Connections - December 20, 2019

Learning Focused

Happy holidays

Wishing you all a happy holidays and restful winter break!  

Winter break begins Monday, December 23, and extends through January 3. District offices will be closed December 24-25, 31 and January 1. We will see all students back at school on Monday, January 6, 2020. Until then, enjoy your break and happy holidays!


A Message from Dr. Jane Stavem, Superintendent  

Dr. Jane Stavem, Superintendent

As 2019 draws to a close, I want to thank our entire Lake Washington School District community for the many ways you support our students, staff and schools.  

Our Mission is to help every student graduate prepared to lead a rewarding and responsible life as a contributing member of our community and greater society. We accomplish that goal when we all come together through our unique roles to care for our students and love them as they make their way to adulthood – an academic journey, a social journey, and a personal journey.  

As we look forward to the second part of our school year in 2020, I want to share two important informational items:  

  • Updates and highlights from our Strategic Plan for the first part of the year, and  
  • An update on school start times.  

Elevate: Strategic Plan Update – Year End Highlights 2019 

Strategic Plan Year End Update 2019

This fall, LWSD launched its three-year Strategic Plan, Elevate. In this plan, we have five major goal areas: Academic Success, Well-Being, Community Engagement, Excellent Staff and Effective Use of Resources. We plan to report out to our community how we are achieving the goals that we have set in each of these areas on a regular basis.  

Our first Strategic Plan Update is titled “Year End Highlights 2019” and reflects the major work in each of the five goal areas that has happened so far. I encourage you to review this document and see the extensive progress we are making toward our vision of Every Student Future Ready. The Strategic Plan Update can be found here:

School Start Times
At our December 9 School Board Meeting, I announced that Lake Washington School District will not make any changes to our current school schedules (start/end times) at this time.

In looking at potential schedule revisions, we considered the following factors:  

  •  The original decision-making process that led to the current start/end times for schools.  
  • Current research on adolescent health.  
  • Impacts of the start/end times on current family schedules and potential for additional disruptions.   
  • The recommendations from the School Start Times Advisory Committee.  
  • Current program models, including the impact potential changes would have on transportation schedules and staffing needs.  
  • Space constraints and the impact on program flexibility as LWSD continues to grow.  
  • LWSD’s current transportation model and policy requirements for eligibility.  

As we reviewed the current research and school schedules, our ideal scenario would be to have our earliest start times moved to a later time, and our latest dismissal times moved to earlier times. If we think of our earliest and latest times as bookends, it would be like moving those bookends closer together. 

We know there would be some benefits with those changes, however, there are many current factors that result in very limited flexibility. Any changes related to additional schedule revisions have massive, systemic implications and cannot be made with short-term thinking and planning. 

We also want to respect the changes that our families and community partners made with the initial schedule changes two years ago, understanding that it is unrealistic to ask people to continually change their work and childcare schedules. We are also aware of neighboring districts that moved to later times only to move them back due to the same constraints. We don’t want that level of disruption for our families and communities. 

We will continue to review current policies and programs to look for ways to adjust our current schedules to be more ideal. We will also look for ways to improve supporting structures such as before and after school childcare opportunities and programs to accommodate the needs of families related to current school schedules. Our school district has unique challenges related to our continuing growth and our communities have ongoing challenges related to population density such as traffic and travel time. 

I hope that you each find time to reflect over the past year and enjoy time with friends and families over Winter Break. We look forward to seeing everyone back at school on Monday, January 6, 2020.


New & International Families Welcome Event - January 18, 2020  

All new and international families are invited to join Lake Washington PTSA to learn about: navigating the LWSD school system, resources, and support available from the district, PTSA and how you can be involved, the Pacific Northwest culture and activities, relocation challenges, as well as how to support your child through transition. Tickets are free for this event. Visit to sign-up.

If you need translating or interpreting services, please contact Danit Erlich at and include your name and choice of language. 

View the event flyer (EnglishSpanishChinese). 


Safety Spotlight: Schools Hold Emergency Supply Drills   

Muir Emergency Supply Drill

Each year, Lake Washington School District (LWSD) publishes an emergency drill schedule for schools to follow. These drills range from fire drills to lockdown drills and shelter-in-place drills. This year, the recommended drill for November was an Emergency Supply Drill.  

Associate Superintendent of Student and Community Services, Matt Gillingham, and Risk and Safety Manager, Scott Emry, visited John Muir Elementary to witness their Emergency Supply Drill at the end of November. This drill provided a chance to coordinate staff, students and volunteers in the process of inventorying emergency supplies in classrooms, offices and in their emergency supply storage spaces.  

Teachers shared the contents of their classroom emergency backpacks with their students and how the supplies could be used in an emergency. In addition to classroom supplies, each school has a storage area with additional supplies and enough emergency food and water for the students and staff for three days. Each school has a PTSA representative for Emergency Preparedness that partners with the school and the district to help enhance the school’s emergency supplies. 


LWSD and Kirkland Expand School Resource Officer Program 

Please join us this January in welcoming our new School Resource Officers (SROs) who will be joining the team of adults at Emerson, Finn Hill Middle, International Community, Kamiakin Middle, and Kirkland Middle Schools to help keep our students safe and build positive relationship with our school community. 

The expansion of the SRO program is now possible thanks to Kirkland voters’ approval of Proposition 1. 

Students and staff at these schools are used to working with a SRO who was based at Juanita or Lake Washington High Schools and will now have a SRO with us on a daily basis similar to secondary schools in Redmond. 

The schools have been hosting meet and greets with the SROs and will continue to look for opportunities in January for parents to meet with the SRO at their child’s school. We encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities to learn more about how these officers will be working with our teams.  

The City of Kirkland has produced a video about the new officers, available here:

An SRO is a fully commissioned, armed, uniformed police officer whose primary work location is at a school. These experienced officers must demonstrate a proven ability to work with kids and are trained on:  

  • Working with all students (including those with special needs), 
  • De-escalating situations with youth, 
  • Understanding implicit bias in a school setting 
  • Keeping kids safe in the event of an intruder by teaching kids ALICE procedures (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate), 
  • Safeguarding the Constitutional, civil and privacy rights of students in schools, 
  • Approaching youth through trauma-informed practices, 
  • Recognizing and responding to youth mental health issues, and  
  • School Resource officers do not collect information about immigration status as a regular part of our work, and they do not share information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.   

A big goal of the SRO program is to build positive relationships with students and staff. The SRO is at the school to support the school in responding to social agency referrals and to provide immediate response to school crisis events. Officers can also be a helpful resource for students in need of additional support or if students or parents have questions related to law enforcement. 

While the SRO will work closely with the principal of each school, they are not involved in school discipline unless there is a crime involved.  

All SROs are members of the LWSD Safety Advisory Committee where SROs from across the district and other regional leaders share best practices for keeping our students and schools safe. 

If you have any questions regarding School Resource Officers, please contact Scott Emry, or visit the City of Kirkland’s SRO Task Force webpage.


Reminder: Credit Requirements for High School Students Available in Family Access  

Students and families now are able to monitor progress towards high school graduation requirements. There is now 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.  


Reminder: Is your child too sick for school?  

While school attendance is important, so is the health of all students and staff. If your child experiences any of the following symptoms, please keep him/her at home or make appropriate child care arrangements: fever, vomiting, lice/scabies, diarrhea, chronic cough and/or runny nose, sore throat, rash, ear infection (with fever), or eye infection. If he/she experiences any of these symptoms at school, the school nurse or office staff may ask you to pick your student up as soon as possible. Read more about when to keep your child home from school.  


District Announcements

Regional High School Art Show  

Puget Sound Educational Service District’s (PSESD) Annual High School Art Show Competition is open to students enrolled in grades 9-12 in any public or state-approved private school, as well as home-schooled students, in the PSESD region. Online registration for the art show is open from now until January 17, 2020. Artwork is judged on creativity, composition and technique. Browse pictures from previous events on the PSESD Facebook page. Visit the OSPI website for more information about the state art show. Only art from currently enrolled public high school students may advance to OSPI’s Annual Superintendent’s High School Art Show. All of the accepted art work will be on display at the PSESD in Renton starting January 30, 2020.  

View the flyer for the art show


Reminder: Use the MyStop app to view estimated arrival times for buses during winter weather events 

The MyStop app that allows you to view the estimated time of arrival for your student’s bus can now be used to monitor changes to arrival times during winter weather events. Download the Versatrans My Stop app for Apple or Android. GPS technology allows families to view estimated times of arrival for buses at bus stops. (Data on the app is updated every 5 minutes.) 

Visit the My Stop App page for information on how to download and use the app.  


Reminder: Volunteers Needed for LINKS Lunch Buddy program! 

Lake Washington School District (LWSD) recognizes the importance of providing opportunities for students to meet with and learn from community members. We are currently looking for mentors for two different mentoring opportunities: AVID and the LINKS Lunch Buddy program.

AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is an elective offered in four LWSD middle schools and all LWSD comprehensive high schools. Mentors meet with a small group of students in the classroom at least once a week for one class period and lead inquiry-based discussions to help students learn to problem solve.

LWSD will offer a one-hour information session to learn more about the AVID program. For specific dates and times please visit the AVID Information Sessions and Orientations calendar. For those who would like to become mentors, training is provided, and the dates are also listed on the calendar.

In the LINKS Lunch Buddy Program (Looking Into the Needs of Kids in Schools), mentors provide social-emotional support to elementary students who need a little extra one-on-one attention. Mentors are matched with a student and meet once a week during the school year for lunch, games, crafts and conversation. All Lunch Buddy mentors attend a two-hour orientation session to learn about tips and resources for a successful mentoring experience.

To learn more about Mentor Programs, please visit the Volunteer Programs page on the LWSD website at: For more information please contact Chris Robison at or call 425 936-1270.


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.

Want to make sure you receive alerts about school closures right away? Sign up on to be notified about the latest school delay and school closure news from LWSD. 


Reminder: World Language Proficiency Testing 

District World Language Proficiency Testing is open to all high school students who speak/read/write a language other than English and register for the test. Students can take the test once free of cost and earn up to 4 high school credits. Tests will be offered on the following dates:  

  • February 26, 2020, 1:30 p.m. at Redmond High School 
  • April 29, 2020, 1:30 p.m. at Juanita High School  

Registration will close 2 weeks before each test date. Registration and further information about assessments can be found on the LWSD website: World Language Credit Options

For additional information please contact Theresa Vasquez, World Language Teaching and Learning Specialist. 


Reminder: High School PE Credit Options 

High school students can meet the Physical Education graduation requirement through taking PE classes, taking the Fitness Knowledge Assessment or submitting a Fitness Plan. The Fitness Knowledge Assessment is offered three times a year. Another session will be held on February 19, 2020. Students must fill out specific forms and register for this test at their high school. Students opting for the Fitness Plan will have three opportunities to submit their plan this year. See the district website for more information. 


Building on Success

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. 


Building on Success: A Year in Photos

It is with gratitude that we share this video of the moments that made 2019 a year to remember: We celebrated the grand openings of Timberline Middle School and the newly rebuilt Peter Kirk and Margaret Mead elementary schools. Progress continued on the remaining 2016 bond projects at Juanita High School and Old Redmond Schoolhouse. Construction also began on the addition at Lake Washington High School, funded by the Capital Projects Levy passed by voters in April 2019. 

Thank you to the communities of Lake Washington School District for your ongoing support for providing great places for students to learn!


Work with us

We’re hiring!

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.” 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. 


Student & Staff Success

Season of Giving in LWSD  

Every year, in November and December, students, staff and parents in our district give back to our families and our community in many ways. Here are just a few examples:  

  • Thoreau Elementary – Thoreau is having a Holiday Gift Card Drive to provide holiday help for students and their families. Families can donate gift cards to TARGET, FRED MEYERS, VISA or AMEX. Every family who donates will get either a snowflake or leaf to put on our Holiday Giving Tree.  
  • Emerson High School – Emerson High School is organizing their annual campus-wide toy drive to support children during the holiday season. Toys and gift cards will be delivered to the Issaquah Eagles to distribute.  
  • Carson Elementary – Every year, Carson Elementary reaches out to families in the Eastlake Learning Community that could use a little extra help during the holiday season and provide them with unused gift items from a list of needs. 
  • Redmond High School – National Honor Society is hosting its annual Food and Toiletries drive through sixth period classes to supplement packs that are sent home to RHS students in need. This drive supports the RHS Help program. The top two period 6 classes that bring in the most donations will win bragging rights as well as donuts. 
  • LWSD District Leadership Team collected and donated four bags of clothing to Hopelink.

More stories of generosity will be posted on the district website and via social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). Thank you all! 



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