What does it feel like to have a disability? The Margaret Mead Elementary School PTSA wanted students to be able to empathize with their peers who face mobility, learning or other challenges. As part of Disability Awareness Month, they set up a Disability Awareness Fair with eight learning stations.
We believe that public education is a community effort. Parent and community partnerships help our students and schools succeed. We depend on our engaged and supportive community, and our community deserves transparency and accountability.
To best serve our communities, Lake Washington School District must be closely connected with the community. Community engagement takes many forms at both the building and district level. We regularly communicate with the community to be both accountable and transparent. We regularly engage parents and the community in decision-making and advisory processes. We regularly collect input and feedback on our work, and we partner with community agencies, business, and local government to best serve our students, parent, and the community.
A number of committees engage community members in providing advice to the district in several different areas. The Instructional Materials Committee (IMC), for example, is a standing committee that includes principals and teachers as well as community representatives. This committee regularly reviews curriculum and make recommendations for approval to the board.
The technology department relies on the Community Tech Advisory Committee to review and identify the district's technology needs and programs.
These groups provide input on major issues or decisions facing the district. They often include a mix of parents, community members, and staff members. For example, a Long-Term Facilities Planning Task Force helped to develop a long-term plan to address the district’s aging schools and its need for more classroom space for its rapidly growing enrollment.
Our district has very involved parent and community volunteers who provide tremendous support to the district’s schools every day. Our volunteer office is involved in recruiting and placing volunteers for specific school needs, such as health screenings and the AVID program. AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) is a national program designed to better prepare students for college. The facilitators work with a small group of students one or two days a week for one hour. In addition, the LINKS program recruits community volunteers to act as academic mentors, lunch buddies and tutors.
As a school district serving families in Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish, and King County, it’s important to coordinate with our parents, local community agencies, and cities.
Parents are critical partners, not only in the education of their own children, but in developing a strong school community. The PTSA is an important partner in LWSD in many ways. School PTSAs provide enrichment programs and advocate on behalf of schools with local and state government. The PTSA Council is a key district partner and supporter, and they work with the district to provide parent education programs.
Lake Washington Schools Foundation funds important district and school programs that would not be possible without their generous support. They provide classroom level grants and provide support for innovation throughout the district.
The district partners with community agencies such as Youth Eastside Services (YES), Evergreen Health, Assistance League of the Eastside, and Hopelink. These community agencies help provide critical services for students in need, and partner with our schools to provide social-emotional support for students.
City and district partnerships help serve community needs. We look for ways to share resources to benefit our schools and communities. Field and gym partnerships, for example, enable the district and cities to share space and costs. City recreation programs also make use of school buildings to offer programs outside of school hours. By sharing our resources, together with our city partners, we can serve families and our greater community better and more cost effectively.