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    Juneau's Journal October 25
    Posted on 10/25/2019

    Continuing to Listen and Learn

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    Juneau’s Journal October 25, 2019

    Denise Juneau: Hi! I’m Denise Juneau, Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools.

    I spent last year working to get to know our district. While visiting every one of our schools, I saw firsthand the importance of engaging with and listening to our communities.

    I will continue to listen as we implement Seattle Excellence, the district’s new strategic plan. And, in fact, Inclusive and Authentic Engagement is one of the plan’s four priority areas.

    Seattle Excellence is a living, breathing document. As we work to ensure that every Seattle Public Schools graduate is prepared for college, a career, and community participation, we must look to our families, students, invested partners, and community members to provide continued feedback and hold us accountable.

    Earlier this month, I sat down with partners at our annual kick-off meeting and have been meeting with partners and families in community. Partners like the Chinese Information Service Center, El Centro de la Raza, the Asian Pacific Directors Coalition, and Somali Mother’s Night Out work hand in hand with us to support families and students. They help us identify needs, determine solutions, and support the implementation of Seattle Excellence.

    Families at the Chinese Information Service Center talked about the importance of providing solid English Language Support to their children. Parents at Somali Mother’s Night Out shared their enthusiasm for our intentional focus on African American boys in the new strategic plan. They also pushed us to be sure that they are included in decision-making at schools. And, leaders at El Centro and the Asian Pacific Directors shared their support for our goal to have staff that represent our student demographics.

    We are working to incorporate authentic engagement in everything we do at Seattle Public Schools to build trusting relationships and better meet the needs of students who are furthest from educational justice, beginning with African American boys and young men.

    This year, our Nutrition Services team has worked to update ordering procedures and the delivery of ordered products. While this transition for some schools did not go as smoothly as planned, our school kitchens and nutrition services operations are working hard and the number of meals served so far this school year is consistent with numbers from recent previous school years. And, our nutrition services team is planning to offer more robust food options in the coming year.

    The nutritional needs and the health and wellness of our students remains among our top priorities. Earlier this year, students at Greenwood Elementary wrote to our Nutrition Services team asking for more vegan and vegetarian meal options. So, our Director of Nutrition Services Aaron Smith asked them to participate in a Vegetarian Food Tasting and give feedback about what should be included on the menu.

    We know there is a direct correlation between nutrition and learning and that food choices at school plays a huge role in connecting with our students and families who come from diverse cultural backgrounds. This is Seattle Excellence, making sure the conditions are right for students to thrive. But we cannot do the important work of Seattle Excellence alone. We will continue to look to our partners, teachers, school leaders, students, and community members like you. I look forward to continuing to learn from and with you.

    And, you know I love a good corny joke, so: What’s a witch’s favorite subject in school? Spelling.

    Thank you.