Superintendent's Message - February 2017

    Formal portrait of LWSD Superintendent, Dr. Traci Pierce

    Growing Together, Serving our Community

    Helping Students Reach their Potential

    This year’s theme for National School Counseling Week in February is “Helping Students Realize their Potential.” In Lake Washington School District, we are proud of our longstanding and ongoing commitment to maintaining high standards for learning and high standards for safe and inclusive learning environments for all students.

    Our high standards for learning are aligned to the state standards and articulated through our preK-12 curriculum framework. We begin preparing students to reach our vision of Every Student Future Ready at the primary grades as they learn early literacy and math skills. At the intermediate grades we are preparing students for success in middle school. In middle school, we prepare students for high school. In high school we focus on preparing students for college, the global workplace, and personal success – our definition of Future Ready.

    Our Every Student focus extends to our high standards for safe and inclusive learning environments. We recognize and value that we are a diverse community. We believe in providing a positive, harmonious environment in which diversity is respected and encouraged. We are committed to providing a safe and civil educational environment that is free from all types of discrimination and harassment, bullying, and intimidation. We are committed to providing equitable and inclusive environments that emphasize a core value of mutual human respect for all people regardless of individual differences or characteristics. These beliefs and commitments are reflected in several long-standing district policies.

    When it comes to Every Student, questions have recently arisen about immigrants’ students’ rights to attend public schools. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Plyler vs. Doe (457 U.S. 202 (1982)) that undocumented children and young adults have the same right to attend public primary and secondary schools as do U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Like other children, undocumented students are obliged under state law to attend school until they reach a mandated age.

    As a result of the Plyler ruling, public schools may not deny admission to a student during initial enrollment or at any other time on the basis of undocumented status. Schools may not treat a student differently to determine residency. Schools may not engage in any practices to "chill" the right of access to school. Schools may not require students or parents to disclose or document their immigration status. Schools may not make inquiries of students or parents that may expose their undocumented status. Schools may not require social security numbers from all students, as this may expose undocumented status. Finally, school personnel have no legal obligation to enforce U.S. immigration laws.

    Public schools exist to help all students learn. Lake Washington is committed to helping all students reach their full potential. We are committed to fulfilling our vision of Every Student Future Ready. We are proud to be LWSD!