Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Dear Issaquah School District Community,
It’s time to welcome our students back to school and I hope you are just as enthusiastic about the upcoming school year as I am! As a district, we made great strides last year in aligning our curriculum in preparation for new state academic standards, modernizing our facilities, and in the areas of sustainability, safety and security, and creating a culture of kindness. We’re ready as teachers, administrators, and support staff to build on these successes in the 2014-2015 school year.
Our teachers have been hard at work over the summer taking classes and participating in trainings to increase their proficiency in delivering deep, rich instruction to students. This professional development for teachers is a crucial component in instilling the knowledge and tools our students need to meet the new Math, English Language Arts, and Next Generation Science Standards. Our Teaching and Learning and Technology departments have been working together to prepare our schools to administer the new statewide Smarter Balanced assessments which will take place in the spring. This year we opened the doors on two newly remodeled elementary schools at Apollo and Issaquah Valley Elementary, and a completed Liberty High School. These schools have added safety features as well as an improved teaching and learning environments, built with sustainability in mind. To help meet the demand of future growth in the City of Issaquah, the work continues this year as we begin building a new Issaquah Middle School and renovating the current IMS facility to become the new Clark Elementary School.
Sustainability goes beyond our facilities. Sustainable practices and concepts are evidenced in our curriculum, our new Sustainability Ambassadors program at the high school level, and the number of students participating in school green teams. Last year, our District received a 2014 Green Schools Leader award from the state and our schools continue to achieve new levels in the King County Green Schools program.
While physical safety is always at the forefront of our minds, emotional and social safety is just as important to the learning environment. I am particularly pleased with the progress we’ve made in providing mental health services to our students. We have contracted with Swedish Hospital to bring mental health counselors to our comprehensive high schools and the Friends of Youth for mental health and drug counseling services for our students and families. Additionally, the District’s Culture of Kindness has been gaining traction with many student-led activities that are spreading acts of compassion and thoughtfulness in our schools and out into our communities.
Speaking of community, we could not do the work we do without the support of our parents, the PTSA, and community partners such as the Issaquah Schools Foundation. We all want the best for our students, for every student to be successful, and to have fun this year. I’m always listening, so if you have an idea, suggestion, or even a concern, please be in touch. I am at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-837-7002.
Superintendent Ron Thiele