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    Juneau's Journal September 13
    Posted on 09/13/2019
    Superintendent and a group of students get ready to cut the ribbon at Lincoln High School. Students wear shirts with school logo.

    Welcoming our students back to school

    We’ve officially kicked off the 2019-20 school year, and I can’t wait to see what possibilities and opportunities this year has in store for our students.

    Communities across the district came together to celebrate students as they returned to classrooms last week. As a part of our new strategic plan, Seattle Excellence, we are committed to creating warm and welcoming environments for our students, starting on the very first day of school. Read about the strategic plan.

    Superintendent and community members give high fives to students as they enter schoolI was lucky enough to join the West Seattle Elementary community in welcoming back students, along with Mayor Jenny Durkan, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best, Seattle Housing Authority Executive Director Andrew Lofton, and Principal Pamela McCowan-Conyers. Students at West Seattle, South Shore School, Bailey Gatzert Elementary, and many schools across the district were greeted like the stars they are with cheers and high-fives.

    Our youngest learners also started their educational journey this week, as kindergartners entered their classrooms for the first time on Monday. I look forward to working with teachers, administrators, and staff this year to create more supportive and safe environments for all our students to grow and thrive.

    Improving environments for our students

    Though the school year just began, we’ve already started work to improve learning environments for our students.

    I am proud to announce that we have strengthened the district’s commitment to providing the maximum legal protection to undocumented students while at school. Our students should not have to worry about anything but doing their best in their classes. With this revised Superintendent Procedure, we reaffirm that our schools are sensitive, safe locations that should not be the focus of ICE enforcement. Read about the procedure.

    We are committed to ensuring all Seattle Public School students feel welcome and respected at school. This summer, the Seattle School Board approved a new student dress policy, which rejects historical notions of what a dress code needs to be and focuses our schools’ attention on what we truly need to be concerned about: ensuring that students are safe and provided a welcoming and inclusive environment. Read about the dress policy.

    By focusing our school leaders’ attention on these primary responsibilities and by having clear guidelines for students to follow, we anticipate that students will spend more time in classrooms receiving instruction.

    A teacher and student gather in a classroom with a white board that has text "Welcome to QAE makerspace" Thanks to Seattle voters’ continued support of our school levies, we saw the completion of several school building construction projects across the district. This year, Lincoln High School, Ingraham High School, Queen Anne Elementary, and Magnolia School welcomed back students in expanded, reconfigured, and updated buildings.

    Queen Anne Elementary students will now be able to bring their imagination to life in one of the first, purpose-designed elementary school makerspaces in the state. And, the updates to Ingraham High School provide opportunities for students to participate in a wider range of learning activities with open and enclosed small group collaboration spaces.

    SPS Students Outperform State

    This week, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) released the 2018-19 statewide assessment scores. I am so proud of our students who, once again, academically outperformed the state average. Read more on the OSPI website.

    And, thanks to our hardworking educators, success is within reach for all of our students with the implementation of our new strategic plan, Seattle Excellence. State assessments are one view into how our district is preparing students for college, a career, and community participation.

    With Seattle Excellence as our road map, I look forward to working with district staff, teachers, and our community to create the right conditions for success for all of our 53,000 students.

    Denise Juneau

    Corny joke of the week: What did the math book say to the history book? You know you can count on me.