Superintendent Message - December 2019
As 2019 draws to a close, I want to thank our entire Lake Washington School District community for the many ways you support our students, staff and schools.
Our Mission is to help every student graduate prepared to lead a rewarding and responsible life as a contributing member of our community and greater society. We accomplish that goal when we all come together through our unique roles to care for our students and love them as they make their way to adulthood – an academic journey, a social journey, and a personal journey.
As we look forward to the second part of our school year in 2020, I want to share two important informational items:
- Updates and highlights from our Strategic Plan for the first part of the year, and
- An update on school start times.
Elevate: Strategic Plan Update – Year End Highlights 2019
This fall, LWSD launched its three-year Strategic Plan, Elevate. In this plan, we have five major goal areas: Academic Success, Well-Being, Community Engagement, Excellent Staff and Effective Use of Resources. We plan to report out to our community how we are achieving the goals that we have set in each of these areas on a regular basis.
Our first Strategic Plan Update is titled “Year End Highlights 2019” and reflects the major work in each of the five goal areas that has happened so far. I encourage you to review this document and see the extensive progress we are making toward our vision of Every Student Future Ready. The Strategic Plan Update can be found here: https://www.lwsd.org/about-us/strategic-plan.
School Start Times
At our December 9 School Board Meeting, I announced that Lake Washington School District will not make any changes to our current school schedules (start/end times) at this time.
In looking at potential schedule revisions, we considered the following factors:
- The original decision-making process that led to the current start/end times for schools.
- Current research on adolescent health.
- Impacts of the start/end times on current family schedules and potential for additional disruptions.
- The recommendations from the School Start Times Advisory Committee.
- Current program models, including the impact potential changes would have on transportation schedules and staffing needs.
- Space constraints and the impact on program flexibility as LWSD continues to grow.
- LWSD’s current transportation model and policy requirements for eligibility.
As we reviewed the current research and school schedules, our ideal scenario would be to have our earliest start times moved to a later time, and our latest dismissal times moved to earlier times. If we think of our earliest and latest times as bookends, it would be like moving those bookends closer together.
We know there would be some benefits with those changes, however, there are many current factors that result in very limited flexibility. Any changes related to additional schedule revisions have massive, systemic implications and cannot be made with short-term thinking and planning.
We also want to respect the changes that our families and community partners made with the initial schedule changes two years ago, understanding that it is unrealistic to ask people to continually change their work and childcare schedules. We are also aware of neighboring districts that moved to later times only to move them back due to the same constraints. We don’t want that level of disruption for our families and communities.
We will continue to review current policies and programs to look for ways to adjust our current schedules to be more ideal. We will also look for ways to improve supporting structures such as before and after school childcare opportunities and programs to accommodate the needs of families related to current school schedules. Our school district has unique challenges related to our continuing growth and our communities have ongoing challenges related to population density such as traffic and travel time.
I hope that you each find time to reflect over the past year and enjoy time with friends and families over Winter Break. We look forward to seeing everyone back at school on Monday, January 6, 2020.
Dr. Jane Stavem, Superintendent