Community welcomes new MISD families at meeting

There were presentations galore at Oct. 1 virtual event.

With 20 presentations from community organization members, new Mercer Island School District families received a warm welcome during an hour-long virtual event on Oct. 1.

Led by district Superintendent Donna Colosky, the event featured presenters from school PTAs, youth sports, child-care providers, scouts and other vital organizations.

Colosky said that the area’s residents, especially children, make Island life special.

“We look forward to a time when we can be participating in all of these wonderful things in person,” Colosky said of the activities discussed at the meeting.

Following are a few of the presentations from the gathering:

* Carrie Bowman, teen services librarian from the Mercer Island Library, said, “Like the schools, the libraries are working on a pivot to the online environment.”

The library currently offers curbside service and residents can place holds for books using the MyLibro app. People can also sign up online for library cards. On the schools front, students have King County Library System cards, which are available automatically through schools and allow students to use the library’s full array of online resources.

The KCLS Facebook page displayed an update on Oct. 7: “On October 6, updates to the WA Safe Start plan were announced, allowing libraries some indoor activity in Phase 2 at 25% capacity. KCLS is working on its plans and protocols to accommodate this recent change. The health and safety of our staff and visitors is our top priority as we develop our reopening plans.”

* One MI is an organizing network for equity, which will soon launch its website and possibly a zine by children to discuss some current issues.

“We’re just here to make sure that every child, every family in our community feels seen and embraced for who they are,” said One MI’s Robin Li.

One MI, with backing from the city council, called on Mercer Island residents to celebrate Juneteenth 2020 (June 19) by holding individual social-distanced front yard/park cookouts and picnics. They also sponsored a Say Their Names memorial at Mercerdale Park for families to discuss the protests that happened over the summer.

* Over at the Mary Wayte Pool, Alice Godfred said that lap swimming (one person per lane) and lessons are available by appointment and take place under strict COVID guidelines. No recreational swimming is allowed at this time.

“Lots of the kids (are) loving to get back in because, as we all know, they’re kind of sitting around a lot now, so they’re happy to get out and do a little exercise,” she said of lessons, during which instructors wear face shields and maintain a six-foot distance.

There’s also a program for high school students who want to stay in shape while prep sports are on hold.

* The Stroum Jewish Community Center’s goal is to enrich residents’ lives, said Anna Fein, director of programming.

“You have truly chosen a wonderful place to raise your family. It’s just a warm and welcoming community,” she said of the Island.

Stroum has a state-of-the-art fitness center, which currently has limited spaces and is operating under strict COVID guidelines. Kids can also swim in the pool, run on the track, get involved in art enrichment and more.

* Youth Theatre Northwest’s executive education director Kate Swenson closed out the meeting with an energetic presentation about the organization’s upcoming events. Colosky said the school and production company — which raised its curtain in 1985 for kids ages 3-18 — is an essential component to students’ education.

More than 90 kids auditioned for its upcoming season of plays, which will be performed in mask and online. Two brand new plays are on tap, “Rescued” (set for November) and “Sidekick Island.”

Swenson said they had great success with their summer camps and they’re “looking forward to continuing to bring the drama to Mercer Island.”