This video project was sponsored by the Sustainability Committee of LWPTSA Council. It features Lake Washington School District students sharing what they do to help save the earth.
February Parent Letter
February 4, 2021
Dear Parents and Guardians,
As you know, we are excited to soon welcome kindergarten and first grade students back to school. With this transition, we have adjusted our special education programs for elementary and preschool students. We have been working diligently with our partners at the Lake Washington Education Association (LWEA) to develop a model that is centered on the needs of our students in special education. I am proud of the work our educators and leaders have put forth in serving our students this year, despite the challenges that COVID has brought us. Whether your child receives remote services from their special education teacher or therapist or if they have participated in our in-person classes, our staff have been focused on ensuring they continue to grow and achieve their IEP goals.
With the return of K-1 students, we needed to reconfigure our programs and services to ensure that students can participate with their general education peers. We believe in inclusion and our work on inclusionary practices is deeply integrated into our District strategic plan. We have been working with LWEA and engaging with families to ensure that our students are centered in the return to school. Here are the critical changes that will soon be implemented:
- All elementary students (with some exceptions) will return to their neighborhood school or program and will be assigned a teacher from this school.
- All K-5 students who participate in learning center or intervention center programs will be able to return to school when K-1 students return on February 18. Students will attend school every day but Wednesday and will all be on the same schedule as K-1. We are ending the half day programs for AM and PM and instead, students will have 3.5 hours at school in the AM with their general education peers.
- All K-1 students who participate in resource programs will be able to return to school when K-1 students return on February 18. They will be on the same schedule as their peers, with 3.5 hours at school in the AM. Resource teachers will primarily be providing services remotely.
- Students who participate in resource programs, in grades 2-5, will return to school when their corresponding grade level returns to school.
- There are no changes planned for preschool. Sadly, we are unable to serve our community peer students currently due to our need to limit class sizes for health and safety reasons.
- There are no changes planned for secondary students at this time. Our students in middle school, high school and transition programs will remain with their current special education teacher and on the same schedule. If they are receiving services in person, their AM or PM schedule will remain the same.
- Due to the significant work involved in transitioning our elementary students and the need for special education staff to change their caseloads and schools, we will not be providing special education services for elementary students on February 8-10 and February 16-17. We apologize for the late notice in this change but believe that this time is necessary for a smooth transition for all students.
You will be contacted by your child’s special education teacher or therapists to inform you of any changes to your child’s IEP providers. We will be providing building principals with information regarding which students and teachers will be supporting their students and will make any necessary changes with transportation. We ask for your continued patience and understanding as we navigate numerous details across all our elementary schools. If you have questions, please reach out to your special education service provider. Please understand if it takes them some time to respond as they are learning of these changes as you are. If there are concerns, you can also contact your special education director. Michelle Tiegs supports our elementary schools in the Redmond and Eastlake regions and Debbie Wagner supports schools in the Lake Washington and Juanita regions.
We thank you for your ongoing support and grace as we continue to walk this road together. We see the light at the end of the tunnel with vaccines on the horizon for educators so hopefully, this will soon be a remarkable memory for all of us. We will continue to keep you updated on any changes that may occur for our secondary students and as we look ahead to summer programs. I hope this message finds you and your families healthy and well.
Dr. Shannon Hitch
Executive Director of Special Services