Kent School District

Watts Happening: News from Dr. Watts Feb 2020

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WATTSHAPPENING SUPERINTENDENT'S UPDATE WITH DR. CALVIN J. WATTS FEBRUARY 2020 It is now half-way through the school year, and while we are simultaneously celebrating Black History Month, providing information to voters about the February special election, actively supporting our winter sports, and transitioning to the second semester, as a district we are also deeply engaged in the early stages of preparing our budget for the 2020-2021 school year. The budgeting process for school districts is complex. Over the last few years, our district has been steadily working to ensure our schools are equipped with the resources they need to be successful while maintaining fiscal solvency. We are approaching this new budget season with the same approach. Though ultimately it is our Board of Directors that will approve a budget that reflects the priorities of the district and community, it is school leaders, central office leaders and staff who work together to prepare a budget for the board's approval. During my career and in my tenure at KSD, I have learned that to create the best possible budget for our schools and district based on available resources and to better ensure the budget creating process goes smoothly, many factors need to be addressed. I am proud to say we are working through these steps in KSD this budgeting season: Establishing a partnership between budget and finance, human resources, and instructional leaders to allow space and time for needs assessment, input and collaboration prior to the proposed budget being built. Reviewing and analyzing data on revenues and expenditures to make informed decisions about instructional, programmatic, and staffing needs moving forward. Asking questions to identify and correct practices and policies that perpetuate both the achievement and opportunity gaps as well as institutional bias, this is our commitment to equity. Prioritizing our funding to represent our values as a district. Our resources are not infinite, so decisions must be made and should be done so in alignment with our district priorities because resource allocation is the driving force behind long-term instructional strategy and internal culture. Considering the sustainability of the investments we make now, we need to understand how these investments will support our district's mission and how progress will be evaluated in 3- to 5-years from now and what the impact will be if they are not sustained. As complex as school district budgeting is, it is critically important that from the classroom to the 11 Special Election Day FEB boardroom, we never lose sight of our shared goal of finding the best possible alignment of resources and successfully preparing all students for their futures. February 5, 2020 was our first Board Work Session addressing the priorities of the School Board for the 2020-2021 school year. There will be several Board Work Sessions and presentations between now and August when the budget is adopted, including opportunities for public comment and community input. Additionally, we have a number of resources available on our website about our district budget including budget documents, reports, and more. 12 Board Meeting & FEB Work Session 17 No School - Presidents' 21 Break FEB 26 Board Meeting & FEB Work Session KENT SCHOOL DISTRICT EQUITY - EXCELLENCE - COMMUNITY UPCOMING EVENTS

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EQUITY Beginning last spring in 2019, our Community Conversations shifted to be more intentionally reflective of the communities we serve. This shift aligns with our race and equity policy. Equity is a core value of our district and most importantly, this is the work that needs to be done to support all children in Kent School District so that they may be successfully prepared for their futures. Our work to ensure that communication, outreach, and engagement efforts reach all residents, particularly communities that have been historically under-represented continues. Since last year Melissa Laramie, Director of Communications, and I have continued to hold listening sessions with our communities of color, partnering with the Iraqi Community Center of Washington, Centro Rendu, and most recently the Somali Health Board. These conversations are two-way, open and honest about what is working well and what opportunities we have to better serve children and families in our district. Most recently, in late January, Board members Maya Vengadasalam and Leslie Hamada joined Melissa and I at Living Well Kent for the Somali Education Listening Session. These conversations are ongoing, and what I have learned each time is that we have shared and common goals regardless of our differences, namely that we all believe education will transform the lives of students, families and our community, and that we can accomplish this only when we work together. COMMUNITY EXCELLENCE Kent School District families, community, school board, and staff came together on Wednesday, January 29 at Soos Creek Elementary School to learn about the state of our district. Thad the opportunity to share mission-critical information including what we're doing to achieve our strategic goals and the areas that we have an opportunity for growth. Earlier this week during our KSD Leadership and Admin Center meetings, I had the opportunity to present #KyeSD rockets to several members of #TeamKSD415 to recognize and honor them for living out and modeling our district's core values of equity, excellence, and community. These small rockets, imprinted with #KyeSD, were shared with leaders to recognize their commitment to equity, excellence, and community and how each day their actions represent this commitment. Thanks to the direction and planning of our Teaching and Learning Leadership Team, participants experienced hands-on learning in three workshops focused on helping our community understand what a day in the life of a student could be like. Students, teachers, and district leaders facilitated sessions on observing the science of hot air balloons, building pocket-sized robots from toothbrush bristles and batteries, and participating in a drum circle to explore the benefits of music education. Thank you to Bridget MacKinnon Schroedel, Park Orchard Assistant Principal; Patrick O'Connor, Park Orchard Principal; Justin Dennison, Director of Transportation; Brian Gauthier, Principal Soos Creek Elementary; Michelle Chin, Assistant Director of Data Services and Support, and Vicki DeGroot, Supervisor of Payroll, for saying #KyeSD to equity, excellence, and community and for their outstanding work as leaders in Kent School District. The evening concluded after a Q&A session where families asked about the future of arts in our schools and how they could become more involved in their student's learning. If you were not able to attend, you can view the presentation and photos on our website, and Ido hope you will join us next year as this is an annual event.

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