Hello, everyone! I can’t believe that another school year has already come and gone. It was a pleasure completing my eighteenth year in Selah and my seventh as Superintendent. We have a lot to be proud of in this District and I’m thankful for our outstanding staff, the engaged families, supportive community and of course our wonderful students.
Of the many highlights this year that I am particularly excited and proud of is the progress on the new kindergarten campus. The design phase wrapped up in the early winter and groundbreaking was in April. You can track the construction on our website with a live web cam. Amanda Scribner, the incoming principal for the kindergarten building, will be leading a team beginning this fall on the logistics of the new school (schedule, staffing, handbook, etc.). Everything will be ready to go when the building opens for students in August of 2020.
This past year we also polled our entire District and community to find out what is important when we think about educating today’s child. We had great participation with over 815 individuals taking time to complete the survey. From those results, we created district-wide themes and then asked people to provide a value rating to those themes. Those results were used to revise our District priorities beginning next school year. We are excited to be launching our new strategic priority plan this fall to help guide our work over the next several years.
On the topic of priorities, one particular theme that came through loud and clear from nearly every group was the increasing behavioral needs of our students. From preschool through high school, student behavior is something we must address as a system. Addressing it, however, means thinking differently about how we interact with students. Now more than ever, our students are coming to us with more adverse childhood experiences. These experiences impact learning due to traumatic stress and can arise from a variety of sources including bullying at school, abuse, poor living conditions — even the day-to-day exposure to events such as divorce or homelessness. However, kids are resilient, and within positive learning environments they can grow, learn and succeed. Our aim as a District will be to help create these positive learning environments by understanding, recognizing and responding to the changing needs of our students. Many of the strategies we will use to support these students will benefit every learner in Selah.
In closing, I want to thank you all for a wonderful year in the Selah School District. I continue to feel fortunate to work and live in a community that cares deeply for its children and I look forward to more great things to come. Enjoy your summer, and we’ll see you in the fall!