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Most recent update

July 2, 2020

Dear Lake Washington School District Families: 

On July 1, I officially transitioned into my new role as Superintendent. I take the responsibility of leading our District very seriously and know the decisions our team makes over the next couple of months are critical and impactful. 

  • For our students, we are making decisions about how to further their education in an environment that is also considering health and safety. 
  • For our staff, we are making decisions about schedules and work responsibilities that may be different than in the past while also considering health and safety. 
  • For our families, we are making decisions that ultimately impact work schedules, childcare plans, and normal functioning of life. 

With over 20 years of experience in Lake Washington, I hope my history with the District provides benefit as we make these plans. I understand the tension between high academic rigor for all students and the need to create safe and healthy learning/work environments. At times learning and safety are in conflict with one another and that is why we are actively working on each detail related to reopening school. 

I greatly appreciate the feedback we have received from our current parent survey. As of this morning, over 9,500 responses have been received. While we understand you are providing feedback based on some unknowns, the information we are gaining from your feedback will allow us to make decisions to move forward. Each question or idea that you have posed in the survey causes us to be more effective in our planning processes. I can’t express enough how appreciative I am that our community takes the time to give us well thought out and comprehensive feedback.

As we move forward with our planning, I want to remind all of us that school will not look the same in the fall. Theoretically, I understand this and when it comes to the reality of remote learning, hybrid models, physical distancing and other requirements; I know it will be different and possibly emotional. We want, more than anything, to have each of our 31,000+ students attending school each day. We know that is how we can achieve the greatest impacts. We have skilled educators that understand teaching and learning for all our students. For a period of time we will have to shift our efforts for the greater good of our community. I am glad we have such a supportive community and I ask that you continue to participate with us throughout the summer and as we keep students at the center of our decisions.

Below are reminders and information updates from our Return to School Task Force efforts related the following topics:

  1. Survey Reminder
  2. Running Start for 11th and 12th Graders
  3. Incomplete Grades
  4. Special Services Update
  5. Accelerated Programs Update
  6. Let’s Talk and Return to School Task Force FAQ

Survey Reminder
Last week, we sent a survey to all families that will help to inform our planning for fall. Specifically, it asked families for feedback on hybrid and full remote instructional models. Please take some time to complete this survey for each of your children as this will help inform the Return to School Task Force. The survey will be open until July 5.

Running Start for 11th and 12th Graders
As we look to returning to school in the fall, we are exploring a variety of options to meet the needs of our students. One of these options is available through our partnership with Cascadia College. Cascadia will be offering remote Running Start courses in the fall that are available to 11th and 12th grade Lake Washington students. Running Start is a program that allows students to take college courses at Washington's 34 community and technical colleges. Students earn both high school and college credits for these courses. Running Start students and their families do not pay tuition. Because of the ability to access courses, remotely, Running Start may be a good option for more students than in the past. A flyer with more information about the Running Start Program at Cascadia College is available here, and our counselors will be available in the late August and early fall to assist students who are participating.

Incomplete Grades
Because of state-required changes to the grading system this spring, some students will have “Incomplete” grades on report cards and transcripts for the second semester. We will be working with students and families in the fall to share options for resolving these Incompletes so that a grade can be assigned to courses with them. One such option is a “backfill” grade. A backfill grade allows students to apply the grade earned in the next class in a content area taken next fall to the course with an incomplete in the same content area taken this spring. In addition, we are developing competency-based credit-recovery and options to retake courses that will be available during the school year for students who have Incomplete grades. We are also planning on having additional summer school options for students in 2021. Counselors will have information about these options and others for students and families in the fall. The A/Incomplete grading system expires this school year, and we will be providing updated information about grading for the 2020-21 school year later this summer.

Special Services Update
The Special Services Department is reviewing draft guidance from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s (OSPI’s) Special Education Office, to consider the specific needs of students with disabilities. Special Services is working collaboratively with other District leaders regarding potential schedules for students in special education, equipment and safety needs, and transportation considerations. They are also working with elementary and secondary education teams to consider services and accommodations for students with special needs within a hybrid learning program. In addition, they have set aside dates to work with the teacher’s union around issues specific to special education programs and services for next school year.

Accelerated Programs Update
The Accelerated Programs Department has been working with groups of educators to develop options to provide services for students that are identified as highly capable when we return to school in the fall. Due to the variety of services, we have teams working to determine learning models for each of the three program areas. Students that are in full-time Quest classrooms will follow the schedule and plan at the school they attend. In addition, a team of teachers are part of the Elementary Remote Learning Task Force to ensure that full-time Quest students will have curriculum aligned to the learning needs of the students with the focus on compacting and enrichment. Service models for our pull-out programming are also under consideration. Once the Return to School plan is determined, we will be able to select the scenario(s) that best meet the needs of our students. The Accelerated Programs Department is also working to create additional enrichment activities that will be available in classrooms or at home.

Let’s Talk and Return to School Task Force FAQ
We know that we have not answered every question that our families have about returning to school in the fall. We are committed to providing you with weekly updates about our planning process. You can also follow our work on the Return to School Task Force webpage.

We’ve recently added a Let’s Talk button to this page. If you click on the blue button that says, “ASK A QUESTION: RETURN TO SCHOOL TASK FORCE,” you will get to the Let’s Talk page for the Return to School Task Force. There is also a link below, under my signature. Let’s Talk is a system that better allows us to track the questions that are coming in and allows us a tool to be able to answer you more efficiently. 

We are also taking any questions that are being frequently asked by our community and adding them to our new “Frequently Asked Questions” page of the website.

I hope that you have a safe and relaxing Fourth of July weekend. We look forward to providing you with another update next week.

Dr. Jon Holmen, Superintendent
Lake Washington School District
Have a Question? Let’s Talk

All Updates - Click on date to read full post

Dear Lake Washington School District Families: 

On July 1, I officially transitioned into my new role as Superintendent. I take the responsibility of leading our District very seriously and know the decisions our team makes over the next couple of months are critical and impactful.

With the close of the 2019-20 school year, our team has turned our focus to intensively preparing for the reopening of school in the fall. Our goal is to have students on our campuses as much as possible for in-person instruction while complying with health and safety requirements.