Connections - December 3, 2021
'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 our district website to view a list of all the events going on throughout the district. The list will be updated regularly to share what some of the schools are doing this year to make the season a little brighter.
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.
2022 Levies: Why do school districts ask for local levy funding?
There is a gap between what the state funds for K-12 education and what Lake Washington School District (LWSD) students need. Every four years, LWSD must ask voters to renew the Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) and School Technology & Capital Projects levies to continue the primary funding source for technology used by students, teachers, school staff, and administrators, and for facility system upgrades and improvements.
The state does not provide funding for construction of new schools to accommodate student growth and provides limited funding for rebuilding aging facilities. Local districts are responsible for raising their own money. Construction levies and bonds provide these funds.
The money LWSD collects from local, voter-approved education levies stays in LWSD. We use these funds to provide the quality of education that our students and families expect, and to ensure our students have safe, welcoming schools that support student success.
Learn more about the February 8 levies here: 2022 Levies - Lake Washington School District
Reminder: Remote support for students required to quarantine or isolate due to COVID
Over the first quarter of the school year, we’ve been partnering with the Lake Washington Education Association to evaluate how we support students who are required to quarantine or isolate due to COVID. We’ve recently updated the directions we provide to teachers and shared with families at the start of the year about how teachers are to support students required to quarantine or isolate due to COVID.
These updated directions are based on the latest guidance from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) that defines levels of support that teachers and schools are to provide when students are absent due to COVID. We also considered the experiences of our students, families, and teachers so far this year when updating the directions.
The supports in the OSPI guidance and our updated directions include:
- Synchronous online educational opportunities using Microsoft Classroom Teams such as simulcasting live instruction (i.e., look-ins), or facilitating live, or two-way interactive communication online. Teachers are to determine if and when to use a Classroom Teams meeting for their students who are required to quarantine or isolate. In some cases, other approaches are more suitable for a student. If using Classroom Teams meetings, teachers should let students know, in advance, the schedule for the week, including time to participate in the class via Teams.
- Asynchronous instruction that may include activities through Microsoft Classroom Teams, district-approved digital tools, the recording of lessons, or videos. If a teacher cannot make these options available to students, hard-copy packets may be used; however, teachers are strongly encouraged to ensure plans minimize reliance on this approach. If using asynchronous instruction only, teachers must contact the family each week via email, Classroom Teams or phone, and the student via Classroom Teams.
In addition, to the supports identified in the OSPI guidance, our Special Education, English Learner, and Highly Capable Programs teachers are expected to provide services directly and/or in coordination with students’ general education classroom teacher.
We are now providing direct support for students who are required to quarantine for more than 14 days. This support includes live, remote instruction each day provided by one of three remote support teachers at the elementary level, and assistance with schoolwork from support teachers at the secondary level. In these cases, the classroom or remote support teacher will reach out directly to families and students to provide information about the support including the schedule.
Reminder: Hour of Code
The Hour of Code is coming December 6-12! This is an annual world-wide opportunity that occurs every December to inspire K-12 students to learn computer science, 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 is CS is Everywhere! This is a great opportunity to for teachers, students, and families to:
- Learn how about the impact that computer science is making in our world
- Understand the relationship that computer science has to different subjects, industries, career paths, & our everyday lives.
- Inspire teachers, students and families to actively engage in using computer science
- Celebrate CS learning and CS teachers and students
More than ever, students are daily consumers of code and will continue to interact with code in many ways in their future. We want to empower students to be creators of technology, not just consumers, and Hour of Code is fun and engaging event that can help our students have a great experience in these important skills. Many students across the district at all levels have participated in these events in the past, either in their classrooms or on their own, and have had a great experience. For more information, check out this resource from Hour of Code or contact Jake Duke, K-12 Computer Science Teaching & Learning Specialist, for further information.
Reminder: Middle school and high school options information now available – Choice school applications now open
Parents of students in grades five or eight should have received a Middle School options message or High School options message in their email. The messages outline the opportunities in these respective levels, including information about neighborhood schools and choice schools. Videos about each choice school are posted on the district website and YouTube channel.
If you did not receive this message or are interested in learning more, click on the links below:
Are you interested in enrolling your child in a choice school? Learn more about the process and curriculum at our information sessions coming up in November and December. Applications for choice schools open Monday, November 1 and will close on Friday, December 3 at 4 p.m. For more information, visit: lwsd.org/choice-schools
Winter break coming up
Winter break begins Monday, December 20, and extends through December 30. District offices will be closed December 23-24 and 30-31. Learning will resume on Monday, January 3, 2022.
Lake Washington Schools Foundation program updates
Upcoming Parent Chat from Balance In Mind
Parent Chat is a great forum for talking with mental health professionals and other parents in a safe and supportive environment. Our next Parent Chat is Soul Care for the Holidays on Dec 8 at 7pm. Learn how to avoid being caught up in the "shoulds" of the holiday, and experience the season in a way that nourishes the soul. Register here.
Reminder: Find Your Fit College Planning Events Recap
During the months of September to November, our Find Your Fit program supported 1,786 high school students and parents through our fall webinar series, hosted by independent college counselor Mary Pat O'Neil. Missed an event? You can view recordings from our webinars on our Find Your Fit webpage.
Reminder: LWSF partners with LWSD to Provide Life-Saving Youth Mental Health First Aid Training
Responding to Mental Health Challenges in the District
In 2018, Lake Washington Schools Foundation partnered with LWSD to begin offering Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) training to the community, in response to an increase in the number of students experiencing mental health challenges and emergencies throughout our district, as well as a tragic incident involving the suicide of a local student.
What is Youth Mental Health First Aid?
Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) is a formal, nationally recognized training program that introduces adults to the distinct risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents, builds understanding of the importance of early intervention, and teaches individuals how to help youth who are in crisis or experiencing a mental health challenge.
This training provides participants with the critical and life-saving skills to recognize when a student is experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis and to know what actions to take to get the student connected to the resources they need.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Bus drivers hosting annual “Stuff the Bus” event
Due to safety concerns surrounding COVID-19, the annual LWSD Bus Driver Association’s “Stuff the Bus” toy drive benefiting Hopelink will be online again this year instead of taking in person donations. The goal this year is to raise $5,000 to help those in need this holiday season. So far, the campaign has raised $3,495.
The association started this toy drive in 2018 because bus drivers heard stories from so many students about not having a holiday season to remember based on hard times for their families. The fundraiser collected nearly 2,000 toys in 2018 and 2019. Last year, they virtually raised $4,275. As was the case last year, in lieu of toys, gift cards will be purchased by Hopelink and distributed to families so they can purchase their own gifts online or in stores. The fundraiser ends on December 6.