Donna Colosky is superintendent of the Mercer Island School District.

Donna Colosky is superintendent of the Mercer Island School District.

Welcoming students to a new school year

A guest column from Mercer Island School District Superintendent Donna Colosky.

  • Wednesday, September 4, 2019 10:58am
  • Life

By Donna Colosky

Special to the Reporter

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Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year! We are excited to have our students and staff returning for the opening of school today (Wednesday, Sept. 4).

Two weeks ago, the Mercer Island School Board completed a year-long process to define the district’s core values, vision and mission. Our new values, vision and mission statements center our work on students as the priority and supporting the whole child. Thank you to the hundreds of students, staff, families and community members who participated in focus groups to refine this new document.

An excellent educational experience for our students goes well beyond academic achievement. In supporting the whole child, we need to focus on the long-term development and success of our children. As educators, we must work together in support of our students by creating a positive school climate, emphasizing social-emotional learning and character education, and actively engaging our students in their learning through collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity.

The newly adopted Board Policy 0001 is:

Core Values

Students are the priority. We believe in:

• Supporting the whole child.

• Creating inclusive and equitable learning settings.

• Ensuring our school communities are safe and supportive.

• Providing rigorous and challenging learning.

Vision

Inspiring our students to be lifelong learners as they create their futures.

Mission

The district will foster learning by engaging students in thinking critically, solving problems creatively and working collaboratively.

All of this work was previously under Board Policy 2020, now retired. The Student Focused Fundamentals remain as an operational expectation, continuing the work of the Board of Directors in annually monitoring and measuring these goals.

We need to balance the complex learning needs of our students to ensure measurable academic achievement as well as help each student build a solid foundation for career and life success. This is hard work – but incredibly important for our Island community.

Educating the whole child is the goal which can only be achieved through support from the “whole village” — staff, families and community working together. MISD values our strong partnership with the city of Mercer Island, particularly around ensuring our school communities are safe and supportive. Our staff works collaboratively with city staff to support our students through the school-based Youth and Family Services counselors, the Mercer Island Police school resource officer and creating joint emergency preparedness plans.

As we begin the school year, I want to acknowledge the work of our maintenance and operations crew, who have again this summer performed a tremendous service in preparing our facilities, enhancing the learning environment for our students. Rooms have been moved and reconfigured, carpets cleaned, floors waxed, grounds spruced up and cleared, and safety inspections conducted. Our buildings are ready for the new school year. In addition, Mercer Island High School has a new security entrance that is almost complete.

As always, we invite all members of our Island community to be involved in your schools. Our school calendar is full of music and drama performances, athletic contests and a multitude of other events. Please keep in touch with us on the web at mercerislandschools.org, like us on Facebook @mercerislandschooldistrict, follow us on Twitter @mercerislandsd and on Instagram @mercerislandschooldistrict.

Here’s to a new school year of learning for all.

Donna Colosky is superintendent of the Mercer Island School District. Follow her on Twitter @suptcolosky.

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