Dear Kittitas Elementary Families and Friends,
It is an honor and pleasure to start my third year at Kittitas Elementary School (KES), and I am excited to work with you and your child over the course of the year. At KES, we divide student development into two areas, academic growth and social-emotional learning. Academically speaking, we strive to provide a student centered learning experience that identifies student needs and then supports those needs through various educational strategies and programs, such as our Highly Capable program and reading/math intervention. Socially and emotionally speaking, we aim to provide moments for students to relax and have fun, socialize with peers, and develop emotional readiness. Our social emotional work is guided by four simple but effect school wide expectations: I am safe, I am responsible, I am respectful, and I don’t bully. We reward students for making good choices every Friday during our Positive Paws drawing and monthly through our Student of the Month program. We ask that you review these expectations with your son or daughter sometime soon and discuss social responsibility with them often.
It is important to note that KES’s key areas--academic growth and social emotional learning--connect to Kittitas School District’s mission statement:the mission of our schools is to be accountable to the community for providing a globally competitive education that empowers students to achieve academic and personal success and become a responsible citizen. At KES, we take this mission seriously and put it at the center of what we do everyday for every child. That is our promise to our parents and community.
Of course, an amazing staff lies at the heart of our growth and success as KES. We have 19 certificated staff and over 15 classified staff members serving your child. Our teachers are highly skilled and dedicated to learning and safety, and every teacher is willing to develop new skills when necessary. Our classified staff is equally talented and dedicated and support learning in numerous ways. We are excited to add our new K-5 Music/Highly Capable teacher, Jessica Lewis, to this group of wonderful people. Jessica comes to us via Central Washington University and Lazy F Camp and Retreat Center. We hope you get to meet everyone during your time in Coyote country, so please feel free to reach out to any of these individuals with your questions, concerns, and compliments by contacting Abby Jones in our front office at (855) 380-8843.
I want to take a second to discuss a change to our daily schedule that has brought about some inquiries. We have shifted from three to two recesses per day (lunch and afternoon) for many reasons:
Increased instructional time gives teachers room to address more learning standards and develop deeper relationships with students.
Decreased distractions from recess conflicts--the vast majority of student discipline issues occurs on the playground.
Increased para educator support in the classroom--less time covering recess means more time working with students one on one and in small groups.
Improved budget--increasing instructional time for para educators allows us to cover labor costs using a wider variety of funding sources.
Despite these reasons, we recognize that students learn better when they are active, so teachers have been asked to incorporate activity breaks into their daily routine to provide breaks. Teachers are also allowed and are encouraged to take their classes outside for “green time” when needed. As usual, we will monitor the impact of this shift and make adjustments based on what we see and hear. Please feel free to contact me at the number above if you have any additional questions or concerns regarding this topic.
Lastly, I want to share our building goals for this year. These goals were designed as part of our yearly school improvement plan. A small group of building leaders wrote the goals and then shared them with a wide range of stakeholders, including--building leadership team, teaching staff, superintendent, school board, parent/teacher organization, and several state level officials. Our three goals for 2019/20 are as follows and have been approved by our school board:
Increase oral and written language development for all students with special focus on three under performing groups: English Language Learners, Students with Disabilities, and Low Income students.
Continue to design an assessment system that quickly and accurately measures student academic needs and supports.
Increase school to home relationships by improving communication and family outreach opportunities.
Parents will play a key role in achieving all of these goals, especially goal #3, so please keep an eye out for messages regarding volunteer opportunities.
Please be sure to visit our elementary web page early and often for detailed schedules and updates. This page can be found at https://kes.ksd403.org/. We hope to see you Wednesday, September 4th, 4-6 PM, for KES Open House; otherwise, we will see on the first day of school, Thursday, September 5th, 8:15 AM to 2:50 PM. THANKS AND GOYOTES!
Del C. Enders
Kittitas Elementary Principal