Superintendent's Message

The following message was printed in the 2020-2021 Student Art Calendar.

June 2020

Dear Issaquah School District Community,

As I write this message at the end of June 2020, it is hard to know what our reopening plans for the 2020-21 school year will look like when this calendar reaches you in late August. What I am sure of is the tremendous amount of time and effort that will have been spent developing and implementing our plan. While we continue to face uncertainty heading into this school year, I want to assure you of my commitment and the commitment of everyone here in the Issaquah School District to the health and safety of our students and staff, improvements to our remote learning system, and continued efforts at addressing racism and equity this school year.

Drone photo of Middle School 6 construction siteThe 2019-20 school year was dramatically altered with the outbreak of the coronavirus in our region and the ordered closure of our schools, which forced us into remote teaching and at-home learning. However, prior to this historic event, a number of very positive things occurred in our school system. We passed a two-year Educational Programs and Operations Levy with a more than 12 percentage point increase in support over the previous levy election. We began construction on our first two brand new schools since 2010, Elementary 16 in Sammamish and Middle School 6 in Issaquah. We look forward to their anticipated opening in the fall of 2021. We continue to make progress on our remaining two new school projects, comprehensive High School 4 and Elementary 17, both located in Issaquah on the District’s Providence Heights property. We also have a number of other school and facilities remodeling projects taking place as we work to add much needed student capacity and other enhancements.

This coming year we will also conduct a significant boundary review process as we prepare for the opening of new schools. Moreover, we will continue to develop and expand our race and equity work, curriculum and instruction work related to distance learning, dyslexia interventions, new curriculum adoptions along with a wide range of professional development training and opportunities for staff.

Elementary students at separated desks during in-person learningWhile I understand how difficult the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been and will continue to be, I remain optimistic about our school system and community’s ability to manage and even thrive under this new reality. Most of us share a desire to return our school system back to the mostly “brick and mortar” approach we all appreciate, but I am confident that our students will continue to grow and develop in the incredible ways I have observed over the past 19 years of my time in the ISD in spite of the pandemic.

Finally, my optimism is driven in part by the amazing support our students and staff receive from this community and our fantastic Parent Student Teacher Association (PTSA), innovative Issaquah Schools Foundation (ISF) and all the other formal and informal community organizations that provide support to our students and staff.

Ron Thiele Signature
Superintendent Ron Thiele