This spring, Rush Elementary School students participated in the school’s 12th annual Young Author’s program. Students worked to write and illustrate a book on the topic of their choice.
Connections - March 7, 2018
A message from Dr. Traci Pierce, Superintendent
Dear Lake Washington Families,
The safety and security of our students and staff is a top priority. Following the recent tragic events in Florida, many parents have shared questions, concerns and suggestions regarding the district’s approach to school safety.
As a district, we have an established District Safety Structure and Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan. We continually assess districtwide safety needs, assess implementation of safety measures and protocols, identify training needs, and ensure response to changing conditions.
At the March 5 School Board meeting, I presented a report on our approach to school safety, specifically focusing on the “Protection” element of our Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan. The report includes information on our safety structure, protection goals, current strategies and efforts, and the strategies undergoing feasibility studies. I encourage all parents to view the video on the district’s YouTube channel.
Also, please note that the district is also in the process of planning, in partnership with our cities, Community Safety Forums. Please look for more information and detail to come.
Dr. Traci Pierce, Superintendent
School schedule changes for 2018-19 school year to be announced on Friday, March 9
School start and end times will be changing in the 2018-19 school year as a 7-period day is implemented for high school students. We acknowledge any change has an impact to families’ current schedules. We want to ensure families have ample time to plan for the change.
This change does not take effect until the start of next school year. Families will receive a message from their school’s principal with school-specific start and end times for 2018-19 this Friday, March 9.
Why are start and dismissal times changing?
Starting with the Class of 2019, students are required to graduate with 24 credits. In 2015, a Task Force of staff and parents convened to study, analyze and make recommendations to expand options for students to meet the 24 credits required for graduation. In April 2017, the Task Force recommended adding time to the end of the high school student day to provide a 7-period day.
Adding time to the high school day results in needed adjustments to the start and dismissal times of elementary and middle schools due to our tiered transportation system (the same buses transport students at the high school, middle school and elementary level).
Why is a 7-period day needed and how does it benefit students?
A 7-period restores opportunities for our students that they used to have. Over the past several years, the elective opportunities and opportunities for additional exploration, acceleration and remediation have declined for high school students. This is due to the increase in the state graduation requirements.
Specifically, in a 6-period day,
- The Class of 2015 could take 6 electives, plus they had two additional spaces in their schedules for additional exploration, acceleration or remediation - 8 total opportunities.
- The Classes of 2016-18 can take 4 electives, plus they had two additional spaces in their schedules for additional exploration, acceleration or remediation - 6 total opportunities.
- The Class of 2019 and beyond can take 4 electives, but they have 0 additional spaces in their schedules for additional exploration, acceleration or remediation - 4 total opportunities.
By implementing a 7-period day, we bring back opportunities for our high school students that previous graduating classes used to have.
Will there be further changes to school start and end times in future years?
A School Start Time Advisory is continuing work in 2018-19 to study the impacts of potentially changing high school start times to later in future years. The Advisory includes staff and parents from elementary, middle and high school levels. They will make a recommendation for any potential further changes to school start and end times. Further changes in the 2019-2020 school year may or not occur, depending on their recommendation. There will continue to be ample opportunity for families to provide input throughout the process. Any changes to the high school start and end times result in adjustments to middle and elementary start and end times due to transportation. You can learn more about the work of the School Start Time Advisory on the district website.
District Statement on Walkouts
Understandably, there is a lot of energy and interest focused on the issue of school safety, gun violence, and how people can affect change. These are very important issues directly affecting our students, staff, parents and community. In light of the nationwide efforts, all of our building principals are meeting with PTSA leadership, staff and student leaders to discuss potential ways schools can help students channel their ideas and energy into school-based activities that provide learning opportunities for students with respect to school safety and civic engagement. We want to honor our students’ and staffs’ desire for expression, while still ensuring that students are kept safe and within the guardianship of the school.
Our building leaders, with support from our district Directors of School Support, will be engaging with staff and students in this dialogue toward establishing a fair balance between promoting free expression and freedom of speech and the need to maintain a disruption-free learning environment for all students. Ultimately, as educators and adults, we want to help students learn to find their voice, understand their constitutional rights, and understand the need for schools to maintain a safe and disruption-free learning environment.
When it comes to student and staff demonstrations, as a district, we have specific policies, aligned with laws and Supreme Court rulings, with respect to students’ constitutional rights of freedom of expression and assembly and with respect to our staffs’ professional responsibilities.
Specifically, Lake Washington School District policy on Student Rights & Responsibilities includes the following statements:
Freedom of Expression
The free expression of student opinion is an important part of education in a democratic society. Students' verbal and written expression of opinion on school premises is to be encouraged so long as it does not substantially disrupt the operation of the school.
Freedom of Assembly
Individual students and student organizations may meet in school rooms or auditoriums, or at outdoor locations on school grounds, to discuss, pass resolutions, and take other lawful action respecting any matter which directly or indirectly concerns or affects them, whether or not it relates to school. Such activities shall not be permitted to interfere with the normal operation of the school. Peaceful demonstrations are permissible, though they are to be held in designated places where they shall present no hazards to persons or property and at designated times that shall not disrupt classes or other school activities.
As such, students are allowed to peacefully assemble in designated areas during lunch time or before or after school. Students are expected to be in class during class time. Should students choose to leave class during class time, they accrue an unexcused absence. Students are not punished or disciplined if they choose to leave class during class time.
Teachers are expected to be in class teaching during class time as they are responsible for supervision of all the students in their classes.
Again, our goal to help students understand ways they can work within the framework of the school to help raise awareness about school safety and work to affect change, understand their constitutional rights, and understand the need for schools to maintain a safe and disruption-free learning environment for all students.
Building on Success
New Elementary Schools in Redmond have names
At the March 5 School Board Meeting, the Board unanimously approved the names of both the New Elementary School in North Redmond and the New Elementary School in Redmond Ridge East, which will open in fall 2018. These projects were part of the 2016 bond measure approved by voters. The new names are as follows:
- New Elementary School in North Redmond is named Clara Barton Elementary School
- New Elementary School in Redmond Ridge East is named Ella Baker Elementary School
At the Board Meeting, Superintendent Dr. Traci Pierce reviewed the administrative policy and procedure for how school names and mascots are selected and submittal for approval by the Board of Directors. School planning principals Ms. Karen Barker and Ms. Kim Bilanko shared the process that includes holding meetings with future students and seeking name nominees. A list of finalist names were submitted for initial Board review. The incoming school community then votes to select the name from the list of finalists, and the selected name is presented for final Board approval. Learn more about the selected names.
Important Reminders and Updates
Reminder: Registration window for Advanced Placement (AP) exams opens soon
The registration window for Advanced Placement (AP) exams is a little earlier this year than in past years. Registration will take place from February 21 through March 7. AP exam dates are May 7 to May 18 with late AP exam dates from May 23 to 25. Students will receive registration materials in their AP classes. If your student is enrolled in an AP class, please remind him/her to sign up by 1 p.m. on March 7 to be able to take the exam. For more information, visit the College Board AP Central website.
Free breakfast February 5 – March 9: Start the day off right
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Studies show that eating breakfast leads to better classroom performance, boosts brain power and improves concentration. To encourage healthy breakfast habits, LWSD Nutrition Services is offering free breakfast February 5 – March 9 to all elementary and middle school students at schools where breakfast is usually served. Find out what’s for breakfast.
Ready Start Preschool Program accepting applications in March
Lake Washington School District's Ready Start Preschool Program will start accepting tuition based applications for the 2017-18 school year beginning March 23 from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Registration takes place at the Resource Center (16250 NE 74th Street, Redmond). If more children are registered for any one location or session (a.m. or p.m.) than we have availability, a lottery for each Preschool building will be held March 29 to determine the students in those classes. Parents will be notified of results by the end of April. After March 23, applications will be accepted at the Resource Center on any school day from 9 a.m. to noon and 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Only children registered on March 23 during the registration hours of 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. are eligible to be in the lottery. Read more about LWSD Preschool Programs.
Work with us
LWSD Educator & Administrator Job Fair – Coming soon!
Lake Washington School District will hold an Educator & Administrator Job Fair on Saturday, March 10 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the Lake Washington School District Resource Center (16250 NE 74th Street, Redmond, WA 98052). Learn more on the Employment page of the LWSD website. LWSD will also be at many career events throughout the region. View our schedule of career events.
Want a new job? We’re hiring!
LWSD needs bus drivers, para educators and instructional assistants. Job descriptions are available on the district website. Bus drivers earn $24.80 per hour. Learn more about why driving a bus for LWSD is a great job. Please share this information with your friends and neighbors.
Sodexo/Nutrition Services is hiring
Are you looking for a way to get involved in LWSD? Would you like a part-time job that gives you the flexibility to be with your kids before and after school? Shifts that range from two hours to eight hours are available, helping serve students breakfast and lunch. Starting pay depends on experience. If interested, contact Nutrition Services at 425-936-1385.
Student & Staff Success
Schools celebrate Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss
The second day of March – Dr. Seuss’s birthday – is also Read Across America Day. To celebrate, schools around the district host literacy events and read Dr. Seuss books in class. What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book: The Lorax? Green Eggs and Ham? Give it a read to celebrate the birthday of one of the best-known children’s authors of all time. Also known as Read Across America Day, March 2 is the day districts across the country promote reading in schools and communities. Learn more about how schools across LWSD celebrated Read Across America Day.
Eight LWSD students nominated as U.S. Presidential Scholars candidates
The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established to recognize and honor some of our nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors. Eight students from the Lake Washington School District have been nominated for the award this year. Congratulations to Lawrence A. Atienza, Tesla Stem; August Y. Chen, Redmond; Laura E. Chen, Juanita; Sneha Durairaj, Redmond; Kohya T. Kato, Nikola Tesla Stem; Daniel S. Liu, Redmond; Virginia S. Qian, Redmond; and Renee Y. Wang, Redmond. Each year, up to 161 students are named as Presidential Scholars. In April, the Commission reviews all semifinalist applications. The 161 selected scholars are honored during the National Recognition Program, held in June in Washington, D.C. Learn more about the Presidential Scholars program.