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Superintendent's Message

August 2017picture of Ron Thiele

Dear Issaquah School District Community,

A new school year always brings excitement. This year it also brings a change to our school start and end times. The entire ISD operations team has been working hard since we made the decision to adjust bell times to make the transition as smooth as possible. With the growing body of scientific data informing us about the sleep patterns of adolescents, we are hopeful that these new school start times will allow our middle and high school students to get the sleep they need.

We will also be seeing visible changes happening around the district as we welcome students to a newly rebuilt, three-story Clark Elementary School and watch construction progressing as we rebuild Pine Lake Middle School. Growth in enrollment will continue to be a challenge, so we are thankful for the support of the public in approving the 2016 school bond allowing us to expand and build new schools for our growing community. We encourage you to keep track of our progress by visiting the Construction Projects page on our website. You’ll find up to date reports, photos, schematics, and so much more there.

Inside our buildings, we continue to work toward creating a culture of kindness through our Positive Behavioral, Social Emotional Support (PBSES  initiatives and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum. You will also be hearing more about our ongoing work with regard to secondary grading practices. We want our grading practices to be an accurate measure of academic progress. A student’s behavior in the classroom is important, but should not be included in a measure of how well that student has learned the material. Our cultural competency work is moving forward as well. Having spent considerable time working with administrators over the past two years, we introduced cultural competency as professional development for teachers during our non student work day last January 2017 and will continue to do so with all of our certificated and classified staff moving forward.

We do have some challenges in front of us this year. Along with managing growth and adapting to the transportation woes in our area, a teacher shortage in our state and many others is creating staffing challenges. The truth is, fewer people are choosing teaching as a career or area of study in college. In the long run, we hope that things will change to make the teaching profession more attractive to young people and people from diverse backgrounds. In the short term, we are not only working hard to recruit, but also to mentor and retain our teachers.

I have been involved in public education for 30 years now and I have to say, even with the challenges we face, I find myself continually energized by the quality of professionals that choose to work at the Issaquah School District. When I spend time in our schools I am so impressed, not only by the high quality of instruction happening, but also the kind, happy school environments in which teaching and learning is taking place. Of course, I must also say thank you to all of you, our parents and the greater community for sending us such wonderful students who come to school healthy and ready to learn. It is truly an honor and a privilege to serve all of you.

Image of Ron Thiele Signature
Superintendent Ron Thiele