Vicki Pucket

    November 2018 Parent Newsletter

    Hello Islander Parents:

    Recently I was sad to hear about the senseless deaths of innocent people in separate incidents in Pittsburgh, Kentucky, and North Carolina. Our hearts go out to the families and communities that were affected by these tragedies.

    We are faced with challenging times in our world right now. These cowardly acts of violence not only hurt the Jewish and black communities, but they create a culture of prejudice, fear, and intolerance, hurting every one of us, including the recent rhetoric surrounding immigration.

    We condemn acts of hatred and violence, especially those perpetrated against a community for that which makes them unique: their race, religious practice, ethnicity, immigration status, gender, ability, or sexuality. As a community we do this important work with our students and with each other we will continue to build a culture of kindness, starting difficult conversations, and celebrating differences, whether about the color of our skin, what we believe, or whom we love.

    We can all support our students through open conversations, actively listening to their questions and concerns, and helping them through these difficult times. As the holidays approach I would like to invite us all to remember to be grateful for our families, friends and community.

    Moving through November, here is some additional information about what is happening around school.

    Attendance: Last month, we communicated with families about our ongoing commitment to improving Mercer Island High School attendance. Absences, excused or unexcused, impact learning and the educational opportunity of students.

    • Students who arrive to class late by 10 minutes or less will be marked tardy. This is consistent with current practice.
    • Students who arrive to class more than 10 minutes late will be marked Tardy-Absent. A Tardy-Absence is a form of a tardy and not an absence. We hope this encourages students to still go to class even if they arrive later than 10 minutes. Additionally, this will help staff decipher whether a student was completely absent versus in attendance but missed a significant amount of instructional time. Tardy-Absent will be a new code.
    • Students who are in class but leave early, will be marked by the attendance office with a “Left Early” code. This, too, will be a new code.

    We will use these more precise data points to evaluate the impact of tardiness on students and intervene with those who are either late or leaving early from class on a regular basis. The two new attendance codes will go into effect on November 5, 2018, the start of the second academic quarter.

    Save the Date for Island Books Night: Thursday, December 6, 2018! Buy books to donate to our library, purchase gifts for friends and family, or treat yourself! Shop anytime throughout the day and be sure to identify yourself as a MIHS parent because PTSA will receive a portion of the profits. If you come between 6:30-8:30, join PTSA for treats and beverages.

    Counselor Series Evening Event #2 - Paying for College: The Financial Aid Process:

    On Tuesday, November 20 from 6:30-7:30pm in the PAC Kimberley Shephard, the Seattle University Financial Aid Counselor and Outreach Coordinator, will provide an overview of the financial aid process for families of all grades.  She will share definitions related to financial aid and touch on grants, scholarships, work study and loans as methods to pay for college.  Ms. Shephard will discuss the FAFSA, the costs involved in college aside from tuition and how to interpret financial aid packages.  MIHS counselors will also offer some tools for students and parents to consider as part of the financial aid process. 

    Documentary Cesar Chavez: On Thursday October 11th, in conjunction with the Seattle Latino Film Festival, there was a special screening of Hailing Cesar, a new documentary about Cesar Chavez that was produced by his grandson, Eduardo.  Eduardo was available for Q&A following the film which was attended by 70 students in the Library Presentation Room. This event was brought together by the work of Evelyn Jimenez and was presented by Jenny Foster and the Library Team. 

    Thanks again for all of your support of our students and staff at MIHS!  We are thankful for our community and parents.


    Vicki Puckett