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Superintendent's Message: Welcome to the 2021-22 School Year

Dear MISD community, 

Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year! We are excited to welcome students back to school full time beginning Wednesday for grades 1-12 and Friday for kindergarten.

During the past 18 months we have been laser-focused on safe and healthy schools for students, staff and families. Here is our updated COVID Response Plan and Frequently Asked Questions, posted on our COVID-19/Learning Forward site at mercerislandschools.org. Please note that these will be updated whenever new guidance is received from the Washington state Department of Health. As with any opening of a new school year, school sites evaluate plans and make adjustments accordingly. 

We continue to focus on safe and healthy learning environments, but now must also direct attention to educating the whole child and learning forward, even as the pandemic continues. This focus is even more relevant as we strive to foster hope, healing and well-being for our students.Together, we  continue to grapple with the impacts of the past 18 months.  

As educators, we must center our work around knowing our students by name, strength and need. In 2018, the Board adopted our values, vision and mission statements into  policy (BP 0001), which continues to center our work on students as the priority and educating the whole child. 

During the 2020-2021 school year the Board worked on revising the Fundamentals. They were reduced from seven to five and encompass what are the essential expectations for our educational system and each student we support. Below are the Fundamentals that drive MISD as educators. 

Student Focused Fundamentals

In accordance with the values, vision and mission stated in Board Policy 0001, the District will strive to achieve the following fundamentals, goals and objectives:

  1. Create a personalized learning environment where differentiated instruction, student-centered education, and varied learning opportunities are responsive to students’ strengths, needs, interests, and passions.  
     
  2. Maintain the highest learning standards in the areas of fine arts; health and physical education; English language arts; mathematics; financial education; science; environment and sustainability; social studies; world languages; computer science; and educational technology.
     
  3. Develop self-awareness, empathy, emotional/social intelligence, responsible decision-making and citizenship.
     
  4. Engage students in analytical and critical thinking in order to identify and address global concerns.
     
  5. Foster and embrace diversity, inclusiveness, and equity with a focus on respect and acceptance of every student.

Educating the whole child is the goal which can only be achieved through supporting  the “whole village” - staff, families and community working together. Education is a continuous process of learning and development both instructionally and systemically. This is hard work - but valuable.This is not “one more thing on the plate” but it is the plate.

As we head into this new school year, a huge thank you to our maintenance and operations crew, who have again this summer performed a tremendous service in preparing our facilities for the new school year, enhancing the learning environment for our students. Rooms have been moved and reconfigured, carpets cleaned, floors waxed, grounds spruced and cleared, as well as maintaining all of the facility health and safety recommendations. Their work over the past 18 months has kept our facilities safe and healthy for everyone. 

Last week we welcomed 38 new certificated and 15 new classified staff members! We are glad to have them as part of the MISD team. We look forward to learning and growing together in support of all of our students.

Here’s to a new and safe school year of learning for all! As you post those first-day photos this week, please include #MIFirstDay and tag us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Respectfully,
Donna Colosky, Superintendent