Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! We want to recognize and honor all our outstanding teachers who are the heart and soul of education. Thank you, teachers, for working hard each and every day to elevate our students to become successful in school and beyond. We celebrate you today and every day!
Connections - January 27, 2022
A Message from Dr. Jon Holmen, Superintendent
Remember to vote: Ballots due by Tuesday, February 8.
Residents in Lake Washington School District should have received a ballot for the February 8 election. On that ballot are three measures to continue funding for our students, staff and schools. If approved, these funding measures help us ensure excellence for all our students by continuing funding for staff, programs, technology and safe and healthy school buildings.
Proposition 1: Replacement of Expiring Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) levy to continue funding for school staff, programs, early learning and student opportunities like arts, music and athletics.
Proposition 2: Replacement of Expiring School Technology and Capital Projects levy to continue funding for student computers, school technology and to help ensure our school buildings are safe and maintained.
Proposition 3: Building Excellence Construction levy funds facility construction projects to accommodate our rapid enrollment growth and continue to provide learning environments that promote excellence for students.
Did you know that the state school tax for education is decreasing? The King County Assessor confirmed that the state schools tax rate for property owners in King County is being reduced by 27 cents per 1,000 of assessed valuation in 2022. The state school funds go to the state and is used for education funding for all districts across Washington state. Our local LWSD tax rate collects funding that stays in our school district.
Have additional questions?
Join us for a Town Hall Q&A session on the levies:
Unable to attend? Submit your questions using our Let’s Talk page: Let's Talk! 2022 Levies - Lake Washington School District (lwsd.org).
For more information on our levies, visit https://www.lwsd.org/education-levies.
Want to make sure you can vote? Check your voter registration status and make sure you are registered to vote for the February 8 election at https://voter.votewa.gov/WhereToVote.aspx.
We're hiring! Consider a career in LWSD
LWSD is always seeking great talent for positions throughout our district. In addition to other positions, we are looking for applicants for the following positions:
- Instructional Assistants (IAs)
- Bus drivers
These positions are also available in a substitute role. Check out the LWSD website for job descriptions and postings.
Shift in COVID-19 positive case response to families
Lake Washington School District has been inundated with positive cases of COVID-19 since we returned from Winter Break. Our staff members have been working around the clock, every day of the week to handle these cases and to try and provide the most up-to-date information possible to keep our families aware of the case rates at our schools. COVID cases are dramatically increasing across the county and schools are experiencing a similar rate of cases as is reflected in the King County Public Health dashboard, which can be accessed at: Daily COVID-19 outbreak summary dashboard - King County
The combination of increased cases and staffing shortages has stressed our ability to provide timely notice and as a result, we have prioritized contact tracing and notification and have shifted to provide a daily notice when there are one or more cases at a school. Students who are considered close contacts will be notified by their school.
We have also seen a significant increase in absences. Some students are absent due to isolating after having tested positive for COVID, some are quarantining from being identified as an unvaccinated close contact, some are staying home with cold symptoms and others are absent for other reasons.
We update our dashboard on a weekly basis consistent with the data that is reported to King County Public Health each week. Given the volume of cases, staffing shortages, and the intent to prioritize identifying close contacts we are unable to reliable update it more frequently.
LWSD is committed to the health and safety of all our students and staff, and that remains especially true during another incredibly challenging time in this pandemic. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through this, your support means everything to us.
Washington State Department of Health Guidance Change
The Washington State Department of Health has adopted two changes that impact the conditions and the duration of isolation and quarantine protocols for adults working for school districts.
As a reminder, isolation refers to when people are sick with COVID- 19 and need to stay home to prevent infecting others.
Previously, people who had tested positive for COVID- 19 had been required to isolate for 10 days. This new guidance asks people to isolate for 5 days after symptom onset or since positive test results if no symptoms are present. If after 5 days a person has no symptoms present or symptoms are resolving AND that person has not had a fever within the past 24 hours (without having to use fever-reducing medication), then that person may return to work. Staff who return to work after 5 days should continue monitoring for symptoms and wearing a well-fitting mask around others through day 10 (days 6-10).
For staff that are currently isolating, if you believe that you may be eligible to return under this protocol, please contact your supervisor.
We are adopting the Department of Health’s new guidelines for quarantine. Quarantine refers to when people are asked to stay home because they have been in close contact with someone who was infected with COVID-19, these people may or may not contract COVID-19 or develop symptoms but are asked to stay home to limit the potential for spread of the disease.
Students and staff who come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 should quarantine for at least 5 days (day 0 through day 5) after their last close contact (for household exposures this would be the last day the person with COVID-19 is considered infectious) with a person who has COVID-19 if they are in one of the following groups:
Ages 18 or older and completed the primary series of recommended vaccine but have not received a recommended booster shot when eligible.
Those under 18 who are not vaccinated or have not completed a primary vaccine series.
Students and staff must wait to receive a negative test result from a test taken no sooner than day 5 post-exposure and provide the negative test documentation to the school before returning. For families of students that are currently quarantining, if you believe that you may be eligible to return under this protocol, please contact your child’s school.
Students and staff who come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 do not need to quarantine if they:
- Are ages 18 or older and have received all recommended vaccine doses, including boosters and additional primary shots for some immunocompromised people.
- Are ages 5-17 years and completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines.
- Had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days.
Lake Washington Schools open enrollment February 4-28
Lake Washington School District holds an open enrollment period once each year for parents who want their children to attend a school other than their neighborhood school. Parents may apply between February 4-28 for a change to their school assignment for the 2022-23 school year for their student in grades K-12. This option is also known as an In-District Variance. Read more about open enrollment on the district website. Students from outside the district, who wish to attend Lake Washington’s schools, can apply for enrollment by initiating a Choice Transfer (out-of-district) request with their resident school district. Please use our district website to find the application: https://www.lwsd.org/students-families/transfer-options/choice-transfers.
Kindergarten registration begins February 24, 2022
If you live in Lake Washington School District (LWSD) and your child will be five years old on or before August 31, 2022, it is time to register your child for Kindergarten! Registration for all K-12 LWSD students is online. All necessary documents can be accessed on the LWSD website and completed documents can be uploaded securely. Parents who are unable to upload documents may send them by U.S. mail or drop them off at their neighborhood school. Read more about Kindergarten registration on the district website: Kindergarten Information - Lake Washington School District (lwsd.org)
Schools celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s pursuit of peace and justice
Schools throughout LWSD took time to recognize the importance and impact of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s pursuit of freedom through nonviolence. At Evergreen Middle School (EMS), staff and students held the annual MLK Spirit Week of Service from January 18-21. During the week, they supported four charity organizations by collecting donations before school.
Over the course of the week EMS students donated:
- 467 Hygiene items for Friends of Youth
- 390 Snacks and kid-friendly food items for Pantry Packs
- 241 Clothing items for Mary’s Place
- $675 for the Borgen Project (from our Dollar Drive on Friday)
Secondary report cards
Each year, we provide semester report cards in February and June. Report cards provide students, families, and teachers information about how well students are performing and communicate final semester grades.
Last year, we adjusted our grading and reporting system to address some of the challenges of grading during remote learning, and in response to state guidance. The main adjustment was to replace F letter grades with N/No Credit grades in middle and high school.
One of the benefits of the N/No Credit grade is that it addresses the impact of an F on a student’s grade point average while still indicating that a student has not completed a class. The N grade appears on the report card and on students’ transcripts for high school level courses. Students who earn an N grade in a required course must re-take that course or an equivalent course. However, N grades are not included in the calculation of students’ high school grade point average (g.p.a.).
Based on input we received from students, families, teachers and administrators, we are continuing to use an N grade instead of an F grade for both semesters of the 2021-22 school year while we evaluate whether we will make this a permanent change to our district’s grading policy. This change is similar to those made by neighboring districts. We will continue to provide updates about reporting of grades as any changes are made.
Band and orchestra district event postponed
The decision has been made collaboratively by the middle school music teachers, district music coordinators and their teams to postpone the Middle School District Honor Music Event scheduled for February 1 to later in the year. All rehearsals have also been canceled. We will provide an update to our families when a new date has been determined.
Advanced Placement exam registration information for 2021-22 school year
LWSD is offering a LATE AP Exam Registration window from February 1 through end of last lunch on February 18, 2022. Students who register during the late AP Registration window will incur a $50 per exam late fee in addition to the $98 per exam fee.
Join our Advisory: K-12 Arts Program Review
In the Lake Washington School District, we convene committees of stakeholders to review our instructional programs on a regular basis. These advisories consist of teachers, administrators, specialists, community members and students. The K-12 Arts Program Review Advisory will get underway in February 2022 with the goal of making recommendations to the LWSD Board by June 2023.
For the remainder of the 2021-22 school year, the advisory will meet remotely up to two times a month to engage in research and determine indicators of a quality K-12 arts program. During the 2022-23 school year the advisory will use the research-based indicators to review the district’s K-12 music, 6-12 visual arts, and 6-12 theatre arts programs.
If you are interested in applying to be part of this committee, please fill out the application below by Tuesday, February 8. We will review applications with the goal of creating an advisory that represents multiple roles, schools, attendance areas, and perspectives.
For any additional information, please contact Dr. Jen Rose, Director of Teaching and Learning.
- K-12 Arts Program Review: Community Recruitment Survey
- K-12 Arts Program Review: Student Recruitment Survey
Reminder: Join our Committee: AP Biology Instructional Resources
In the Lake Washington School District, we convene committees of stakeholders to review our adopted curriculum on a regular basis. These committees consist of teachers, administrators, specialists, community members and students. The committees meet up to two times a month to engage in learning about current research, standards, and effective instructional practices and then apply that learning in evaluating resources for potential adoption. The process of reviewing and/or adopting new curricular materials can be a one or two-year commitment, depending on the size and impact of the adoption. We are starting the adoption process for AP Biology instructional resources this winter. If you are interested in applying to be part of this committee, please fill out the application below. For any additional information, please contact Becky Kadrmas, Director of Accelerated Programs.
Lake Washington School District Budget earns Meritorious Budget Award for fifth-straight year
Award reflects District’s goal of fiscal responsibility
Lake Washington School District’s (LWSD’s) 2021-22 Budget has earned the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) Meritorious Budget Award (MBA). This award promotes and recognizes excellence in budget presentation in school districts. LWSD has received this award five years in a row. LWSD is the only district in the state of Washington to receive this award.
ASBO International’s MBA and Pathway to the MBA promote and recognize best budget presentation practices in school districts. Participants submit their applications and budget documents to a panel of school financial professionals who review the materials for compliance with the MBA Criteria Checklist and other requirements and provide expert feedback that districts can use to improve their budget documents.
Become an Ambassador with Lake Washington Schools Foundation
On December 9, LWSF held an Ambassador Info Meeting for community members interested to learn more about the role of our ambassadors. Our Executive Director, Katy Philips, was present to share the work of the Foundation, and to listen to feedback on how LWSF could better support school communities. You can view the meeting recording here.
If you are an adult who can give 1-2 hours per month to support the mission of LWSF and be a wonderful advocate for your school, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!
Send a teacher a Valentine
This Valentine's Day, let teachers and staff know you care. When you order a special gift of appreciation for an LWSD teacher or staff member, we'll put their name on our virtual Wall of Love, send them an inspirational postcard, or even include a special edition enamel pin.
Visit www.lwsf.org/valentine to make your selections. Your order supports the Foundation's work and brightens a staff member's day! Order deadline is February 10.
Parent Chats from Balance In Mind
Parent Chat launches its Winter Series of important and relevant mental wellness topics. Listen and learn from mental health experts in a safe and supportive environment. Parent Chats are held virtually, twice-monthly on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. Register at www.lwsf.org/parentchat.
- Feb 9: Cancel Culture
- Feb 23: Mental Wellness Across Cultures
- Mar 9: Well Body, Well Mind
- Mar 23: Youth Susceptibility to Extremism: What Parents Can Do
Reminder: Volunteer to be a Lunch Buddy mentor!
Students in 15 LWSD elementary schools are in need of a mentor RIGHT NOW! You can make a difference in a student's life by giving 45 minutes of your time each week for lunch, games, crafts and conversation.
"When you go in, they just light up, and you know that in that moment, you are making a difference." - LINKS Lunch Buddy mentor
Contact Victoria Goetze-Nelson at email@example.com or 425-936-1410 to learn more.
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 our SchoolMessenger automated phone system. You can learn how to know when school is delayed or cancelled on the School Closures and Late Starts page of the district website. Families with students who ride the bus should watch their mail in mid-November for a postcard with information about their bad weather bus route.
- Here are some other ways to find out about school schedule changes: Pop-up alert on www.lwsd.org and school webpages.
- Flashalert.net – this website allows you to sign up for text messages as well.
- Local TV/radio stations – they get a feed from Flashalert.net of all school schedule change decisions.
Rose Hill Middle School students get hands-on experience restoring ecosystem
The sixth graders at Rose Hill Middle School worked on an exciting new unit on ecosystems restoration in science this fall. During this unit, students not only learned what makes a healthy forest ecosystem but also got the opportunity to plan and execute their very own restoration project for a damaged ecosystem on Rose Hill’s campus. Read more.
Perfect five – Redmond High sophomore receives perfect score on AP exam
It is one thing to get a score of five on any Advanced Placement (AP) exam, but to get every, single point possible is very unique. Aadit Ambadkar, Redmond High School sophomore, is one of just 335 students across the world to accomplish this. Ambadkar accomplished this feat in May (as a freshman) by earning every point possible on the AP Computer Science Principles Exam, receiving the maximum score on each portion of the exam. Read more.