Connections - December 14, 2023

Winter break

Wishing you all happy holidays and a restful winter break!

Winter break begins Monday, December 18, and extends through January 1. District offices will be closed December 22, 25, 29 and January 1. Learning will resume on Tuesday, January 2, 2024. Until then, enjoy your break and happy holidays!

Work with us

We're hiring! Consider a career in LWSD

We're Hiring

LWSD is always seeking great talent for positions throughout our district. In addition to other positions available throughout the district, we are looking for applicants for the following positions:

  • Nurses
  • Instructional Assistants (IAs)
  • Paraeducators
  • Custodians
  • Bus drivers
  • Substitutes

These positions are also available in a substitute role. Check out the LWSD website for job descriptions and postings.


Learning Focused

Hour of Code a big success in LWSD schools

Hour of Code

Hour of Code took place last week between December 4-10. This is an annual, worldwide opportunity that occurs every December to inspire K-12 educators and students to engage computer science to solve problems, advocate for equity in computer science education, celebrate the contributions of students, teachers, and partners to the field, and underscore the critical role of computing in all careers. This year’s theme was "Creativity with AI." 

Check out the LWSD Facebook page for information and photos from students participating in Hour of Code.


Clara Barton Elementary named National School of Character, Principal Karen Barker goes to DC to accept award

Clara Barton Elementary in Redmond has been recognized as a National School of Character. For 2023, Clara Barton was the only school in Washington state, and one of just 36 schools across the country, to receive the award. Ella Baker received this recognition in 2022. Both schools are recognized for a five year period – Clara Barton 2023-2028, Ella Baker 2022-2027. The recognition comes from, an organization dedicated to empowering people of all ages to practice and model core values. 

Principal Karen Barker was on hand in Washington D.C., November 5-7 for the International Forum. In 2022, Ella Baker Elementary was recognized as a National School of Character. Both schools were also named State Schools of Character in 2022.

To read more about Clara Barton receiving National School of Character awards, visit the LWSD website

You can view a video made by LWSD to show at the International Forum on the LWSD website.


Future Chefs

Future Chefs culinary competition

Do you know an elementary student who loves to cook? 

Elementary school students from Lake Washington School District are invited to compete in this year’s Future Chefs event, sponsored by Sodexo. Future Chefs is a national competition held to encourage the younger generation to learn about preparing healthy meals. It also provides the opportunity to have fun and get creative in the kitchen. This year’s theme is "favorite family recipe." Here are some important dates related to the competition:

  • January 2-26: Submit recipe online. Form closes at 3 p.m., Friday, January 26.
  • February 2: Finalists notified.
  • February 29, 4:30 p.m.: Finalists prepare their recipe in a live competition at Timberline Middle School.

Visit for more information. Submissions for the competition will become available on January 2 on the website.


District Announcements

Sign up for weekly menu features

Weekly elementary menu features

Interested in learning about the featured menu item for school lunches each week? Families can sign up to be sent a weekly newsletter that shows the featured menu item for each day of the school week at our elementary schools. 

Click here to sign up for the newsletter, and on the next page fill out your contact information and then select the Weekly Elementary Menu Features group by checking the corresponding box.


Updates from King County Metro's Youth Mobility Program 

Students who have a Youth ORCA card

  • To ensure that their card provides free fare until they turn 19 years old and does not expire sooner, all students 18 and younger should register their card at by December 31, 2023
  • This two-minute process requires only an email address or phone number, Youth ORCA card number and birthdate. 

Students who need a Youth ORCA card

  • Youth aged 13 and older can always order a free card online at (the card will automatically be registered when ordered). If online ordering is not an option for students you serve, please let us know.  

As a reminder, youth 18 and younger ride transit for free. For riders 13 and older, using a Youth ORCA card (also known as a Free Youth Transit Pass) is highly encouraged, but not required. Tapping a Youth ORCA card allows transit agencies to better understand how many young people are riding transit, including where and when.  


Reminder: Sound Transit x Move Redmond 2 Line Safety Video Contest

Sound Transit and Move Redmond are excited to announce the 2 Line Safety Video Contest. The 2 Line is planned to open in Spring 2024 to expand service in Bellevue and Redmond. Light rail will make it easier to get where you want to go on the Eastside. The two organizations want everyone to be aware of the change in their environment — especially in the BelRed neighborhood where the 2 Line will operate at street level.  

The contest is asking K-12 students to submit a vertical format video on the theme of the contest: Practicing Safe Habits around light rail. To learn more about the contest, please visit the Move Redmond website.


Reminder: Are you ready for inclement weather?

When emergency conditions such as snow and ice or windstorms result in school schedule changes, the district will notify families directly through ParentSquare.

  • Here are some other ways to find out about school schedule changes: Pop-up alert on and school webpages. 
  • – This website allows you to sign up for text messages as well. 
  • Local TV/radio stations – They get a feed from of all school schedule change decisions. 

Curious how school schedule change decisions are made? You can learn how to be updated when school is delayed or canceled on the School Closures and Late Starts page of the district website.


Lake Washington School Foundation

Celebrating generosity

LWSF is humbled by the generosity of the community, whose support enabled LWSF to:

  • Raise almost $60k for the All In For Kids fall fundraising campaign.
  • Collect over 13,000 items during their Pantry Packs food drive.

LWSF deeply appreciates your trust in their commitment to making a positive impact on local students!


Bridging the Gap: Noticias – A lifeline for Spanish-speaking parents 

Explore the impactful story of Noticias as it bridges communication gaps and empowers local Hispanic families through its innovative video news initiative:


How to pick your classes in high school 

Join the LWSF Find Your Fit program for a vibrant discussion on high school class selection for the upcoming year, where they'll explore graduation requirements, college perspectives on transcripts and more! Register for this January 18th webinar


Call for ambassadors!    

Join the Foundation family! Ambassadors represent their school community and champion LWSF programs that help every student in our school district thrive. Contact to learn more!


Building Excellence

Updating Phase 2 of the Building Excellence Plan

Construction Update Phase 2


At the November 20 School Board Study Session, Associate Superintendent Barbara Posthumus, Superintendent Holmen and Executive Director of Support Services Brian Buck shared an update to Phase 2 of the Building Excellence Plan. Phase 2 will include the following projects:

  • Rebuild and enlarge Alcott Elementary – estimated completion 2027.
  • Fieldhouse/pool refurbishment at Juanita High School – estimated completion 2028.
  • Rebuild or expand Kamiakin Middle School – estimated completion 2029.
  • Rebuild or expand Evergreen Middle School – estimated completion 2031.
  • Rebuild and enlarge Smith Elementary – estimated completion 2031-2032.

The recommended funding mechanism for the Phase 2 projects is a six-year Capital Construction Levy that would go to voters in November 2024. Levy collection would begin in 2026.

Previous Facility Advisory committees recommended having renderings (pre-design) of future projects. Pre-design work is underway now on the four aging schools and is expected to be completed by February.

For the full recommendation, see the November 20 Study Session presentation here.  
For more details about each project, see the full presentation from the October 2 Study Session here.  
A final recommendation will be brought to the board for action in May/June 2024.


Fall Report to Community

Fall 2023 Report to the Community – Coming to your mailbox soon! 

Lake Washington School District has prepared a Fall 2023 Report to the Community. This newsletter will be mailed to all households in LWSD and features updated information about the district – including the use of the three levies that passed in 2022 – the Educational Programs & Operations Levy (EP&O), the School Technology & Capital Projects Levy and Phase 1 of the Building Excellence Construction Levy. Watch your mailbox for this important update!


Student & Staff Success

Season of Giving

Season of Giving

'Tis the Season of Giving in Lake Washington School District (LWSD). Each year schools and district buildings across LWSD think of ways to benefit those most in need during the holiday season. They do so by holding food or clothing drives, or collecting items to donate to others in the community. The items collected are distributed to families and non-profit organizations throughout the area. 

Visit the LWSD website to see the regularly updated list of what some of the schools are doing this year to make the season a little brighter


Faces of Franklin art project captures the spirit of inclusion

Franklin Elementary students recently completed "Faces of Franklin," a seven-week equity and inclusion art project. A local artist came to Franklin to teach each class and every student how to paint a self-portrait. The theme was to foster their sense of belonging to the community, while also affirming individual identity. Together, these faces represent Franklin Elementary, a community that is enriched by each unique part. This project was sponsored by Franklin’s PTA.

Faces of Franklin


Shining star –

There were 11 students chosen to represent Washington state as delegates to the American Junior Academy of Science (AJAS). Three of those students are from Lake Washington School District (LWSD). Annie Adhikary and Nikki Taleghani, Tesla STEM High School, and Dhruv Darbha, Redmond High School, are a part of the largest Washington state delegation ever.

Read more about this on the LWSD website



This newsletter is just one way to stay in touch with what is happening in the district. Connect with us on Facebook, X, Instagram and YouTube for up-to-date news and information.