
More than 1,200 people participated in the Facilities Needs Survey, sharing 824 thoughts in response to this question:
What facilities needs should be considered as we plan for enrollment growth and the improvement of schools and district facilities in the years to come?
Respondents expressed concerns for safety, comfort and the capacity of our schools. This included overcrowding concerns and the need for additional schools, particularly at the middle and high school levels. Safety was a recurring theme, with participants emphasizing the importance of secure campuses and classroom doors. Climate control was also highlighted as a priority, with many calling for air conditioning and better heating in classrooms. Other suggestions include modernizing facilities and providing more parking. Participants stressed the need for equitable resources and facilities across all schools in the district.
“We appreciate the willingness of our district stakeholders to partner in this important work,” said Robb Stanton, Executive Director of Operations Services. “Community engagement is an essential part of our district and a crucial component of our long-term planning and strategy.”
Nov. 3, 2023
Last spring, Lake Stevens School District’s (LSSD) third- through eighth-graders and 10th-graders took the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) in English Language Arts (ELA) and math.Fifth-, eighth- and 11th-graders also took the Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science (WCAS). Our students once again outperformed their peers statewide in all assessed categories. Our students were also among the leaders in Snohomish County in the majority of tested areas.
“Our students and educators have demonstrated a commitment to learning, and I’m pleased to see the progress we’ve made as a district,” said Dr. Ken Collins, Superintendent of LSSD. “However, we know our journey is far from complete. While we have areas of celebration, we acknowledge that there is still work to be done. We will continue our efforts to ensure that all students receive the support and necessary interventions required to achieve academic success.”
Summative assessment scores, such as the SBA and WCAS, are just one way that we measure student achievement. In our district, we focus as heavily, if not more so, on frequent, formative, classroom-based assessments that help guide instruction. Information gained from state assessments and other district and classroom-based assessments and activities help our educators plan and guide instruction. District administrators use the information to plan professional learning for teachers and to help identify, promote, and support successful programs, effective curriculum and instructional strategies.
While the spring 2023 scores indicate progress—gains were made in sixth-grade ELA and math and in eighth-grade ELA and science—opportunity gaps continue to persist. Supporting students furthest from educational justice and students most impacted by the pandemic has remained a priority. Students are receiving interventions through tutoring, after school and summer learning opportunities, reengagment support, mentoring, access to educational technology, and mental health support.
Student assessment scores are available for families in Skyward Family Access under the “Test Scores” or the “Portfolio” tabs. Families of secondary students received a family score report in the mail.
For more information about LSSD’s student achievement scores and demographic information, visit Washington State Report Card and search for “Lake Stevens School District.” To learn more about state testing, visit OSPI's State Testing page.