April 14, 2015
April showers bring ... a whole lot of sunshine for the years ahead (forget flowers!). In the Tukwila School District, we have some exciting initiatives beginning in the next few days that are going to pave the way for a brighter future for many students and community members.
First, the district's bond committee will start meeting Thursday, April 16. This diverse group will look at how our student population is expected to grow and how our program needs are projected to expand in the decades to come. With significant consideration given to your overall tax rate, the committee will come up with a recommendation for me and the school board about what should be included in a bond measure that will go to voters in February 2016.
What we are really talking about in this committee is nothing less than the future of all of our schools-that's exciting and important work! One of the main questions we will wrestle with is how to accommodate our quickly growing student population. We are stuffed to the gills in many schools, meaning we have to make hard choices such as potentially turning down state-funded pre-school programs because we simply don't have the space. That hurts us all in our efforts to foster a vibrant, stable, prosperous community. Because the public school system truly belongs to the residents of Tukwila, we have made it a priority to have many stakeholders on the committee: Parents, students, business and civic leaders, cultural representatives, senior citizens, and more. If you would like to participate, please come and observe a meeting (5:30-7:30 p.m. April 16 and 23 and May 7, 21, and 28, at the Administration Building); follow along at www.tukwila.wednet.edu, where we will post materials and minutes; connect with your representative on the committee; and/or stay tuned for much more information when the ballot measure is formed-we will outreach with all the specific details.
Beyond the bond committee, this month we are looking toward the future with economic opportunities for both students and parents. For the second year, all of our juniors will participate in SAT Day at the high school on April 15. Paid for by a Road Map Region Race to the Top grant, this event allows upperclassmen to take the college-entrance exam during the regular school day with no fee-a huge step toward closing the opportunity gap for college enrollment. Not only does it eliminate a barrier, but it gets students to experience success and envision themselves as college bound. Through a similar event in October, more than 90 percent of our seniors took the SAT-a huge accomplishment! The spring SAT Day will be closely followed by Foster High's second-annual Career Day, where a wide variety of professionals from across the region will come to the school to inspire and educate students about their careers (and some even come with job and internship opportunities). It's amazing to see students resonate with job tracks they didn't even know were available or possible before!
But wait, I also mentioned parents-and this is something really unique. For the first time ever, we as a district are hosting a Parent Job and Career Fair just for family members! It is 4:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 23, at Showalter Middle School. There will be many employers there ready to hire adults for immediate job openings as well as organizations that provide training programs for hands-on, in-demand skills and services. Our school social workers and counselors teamed with the city and local service providers to plan this event, and I give them big kudos. We are in the businesses of educating students, but we also must recognize that our families' basic needs have to be met before children can thrive. That includes a stable, living-wage job for parents. If you are on the hunt for such a job or want the skills to get one, please come to the Parent Job and Career Fair.
Stay dry out there as we plant the seeds for some truly exciting opportunities during these blustery spring days! I hope to see you at some of our upcoming events.
Dr. Nancy Coogan
Superintendent, Tukwila School District