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    Juneau's Journal March 8
    Posted on 03/08/2019
    A student plays a string instrument in classroom

    Music Connects Us: Music in Our Schools Month

    Juneau's Journal March 8

    In March, our district celebrates Music in Our Schools Month, engaging educators, students, and our community around the benefits of high quality music education in schools.

    Here's a little known fact about me: In middle school, I took up the alto saxophone in the school band. Although the saxophone life wasn't for me, the lessons learned influence my life in and out of Seattle Public Schools; the value of discipline, teamwork, and resilience.

    As a primary pathway to learning, the arts play an essential role in meeting the needs of the whole child. Integrated arts education is key to the development of 21st century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication to name a few. Thanks to initiatives like the Creative Advantage, the arts and music education are becoming increasingly accessible for all students. Thank you to our partners, the city of Seattle, community partners, and funders for helping us expand arts access across the district.

    Middle School Band: March 8, Whitman Middle School

    Elementary Orchestra and Band: March 9, Asa Mercer International Middle School

    High School Orchestra: March 12, Cleveland High School

    High School Band: March 19, Seattle Pacific University

    Middle School Orchestra: March 21, Whitman Middle School High School Choir: March 26, Roosevelt High School

    In other news, I am excited to share that the draft 2019 Strategic Plan will be formally introduced to the Board at the March 13 School Board Meeting. The draft being presented is a collaborative effort, influenced from feedback I heard on my Listening and Learning Tour, community engagement on the draft plan in January 2019, and online engagement. I am proud to say that this Plan is bold, supporting students furthest from educational justice and making sure that EVERY student thrives in Seattle Public Schools.

    The draft was guided by our Strategic Plan Steering Committee, comprised of community members, staff, and representatives from Seattle Education Association (SEA) and Principal Association of Seattle Schools (PASS). I want to thank them for their hard work over the last five months. I also want to thank the Board for great discussions in two work sessions and two retreats that also shaped the draft. I look forward to continuing those discussions at the Board meeting next Wednesday where the draft Plan will be introduced and on Wed., March 27, when the Board will take action.

    Weekly School Visits

    Student, teacher and superintendent in a classroom talkLeschi Elementary School

    At Leschi Elementary, equity teams are not limited to staff participation. The school has formed a student equity team as well. Among their responsibilities, student leaders provide feedback to staff about their educational experiences. During my visit to the school, a young man shared his observation that teachers "talk too much and need to listen more." I was excited to hear that educators have received his honest feedback and are exploring how to use his input and his peers' to create a more student-centered learning environment.


    Superintedent with two teachers smileOrca K-8 School

    There are very few in the district that can claim the years in education and service that Marletta Iwasyk can at Orca K-8. For 50 years, Marletta has been teaching kindergarten, meeting students' individual learning styles and creating engaging and motivating lessons for children. When I met up with her at Orca, she'd just celebrated her 80th birthday! Please join me in thanking and honoring Marletta for her many years in service to Seattle Public Schools and our students.


    Superintendent takes a photo with a teacherLowell Elementary School

    At Lowell Elementary, educators are actively engaged in creating an inclusive and equitable community that serves their beautifully diverse school. Staff are hyper-focused on ensuring students are making academic gains while partnering with parents and families. In collaboration with the school's Family Support Worker, Lowell is creating a family resource room to support their school community's immediate needs and ensure a welcoming environment.

    Denise Juneau

    Corny jokes of the week: I asked the Technology Department why I couldn't use 'beefstew' as a new password. They told me it's not stroganoff.