Superintendent Message - February 2019

Jane Stavem, LWSD Superintendent

Lessons from the Snow

Another day of watching out the window, then the doorway, then to another window – hoping that at some point the snow will stop. When I came to Washington from Nebraska, I thought I left the white stuff behind. I gloated when my family sent pictures of snow and ice and I was still enjoying 50-degree days. Our district now has had just as many, if not more, snow days as the Midwest!

I think there are always opportunities to learn something when faced with adversity, so here are the top 10 lessons learned from the snow:

  1. Some circumstances are beyond our control. We want school to be in session. There are major life disruptions that are caused when this kind of weather hits and the goal is to return to normalcy as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the weather is something we can’t control, so we do our best to deal with it until it passes.
  2. Be adaptable and flexible. When life doesn’t go the way we want it to, we must adapt. We need to be flexible and work with the situation to do the best we can, given the circumstances. The other option is to be inflexible and angry, and that doesn't serve any purpose.
  3. Enjoy simple things. When the very first snowflakes began to fall, I saw a little girl across the street dancing because she was so excited. Soon she brought the dog, and then she threw on a red hat. She was experiencing the sheer joy of the moment at the sight of snow. 
  4. Be thankful. I'm going to be very thankful when the snow is gone for good this spring. I'm also thankful for all the ways people have helped our school district and communities to weather the storm. Our maintenance staff has worked tirelessly to clear the grounds of our schools. Our bus drivers have had more than a few white knuckles making sure students arrived at their stops safely. Our communications staff members have worked hard to keep people informed, send clear messaging, and think about the needs of families as we weigh decisions. Friends have helped with childcare, snow shovels have been passed around neighborhoods, food has been prepared and shared, and people are calling to check on elderly neighbors. Crews have restored power to our schools and neighborhoods
  5. Find the beauty in the situation. While there has been a lot of snow, it has been amazingly beautiful. Hopefully, you captured a picture or two and ventured out just a little to experience it.  
  6. Slow down. Whenever there is bad weather, we are forced to slow down. It can be frustrating, but it is also an opportunity to adjust the pace of life and be ok with going a little slower.
  7. Plan ahead. I think this lesson was taken to heart by many given the state of the grocery shelves, but it’s more than just stocking up on food. It’s thinking ahead to what needs to be done for school, for work and for life. If we only live in the moment, we lose the opportunity to plan for the future.
  8. Think of others. This type of weather event causes all kinds of adversity for people. We need to be mindful that everyone experiences challenges differently and lend a hand where possible. 
  9. Have hope for the future. I know that spring is going to be amazing. There will be green leaves, singing birds and warmer weather to enjoy. When we lose sight of the future, we lose hope. Think about all the beautiful days that really are just around the corner. 
  10. Embrace adversity. Too many times we simply want to avoid any adversity and as a result, we miss out on the benefits of the struggle. It’s important for children to see how we as adults deal with adversity and allow them to experience some struggles along the way. 

I think we’re all more than ready to see the snow disappear. Hopefully, the memories and lessons learned as a result of this crazy weather won’t leave quite as quickly. I know my first year as the superintendent of this amazing school district has been made even more memorable and valuable thanks to the snow. 

Jane Stavem, Superintendent
Lake Washington School District 

District #414
Four Learning Communities………One District………For All Kids