The Lake Washington School District (LWSD) is excited for the 2014-15 school year! This year we welcome more than 2,000 new kindergartners into our district and will prepare nearly 1,600 12th graders for graduation in 2015. All totaled, more than 26,000 K-12 students entered Lake Washington schools on Tuesday. Our teachers and staffs are prepared to help every student to be future ready.
As a school district, we are more than just a collection of schools. We are an educational system, with learning as our core business. Our district mission and vision makes student learning and achievement our top priority. On average, Lake Washington students score 16 percent higher in reading and 22 percent higher in math than their peers across the state on state accountability measures. We know that annual test scores are just one measure of student performance. We are working hard to ensure that every day, all students experience meaningful learning that helps them to learn, grow and succeed.
Our values and strategic goals guide our district work. Four core values drive our district culture. We are: student centered, learning focused, community connected and results oriented. Our five strategic goals align to our four core values. You can learn more about our five-year strategic plan on our district website, at www.lwsd.org.
Since learning is our district’s core business, we believe in investing in the ongoing learning of our professionals so they can do their very best work in service of our students. This summer, our office professionals, custodians, bus drivers, new teachers and returning teachers, building administrators and district administrators all participated in in-service training and professional learning workshops. You can see some great pictures of professional learning in action on our district Facebook page.
In addition to participating in extensive August learning sessions, all brand-new teachers are assigned a consulting teacher, who works alongside the new teacher to provide job-embedded mentoring, coaching and support. This year we were also able to add some instructional coaches and literacy coaches to support the ongoing learning of our experienced teachers. By focusing on staff professional learning, we will be able to improve learning for our students.
In addition to student and professional learning, we focus on organizational learning. We are continually examining our systems, structures, practices and policies to improve as an organization. Listening, open communication, engagement and transparency with our parents and community is critical for our ability to learn and thrive as an organization. This year, we are continuing to expand our communication and community engagement efforts. As a new practice, we are inviting parents to participate on curriculum committees. We have a number of curriculum adoptions on the horizon, including grades 6-8 science, 9-12 science and 6-8 mathematics.
We will also be convening a facility advisory committee this fall to help us learn the desires and priorities of the community with respect to building facilities. Our enrollment continues to grow and we added 10 more portables across the district this summer to house our growing student population. We need to develop a long-term plan for housing students and we need to better understand what the community wants and is willing to support. To address growth in the short term, we need to adjust attendance boundaries for the 2016-17 school year. This process will begin early this fall and there will be many opportunities for parents and community members to be engaged. Please look for more information on both the boundary process and the facility advisory committee coming soon.
LWSD is honored to serve students throughout Kirkland, Redmond and Sammamish and it is a privilege to serve as superintendent.