Connections - December 16, 2021
Wishing you all a happy holidays and restful winter break!
Winter break begins Monday, December 20, and extends through December 31. District offices will be closed December 23-24 and 30-31. Learning will resume on Monday, January 3, 2022. Until then, enjoy your break and happy holidays!
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.
A message from Dr. Jon Holmen, Superintendent
As the year 2021 draws to a close, I want to thank our entire Lake Washington School District community for the way we have come together to support our students, staff, families and schools over the course of this year.
We are grateful to partner with our students, families, PTSA members, community organizations and city leaders. We are grateful to our community members and voters for supporting our schools and students.
Throughout the month of December, our schools have partnered with our PTSAs to host a variety of clothing, food and toy drives to benefit families in need within our community. Thank you to the students, staff and community members who have stepped up to provide this needed support.
In February 2022, we will be asking our voters to consider three ballot measures to ensure excellence for all of our students. These levies fund student programs and services not covered by the state by providing staffing, academic programs, technology and safe and healthy school buildings.
Join us! 2022 Levies Town Hall Question & Answer Sessions
Throughout the month of January, LWSD will hold a series of town hall question and answer sessions for the public on the topic of 2022 education levies. Dr. Jon Holmen, Superintendent, will share information about the February 2022 education levies and then provide time to answer questions. Meetings will be held on Teams Live, with the “Question and Answer” feature enabled. These meetings will all be the same presentation. So, pick a date and time that works best for you. Please join us!
- Wednesday, January 5, 2022 from 12-1 p.m.
- Thursday, January 6, 2022 from 6-7 p.m.
- Wednesday, January 12, 2022 from 5-6 p.m.
- Friday, January 14, 2022 from 10-11 a.m.
Watch for future town hall events throughout the month of January.
Update to COVID-19 positive case response communications to families
Lake Washington School District (LWSD) is committed to the health and safety of our students and staff. As we work through the COVID-19 pandemic, we have focused on a multi-barrier approach to prevent our school campuses and buildings from being sites of COVID-19 transmission. Part of that approach is timely communication when a COVID-19 positive case is reported to the district. We have worked with Public Health experts throughout the pandemic to ensure that our communication is in line with the procedures and protocols suited specifically for school districts.
Current positive case response – effective through January 2, 2022
In coordination with Public Health, our practice in the event of a positive case, as is currently performed, is to work directly with the family of the positive case to ensure all of the correct quarantine protocols will be followed. Our Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) team then gets to work right away to identify any and all close contacts associated with the positive case. Once the close contacts are identified, those families are contacted through phone and email by school or district staff. Shortly thereafter, families of students who share a classroom with the positive case, but are not close contacts, are contacted by a building administrator at the school. Lastly, a message is sent to the families of students at the school who are not close contacts alerting them that a positive case has been on campus.
Updated positive case response – effective beginning January 3, 2022
In an effort to ease the burden on our staff, and in accordance with updated Public Health guidance, the above protocols will see a slight change. Public Health recently made the decision to no longer require communications to families of students in an impacted classroom. Beginning January 3, if a student is not identified as a close contact, then their family will only receive the message that is sent to the whole school. We understand this change may be an uneasy one for some of our families, but we can assure you that the measures LWSD is taking in tandem with Public Health are sufficient in effectively limiting transmission. Additionally, Public Health has determined that eliminating these impacted classroom communications will not increase the opportunity for transmission of COVID-19. There may be unique cases where classrooms may still receive specific communications, but that will not be the established practice.
New look email sent to families during positive case response
Another change families will be seeing starting January 3 is the look of our whole school positive case message. In an effort to standardize the messaging, and to help distribute some of the work associated with a positive case, emails will be sent from the district office on behalf of the impacted school’s principal. To alleviate any possible confusion, we have provided a snapshot of what that message will look like:
We understand the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has presented to our families, and we continue to thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through this difficult time. As stated above, LWSD will always consider the health and safety of our students and staff as the first priority, and we believe that these changes will not compromise your students wellbeing under our care.
The holidays are coming up for our LWSD community, and that will likely mean more travel for our staff and families. LWSD follows the guidelines related to travel from the CDC. These are not requirements, but we do ask that families reference the guidance before and after their travel. The current guidelines from the CDC suggest that if the traveler is vaccinated, then they should follow all of the protocols laid out by the state they are in and if flying, then follow the protocols laid out by the FAA. However, if the traveler is unvaccinated, it is recommended that the traveler test before they travel, follow all protocols during travel and then quarantine and test for 3-5 days before going back to work, school, etc. These are recommendations and guidance from the CDC and not a requirement, but the school district recommends that our families follow this guidance. The link to the CDC guidance is just below.
It is quite a bit different for international travel. That guidance is here:
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.
More children and teenagers struggling with emotional stressors
Adults should know serious signs and how to respond
New data from the Washington State Department of Health’s (DOH) behavioral health group indicates that more young people are seeking medical help in instances of emotional distress. State health officials are asking families, educators, mentors, and youth advocates to know the warning signs that signal when a child or teen is in crisis, and to talk with a healthcare or primary care provider for behavioral health support resources. This guidance comes at the heels of a public advisory and 53-page report from the U.S. surgeon general on the importance of protecting youth mental health, and the “devastating” mental health impacts as a result of the pandemic.
Based on early data gathered by DOH, the number of youth ranging in age from 5 – 17 seeking emergency medical assistance for suicidal ideation, suspected suicide attempts, psychological distress, and suspected overdoses has increased over the last several months. Syndromic surveillance data like this may not reflect the true magnitude and direction of behavioral health trends. However, it provides key insight toward current and future mental health trends for specific population groups in the state.
Emergency Departments (ED) across the state are also reporting that significant percentages of their ED capacity are for youth who are there for behavioral health crises. This includes youth in acute beds, creating flow and capacity issues for hospital systems. Further, because the delta variant triggered a repeat of the many impacts initially experienced at the start of the pandemic, we may be experiencing a “secondary disillusionment” phase over the next few months. For many children and youth specifically, the secondary disillusionment phase is occurring alongside significant school, family, and social stressors.
LWSD Season of Giving 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.
LWSF partners with Microsoft to thank LWSD teachers and staff
In October, Lake Washington Schools Foundation partnered with Microsoft employees during the Microsoft October Giving Campaign to create cards, notes and letters of gratitude for the teachers and staff at LWSD. Many of these employees have a personal connection to the district as parents of current or former students, and/or even as LWSD alumni themselves.
You can view these notes of appreciation in a video slideshow as well as on our bulletin board in the lobby of the District Resource Center.
Please join us in saying thank you to all the teachers and staff at LWSD for their dedication and hard work in growing the minds and hearts of our community’s children. And thank you to Microsoft for partnering with us in this teacher appreciation effort!
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.
Lake Washington High School librarian wins statewide award for resource development
Over the last couple of years, librarians and educators across the state have been looking for resources to learn how to use digital tools for remote and hybrid learning. Liz Courage, Lake Washington High School librarian, was part of a team in Washington state that helped develop these resources. For her part, she has been honored with the 2021 Washington Library Association (WLA) President’s Award for her team’s work in the creation of the WA Digital TeachKit. The TeachKit is a resource made possible through the collaboration of this team and made available to educators around Washington state and beyond. Read more about this on the LWSD website.