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‘Continuing the tradition of excellence’ Schools Foundation phone-a-thon Nov. 13-14 | Island Forum

By Jackie Brown and Dana Kim, Co-Presidents, Mercer Island Schools Foundation

The Mercer Island Schools Foundation’s annual fall phone-a-thon is Nov. 13-14, when 150 volunteers will be calling homes throughout our community. We need your help to ensure that our children thrive in our globalized, technological, ever-changing world.

Mercer Island schools have a tradition of excellence that continues today and is reflected in the accomplishments of our students.  Almost all students graduate on time, and 93 percent of graduates go on to college. Test scores, including state assessments, SAT and ACT, are among the highest for schools anywhere in the state or nation.  Looking beyond the data, we all know stories of students who are excelling academically, athletically and in the arts or as citizens.

Many factors contribute to such excellence. First and foremost, we have an abundance of parents engaged in and committed to their children’s education. In addition, we are fortunate to have many great teachers making a significant and lasting impact on their students. Did you know that, with Foundation support, 18 percent of Mercer Island teachers have gone through the rigors and development necessary to receive National Board Certification? Only 4 percent of teachers nationally have achieved this level of expertise.

The benefits are evident in the words of MIHS teacher Susan Jobe.

“I will forever be grateful for the generosity of the Mercer Island Schools Foundation, whose support enabled me to earn National Board Teaching Certification,” she said. “This process allowed me to critically examine and reflect on the teaching practices I use in relation to a set of national standards as well as network with other professionals, both in my field and in my building. The rigor of this process was both exhausting and exhilarating.”

Another crucial factor is community support. We know the challenges our public schools face. Washington state has failed to adequately fund basic education. Nevertheless, Mercer Islanders refuse to accept failure. Approval of local levies, critical to the basic functioning of our schools, is a strong indicator of community support, but that only takes us so far.  Your support of the Mercer Island Schools Foundation, as well as our local PTAs and booster clubs, provides opportunities for our children to go above and beyond basic education, allowing them to excel in the 21st century.

Mercer Island Schools Foundation support this year will include, among other things: curricula and materials for math, science and world language courses, providing opportunities that would not otherwise be available;  funding for school improvement plans and classroom enrichment focused on personalized learning, so that each student receives the individual instruction needed to succeed; support for important community building programs teaching children understanding of, and empathy for, others; and grants to teachers who pursue national certification.

When your phone rings on Nov. 13 or 14, please answer the call. You can also make a donation online at www.mercerislandschoolsfoundation.com.

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