April 2, 2021
Topics Covered in this Pathway Forward Update:
- Superintendent’s message
- Bargaining Update
- Travel Guidance Update
- LWSD Staff Vaccination Update
- Childcare Update
- Secondary Transportation
Dear LWSD families:
I continue to be grateful to our Lake Washington School District students, staff, families and community. By any measure, this has been a difficult year and as we look towards a final shift within this school year, the ask of all stakeholders is high. I recognize that there will never be complete consensus on decisions, yet I still believe that we all want what is best for students. To accomplish this, we must pay attention to a number of factors such as staff working conditions, operational effectiveness, health & safety requirements and family impact.
Throughout the year, I have heard from families about the challenges of schedule changes. I want to recognize these impacts and express my gratitude for the significant efforts you have made by shifting your personal and professional schedules as we transitioned learning models.
I recognize that for our elementary staff, this will be the fourth shift this year. With each shift comes all the details of schedules, student services, revisiting the health & safety plan and staffing. The emotion that comes with change is real, and I am grateful for everything our elementary educators have provided this year as we have worked to create the best conditions for learning and working.
I also need to recognize those staff that have been working in-person with students since early September, our preschool and special education staff that have supported over 500 learners. We appreciate what you have accomplished for your students.
To our staff who have taught in a remote space since the start of the year, I want to recognize what that ask has been. Shifting your instructional practices so quickly and learning new techniques was significant and I appreciate what you have been able to accomplish. The creativity and engagement in that environment is not a simple task and planning for quality learning takes more time than anyone knows.
We are now asking our secondary educators to shift their instructional models for the remainder of the year. Concurrent teaching will allow our students and teachers to remain connected in schedules, classes and relationships but this is also new learning for our staff. I recognize that you will be learning this method of instruction in order to support your students as we close out this school year.
Each of these changes can only happen through the support of all our employee groups. Lake Washington employs about 4,500 people and about half of our employees support school operational and leadership components of our work. The groups of classified and leadership employees are too numerous to individually name but without their commitment and support through this experience, we would not be able to make changes and shifts to our students’ learning opportunities.
I am proud of the work we are doing to support our students and community. I appreciate the continued collaboration with all our stakeholders throughout this school year.
I am pleased to share that we have completed our negotiations for Secondary and Elementary related to our change in learning models/schedules on April 19. The Letters of Understanding were completed this week and our teams are acting on these to ensure our schedules, programs and staffing are in alignment with these agreements. The agreements have been reached taking into account the Governor’s Emergency Proclamation and accommodate classroom space by implementing 3-foot distancing for students K-12.
Travel Guidance Update:
Throughout this pandemic, we have highlighted the role the community plays in minimizing the spread of the virus. This includes paying attention to the travel guidance put out by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). If you are traveling for non-essential purposes, we ask that you review the travel guidance and follow the steps outlined. By following this guidance, we can ensure that our schools, classrooms and community are in alignment with health and safety precautions.
LWSD Staff Vaccination Update:
Over the course of the last month, we have worked to help connect our employees to COVID-19 vaccination appointments. We are thankful for the numerous community partners who hosted a half-dozen clinics for LWSD staff. We sincerely appreciate the efforts of Allegro Pediatrics, UW Medicine, Evergreen Health, Kaiser Permanente, Safeway and to the pharmacists from QFC who have volunteered their time and services to help school employees become vaccinated. LWSD employees who have not yet received a vaccination can find information and resources for accessing appointments through the LWSD portal.
Please see our Child Care Resources website for current childcare locations and registration information. Each provider has a link where you can register at a current program or fill out an interest form for other locations. Providers are currently working to update fees based on the revised school schedules and will update care hours where necessary in order to accommodate our secondary staff members who need to childcare prior to 7:30 am. The website will be updated with additional information the week of April 12. Each provider will determine if/when locations can be added based on demand.
For those families who are eligible for transportation and indicated in the secondary survey that they would be riding the bus, transportation will send families a school messenger by April 16 to communicate bus stops and pick up/drop off time. For those who rode the bus in prior years, you may notice that the stops are different or pick up times are earlier. This is due to the reduced number of students riding the bus and reduced number of available drivers. If you filled out the survey indicating your child was not riding the bus and now would like to have them ride the bus, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, your child’s name, school, grade and address. Transportation staff will verify that your address is in the eligible riding zone, determine space availability and they will respond with next steps. Because routes are already being developed, transportation will respond to these requests after April 19.
I hope our students, staff and families have an enjoyable Spring Break.
Dr. Jon Holmen, Superintendent
Lake Washington School District