An end to a great 2004-05 school year

It's now the final week for students in the Mercer Island School District. The last day of school is tomorrow, Thursday, June 23, a week after seniors from Mercer Island High School formally graduated and were sent off into the world, diplomas in hand. The members of the Class of 2005 have accomplished much and are poised for even more success in the future. Much of this week's Mercer Island Reporter is dedicated to the graduating seniors, their families and teachers.

However, it should be noted that the remaining students and staff at the middle school and three elementary schools, and the district in general, have also done very well. It has been a great year for Mercer Island schools academically and otherwise.

The school year is not all about those who have achieved the best grades or won the most games. It is about those who have been given the tools and environment and the opportunity they need to succeed.

The Autism Spectrum Program was successfully begun at Lakeridge Elementary, making it a target school for about dozen students. The students, who have their own classroom, also attend regular classrooms as well to work alongside their peers. The Gifted program based at West Mercer and accelerated math classes were established in the district to help students find the right niche for their unique needs.

Finally, the district was recognized by the state Superintendent of Public Instruction for reducing the number of students by 10 percent who did not meet standards on the WASL at the high school, middle school and Lakeridge and Island Park elementary schools in 2003-04. Achieving this was no mean trick, as statistically, as statistically there was already little room to improve. All but a few Island students meet or exceed standards.

The accomplishment meant dedicated, focused work with a few students and shows that the school district ``walks the talk'' and does indeed provide individualized instruction to those who need that extra support.

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