Superintendent's Message: "Future Shoreline" continues with discussions and decisions to be made
I had the honor of witnessing 620 seniors graduate at the Shorewood and Shorecrest commencement ceremonies on June 19. A common theme heard in the remarks of students and staff during the graduations was that the journey to that culminating point in time was long and winding, with plenty of helping hands along the way.
Students’ journeys with us begin when they enter our schools whether that be in pre-school or kindergarten or senior year. Their journey ends when they walk across that graduation stage, diplomas in hand, smiles on their faces and bright futures ahead of them. Their success would not be possible if not for the commitment, effort and support of our families, staff and community over many years.
This theme was echoed just a day later when our Board of Directors unanimously directed district staff to develop a bond measure for voter consideration in February 2017. This decision came after two years of study including a demography study, a facilities condition report and a recommendation from the Facilities Planning Committee (FPC) at the June 6 board meeting. The Board agreed with the committee’s proposal for projects that include: rebuilding Einstein and Kellogg Middle Schools, rebuilding Parkwood Elementary and building an Early Learning Center that would encompass the Shoreline Children’s Center, Early Childhood Education and Head Start. It was evident in the discussions of the FPC and Board of Directors that these projects are important to the continued support of our students along their journey from pre-school and elementary school through high school and graduation. The work of the FPC followed up on the work of the Instructional Program Planning Committee (IPPC).
The IPPC was tasked with evaluating district programs and grade configurations. After much research and discussion, their recommendations included shifting the middle school grade band configuration to 6th, 7th and 8th grades. This change will provide our 6th grade students with the lab space and specialized instruction necessary to provide rigorous learning and alignment with state education standards. The IPPC also recommended developing an early learning model that co-locates preschool, Early Childhood Education and Head Start programs in a central location. This will allow our youngest students to receive the services and support they need as they begin their Shoreline Schools journey.
The proposed construction projects will allow implementation of the IPPC’s instructional program recommendations to meet the needs of current and future students. The recommendation also comes at an opportune time to address building condition and capacity issues. Based on the building condition reports, the FPC recommended the Shoreline Children’s Center, Parkwood, Einstein and Kellogg be rebuilt. Rebuilding these facilities with additional classroom space will also help increase our capacity to serve the additional 1,500 students that a recent demographic study projects our district will grow by 2030.
The additional space created for elementary students by moving 6th grade students to middle school and rebuilding a larger Parkwood will also allow our schools to receive additional funding to reduce class sizes through voter-approved Initiative 1351. Research has proven that smaller class sizes, especially at the elementary level, have a positive impact on the academic and behavioral success of those students.
Together, the instructional adjustments proposed by the IPPC and facility recommendations developed by the FPC will further support our students from preschool, elementary and middle school as they continue on their journey to graduation and success in work and life.
This fall, there will be a series of community meetings to discuss these proposals, receive feedback and answer questions. Be on the lookout for information on dates and times which will be sent to you later this summer. I look forward to discussing these proposals and how we can continue to support our students well into the future.