Dear Students, Staff, Parents, and Community Members:
October 9th marked my 100th day as serving as your superintendent. While this initial stretch has not been without challenges, it has been my absolute pleasure to see so many members of our school team working together for the benefit of our students. It is my humble assessment that the care and passion that exists on a daily basis in our schools is noticeable and authentic. Student and staff well-being continues to be the focus of our work, as does creating high levels of engagement by students and staff with one another. I’m proud to say that I see that focus of well-being and engagement in our schools every day!
At the start of July, I identified some priorities for our initial work this year and want to share what has been accomplished and remains to be accomplished relative to those areas of focus. I would be remiss not to mention that many of these items were already in progress under the passionate leadership of our Lake Chelan School District board of directors and retired superintendent Barry DePaoli. For that I am grateful, as I continue to be for the opportunity to serve in such a caring and passionate community.
Regarding student safety:
We have added our own Lake Chelan School District Safety and Security Officer (SSO) Alvin Little. Mr. Little works daily on our campuses building relationships and promoting a safe and secure learning atmosphere.
We have completed installation of a new intercom system at Morgen Owings Elementary to allow for announcements to be clearly heard in all hallways and classrooms, installed additional internal security cameras, and have plans for the addition of more soon.
Our district safety and security team has updated our Emergency Plan roles and procedures and distributed them to our building and district leaders. The team continues to meet with a goal of constantly seeking to practice and improve our procedures.
New Director of Student Services and Inclusion, Kirk Marshlain, has formed a multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) task force that will be leading the work in our district to make sure the academic, behavioral, and social-emotional needs are met at the level required by the individual student. This emphasis on meeting individual needs is a major component of keeping our students safe and healthy.
Regarding support of our school and district leaders:
It has been my immense pleasure to visit our schools and classrooms for 9+ hours a week over the first 5 weeks of school. This has greatly enhanced my understanding of the day to day instruction that goes on in our classrooms, especially at the preschool, elementary, and middle levels where I have not spent much time the last 6 years.
It has also been my pleasure to meet with our building principals and directors 1 on 1 monthly to understand their challenges and work side by side with them to strategize ways on ensuring we are fostering constant growth in our students and staff. I am also pleased to report that our building leaders get additional collaboration and support via weekly meetings with our new Director of Teaching and Learning, Tiffany Viall. Working with our district leadership team of directors and principals has been nothing short of uplifting as we come together twice a month to learn together and focus on teaching and learning that grows staff and students.
Regarding fiscal responsibility:
Working with new LCSD Business Manager Bo Charlton, we have proactively projected enrollment and created a budget that ensures we are being good stewards of our taxpayer generated funds while pursuing numerous grants to support programs important to our students. All our principals and directors are also working hard to make use of federal funds targeted for elevating student learning after the effects of irregular schooling the last 3 years. It has also been my pleasure to meet with our State Rep. Mike Steele, State Senator Brad Hawkins and the director of U.S. Senator Patty Murray’s Central Washington Office, Raquel Crowley to share our needs of fiscal support and local control of our school system.
Regarding our school facilities:
I have thoroughly enjoyed taking on a learning stance regarding our immediate and long term facilities needs. Our supercharged maintenance crew under the direction of Rosey Burkhard was kind enough to let me shadow them for part of a day for an up close look at the work they do on our school grounds. I have also had the pleasure of starting to work with and build relationships with Mark Brown of the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), Cory Plager and Jon Gores of D.A. Davidson, Jeff Jurgensen of OAC, and Ephrata School District superintendent Tim Payne to learn more about identifying and meeting facilities needs in a rural eastern Washington school district such as ours.
We held our first facilities listening session on October 5th and are poised for the kickoff of our facilities planning team in coming months along with additional opportunities for input from students, staff, families, and community. I always welcome thoughts from our students, staff, families, and community about the needs they see and potential pathways for improvement!
Regarding strategic planning:
While our teachers, classroom paraprofessionals, and principals have been working hard to implement our Universal Design for Learning (UDL) instructional plan, we are in need of a comprehensive strategic plan with a clear vision for how we want to grow as a school district. After speaking with numerous educational leaders in our region and reviewing a number of examples, we have identified Dr. Gene Sharatt as a partner for this work, and I look forward to working with our board of directors, students, staff, families, and community members to chart a course for creating life changing outcomes for students.