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    Juneau's Journal May 10
    Posted on 05/10/2019

    Appreciation for Teachers and Nurses

    I grew up on the Blackfeet Reservation in Browning, Montana. From an early age I saw the powerful role teachers play in the lives of young people. Both of my parents were educators. My father was a teacher, counselor, principal, and served as the superintendent for two different schools on the reservation. My mom was an educator and director of Browning’s first alternative school.

    I witnessed my parents’ unwavering commitment to the success of American Indian youth and our entire community. I remember the hours, thought, and heart they poured into students. And I saw how a great education can lead to empowerment and a bright future for individual students and their entire family and community.

    Growing up, my favorite teacher was Ann Lunak, my high school English teacher. She knew I was capable of much more than I was putting into my classes. She held me to high standards, challenged me, and consistently encouraged me. She inspired me to teach. She brought learning to life and believed in the potential of every student. I can’t thank her enough for her investment in me.

    A teacher in the classroom instructing studentsThis week we celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week. I met a fourth-grade student at Coe Elementary. He toured me around the school and introduced me to the great staff. He chose to take me to Ms. Wong’s class. When I asked him why he chose her class, his response was, “because she is a really good teacher and she is just so kind.” He reminded me that a great education starts with a strong, trusting relationship.

    Thank you to the thousands of teachers in Seattle Public Schools for building strong relationships and unconditionally believing in your students. Thank you for helping them realize their dreams. I appreciate all of you.

    This week, we also had the opportunity to celebrate school nurses. Nurses are a critical support to student success. They break down barriers, help make learning possible, and ensure students are safe. I hope you had the opportunity to thank a school nurse on Wednesday, May 8. Learn more about all the ways nurses support students in Seattle Public Schools.

    This week I had the opportunity to visit three awesome schools. These schools were remarkable in their consistency and focus on getting the job done for students.

    Superintendent Juneau with studentsCatharine Blaine K-8

    This week’s visit started off at Catharine Blaine K-8. I had the opportunity to step into several classrooms and chat with students. Annika shared her quail egg science project with me and what she is observing. I told her about Frances, a crow, that has built her nest outside my office window. Both Annika and I are excited to see what happens next.

    I also got to meet Josephine, a kindergarten student. She was conducting a sight word lesson with her peers while the teacher was assessing another student. I was so impressed with how our youngest learners self-manage and participate in collaborative learning.

    Adults gather for a WAVE meeting around a tableLawton Elementary

    At Lawton Elementary, teacher appreciation week was in full swing with a PTSA hosted lunch. Throughout the school, I saw students demonstrating WAVE – Welcome everyone, Act responsibly, Value learning, and Encourage each other. And I also got to meet incredible students and educators like Ms. Wong.


    Superintendent Juneau with studentCoe Elementary

    My school tours wrapped up at Coe Elementary. This is where I got to meet Teagan in person. A few months ago, she sent me a personal note with a corny joke. This week she shared a few more. You can read one of my favorites below. Like Catharine Blaine and Lawton, the staff and school leadership at Coe Elementary work hard every day to make sure students are thriving. Coe is a strong neighborhood school with a promise to families that all students will get a high-quality education. They do this by knowing students’ strengths, working to accelerate their learning, and deeply engaging with families.

    Denise Juneau

    Corny joke of the week: Where does a bee wait for a ride? The buzz stop
    (author: Teagan from Coe Elementary)