Dear Mercer Island community,
Welcome to the 2018-19 school year! As I begin my second year as your superintendent and 33rd in public education, I want to thank you again for your warm welcome over the past year as I have met so many wonderful Islanders.
This year we welcome 56 new certificated staff to our Mercer Island School District family. It is exciting to see that our new staff represent seven countries, 15 states and various parts of Washington. One of our focus areas this year will be on social emotional learning, utilizing best practices in support of quality teaching and learning for each student.
A new beginning with all of its excitement and opportunities is ready for us as we welcome our Mercer Island children to the next chapter in each of their individual stories. Knowing each child’s story builds a positive start to the new year for our classrooms and schools and is a valuable way to set the stage for a successful new year.
The relationship between positive classroom climate and student learning is well established. Similarly, there is also a robust research base establishing the connection between engagement and motivation and student learning. And while there are many factors that influence classroom climate, student engagement, and student motivation, one common thread is the importance of the social and emotional connection a student feels with his or her teacher.
On Aug. 31, our staff spent a half-day working on emergency preparedness plans. Safety remains a top priority as the District works closely with the Mercer Island Police Department. We are enhancing direct communications this year with the addition of School Messenger, which provides texting, email and phone calls to families in emergency situations. We are upgrading our radio system at school sites and on our buses as well as adding to our security staff at the high school and middle school.
Our maintenance and operations crew have again this summer done a tremendous job in preparing our facilities. Rooms have been moved and reconfigured, carpets cleaned, floors waxed, grounds spruced up and cleared, and safety inspections conducted. Our facilities were ready to welcome staff and students for the new school year.
Thank you to our Island community for your support of our Mercer Island Schools. A reminder again to please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and on the Web at mercerislandschools.org.
Donna Colosky, Superintendent