School Superintendent’s Fall Letter to the Community
Dear Members of our Fabulous Community,
The new school year has started and we are all, already, making sure that each and every one of our students is well served in our school district. And because it is a new school year, we have new people and new plans to share with you! First we are extremely pleased to welcome our new staff. We welcome our new English Language Learner teacher, Shannon Quishenberry, who will be teaching and supporting our English Language Learners, grades K-12. We also welcome, Lowell Jons, 4thgrade teacher, Jenn Furber, elementary Art teacher, and Kristin Thomas, middle school and high school Math teacher. John Boyd is joining our district as the District Assessment Coordinatorand Truancy Liaison…Welcome John! Each new staff member brings individual talents, making San Juan Island School District a strong and vibrant school community.
We have also added facility upgrades and strategies to make sure our students are safe in their schools and classrooms. All of our secondary buildings have new locking systems to help secure our secondary sites. New energy efficient lighting has been installed and the schools sparkle under the new brightness. Most importantly, we have updated our Emergency Preparedness plans, adding district-wide consistency in response to natural or manmade emergencies. We will be practicing drills throughout the year to make sure we are fully prepared.
We have integrated a more collaborative approach for our special education services. Now general education teachers in our elementary school will have more time to work with their special education colleagues in designing appropriate lessons to meet the unique needs of our special needs students.
We have a beautiful greenhouse at the elementary school that helps make living science available for all our younger students. “Doing Science” is the key to learning science.
We have new families that have joined our district from off island locales. We welcome them to this fabulous learning community and our wonderful Island.
We are engaging in an educator-inspired yearlong focus with all our teaching staff to understand how student trauma, pain and adversity impacts students’ ability to learn, and what we as educators can do to heal these students and remove barriers to learning. Teachers will learn and practice together throughout the school year. Instructional school-wide practices will help to ensure higher levels of student learning. It is very important that students understand that they are in safe and protective learning environment. I am extremely proud of our entire teaching staff for taking on this inspiring work.
Our 2017-18 state test data has been released, and overall our students continue to outperform the State with few exceptions (Grade 5, 11 and 8thgrade math, however our 11th grade science scores beat the State scores). High School graduation rates continue to be over 90% and our Advanced Placement students are soaring in their AP exams. Our newly formed Instructional Leadership Teamsat each school (teachers and administrators) will be reviewing all of these data to determine what changes and practices can be instituted to better monitor student performance results and what they can do as a whole school to institute practices that will help improve student learning.
We are truly blessed to have such great students, great staff (classified, teachers and administrators) who daily go above and beyond for these students, as well as you, our amazing supportive community, without whom we would have a much harder row to hoe to make sure each of our students learns to their highest potential.
Thank you for your continued support.
San Juan Island School District