February 1, 2021

Key Highlights:

  • Secondary (Grades 6-12) Update 
  • K-1 Staff Meets with Seattle | King County Public Health
  • Pathway Forward Guide for K-1 Families Now Available
  • Pathway Forward Videos for K-1 Families Now Available
  • Frequently Asked Questions about Transportation for K-1
  • K-1 Remote Class Sizes

Dear LWSD Families:

I want to thank our staff and families for the significant effort to plan and prepare our schools, classrooms and students for the upcoming K-1 transition. Whether remote or in-person, our goal is to have a successful transition for both our staff and students. We have a number of updates related to our continued work and some informational videos and guide to continue providing information related to the transition to our new K-1 learning models on February 18.

Secondary (Grades 6-12) Update
Throughout this school year, much of our communication has been related to our youngest learners. Later in February, I will be hosting a live event specific to middle and high school to provide information about next steps. Below is the message that was provided on January 21 related to secondary learners. I want to reiterate that the work regarding our secondary schools is significantly different than our work related to elementary as there are different variables and considerations that need to be made. We are engaging with a number of stakeholder groups as we determine the possibilities to support our secondary learners. 

January 21 Message: 

Efforts to evaluate secondary have been ongoing since January 6 as we think about appropriate supports for our secondary students. Given this adjusted timeline for elementary this has an impact on secondary as well. Initially, I had targeted March as a timeline for our secondary efforts. As you may be aware, there are significant impacts related to the development and reestablishment of a secondary master schedule. This may cause us to think creatively about providing opportunities for any student that seeks an in-person experience while making special considerations for students that are currently disengaged from school, in need of social and emotional support due to a number of factors, in need of support to graduate from high school or students that need help with executive functioning and organization of school and classes. I believe we can accomplish our goals of engaging with our students in unique ways while also ensuring that our secondary learners maintain their academic outcomes and experiences that are required for pathways and graduation.

K-1 Staff Meets with Seattle | King County Public Health
Last week, our K-1 staff were invited to a Microsoft Teams Live Question & Answer session with Seattle | King County Public Health. Staff were able to ask Public Health experts their questions about return to school safety plan items.

Pathway Forward Guide for K-1 Families Now Available
LWSD’s Pathway Forward Guide for K-1 Families is now available on our website. We are currently in the process of translating this guide into additional languages, and have it available on our website as both a PDF and as a page that can be translated into other languages by clicking the “globe” widget at the top left corner of the site.

Pathway Forward Videos for K-1 Families
LWSD is creating a series of videos to help families understand the basics of our Safety Plan for returning K-1 students to in-person learning. You can find the videos here. We are working to translate them into additional languages as well. We’ll be adding new videos as they are available.

Frequently Asked Questions About Transportation for K-1
For those families who are eligible for transportation and indicated in the K-5 survey that they would be riding the bus, transportation will send families a SchoolMessenger email by February 16 to communicate bus stops and pick-up time/drop-off time. For those who rode the bus in prior years, you may notice that the pick-up times are earlier. This is due to the reduced number of students riding the bus. We expect at the beginning there will only be one bus per elementary school (no buses for all walking schools) thus the buses will be driving a larger area to pick up students. As we bring more students back to school for in-person learning, buses may be added if there are available drivers. See the answers to additional Frequently Asked Questions here

K-1 Remote Class Sizes
As we worked through our staffing process for K-1 we had to make some decisions given how the family requests were distributed between remote and in-person learning models. The district had stringent criteria for the class sizes for in-person learning. To accomplish these stringent requirements, the District hired 25 additional K-1 teachers. As we analyzed our remote learning classrooms, we worked to ensure that every student was able to stay at their neighborhood school. In order to accomplish this, we had to do two things:

  1. Identify schools that needed an additional teacher to keep student numbers no greater than 28 at Kindergarten and 29 at First grade. To accomplish this, we had to hire six additional teachers just for K-1 remote learning.
  2. Five classes of students across the district reached the 28 and 29 thresholds identified. For these classrooms we added 2 hours of IA support daily to help with connections and instructional support. This is beyond the contractual remedies that these teachers will also receive for large class sizes. 

This was a different outcome than we had planned for and I wanted to make sure we were upfront about the decisions we made which allowed all K-1 students that selected the remote learning model to remain at the neighborhood school.

Thank you for helping our schools as we work to support our students.


Dr. Jon Holmen, Superintendent
Lake Washington School District