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    Juneau's Journal June 7
    Posted on 06/07/2019

    102 Schools Visited!

    The district’s new five-year strategic plan focuses our work on students furthest away from educational justice, beginning with African American males. While our primary goal next year is to make sure 100% of students can read by 3rd grade, staff will also continue work that supports warm and welcoming learning environments and culturally responsive staff.

    For the past few years, central and school-based staff have been working hard to address discipline rates across the district. Every time a student leaves the classroom, for any reason, they lose out on precious instructional time. Making sure students are in class, supported, and ready to learn is how we will meet the goals of our new strategic plan. This work is about changing our adult practices and systems to meet the needs of our students. Students need to feel like they belong, have voice and agency in their learning, and be part of a school community where their unique strengths are affirmed.

    I am pleased to share that overall suspension or expulsion rates have gone down for students in the last four years, most significantly for African American male students. Our preliminary data for 2018-19 shows a decline in the percent of students with at least one suspension or expulsion from 12% in 2015-16 to 7.5% in 2018-19. This is the largest reduction across subgroups of students. While there is still a lot of work to do, this steady decline gives me hope that the changes our students and families need are underway.

    Super Readers logoI am also excited to officially announce our early literacy reading campaign, “Seattle Super Readers.” Thank you to the awesome students at John Muir Elementary and Broadview-Thomson K-8 for their feedback on the campaign logo! Our goal is to get 100% of our youngest learners reading this summer. Look for more information on the district website next week and materials at schools the week of June 24. In the meantime, make sure students get engaged in Seattle Public Library’s Summer of Learning program. SPL will be a key partner in helping us get every student reading.

    I have now completed all 102 school visits! Each visit was inspiring and a good reminder of just how great our students and educators are.

    This week I had the opportunity to visit three of our comprehensive high schools – Rainier Beach, West Seattle, and Garfield. Spending time with students and staff I can confidentially say we are doing a great job of preparing students for their future.

     

    West Seattle High School

    Superintendent Juneau poses for a photo with a teacherMy first stop was at West Seattle High School on Thursday. West Seattle has strong Career and Technical Education and Arts Programs. I had the chance to check in with Mr. Savino, who recently won the CTE Professional Excellence Award. When I asked him why his courses are so successful, he shared that “student voice,” drives decisions. The ukulele that one of his students made was stunning.

     

    Garfield High School

    Superintendent Juneau takes a selfie with school mascotGarfield High School was all a buzz with student activity. It was purple and white spirit day, the last one for this year's seniors. I saw lip dub practice, a spirit assembly, and I even got to meet the top dog!

     

    Rainier Beach High School

    Superintendent Juneau poses for a photo with a groupAt Rainier Beach High School, I had the opportunity to talk at length about the International Baccalaureate (IB) program with the school leaders. All eleventh-grade students take IB history and English. Next year, they will also take IB science. RBHS is an incredible success story. With the community rallying around the school and an intentional focus on graduation, Rainer Beach is now graduating nearly 90% of students in four years. When I asked students why they love RBHS, they agreed that, “it feels like family.”

     

    South Shore PreK-8

    Superintendent Juneau takes a photo with students in a classroomFinally, I rounded out my visits at South Shore PreK-8. The Student Equity Team toured me through the building. I spent a lot of time in conversation with them finding out what they like best about the school. Like Rainer Beach, students expressed that the school community is like “family.” They shared how important student voice is to their own learning, that at South Shore they feel safe, and that the teachers really make them “work for it.” It was clear the students appreciate the safe, supportive learning environment but that they also appreciate high expectations from adults in the school. They also shared that having more educators of color is something they would really like to see. This mirrors feedback I heard from students across the district during my Listen and Learn tour and is a key focus of the new strategic plan.

    Denise Juneau

    Corny joke of the week: What kind of lion never roars? A dandelion! (spotted in the hallways of South Shore PreK-8)