Welcome Back! September 1st witnessed the return
of our students across the district. Staff
members began rolling into their respective buildings in the middle of August
in preparation for a smooth start. As I
toured the buildings during the first week, it was obvious that this planning
helped to create a great kickoff to the 2015-16 school year.
We had an incredibly busy
summer after the students and staff left in mid-June. This may have been the largest hiring season
that I have experienced during my tenure in the district. We welcomed many new staff members; those
folks are eager and ready to serve the students and families of our
community. I am so grateful that we are
able to attract such quality educators.
We also had a number of staff members move to new positions and
buildings; we are blessed with dedicated and capable employees.
For the first time in
district history, we are offering All-Day Kindergarten at both Lake Spokane
Elementary and Nine Mile Falls Elementary.
Expanding our kindergarten program to full-day has been a goal of Nine Mile
Falls for many
years. It became possible when the state
legislature passed a budget after its third special session that included
funding at Lake Spokane only. In the interest of equity across the
district, the Board of Directors approved full-day kindergarten at both
elementary schools. Many schools and
districts across the region have been able to provide this for their students
through state funding. Although our
students only attended half-time prior to this year, our teachers were expected
to have their students ready for first grade despite only having half of the
time to prepare them. Our true hope is
that our kiddos will now be able to absorb their learning and enjoy more so,
the educational journey. We are excited about what this opportunity will mean
for our young students.
As we are all well aware, our
state and region has literally been on fire.
During the month of August, our staff responded to regional needs by
opening up our schools as shelters for those that were being evacuated. Additionally, Lakeside High School
partnered with the Department of Natural Resources and Stevens County Fire
District #1 as the campus became home to several hundred firefighters and
crew. Our relationship with emergency
responders is certainly bilateral, and we are pleased that we were able to
offer our grounds and buildings for their use as those brave men and women were
out protecting life and property. I am
proud of our maintenance department and custodial staff who were there to
assist and support during and throughout the time that the facility was being
Speaking of Lakeside High School,
I have been asked by many if and when the district will run a bond measure
again. At this point I am unable to say
that there is a definitive plan. While
the need still exists, more work and opportunities to share and discuss within
the community are necessary. As more
information is gathered, we will provide that to our families and neighbors.
In the very near future, the
NMFSD will be launching a feedback opportunity with any and all interested
stakeholders within the district. The
vehicle that will be used is called Thoughtexchange;
the sole purpose of this endeavor is to build a two-way link between your
concerns, interests, and input and the direction of the school district. If you decide to participate, and I truly
hope that you will, your anonymous feedback will help to identify and
prioritize those areas that need attention.
In closing, I am excited for
what this school year will bring. As
always, I invite dialogue and would be happy to meet with you to discuss those
things that are pertinent to our schools and community.