When schools closed in March, the traditional end-of-year band concerts that showcase a year’s worth of practice and progress were effectively canceled. Rose Hill Middle School (RHMS) Band Instructor, Angela Laulainen got creative during the remote learning period and had her students record their parts at home.
Connections - April 24, 2020
A Message from Dr. Jane Stavem, Superintendent
It seems like everywhere we turn, advice is offered about how to cope with this time of closure. Why? Because everyone is experiencing this common situation, and no two scenarios of how that experience is playing out are the same. As a result, people need different things, and most people and organizations are trying to be helpful, while also taking care of their own needs.
This is also part of the uniqueness of how school districts across the nation are dealing with closures and supporting remote learning opportunities for students. Typically, when there is some type of crisis event, it is limited to a geographic area, and rarely are people all experiencing the event at the same time. Now, almost every district is trying to adapt and do their very best, some with abundant resources, and some with very little.
In our current situation, school district staff members are at home in the same way that families are home. That also means while we’re providing educational supports, our staff members are operating in an environment that lacks many of the tools and resources found in our schools and classrooms. They’re also doing so with young children, teenagers, elderly family members, new babies, illness, and other realities.
That doesn’t mean they don’t have a computer, or access to online tools like many people working from home. It means they don’t have students with them. Whether you’re interacting with students through email, PowerSchool or Teams, you still don’t have access to students in the same way, and teaching in a remote environment is very different than teaching in the regular classroom setting. We have had online learning for many years, but online learning is different when you lose proximity to your students, and when you’re orchestrating that learning from a remote workplace.
As we continue to move forward from now until the end of the official school year on June 19, there are three pieces of advice I’ve gleaned from just about everything I’ve seen or read, and I think apply very well as we continue to weather this pandemic as a school district and as community of human beings experiencing a very difficult time.
Remote Learning Update
We are thankful for our staff and families who are working hard to support students in these very difficult times. Without each other, we would not have been able to make the significant shift from in-person learning to remote learning. As we move into this next stage of remote learning, we are pleased to share information about our plans moving forward.
These plans have been developed to foster connection and to ensure the success of each student. They also provide the flexibility required for our educators and students to manage learning outside of our classrooms. We will continue to monitor and adjust as we learn together in the coming weeks and months. Additional details about each of the areas below can be found by clicking here.
Remote Learning Skills and Concepts
For each grade-level and subject-area, we’ve identified the essential skills and concepts students need to master to be prepared to move on to the next grade or receive the credit necessary for a course. Educators are designing weekly plans for the remainder of the year, including learning activities and resources for each week that will support students in mastering those skills and concepts.
Weekly Schedules and Communication
To help parents and students navigate remote learning, teachers will be using a common format for weekly learning e-mails. These e-mails include an outline of the lessons for the week and will be sent each Monday. They are designed to provide students and families and with consistent, accessible information to help with planning for the week.
Daily lessons for students will be available primarily through our digital learning platforms – PowerSchool Learning and OneNote. The weekly email will point students and families to the lessons.
Lessons and Assignments
Lessons and assignments will be developed so that they can be easily accessed at different times by students. This allows students, families, and teachers to work flexibly while addressing the different demands on their time and availability caused by the current situation.
Teachers will be scheduling time for connections with their class(es) in real-time through weekly office hours. These connections will be through available through discussion boards, video-conferencing and email. Schools are developing schedules for coordinated office hours while providing as much flexibility as possible.
Grading and Report Cards
At the elementary level teachers will be reporting which content areas have been taught and whether work has been submitted by students for these content areas.
At the secondary level, teachers will assign and grade work. We are awaiting guidance from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction about assigning Pass (P) / No Credit (N) grades at the semester, and the potential option for students to request a letter grade on their transcript at the end of the semester. Secondary teachers will be providing more information about how work will be graded in their classes directly to students and families.
During the mandated school facility closure, schools are not required to take daily attendance. However, at the end of each week teachers will indicate in our attendance tracking system students who are not participating in remote learning or responding to communication. This information will be used to help us reach out to students and families who may need additional support. This information will not be included in students’ official records or used for enrollment or penalties.
Schools are developing plans for the distribution of print materials to support curriculum-based learning for students and families who need them. These plans will include safety provisions such as scheduled pickup times to reduce person-to-person contact. More information will be shared by schools as plans are finalized.
Seniors/Class of 2020
We are committed to helping our seniors graduate on time. We will continue to monitor the guidance about options and requirements for seniors from the Governor, OSPI and the State Board of Education, as well as colleges, community colleges and universities through the spring. Please note that guidance could change, and we will make the necessary adjustments as needed.
Are you a Lake Washington School District parent/guardian or staff member who wants to receive announcements from LWSD by text message?
If so, text the letter “Y” to the number 67587. If your phone number is already on file at your child’s school, or in Skyward for staff members, this text will confirm that you want to receive text messages on your cell phone. LWSD cannot text you important updates unless you have confirmed that you want to receive these messages. If you aren’t sure what phone numbers are on file, visit your Skyward Family Access account, then go to “Skylert” to see the list of phone numbers and email addresses we use to contact you.
You should receive the following message back:
You’re registered 4 SchoolMessenger notifications. Reply STOP to cancel, HELP for help. Msg&data rates may apply. Msg freq varies.
New student online registration
Families may now register one or more of their new students online using Skyward, the district’s student information system. To do so, you will need a login (username) and password.
Skyward Login and Password
- If you have a student currently attending the Lake Washington School District this school year, or if your student is returning to the district from a prior enrollment, use your Skyward Family Access login and password to register new students from your own family. If you do not know your login and password, simply click on the Forgot your Login/Password link on the Skyward Family Access login page.
- If you are new to the district, click here to request a login and password.
- Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information
Please note, this is only for new students to the district. Current students don’t need to go through this process. Visit the district website for more information.
LWSD staff working to provide for families who need it most
Schools have been closed since March 12, but LWSD staff members have been working around the clock since then to support the families in our school community. Many families rely on schools for basic needs like meals. Since learning has moved to a strictly online format, there are students who need a laptop at home along with a reliable internet connection. As you can see in the stats below, LWSD has provided some of these basic services and will continue to do so throughout the closure. Additionally, LWSD has donated some of its Personal Protective Equipment to EvergreenHealth to support those on the front lines of the Coronavirus crisis. Visit the LWSD website for information on how to request meals, laptops and/or internet hotspots.
*Statistics current as of the date in parentheses.
Students should restart laptops to re-connect to district resources
The Technology Team has been working to expand remote access capacity for staff and students. During this work an issue arose that broke connectivity for some devices. Working internally with Microsoft, we identified the complicated root cause on the morning of Tuesday, March 31, and applied a fix at 11:00am. Devices simply need to be restarted and should then be able to connect to the District once again. If after a restart your device still experiences an issue, please contact us for support. Families can contact email@example.com. Staff should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
April is School Library Month
While your school and local public library might be closed, King County Library System still has great online resources for research, learning and reading. LWSD students can access these resources for free using their student library accounts at https://kcls.org/students/.
Learn how to use your library account with this video from Amber Peterson, teacher-librarian at International Community School.
Greg Lawson, a teacher-librarian at Redmond High School, recommends the free Libby app, which connects directly to your library account. “KCLS eBooks/audiobooks are a great way to get books for free during our time at home,” he wrote. Check your school’s library page or contact your school librarian if you need instructions. #SchoolLibraryMonth
State Board of Education recognizes 20 Lake Washington School District schools during #WASchoolsWeek
The State Board of Education (SBE), the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), and the Educational Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee (EOGOAC) have identified 391 schools statewide to receive recognition. Schools in Washington stand out for closing gaps, showing growth, and demonstrating achievement according to new data released by the state. Additionally, the state Legislature has acknowledged the last week in April as Washington School Recognition Week (April 27 – May 1, 2020). Twenty of the schools being recognized come from Lake Washington School District (LWSD).
Two LWSD students receive National Merit Corporate-Sponsored Scholarships
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced Wednesday that two Lake Washington School District seniors will receive National Merit Corporate-Sponsored Scholarships:
- Jenna Yuan, Eastlake H.S. - National Merit Boeing Scholarship
- Jordan Rothkowitz, Redmond H.S. - National Merit Boeing Scholarship
National Merit Corporate-Sponsored Scholarships are financed by about 160 corporations, company foundations and other business organizations. These students are two of only 1,000 distinguished high school seniors nationwide, and just 15 in Washington, to win these scholarships.
Reminder: Credit requirements for high school students available in Family Access
Students and families can now monitor progress toward high school graduation requirements. There is a tab called “Graduation Requirements” on the left menu in Student and Family Access. After opening this menu, you will see a list of the coursework requirements. Questions about how to interpret the information can be found on our Skyward Family Access Support page.
Carl Sandburg/Discovery Community School recognized as U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools on Earth Day
The U.S. Department of Education announced today that Carl Sandburg Elementary and Discovery Community School are among the 2020 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees. The two elementary schools share a building and work together on sustainability initiatives, including the process for the Green Ribbon School recognition.
Sandburg and DCS were nominated by the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). “At Sandburg Elementary and Discovery Community School we push ourselves to go farther,” said Principal Lori Pierce. “If we reduce our environmental impact and conserve natural resources, the world will remain a place of endless possibilities for our students for generations to come.”
Fill out your Census forms today!
The #2020Census is an opportunity to bring vital resources into our community for the next 10 years. Things like funding for schools, Medicaid, support for hospitals, and emergency funding. Your response today will help us be more prepared in the future.
Please complete your form online, by phone, or by mail using your invitation to respond. Visit my2020census.gov to begin.
Watch performances from the Seattle Symphony during the closure
As our community confronts this global health crisis, the Seattle Symphony will share performances that provide strength, comfort and joy through free video rebroadcasts and livestreams. See the schedule and where to watch.
Thank you for your ongoing support of the Seattle Symphony!
Changes to King County Metro bus routes for Lake Washington High School
King County Metro changed a number of routes on the eastside on March 21 that may have an impact on those students who take Metro buses to get to school in the future. Five routes currently serve our Lake Washington High School (LWHS) geographic region. Four of those routes have be canceled and one is unchanged. Three new routes were created to provide service to those existing routes. These changes could mean that a student has a new bus route number, a new bus schedule and the possibility of walking further to and from school from their new bus stop.
Families and students are encouraged to visit the King County Metro website to view the upcoming changes. King County Metro is also asking that riders visit their Trip Planner site to see the exact options.
If you have any questions, please reach out to LWSD communications manager Collin Sullivan at email@example.com or 425.936.1300.
Building on Success is Lake Washington School District's long-term plan to reduce overcrowding, accommodate growing enrollment and continue to provide quality learning environments and experiences for our students.
Construction crews stay safe while preparing for the first day of school
It might seem like a long way off, but construction crews are busy preparing for the first day of school this fall. To keep everyone safe and healthy, our construction partners have updated their safety plans to include physical distancing measures. We are also working virtually with our partners to continue activities such as design, procurement and permitting.
Continuation of construction is essential to ensure we have classroom space available for our students. Juanita High School, Old Redmond Schoolhouse and the Lake Washington High School classroom addition are all scheduled to open in fall 2020.
We are also busy preparing for elementary additions funded by the 2019 Capital Projects Levy. Construction at Mark Twain Elementary, Ben Franklin Elementary and Rose Hill Elementary will begin this summer.
Facility Advisory Committee continues meeting
The LWSD Facility Advisory Committee (FAC) has continued to meet virtually during our school closures. Two meetings have been held via Zoom since mid-March. In November 2019, Lake Washington School District formed a Facility Advisory Committee to make recommendations for future facility planning, informed by enrollment trends, community expectations and district programs. The facility strategy will align with the District’s strategic plan and make recommendations to accommodate our rapid enrollment growth and continue to provide quality learning environments. The Superintendent and School Board will consider these recommendations as it plans for future ballot measures to fund construction. You can follow the work of the FAC here.
LWSD needs paraeducators, instructional assistants, bus drivers, mechanics, custodians, plumbers and electricians. Job descriptions are available on the district website, under "Employment" then "Classified Employees." Please share this information with your friends and neighbors.
Comfort food – LWSD students participate in 7th Annual High School Culinary Competition
In January, six high school teams in Lake Washington School District competed in the 7th Annual High School Culinary Competition. The teams put their cooking skills to the test as they went head-to-head in a challenge that makes them think outside of the box, while producing a tasty meal all under an hour and a half. Read more about the competition.
Staff hard at work preparing meals for students
Many students in Lake Washington School District rely on the meals they get from school each weekday. That’s why our Nutrition Services staff has been making meals every school day to distribute to students in need of breakfast lunch. Our middle schools have turned into distribution sites for families to pick up meals. Bus drivers have been driving vans around everyday to deliver meals to high density areas like apartment complexes as well to serve as much of our community in need as possible. Watch the video above thanking our transportation staff and nutrition services staff for their hard work.
We’re in this together! Calling all LWSD students! We’re asking student artists to color in our “We are in this together” coloring sheet. Then, take a picture of yourself holding the sheet when you are done, and post to the LWSD Facebook page to share with the rest of our community!
Here's a link to the coloring page.