Connections - February 21, 2019


LWSD Superintendent, Dr. Jane Stavem

A Message from Dr. Jane Stavem, Superintendent

Lessons from the Snow

Another day of watching out the window, then the doorway, then to another window – hoping that at some point the snow will stop. When I came to Washington from Nebraska, I thought I left the white stuff behind. I gloated when my family sent pictures of snow and ice and I was still enjoying 50-degree days. Our district now has had just as many, if not more, snow days as the Midwest!

I think there are always opportunities to learn something when faced with adversity, so here are the top 10 lessons learned from the snow:

  1. Some circumstances are beyond our control. We want school to be in session. There are major life disruptions that are caused when this kind of weather hits and the goal is to return to normalcy as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the weather is something we can’t control, so we do our best to deal with it until it passes.
  2. Be adaptable and flexible. When life doesn’t go the way we want it to, we must adapt. We need to be flexible and work with the situation to do the best we can, given the circumstances. The other option is to be inflexible and angry, and that doesn't serve any purpose.
  3. Enjoy simple things. When the very first snowflakes began to fall, I saw a little girl across the street dancing because she was so excited. Soon she brought the dog, and then she threw on a red hat. She was experiencing the sheer joy of the moment at the sight of snow. 
  4. Be thankful. I'm going to be very thankful when the snow is gone for good this spring. I'm also thankful for all the ways people have helped our school district and communities to weather the storm. Our maintenance staff has worked tirelessly to clear the grounds of our schools. Our bus drivers have had more than a few white knuckles making sure students arrived at their stops safely. Our communications staff members have worked hard to keep people informed, send clear messaging and think about the needs of families as we weigh decisions. Friends have helped with childcare, snow shovels have been passed around neighborhoods, food has been prepared and shared, and people are calling to check on elderly neighbors. Crews have restored power to our schools and neighborhoods.
  5. Find the beauty in the situation. While there has been a lot of snow, it has been amazingly beautiful. Hopefully, you captured a picture or two and ventured out just a little to experience it.
  6. Slow down. Whenever there is bad weather, we are forced to slow down. It can be frustrating, but it is also an opportunity to adjust the pace of life and be ok with going a little slower.
  7. Plan ahead. I think this lesson was taken to heart by many given the state of the grocery shelves, but it’s more than just stocking up on food. It’s thinking ahead to what needs to be done for school, for work and for life. If we only live in the moment, we lose the opportunity to plan for the future.
  8. Think of others. This type of weather event causes all kinds of adversity for people. We need to be mindful that everyone experiences challenges differently and lend a hand where possible. 
  9. Have hope for the future. I know that spring is going to be amazing. There will be green leaves, singing birds and warmer weather to enjoy. When we lose sight of the future, we lose hope. Think about all the beautiful days that really are just around the corner. 
  10. Embrace adversity. Too many times we simply want to avoid any adversity and as a result, we miss out on the benefits of the struggle. It’s important for children to see how we as adults deal with adversity and allow them to experience some struggles along the way. 

I think we’re all more than ready to see the snow disappear. Hopefully, the memories and lessons learned as a result of this crazy weather won’t leave quite as quickly. I know my first year as the superintendent of this amazing school district has been made even more memorable and valuable thanks to the snow. 

February snowstorms kept all-star maintenance, custodial and grounds crews busy

 2019 snow pics collage

Kudos again to our district Facilities, transportation and on-site custodial staff for all of the work they provided during the recent string of snowstorms. Crews had to clear 45 different campuses (with multiple schools) and two district office sites. On average, it took snow plow crews four hours to clear an elementary school site, six hours for middle school and about eight hours for high schools. 

Here are some stats related to the work these crews did over the last two weeks and weekends:

  • More than:
    • 900 miles of area plowed
    • 14,000 tons of snow plowed
    • 400 labor hours on snow plows and tractors
    • 10 tons of ice melt distributed
    • 40 tons of sand distributed
    • 10 sites with downed trees and/or branches
    • 16 sites to coordinate power restoration with Puget Sound Energy

Again, a huge thanks to these crews for the fantastic effort during these unprecedented snow events. Reopening schools on Tuesday, February 19 would not have been possible without them.

April 2019 Capital Projects Levy Information

Capital Projects Levy by the numbers 

LWSD will have a Capital Projects Levy on the April 23, 2019 ballot. Between now and the election, the district will be providing opportunities to learn more about what is included in the levy proposal in publications like Connections, the district website and elsewhere. Stay tuned for more information as we get closer to April. The 2019 Levy page is now available on the LWSD website for additional information.

Below are some fast facts about classroom space associated with the levy.

2019 Capital Projects Levy-Fast-Facts-Classroom-Space

Building on Success

Staying warm underground: Juanita students get the facts on geothermal heat

Do you set your thermostat to 50 degrees? Of course not. But that’s the temperature of the water that will heat the new Juanita High School. Students at Juanita High School have been learning about sustainable geothermal heat while their new school is built. Members of the Earth Corps club chatted with Project Manager Tansy Hansen and Resource Conservation Manager Jed Reynolds to learn more. These geothermal wells will provide heat during cooler months. During warmer months, the 50-degree water will help cool the school.

Watch a video about the geothermal project at Juanita High School:

Important Reminders and Updates

Registration window for Advanced Placement (AP) exams now open

Registration will take place from February 20 through March 6. AP exam dates are May 6 to May 17. 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 1:30 p.m. on March 6 to be able to take the exam. For more information, visit the College Board AP Central website.

Reminder: Measles

As you may be aware, on January 25, Governor Inslee declared a public health state of emergency after reports of 31 confirmed cases of measles were identified in the state. Most of the confirmed cases are in Clark County and there is one confirmed case in King County. We currently do not have any cases of measles in Lake Washington School District. This unusual occurrence of measles may generate some concern or questions. To help keep you informed, district processes and state law for vaccinations is outlined on the LWSD website

Final PE Credit Option Deadline Coming up

To earn a high school diploma, students must earn two health and fitness credits. 1.5 credits represent the fitness portion of the requirement and are met by course work in physical education. The other .5 credit is met by taking a health course. There may be special circumstances where a student may need an alternative option to meet this requirement. Students must fill out the Appendix E of the graduation policy and have it approved by a principal or designee to be eligible to use one of the options. These alternative PE options are available beginning in the student’s 11th grade school year.

One option, the Fitness Knowledge Assessment, will be given on February 27. For information on this option go to the district website. Check with your school to see when students must register by. Students who want to use a different option, the Fitness Plan, will need to submit their plan by February 27. The Fitness Plan directions are available on the district website. This is the final fitness assessment and plan opportunity for the 2018-19 school year.

Tell your neighbors and friends: Register early for 2019-20 Kindergarten

If you live in Lake Washington School District (LWSD) and your child will be five years old on or before August 31, 2019, now is the time to register them for Kindergarten! Registration takes place at your neighborhood school during regular school hours through the beginning of the 2019-20 school year.

While registration will continue throughout the school year and summer, parents are highly encouraged to register students as soon as possible. Doing so helps ensure class sizes are balanced and adequate staff are hired in time for the new school year. 

Visit the Kindergarten Information webpage for more information.

Reminder: Lake Washington Schools Open Enrollment Is February 1-28, 2019

Some schools closed to those outside their area
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 1-28 for a change to the school assignment for the 2019-20 school year for their student in grades 1-12. This option is also known as an In-District Variance.

This open enrollment option only applies to neighborhood schools that have space available. The list of schools that are closed to students outside their neighborhood will be available on the district website on January 31. Schools are closed if current and projected enrollment shows that students who live within their attendance boundary will fill the school’s capacity. District enrollment has increased rapidly over the last seven years. Learn more on the In-District Variance webpage

Student & Staff Success

And the winner is…Miss Washington visits LWSD schools to promote literacy and hard work 

Miss Washington at Blackwell Elementary

It took ten years for Evelyn Clark to be crowned Miss Washington. It was in her final year of eligibility where she finally broke through. Clark took this message of determination to a few Lake Washington School District schools. Read more about Miss Washington’s visit


Juanita High School students achieve top results in Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards

JHS Cambridge Learners

Nearly 60 Juanita High School (JHS) students received awards from a June 2018 Cambridge Assessment. Seven of those students earned top honors. The Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards program celebrates the success of students taking Cambridge examinations in more than 40 countries around the world. Read more about the Cambridge Assessment award winners.

Read more student and staff success stories here.

Work with us

We’re hiring!

LWSD needs paraeducators, instructional assistants, bus drivers, custodians, plumbers, and a building equipment mechanics/HVAC specialist. Job descriptions are available on the district website, under “Employment” then “Classified Employees.” Bus drivers earn $25.57 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.