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    Juneau's Journal July 5
    Posted on 07/05/2019

    Thank you for a great first year

    July 1 marked my one-year anniversary of leading Seattle Public Schools, I want to say thank you. Thank you to the Seattle Public Schools students, educators, families, staff, and community members for making this year remarkable — a year of learning all about Seattle while also taking bold action.

    This past school year, great work took place in classrooms, schools, central office, and in our community. Among many hours of hard work, the school board approved technology enhancements for our students, providing one-to-one access to laptops for high school students and formally adopted Since Time Immemorial: Tribal Sovereignty to provide all SPS students an accurate education about the background and current affairs of the 29 sovereign nations within the boundaries of Washington state. And, the Department of Racial Equity Advancement, in partnership with the SEA Center for Racial Equity, trained, coached, and supported 55 racial equity teams representing 54 schools and school psychologists.

    Superintedent Juneau and students talk in a classroom To view more of the accomplishments Seattle Public Schools students, parents, staff, and community members made this year, read our Year in Review.

    I also want to thank our dedicated students. Last month, I finished visiting all 102 schools across our district. At each visit, I witnessed the hard work of students, reconfirming the progress I believe we can make with and for our youth in the coming school year.

    Looking ahead

    I started this year learning about our district’s challenges and strengths from those most affected — parents, staff, students, and community members like you. Through my Listen and Learn tour, I engaged with over 4,000 people across the district. These conversations informed the creation of a new, five-year strategic plan—one that reflects our shared commitment to racial equity and justice.

    Superintendent Juneau with students in a libraryThis summer, I am looking forward to working with our staff, families, and communities to implement our new strategic plan – with an initial focus on early literacy.

    Last week, in preparation for the break, librarians, teachers, and staff gathered in elementary school libraries to help students pick out 10 summer books as part of the Seattle Super Readers initiative. At Emerson Elementary, I joined students as they excitedly selected their summer books. In total, 31,650 books were provided across 13 schools with a high representation of students of color, particularly African American males.

    Watch the video below for more information on how students can build their reading superpowers this summer.

    What I am reading this summer

    Like our students, I am going to be reading over the summer. On my must read list is Michelle Obama’s "Becoming" and "There There" by Tommy Orange. Make sure to share your child’s favorite summer books and yours too by using #SeattleSuperReaders across social media.

    This will be the last Juneau’s Journal for the school year, but work across the district will continue. We’ll be posting summer updates to the Seattle Public Schools social media channels, including my Twitter page. If you haven’t already, make sure to subscribe to our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for timely information. In August, you will receive a postcard with key information to look for in your child’s first day packet – including a one-page school year calendar.

    Thank you again for making my first year as Seattle Public Schools' superintendent so transformational for students. I look forward to taking what I have learned this year and working with the School Board, staff, families, students, partners, and community to do even greater things for PreK-12 education next year and our incredible Seattle scholars.

    Denise Juneau

    Corny joke of the week: I'm reading a book about anti-gravity. It's impossible to put down!